6 February 2014
A fatal marine accident in the UK is a reminder of some of the safety concerns associated with rigid hull inflatable boats (RHIB).
A RHIB is a boat built with a solid hull and inflatable, flexible tubes along the gunwale.
In May 2013 a family of six were thrown from their rigid-hull inflatable vessel as they made a sharp turn.
The unmanned boat then began circling the family left stranded in the water, striking them.
Two members of the family were killed while the remaining two were seriously injured.
Following an investigation UK authorities advised the following safety precautions:
• the driver should ensure they are always attached to the ‘kill cord’ if one is fitted
• drivers should ensure they have adequate RHIB experience out on the water as these vessels react differently to others
• occupants should remain seated, holding on towards the back when boats are travelling at high speeds
In South Australia popularity of the vessels is increasing. There are now 624 inflatable vessels registered in the state (both rigid based and inflated base).