Mountbatten Watersports & Activities Centre – Member Profile

Established in 1999 on the site of a former RAF base in Plymouth, the Mount Batten Watersports and Activities Centre is one of the foremost Outdoor Education centres in the South West.

Adventure RMS Safety Update – Capsize of traditional sailing vessel

A traditional gaff rigged Norfolk Broads sailing vessel (cabin boat) recently capsized while being used on a cruise for young people.

Capsize of these craft is highly unusual but, as events have now proved, not unforeseeable.

Events –

The boat appears to have emerged from the shelter of a treelined stretch of water to experience the full force of the wind, at the same time as a stronger gust occurred. The boat reportedly behaved more like a dinghy than a yacht and capsized and then sank very quickly, putting everyone in the water.

Issues raised –

The incident highlights some important safety management questions for providers using these, or similar craft –

  1. All watercraft can capsize given the ‘right’ conditions – do your procedures take this into account?
  2. What type of personal flotation devices do you use and how are they used? Do your safety management arrangements consider the possibility of crew being inside the cabin of a capsized cruiser wearing a buoyancy aid or an auto inflating life jacket?
  3. Do your emergency arrangements allow for communication devices to be available and effective should all the crew be in the water?
  4. In complex areas of inland water, like the Norfolk Broads, do you have emergency arrangements that allow participants to know where they are at any time and how to direct emergency services to the nearest useable access point?

Rockley Watersports