Originally Posted by richyrich
I quite accept r/a has to be sensible, but the risk of hitting submerged hazards or (and we've all seen the video) being thrown due to turning too sharply, (or tripple fatality in Scotland last year due to "catastrophic steering failure") in high speed open sea operation is hardly fanciful.
Richy - by driven responsibly - I meant e.g. that if the occupants were not wearing lifejackets the helm would be unlikely to make high speed turns.
Hitting submerged hazards is a reasonable risk to flag up - but in good weather - in some areas of water (I don't know Lulworth) it is relatively unlikely and again may
be considered low risk. I can't remember hearing of anyone being ejected from a rib after hitting a container or other partially floating hazard. Certainly people have been thrown out after hitting rocks/sandbanks. The operator, with local knowledge of the water, the hazards, the tides etc can assess that risk. If he makes the same journey every day and is well away from any underwater obstruction it is unlikely one will suddenly appear! This is why the R/A should be tailored to the situation and not some "generic" - everyone on every rib must
wear a lifejacket.
I accept that mechanical failure of the steering system can result in you being thrown overboard. The correct mitigation of that risk is not simply wearing a life jacket - it is to ensure good maintainence of the system (the route cause of the fatal accident in Loch Lomond was poor maintainance of the hydraulic steering - although life jackets may have saved them.) [For your information there were 2 fatalities NOT 3 (the third person was not 'ejected' from the craft and therefore survived) and the accident happened in early 2005 not - last year.]
A life jacket is PPE and therefore should be the last resort in mitigating risk. The correct approach is to prevent the person being thrown overboard in the first place. There are a number of factors which might contribute to that e.g.:
* driving style
* driver training
* passenger briefing
* position of passengers on boat
* type of seating
* maintainence of steering systems
* awareness of underwater hazards
* weather conditions
* design of boat (internal 'freeboard', beam, length etc)
I will once again say that I am not advocating the absense or not wearing of lifejackets on pleasure or commercial ribs. I am simply trying to point out that if you avoid the MoB in the first place then the need is much reduced. Not requiring someone to wear a L/J does not mean that a risk assessment has not been completed.
The chances of entering the water are probably far greater when boarding/alighting the rib. Yet I know that some commercial operators wait until the passengers are on board before issuing L/Js and retrieve them before they alight.
I find it interesting that in the RIB world it is the "de facto" standard (which I myself follow - and would insist on anyone on my tiny RBB doing too).
Yet within the "yachting" community it is very much abnormal - except in bad weather, etc. Some of these people must be operating commerically - yet their R/A don't seem to have resulted in a "must wear l/j" mentality. People walk about yachts (so slips/trips risk resulting in MoB much higher). Racing yachts (some of which have paid crew/skippers) often don't have "safety fences" - and even people sitting on the gunwhale don't seem to wear L/Js. Similarly with fishing fleets.
Considering the "pleasure trip/sight seeing/wildlife tour" market - and other than RIBs - I would say it is unusual to see the wearing of L/Js by passengers.
Finally - I suspect that a lot of the harbour masters (etc) risk assesments requiring L/Js are largely to cover the risks in boarding/alighting and deck working.