The MAIB report on the Vector raceboat crash reveals that ABP is looking into the possibility of a Southampton speed limit

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Racing regulations

The report also reveals that none of the four people on board the V40R raceboat were wearing helmets or the vessel’s five-point harness seatbelts (pictured below) at the time of the crash.

Vector V40R seatbeltWhat’s more, the MAIB concludes that such reasonable safety measures would have resulted in “less significant” injuries.

Simon Dredge, the 17-year-old son of driver Peter Dredge, was transferred to St Thomas’ Hospital in London after the crash with life-threatening lung injuries.

He was given only a slight chance of survival, but his life was saved by use of a rare artificial lung called an ECMO, and he has since made a full recovery.

When racing in RYA-regulated events, drivers and crewmembers of enclosed powerboats such as the V40R are required to wear helmets and seatbelts at all times when the vessel is on the plane.

However, no such regulations cover powerboat testing and, although the MAIB is keen to point out that its report constitutes safety advice rather than a means of assigning blame or liability, it did make the following recommendation:

“The training and personal safety requirements of the race rules should be applied to all on board such boats whenever they are to be driven on the plane.”

The recommendation has been passed onto the RYA, who are currently drafting advice that racing regulations should be followed at all times when such vessels are planing, including during test runs.

Jeni Jelf, powerboat racing manager at the RYA, said: “As the national governing body for Powerboat Racing in the UK, naturally we were consulted on the matter in relation to race rules in relation to education and for information purposes.

“As the incident did not occur during an RYA official race or test event, the RYA is in no way responsible or accountable for the behaviour or actions outside of its jurisdiction, therefore normal principles apply and the skipper is responsible for boat and crew.”

Praise for the skipper

Along with the multiple safety recommendations, the MAIB also makes a point of praising Peter Dredge for his actions in the moments immediately after the crash.

The former offshore powerboat racing world champion dived back into the upturned hull of the V40R powerboat to rescue his unconscious son.

Vector powerboat flip near Hamble PointHe also inflated Simon’s lifejacket to keep him afloat during the 16 minutes that it took for the first assisting vessel, a catamaran workboat, to arrive on the scene.

The MAIB report adds that: “The driver’s actions in diving back into the upturned hull were selfless and commendable.”

A four-page report on the Vector crash will be published in next month’s edition of Motor Boat & Yachting, including first-person testimony from both Peter and Simon Dredge.

Simon’s sister Laura is fundraising for the St Thomas’ hospital ECMO unit and has already raised more than £20,000. For more information and to donate, visit: www.justgiving.com/Laura-Dredge

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