Please select your home edition
Edition
YY.com app (top)

RYA urges boaters to heed MAIB Safety Bulletin regarding retractable keels

by Loretta Spridgeon, RYA 27 Jun 17:00 BST
Tragic fatality resulted from the inversion of a craft with a retractable keel following a capsize © RYA

The Marine Accident Investigation Branch (MAIB) has today issued a safety bulletin relating to the securing of retractable keels and retractable weighted centreboards while sailing boats are in use, following a preliminary assessment of the circumstances that led to the capsize of an RS Venture Connect sailing boat on Windermere.

The RYA was saddened to learn that on 13 June 2019 a tragic incident occurred at Blackwell Sailing in Bowness-on-Windermere, Cumbria, which resulted in the death of Stephen Hague (57) whilst sailing on Lake Windermere.

The boat was manufactured by RS Sailing and was being operated by Blackwell Sailing as part of its RYA Sailability activity. Sailability is the RYA's national programme promoting and supporting people with disabilities to try sailing and to take part regularly.

At the time of the accident, there were two crew on board the boat; an assistant instructor and an experienced crewman who had limited mobility.

The post-accident inspection of the boat, together with photographic evidence from the day, has identified that the restraining device for the keel, a Velcro™ strap, designed to secure the keel in the lowered position, was not in place.

In the windy conditions on the day, the boat was knocked down and heeled to such an extent that the keel slipped in its housing, retracting entirely.

During the capsize, the assistant instructor was able to swim clear but the disabled crewman became trapped under the inverted hull. 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.

The importance of securing the retractable keel was highlighted in the manufacturer's rigging guide for the boat, however, this accident demonstrates that some users may not be aware of how critical this is.

Following the incident, RS Sailing has contacted all registered owners of RS Venture Connect boats, reiterating the instructions regarding the importance of ensuring the keel securing strap is correctly fitted prior to use.

To prevent a similar accident, owners and operators of boats with either a retractable keel or retractable weighted centreboard, regardless of make or model, are recommended to ensure that:

  • Prior to use, checks are made to ensure the manufacturer's instructions regarding the securing of the keel or weighted centreboard have been followed
  • Their procedures and drills for recovering a capsized boat include the scenario where the keel or centreboard has retracted from its 'lowered' position

Joff McGill, RYA Sailability Manager, said: "We are all deeply saddened by the loss of Stephen Hague whilst sailing on Windermere. Our thoughts and sympathies remain with Stephen's family and friends, and all the Sailability volunteers at Blackwell Sailing.

"We will work closely with our partners in the boating industry to highlight the importance of securing retractable keels and centreboards while sailing boats are in use. We also strongly recommend that procedures and drills for recovering a capsized boat include the scenario where the keel or centreboard has retracted from its lowered position."

The RYA will continue to work with the MAIB to establish and share further learnings from this tragic incident, once there has been an opportunity to assess all contributing factors.

Related Articles

Crowds 'learn to fly' at Foiling Week
More than 50 novice foilers took flight last week on Lake Garda For a second year, RYA Training Centre, the Andrew Simpson Centre (ASC) Lake Garda, put on a series of RYA 'First Flights' 90 minute taster sessions, aimed at beginner foilers. Posted on 19 Jul
Lewis Haig named RYA Yachtmaster of the Year 2018
For his exceptional demonstration of sailing skills during the exam Young Scotsman, Lewis Haig, has been named as the recipient of the RYA Yachtmaster™ of the Year award 2018, for his exceptional demonstration of sailing skills during his RYA Yachtmaster™ certificate of competence exam. Posted on 17 Jul
Red diesel consultation by HM Revenue and Customs
Implementation of the CJEU judgment on diesel fuel used in private pleasure craft HM Revenue and Customs is inviting views on, and seeking information about, proposed changes to the rules for red diesel used in private pleasure craft as a result of the judgment of the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU). Posted on 16 Jul
Clip on with care, new RYA video urges
Advice for boaters on how to attach safety lines You wouldn't drive, take a plane journey or tear around a roller coaster ride without being properly strapped in, so why tackle the waves without being secured to your boat? That's the safety message being delivered in a new RYA video. Posted on 14 Jul
In conversation with David 'Sid' Howlett
Mark Jardine talks with the Coach to Ben Ainslie, Andrew Simpson and more... Hear the story behind the medals as Mark Jardine talks to Olympic Sailing 'Coach To The Stars' David Howlett. Howlett has helped coach some of the sports biggest names to Gold, find out how in this in-depth interview into his career. Posted on 11 Jul
RYA seeking to appoint a Technical Manager
To lead, manage and direct the work of the Technical Team The Royal Yachting Association, based in Hamble, near Southampton, is the national governing body for all forms of recreational, competitive and professional boating. Posted on 10 Jul
Transport and Maritime Minister shown the ropes
Nusrat Ghani MP learns about sailing programmes for young people RYA instructors have introduced the Transport and Maritime Minister Nusrat Ghani MP to the RYA's training activities and even tempted her onto the water, as part of Maritime Safety Week. Posted on 4 Jul
RYA prepares its response to MCA consultation
Interests of recreational boaters will be presented to the Maritime and Coastguard Agency The MCA wants to hear recreational boaters' views on six draft Marine Guidance Notes (MGN) concerning guidance on boat safety over the next few weeks. Posted on 4 Jul
RYA and BPA joint response to alcohol awareness
Department for Transport campaign warns about the risks of drinking afloat RYA, which is recognised as the representational voice for recreational boaters, and the BPA, representing over 350 ports, harbours and piers around the UK's coast, have joined forces to welcome a ministerial announcement of an alcohol awareness campaign. Posted on 2 Jul
Princess Royal to present Yachtmaster of the Year
At the Royal Institute of Navigation (RIN) AGM The prestigious award - which has historically been presented at the London Boat Show - will this year be awarded on Tuesday 16 July 2019, by Her Royal Highness The Princess Royal, President of the RYA, at the Royal Institute of Navigation (RIN) AGM. Posted on 1 Jul