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Old 04 July 2008, 15:06   #1
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Report on Last Call

http://www.maib.gov.uk/publications/.../last_call.cfm

http://www.maib.gov.uk/cms_resources/LastCall.pdf

Right click and save as - it's much easier to handle that way!

Normally I find these reports very instructive - learn by other people's mistakes. On this occasion though I find it very hard to learn anything. It is a terrible tragedy and could have been prevented in so many ways.

Just look at the photos and the sea conditions - even I wouldn't have ventured out in that unless I had to. In a boat like that no chance. They wouldn't even launch the ILB.

It is all very well to say he should have had training. I don't recall any part of my PB level 2 course that told me not to go out in 30' waves - it is assumed that you have a modicum of common sense!!!

Proper lifejackets would probably have saved their lives. Two of them were wearing US made PFDs - they come as standard with Yank boats and are designed for inshore use. well these people were inshore but the PFDs were so poorly made that the stitching failed and the straps pulled off. It is frightening to think this is what most US boaters rely on.

Mention was made of mobile phones being wrecked by salt water - cue freezer bag time.

This article is quite upsetting to read. It is hard to imagine why on Earth they ever set out. Having said that they paid the ultimate price - such a shame.
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Old 04 July 2008, 16:13   #2
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Have to agree on everything said - The photo of the all weather life boat & last call in the waves really shows how big the waves were. Not much can be said apart from what a waste and did they really think the boat/ they could deal with that weather ? What were they thinking.

The report mentions the radio / not having a VHF licence & that using the radio would have been illegal. I seriously doubt anyone would care if they had heard the call on 16 advising them to turn round.

The summation of what to do in more than a force 8 - 'do something else' is so true for nearly all of us. We do this for fun & enjoyment & yes its exciting sometimes but we should all know our & our kits limits - usually in RIBs we reach ours before the kit does.
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Old 04 July 2008, 18:34   #3
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This accident report sent a shiver down my spine

February 93:

I was the primary Rib test driver for Mike Armitage the owner of Northern Diver, he also made Osprey Ribs, we had a demo weekend after the London boat show in Whitby in Feb 93. 3 boats 3 drivers plus 1 sales/technical.

I briefed the drivers to stay inside the breakwater due to seas almost identical to that in the MAIB report..... low and behold one of the boat builders / helmsman thought he knew better and to prove the product ventured outside in a Viper 5.25...... Stupidly i went after him to get him back in, I was in the 6.75 - got alongside him and shouted with a lot of expletives to get back in... he then powered up in the trough we were in and aimed for the entrance, just as the bloody wave behind me lifted me up from the starboard qtr and crested into the bow of the boat - it sounded like thunder and before i knew anything i was in the water...

This was now a real "oh sh$t" situation - i was in the water in a 5 mtr swell to the south east side of the entrance to Whitby harbour in Feb and I knew I was going to die.... my mum died in 85 and so i talked alot to her whilst drifitng towards the rocks, feeling very helpless..and getting cold, even tho i was wearing a 5mm drysuit and impact vest, i remember shouting help a few times... but then it started to go quiet..... the waves cresting over me and sending me under in a washing machine like scenario was the most frightening thing in the world i have ever experienced, and the worse bit was as i was getting closer to the beach and getting driven under was hitting the bottom and praying i didnt get caught or trapped...

23 minutes after going in the water the D class crew did an amazing scoop up of me whilst underway and got me back alive with the ALB just outside the entrance as i was too shallow by the time they got out.....

I learnt a lot of lessons that day and owe my life to the RNLI and Northern Diver whose drysuit i was wearing, and without which I would have been dead 12 minutes before they got to me.... the boat was utterly destroyed... a million orange pieces on the rocks...

Stay safe, stay warm, stay upright!!

Nick
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Old 05 July 2008, 05:22   #4
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Very sobering reading, both the MAIB report and Nikster's experience.

Certainly the PB2 course that I did covered the importance of passage plans, weather reports, sea conditions, safety gear and vhf radio. What was more effective though was the practical experience. I did my course in Chi harbour - on the second day we headed out towards the bar and it started to get lumpy very quickly, whereas inside the harbour it was calm. As a result, our instructor turned us back before we got to the bar, which was a lesson in itself.

