Dover Regatta death due to ‘compromised course’

Report reveals a poorly planned course and too many novice racers contributed to a fatal accident

A report by the Marine Accident Investigation Branch (MAIB) has criticised the organisers of a powerboat race in which a man died for not properly assessing the safety risks.

The investigation came to the conclusion that the August 2009 Dover Regatta race had confusing rules, a congested course and that a large proportion of novice competitors were allowed to take part.

Alex Edmonds died when two boats collided in Dover harbour on 8 August 2010.

According to the report, the crash happened when the powerboat co-driven by Mr Edmonds had lost control and slowed down too quickly. The powerboat behind him did not have enough time to avoid crashing into the side of the boat, close to where Mr Edmonds was sitting.

In its report, the MAIB said: “The event took place on a foreshortened and compromised course, under confusing rules and without the risks being properly assessed.

“However, it was approved by the RYA and a large proportion of untrained novice and inexperienced competitors were permitted to race. Ultimately, it was the ability of the crews of the two boats that collided which caused the collision.

“However, they were racing under the auspices of an organisation that the investigation concluded had been insufficiently focused on safety, and had not made adequate attempts to control the race, or educate the crews about the risks they faced.”

In their own investigation the RYA found that the course was too small and had too many turns for the number of boats taking part. The MAIB said the RYA council had agreed to take a number of actions to ensure the future safety of events


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