Report on fatal collision between rigid inflatable boat Rib Tickler and a personal watercraft published

Rib Tickler and a personal watercraft collided at high speed in the Menai Strait
Rib Tickler and a personal watercraft collided at high speed in the Menai Strait

On 8 August 2020, the rigid inflatable boat Rib Tickler and a personal watercraft collided at high speed in the Menai Strait, Wales. A passenger onboard Rib Tickler was struck by the personal watercraft and fatally injured. The personal watercraft had been jumping across Rib Tickler’s wake when the rigid inflatable boat altered course across the personal watercraft’s path. The two craft were operating too closely to each other at high speed and neither Rib Tickler’s driver nor the personal watercraft rider understood the other’s intentions. Furthermore, the knowledge and skill levels of the persons in control or overseeing the two craft were not appropriate to the manoeuvres being undertaken.

Safety issues

– Rib Tickler and the personal watercraft were operating in close proximity to each other, while carrying out uncoordinated high-speed manoeuvres.
– The knowledge and skill levels of the persons in control or overseeing the two craft were not appropriate to the manoeuvres being undertaken. Neither of them had carried out an appropriate training course.
– Although Isle of Anglesey County Council had a marine safety management system there was insufficient local governance of the marine environment, with a lack of resources, risk assessment for leisure users, or powers to manage their waterspace.
– The inconsistent approach to personal watercraft management around the UK coast has a detrimental impact on the efforts being made to reduce irresponsible use.

Statement from the Chief Inspector of Marine Accidents, Andrew Moll

“As the use of leisure craft in the UK becomes ever more popular, this tragic accident serves as a powerful reminder that uncoordinated, high-speed manoeuvres near other craft are unsafe. Personal watercraft, often referred to as jet skis, provide a unique and fun way to enjoy the water, but they are high-performance machines, not toys. The completion of an appropriate training course will better equip the rider with skills and knowledge necessary for the safe use of a personal watercraft.

Although there are many harbour and local authorities that manage their waters to provide safe areas for all water users, there is an inconsistency of management around the UK coast, which can lead to conflicted interests and confusion. Following this investigation, I have recommended to the Royal Yachting Association and Personal Watercraft Partnership that a cross-industry forum be formally created to provide a more consistent approach to the management of personal watercraft around the UK.”

Recommendations

Recommendations (2022/101, 2022/102 and 2022/103) have been made to the Isle of Anglesey County Council about its management of the Menai Strait waterspace, reviewing its legislation governing the Menai Strait and resource availability within its maritime team.

A recommendation (2022/104) has also been made to the Personal Watercraft Partnership and Royal Yachting Association to formalise the creation of a cross-industry group, focusing on a consistent nationwide approach to personal watercraft management.

Download the full report: RibTickler Report

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