Accident at Sunbury Sluices (non-tidal Thames, UK) on 21 Feb

Accident at Sunbury Sluices (non-tidal Thames, UK) on 21 Feb

Post by noodles.. » Sun, 24 Mar 2013 10:22:31


Some observations that I would like to share;

1 - I very much doubt that the insurance company would pay out if the unthinkable happened as the EA advise everybody not to navigate but yet the boat was still on the water ..... WHY??

2 - Unfortunately Duty of Care doesn't come into it - this is close to negligence on behalf of the school!

3 - Tin fishes are not safety launches and I doubt very much they hold the RYA Safety Boat qualification (the appropriate qualification) to give them the basic competency to operate the boat safely (not to mention experience!).

4 - A risk assessment, assuming it is comprehensive, is only useful if you choose to follow it.

5 - It's not the responsibility for the EA to place cotton wool around every possible structure for every single possible condition. Indeed they strongly recognise the limit of this by advising people not to go afloat.

6 - Don't forget it is the responsibility of every skipper to ensure the boat and crew are able to deal with the conditions they find themselves in. In the case of under 18s then the person acting in loco parentis needs to make the decision as if they were the skipper themselves and it is extremely difficult to do this in a tin fish half a mile away I'm afraid.

I am very grateful that this has not ended in tragedy as I have pulled people from the sea myself in my time, something that I never wish to repeat.

If in doubt don't go afloat and certainly not on red or yellow boards!!

Andy

 
 
 

Accident at Sunbury Sluices (non-tidal Thames, UK) on 21 Feb

Post by Carl » Mon, 25 Mar 2013 01:24:09


Quote:
> Some observations that I would like to share;

> 1 - I very much doubt that the insurance company would pay out if the unthinkable happened as the EA advise everybody not to navigate but yet the boat was still on the water ..... WHY??

> 2 - Unfortunately Duty of Care doesn't come into it - this is close to negligence on behalf of the school!

> 3 - Tin fishes are not safety launches and I doubt very much they hold the RYA Safety Boat qualification (the appropriate qualification) to give them the basic competency to operate the boat safely (not to mention experience!).

> 4 - A risk assessment, assuming it is comprehensive, is only useful if you choose to follow it.

> 5 - It's not the responsibility for the EA to place cotton wool around every possible structure for every single possible condition. Indeed they strongly recognise the limit of this by advising people not to go afloat.

> 6 - Don't forget it is the responsibility of every skipper to ensure the boat and crew are able to deal with the conditions they find themselves in. In the case of under 18s then the person acting in loco parentis needs to make the decision as if they were the skipper themselves and it is extremely difficult to do this in a tin fish half a mile away I'm afraid.

> I am very grateful that this has not ended in tragedy as I have pulled people from the sea myself in my time, something that I never wish to repeat.

> If in doubt don't go afloat and certainly not on red or yellow boards!!

> Andy

On your point 5 I would have to disagree.

The river management does owe a duty of care, as does any public
undertaking, towards those it licences to use the waterway, and to the
public it actively encourages to use the banks of that waterway.

That duty, I would respectfully suggest, includes not leaving its
installations so unprotected as to create a real hazard to life & limb
when it demonstrably can and actually does take perfectly satisfactory
measures to reduce that hazard at other similar installations.

If a person walking by the river, as is their right, were to fall or
slip into the river they would be no less vulnerable to those Thames
sluices than an unwary rower or a foolhardy launch operator.  But if
there were floating boom guards ahead of the sluices, as there are in
various other locations on the same river, they would provide any
hapless boat user or accidental swimmer with a much greater measure of
safety at very slight cost, while also preventing the inconvenience of
having boats jammed in sluices & the river maybe having to be dredged
for corpses.

It takes a pretty callous outfit to think it OK to ignore the obvious
3rd-party hazards of its own installations in very public & accessible
places.  Indeed it is in part because we don't want brave people like
Andy having to risk their own well-being in pulling people (live or
dead) from the water that these installations should be better guarded.

Carl

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Accident at Sunbury Sluices (non-tidal Thames, UK) on 21 Feb

Post by Stephen Pool » Mon, 06 May 2013 06:19:40

When I was a rower with University of Surrey 1997-2001, we were always told never to turn in the vicinity of the Weir.  This was in the days when USBC rowed out of Walton Rowing Club...I understand that Molesey is now the venue of choice

In fact normal procedure in fair water was to turn at the cranes...a good 500 m above or row on to Sunbury Lock where we would turn there.

In faster flowing (ie no red boards), we turned opposite the landing stages.
That way, it ensured that we were turned AND rowing before we could get taken further downstream towards any dangers like the Weir.

This was all done without no coaching launch ever being on hand (we could not afford one)

Rowing safely on our rivers is not something that we should take for granted, it should be educated and reminded on a consistent basis.

Incidents like these should not be brushed under the carpet, they should be made wider known to the rowing community officially at large.  That way, we can all learn.

Carl, you're right...this could have been a very tragic incident and I truly hope that a whiff of repeat never occurs.

Quote:

> https://maps.google.co.uk/maps/myplaces?ll=51.400877,-0.413221&spn=0....

> Into these sluices yesterday went a schoolboy octuple.

> I've just been shown a photo, taken from the south (Surrey) bank, which

> shows only the bow, including bow's strokeside rigger and 1 scull,

> sticking out above the water at a jaunty 30 degrees to the water

> surface.  The rest of the boat is submerged, rammed well into the 6th

> sluice aperture from the north bank.

