Mom-of-three was killed after being sucked into boat's propeller

vt-author-image

By VT

Article saved!Article saved!

A mom-of-three fell from a hire boat while on vacation and got caught in the propeller, which tragically resulted in her drowning.

It has now been determined in a new report that the woman in question could have been saved had an adequate guardrail been fitted.

British mother Laura Perry was on vacation on the Norfolk Broads, UK, in August 2020 as part of a group of eight others. The group included her partner, who was the nominated skipper, and her three sons - a 16-year-old, 14-year-old and four-year-old.

Her parents, her sister, who was the driver, and her 16-year-old niece were also on the 42-ft motor cruiser, Diamond Emblem 1.

Per a Marine Accident Investigation Branch (MAIB) report, it is not likely she would have fallen if there had been an adequate guardrail.

The report also recommended that improvements be made in the guidance for people hiring boats, after learning that the family had been trained in a handover that lasted "about 10 minutes".

The report further stated that Perry had fallen overboard from the rear deck when the stern of the boat collided into the embankment wall opposite Great Yarmouth Yacht Station on the River Bure.

The tragedy took place on day three of their five-day vacation at 1:18 PM on August 19 2020.

"[Perry] became entangled in a length of rope and the propeller, suffering multiple injuries that resulted in her drowning," the report said.

It continued: "An adequate guardrail around Diamond Emblem 1’s stern would likely have prevented the passenger from falling into the water.

"The boat’s driver at the upper helm control position was unable to control the motor cruiser at the time. This was most likely because the helm position changeover lever had been incorrectly set to the lower helm control position."

Other contributing factors were outlined in the MAIB report, in connection with the "functionality of the boat’s dual helm controls," which no one on board "fully understood."

According to the investigation, "both the handover and documentation provided to the family group were not sufficient to ensure they were competent to drive a boat with dual helm control."

It noted that the handover took place while everyone's luggage was being loaded on to the vessel.

In October 2020, the chief inspector of marine accidents made a recommendation that the following be strengthened: requirements for person overboard prevention, handover procedures and engine control systems to the Association of Inland Navigation Authorities.

Other recommendations centered around handover to the owner of the hire boat, and a number of recommendations were made to the Broads Authority.

Chief inspector Andrew Moll has since said: "Large motor cruisers with sophisticated controls are becoming increasingly common and are often driven by members of the public who have limited or no proficiency in boat handling.

"It is imperative that complex multi helm controls incorporate appropriate technical features and indications to minimise the likelihood of an inadvertent loss of control.

"Adequate protection around exposed deck areas is equally important in ensuring that no one falls into the water.

"Furthermore, handovers, including in-water demonstrations, and hire boat documentation need to be complete and rigorous in order to ensure that hirers have sufficient proficiency to safely handle the vessel in their charge."

Featured image credit: Howard Taylor / Alamy

Mom-of-three was killed after being sucked into boat's propeller

vt-author-image

By VT

Article saved!Article saved!

A mom-of-three fell from a hire boat while on vacation and got caught in the propeller, which tragically resulted in her drowning.

It has now been determined in a new report that the woman in question could have been saved had an adequate guardrail been fitted.

British mother Laura Perry was on vacation on the Norfolk Broads, UK, in August 2020 as part of a group of eight others. The group included her partner, who was the nominated skipper, and her three sons - a 16-year-old, 14-year-old and four-year-old.

Her parents, her sister, who was the driver, and her 16-year-old niece were also on the 42-ft motor cruiser, Diamond Emblem 1.

Per a Marine Accident Investigation Branch (MAIB) report, it is not likely she would have fallen if there had been an adequate guardrail.

The report also recommended that improvements be made in the guidance for people hiring boats, after learning that the family had been trained in a handover that lasted "about 10 minutes".

The report further stated that Perry had fallen overboard from the rear deck when the stern of the boat collided into the embankment wall opposite Great Yarmouth Yacht Station on the River Bure.

The tragedy took place on day three of their five-day vacation at 1:18 PM on August 19 2020.

"[Perry] became entangled in a length of rope and the propeller, suffering multiple injuries that resulted in her drowning," the report said.

It continued: "An adequate guardrail around Diamond Emblem 1’s stern would likely have prevented the passenger from falling into the water.

"The boat’s driver at the upper helm control position was unable to control the motor cruiser at the time. This was most likely because the helm position changeover lever had been incorrectly set to the lower helm control position."

Other contributing factors were outlined in the MAIB report, in connection with the "functionality of the boat’s dual helm controls," which no one on board "fully understood."

According to the investigation, "both the handover and documentation provided to the family group were not sufficient to ensure they were competent to drive a boat with dual helm control."

It noted that the handover took place while everyone's luggage was being loaded on to the vessel.

In October 2020, the chief inspector of marine accidents made a recommendation that the following be strengthened: requirements for person overboard prevention, handover procedures and engine control systems to the Association of Inland Navigation Authorities.

Other recommendations centered around handover to the owner of the hire boat, and a number of recommendations were made to the Broads Authority.

Chief inspector Andrew Moll has since said: "Large motor cruisers with sophisticated controls are becoming increasingly common and are often driven by members of the public who have limited or no proficiency in boat handling.

"It is imperative that complex multi helm controls incorporate appropriate technical features and indications to minimise the likelihood of an inadvertent loss of control.

"Adequate protection around exposed deck areas is equally important in ensuring that no one falls into the water.

"Furthermore, handovers, including in-water demonstrations, and hire boat documentation need to be complete and rigorous in order to ensure that hirers have sufficient proficiency to safely handle the vessel in their charge."

Featured image credit: Howard Taylor / Alamy