I too am sure that under the circumstances nobody would have been too bothered about the radio CE marking and lack of VHF licence. What is perhaps more relevant is that the crew thought it was illegal / thought it wouldn't work, so may well have had it turned off 'just in case'.

Chris
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Old 05 July 2008, 05:42   #5
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Even in less severe weather Whitby harbour needs concentration to enter or leave. This is indeed a very sad case.
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Old 09 July 2008, 03:58   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nikster View Post
I was the primary Rib test driver for Mike Armitage the owner of Northern Diver, he also made Osprey Ribs, we had a demo weekend after the London boat show in Whitby in Feb 93. 3 boats 3 drivers plus 1 sales/technical. Nick
I saw the photos taken the following day at low water which showed what was left of the rib. I didn't recognise the suzuki engine block in the photo it was that badly mangled and had detached from the leg. Nothing left of the boat. From memory I thought it was an XR20 that was lost?

Ospreys senior managements take on this was slight different. Two rib drivers were pratting about and crashed into each other leading to the loss. A lack of command and control at the event because the boss wasn't there.

I wasn't aware of a primary rib test driver at Northern Diver, it was all hands to the pumps and sales staff from the shop would often be used to drive and demonstrate boats at events. Mike even had me demonstrating a 8.2m Falcon at the 93 or 94 Southampton Boat Show and I didn't work for him.

Pete
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Old 11 July 2008, 16:07   #7
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Mike only ever went to the boat/dive shows - i cant remember the name of the build manager - the skinny guy from Skelmersdale but he was running the weekend - i was the only rib driver working for the company that didnt build the boats in that horrible industrial unit we had, and i seemed to be the only one driving 1000 miles a week delivering and demoing the boats... but i can assure you 2 boats did not crash and there was no pratting about... i value my life far tooo much for that.. nobody on gods earth should have gone outside that day...i think you are right it was the xr 20 - but i do not even have the photos so you have more than me... i had the cutting from the paper a few years ago - but havnt seen it in years..so probably lost...

The falcon you were driving is the one that i won the round solent rib race in that year from memory... Alan Priddy got a fantastic shot of me in plan view out by Nab Tower

any chance of the piccy's if you have any?

cheers
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Old 12 July 2008, 08:19   #8
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Are you sure, Mike would regularly turn out to boating events, even gave a presentation in Belfast on one of the weekends organised by the BSAC clubs. They came across from Portpatrick in 3 or 4 ribs and gave demonstrations at Portaferry on the Sunday. He was also a great supporter of the Scotland events as it was good for business.

The factory manager was called Andy. Still see Gary one of the laminators around Gosport.

Don't have any photos of the racing, just remember Bogi posting one on here a while back of Paul Lemmer and himself. Mal and I were in the back ground. Photos would have been in the BIBOA mag at the time.

Were you an AAC Door Gunner in the early 1990 then?

Pete
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Old 12 July 2008, 11:47   #9
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Heh Nick thats some frightening incident you had, and i'm glad to see it didnt ruin your enthusiasm for boating.

in what conditions do you decide its best to put on a drysuit or do you always wear them these days?
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Old 12 July 2008, 19:03   #10
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Hey Pete,

Gary came down with me to do the round solent rib race as my nav / cojo and it was that weekend that he met his now wife and then moved down lock, stock and barrel to Gosport, cant remember gary's /girlfriend/wife name but..... anyway last time i saw him he was living with her and had a huge project in the garden backing onto RNAD Frater..... Andy... thats him he was running the workshop and only ever had one expression.....!!

Remember Mike met his wife from Isla in the Inner Hebrides and he certainly had a soft spot for anything in Scotland the Highlands or an easy commute from Standish or anything connected with Carrington..... lol BIBOA....... its all coming back!!!!!

Lewy, Mike Armitage from Northern Diver always ensured we were as safe as houses in our personal protection against the elements - in the North Sea we were testing around oil rigs, in fricking cold water, and on Windermere or the quarries for the police in jan /feb it was even colder..... you cannot beat a ND drysuit... however today i have to say that i prefer to boat in water that is not likely to kill me in less than 20 mins.... lol....
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