10th October 2011, 09:52
Cardiff Bay RIB Collision
On 27 October 2010, two Rigid Inflatable Boats (RIBs) belonging to the Cardiff Bay Yacht Club (CBYC) collided while transporting a number of children across Cardiff Bay. As a result of the impact three children were thrown into the water, while others suffered abrasions and muscular injuries.
The children, all girls, were participants in an International Optimist Class Association (IOCA) training event. Following an evening social activity, the group were being ferried from the clubhouse across Cardiff Bay to their accommodation.
The two RIBs carried no navigation lights or torches and were proceeding at about 20 knots in the dark. They were being driven by 17 year olds who held RYA Powerboat Level 2 certificates, a qualification that did not equip them for night time operations.
A Cardiff Harbour Authority (CHA) ‘common sense regulation’ which stated that ‘persons under the age of 18 years must not take charge of a power driven vessel with an engine exceeding 5 horse power’ was in force at the time of the accident. However, the CBYC chief instructor was unaware of the regulation when he appointed the drivers to the two RIBs, which were equipped with 50 horsepower engines.
The investigation identified a number of safety issues. These include a lack of planning and risk assessment for the night-time ferrying activity, poor awareness of harbour regulations, and shortcomings in the Cardiff Bay Yacht Club’s maintenance and safety procedures for its boats.
A recommendation has been made to the Cardiff Bay Yacht Club which seeks to improve the club’s safety management system and control of risk. Recommendations have also been made to the Cardiff Harbour Authority to confirm the appointment of a designated person and measures to improve stakeholders’ awareness about the statutory role of the authority.
The full report is attached in PDF (1.5MB). Safety recommendations shall in no case create a presumption of blame or liability.