Man overboard from single-handed creel boat May C with loss of 1 life

Marine Accident Investigation Branch

September 2
23:00 2020

Accident Investigation Report 16/2020

Investigation report into marine accident including what happened, safety lessons learned and action taken:

MAIB investigation report 16-2020: May C

Fishing vessel May C


At about 1230 on 24 July 2019, the owner/skipper of the single-handed creel fishing boat May C was found face down and unconscious in the sea by the crew of the fishing vessel, Sparkling Star. Despite being recovered by Sparkling Stars crew, May Cs skipper had drowned and could not be resuscitated. Although the exact circumstances of the accident are unknown, it is most likely that May Cs skipper fell overboard when trying to clear the boats propeller of weed or other fouling.

Reconstruction of outboard propeller being cleared

Photo: Reconstruction of outboard propeller being cleared

Safety Issues

  • May Cs skipper was not wearing a personal flotation device (PFD), nor was he carrying a personal locator beacon (PLB). This meant that his chances of survival were very low when alone and falling into cold water

  • wearing a PFD and carrying a PLB aids survival and ensures you have a reliable method of raising the alarm to get help


Given the industry initiatives to increase the awareness of the importance of wearing a PFD, and the MAIBs safety recommendations made in the Sea Mist report, no further recommendations regarding single-handed fishing have been considered necessary for inclusion in this report.

A safety flyer to the fishing industry highlighting a number of the safety lessons was produced for this report.

See also the Maritime and Coastguard Agencys Fishermens Safety Guide and their Single-handed fishing leaflet.

Published 3 September 2020

Recent Comments

Follow Us on Twitter

Share This

Enjoyed this? Why not share it with others if you've found it useful by using one of the tools below: