UK accident investigators release report on creel boat capsizing incident off Scotland

UK accident investigators release report on creel boat capsizing incident off Scotland

Photo: MAIB

The UK Marine Accident Investigation Branch (MAIB) has released its investigation report detailing a fishing vessel capsizing incident that occurred off Cairnbulg in north-eastern Scotland on October 16, 2021.

On the evening (local time) of the said date, HM Coastguard was informed that the 6.85-metre UK-registered creel fishing vessel Goodway was overdue returning to its home port.

A search and rescue operation was started and the vessel’s upturned hull was located at 22:33, but its single occupant, the skipper, was not found.

The skipper is presumed to have fallen overboard and died while trying to free creels that had become fast in rocks on the seabed.

Safety issues

  • Single-handed fishing is known to be high-risk and fishers are advised to follow industry guidelines to minimise the chance of being pulled overboard.
  • The vessel was not equipped with an EPIRB and the personal locator beacon (PLB) purchased by the skipper did not meet the regulatory requirement to transmit to satellites on 406 MHz.
  • An inspection of Goodway by a Maritime and Coastguard Agency surveyor to verify that previously recorded deficiencies had been rectified did not identify that the PLB purchased as an alternative to an EPIRB was not of the approved type.


The Maritime and Coastguard Agency is recommended to issue an Advice Note to remind surveyors of the different types of PLBs that may be encountered and which of these are acceptable alternatives to the vessel being equipped with an EPIRB.

Click here for more news and gear stories, feature articles, and vessel reviews as part of this month’s focus on fishing and aquaculture.

Baird Maritime

The best maritime site on the web. The sea's our scene!