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Safety lesson issued after fatal inversion

Published on June 27th, 2019

The Marine Accident Investigation Branch is a UK government agency authorized to investigate maritime accidents on board UK vessels worldwide, and other vessels in UK territorial waters. Their latest findings is for owners and operators of boats with retractable keels or retractable weighted centerboards.

At approximately 1220 on June 12, 2019, a RS Venture Connect sailing boat (above) fully inverted; its crew comprised an assistant instructor and an experienced disabled crewman. The boat was knocked down in the windy conditions on the day and heeled to such an extent that the keel fully retracted.

During the subsequent capsize, the disabled crewman became trapped under the inverted boat. The safety boat crew saw the accident and attended the scene quickly, but had difficulty righting the boat and so were unable to reach the crewman in sufficient time to effect a successful rescue.

It was found that the retractable keel restraining Velcro™ strap was not fitted, allowing the keel to move freely in its housing.

Safety lesson
To prevent a similar accident, owners and operators of boats with retractable keels or retractable weighted centerboards, regardless of make or model, are recommended to ensure that:

• Prior to use, checks should be made to ensure the manufacturer’s instructions regarding the securing of the keel or centerboard have been followed.
• There are procedures and drills for recovering a capsized boat that include the scenario where the keel or centerboard has retracted from its ‘lowered’ position.

For the complete report… click here.

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