Our report into a collision during a training and familiarisation exercise on the River Cleddau, near Milford Haven on 17 September 2019 with loss of 1 life, is now published.
The report contains details of what happened, actions taken and recommendations made: read more.
Statement from the Chief Inspector of Marine Accidents
This tragic accident could have been avoided had the training activities been properly planned and communicated to all the fire and rescue crew on the water that morning. It was unnecessary for the two boats to be operating in close proximity to each other in a wide stretch of the River Cleddau. Neither of the boat’s crew were aware of the other’s intended activities, nor were they keeping an effective lookout as they manoeuvred at speed.
Our investigation found that elements of the Mid and West Wales Fire and Rescue Service documentation and procedures for boat operations were out of date, unclear and presented confusing safety messages to the reader. In addition, it was found that at a national level, fire and rescue service boats are not being operated consistently to a recognised standard when not on inland flood rescue duties.
Mid and West Wales Fire and Rescue Service has taken a number of actions following this investigation, but I have recommended that it also review the qualifications required of its boat crews and implement measures to maintain crew competency. I have further recommended that the National Fire Chief’s Council work with the Maritime and Coastguard Agency to introduce a standard code for the operations of its water craft.