RYA to pay £5.5m damages to powerboat crash victim

Ben Ridd suffered a fractured skull during an RYA-organised powerboat race in the Solent in 2005

A young powerboat racer who suffered severe head injuries during a race on the Solent in 2005 has secured £5.5m in damages from the RYA.

Ben Ridd was 13 when a competitor boat came over the top of his 25hp Sorcerer powerboat (pictured) and struck his head, knocking off his helmet and fracturing his skull in the process.

The High Court heard how he spent three weeks in a coma and has suffered severe intellectual and physical problems in the years since.

Following an extensive period of rehabilitation Ben was able to take part in the Olympic torch relay in 2012, however he still needs to walk with a stick.

Recommended videos for you

A Marine Accident Investigation Branch (MAIB) report revealed “safety concerns and uncertainty” over the RYA’s recommendation of BS 6658B standard helmets for use in powerboat racing.

The RYA admitted liability in 2012 and the court has now decided on the multi-million pound payout, which will largely be covered by insurers Navigators Insurance Company.

Sarah Treseder, Chief Executive of the RYA, said: “We welcome the conclusion to this long-running case.

“As with any incident of this nature, some important lessons have been learned and safety improvements implemented over the past few years as a result. We extend our best wishes to Ben and his family, as he continues his recovery.”