The UK MAIB has published their report into a Vector V40R powerboat which hooked, inverted and contacted a navigation buoy close to the entrance of the River Hamble in May 2015. The courage of the driver returning to the inverted hull and recovering his son, albeit understandable is commendable.
As tanker man in my previous life, reading ‘100 mph’ and Southampton Water’ in the same sentence takes some processing. The driver was undoubtedly experienced but sadly allowed complacency in by not having his team wear restraining belts or safety headwear, particularly for those lesser experienced. Sat behind this desk, pure fear brings planning and risk assessment to my mind when given a waterborne bullet and seemingly open water, but the prospect of an exhilarating experience soon takes over and this may be a risk that we in the superyacht market see often when operating higher speed toys and tenders. The competent driver may need to make time to consider risk factors and restrain the excited guests while a proper assessment is carried out and ensuring appropriate equipment is available and used.
The inspector is rightly critical of the harbour authority’s laid back approach to speed limits. So too is the recommendation for appropriate marking of floats by fishermen within port limits. This may be worthy ideal, but questionable in execution. It is certainly not going to happen in coastal waters. All tender drivers will be only too well aware of the variety of unmarked plastic containers, dan buoys and general buoyant junk that fishermen use, and perhaps should consider a slower speed reconnaissance before letting loose their turbo-charged guest-propelled toys.
For those on board Watkins’ managed boats, please ensure that all crewmembers are given an opportunity to read this. Please confirm so in your next HESS meeting minutes.
I can be contacted at any time if anyone has any questions. We would welcome any feedback of course, and would be pleased to circulate any comments.