> I understand, subject to correction, that one of the J14/15 boys in that

> boat was swept right through one of those sluices &, with extraordinary

> luck, survived.  I don't know if he was in any way injured.

> I understand that the coaching launch was also involved and wrecked.

> Bits of boats were reported still drifting past a point 4km down river

> that same evening.

> The Thames was in spate on Thursday.  While it is falling day by day, it

> is still moving swiftly this evening.  I understand that the photo shown

> to me is in wider circulation.  It indicates a very swift flow at that

> time, with a considerable drop in water level between the flow passing

> into the sluices & the relatively static waters of Sunbury lock cut.

> I understand the frustration of clubs & crews, the river having almost

> entirely unrowable in this area since before Christmas.  Rowing is

> important to us all, but not important enough to take the chance of this

> kind of event.

> Carl

> --

> Carl Douglas Racing Shells        -

>      Fine Small-Boats/AeRoWing Low-drag Riggers/Advanced Accessories

> Write:   Harris Boatyard, Laleham Reach, Chertsey KT16 8RP, UK

> Find:    tinyurl.com/2tqujf





 
 
 

Accident at Sunbury Sluices (non-tidal Thames, UK) on 21 Feb

Post by davies... » Mon, 06 May 2013 23:02:34

Quote:

> https://maps.google.co.uk/maps/myplaces?ll=51.400877,-0.413221&spn=0....

> Into these sluices yesterday went a schoolboy octuple.

> I've just been shown a photo, taken from the south (Surrey) bank, which

> shows only the bow, including bow's strokeside rigger and 1 scull,

> sticking out above the water at a jaunty 30 degrees to the water

> surface.  The rest of the boat is submerged, rammed well into the 6th

> sluice aperture from the north bank.

> I understand, subject to correction, that one of the J14/15 boys in that

> boat was swept right through one of those sluices &, with extraordinary

> luck, survived.  I don't know if he was in any way injured.

> I understand that the coaching launch was also involved and wrecked.

> Bits of boats were reported still drifting past a point 4km down river

> that same evening.

> The Thames was in spate on Thursday.  While it is falling day by day, it

> is still moving swiftly this evening.  I understand that the photo shown

> to me is in wider circulation.  It indicates a very swift flow at that

> time, with a considerable drop in water level between the flow passing

> into the sluices & the relatively static waters of Sunbury lock cut.

> I understand the frustration of clubs & crews, the river having almost

> entirely unrowable in this area since before Christmas.  Rowing is

> important to us all, but not important enough to take the chance of this

> kind of event.

> Carl

> --

> Carl Douglas Racing Shells        -

>      Fine Small-Boats/AeRoWing Low-drag Riggers/Advanced Accessories

> Write:   Harris Boatyard, Laleham Reach, Chertsey KT16 8RP, UK

> Find:    tinyurl.com/2tqujf




I learnt this morning that the cox during this incident may have been instrumental in saving several lives. He/she (I don't know), though a junior, was more experienced than the rest of the crew, having been a regular cox at Walton Rowing Club. He/she asked the coach whether they should stop at the club (approx 500m above the weir for those not familiar with the stretch) to turn, but the coach told him/her to continue. When the crew got into trouble, it was the coxwain who was the most involved at getting all the youngsters safely onto the weir.

The coaching launch that went over the weir (sans coach who by this time was on the weir with his crew) was the only reason the boy who went over the weir survived. He managed to grab it as it went flying past.

The coach is still employed by the school and coaches day to day. I am not aware of any actions taken by the school to restrict or change his role.

One parent who was asked some pretty serious questions of the head coach was told (something along the lines of) "If you don't want your son to row here, just take him out."

All in all, the quick thinking & skill of the pupils is only matched by the shoddy amateurism of the staff at St George's IMHO.

Kit (Walton RC)

 
 
 

Accident at Sunbury Sluices (non-tidal Thames, UK) on 21 Feb

Post by Carl » Mon, 06 May 2013 23:52:41


Quote:

>> https://maps.google.co.uk/maps/myplaces?ll=51.400877,-0.413221&spn=0....

>> Into these sluices yesterday went a schoolboy octuple.

>> I've just been shown a photo, taken from the south (Surrey) bank, which

>> shows only the bow, including bow's strokeside rigger and 1 scull,

>> sticking out above the water at a jaunty 30 degrees to the water

>> surface.  The rest of the boat is submerged, rammed well into the 6th

>> sluice aperture from the north bank.

>> I understand, subject to correction, that one of the J14/15 boys in that

>> boat was swept right through one of those sluices &, with extraordinary

>> luck, survived.  I don't know if he was in any way injured.

>> I understand that the coaching launch was also involved and wrecked.

>> Bits of boats were reported still drifting past a point 4km down river

>> that same evening.

>> The Thames was in spate on Thursday.  While it is falling day by day, it

>> is still moving swiftly this evening.  I understand that the photo shown

>> to me is in wider circulation.  It indicates a very swift flow at that

>> time, with a considerable drop in water level between the flow passing

>> into the sluices & the relatively static waters of Sunbury lock cut.

>> I understand the frustration of clubs & crews, the river having almost

>> entirely unrowable in this area since before Christmas.  Rowing is

>> important to us all, but not important enough to take the chance of this

>> kind of event.

>> Carl

>> --

> I learnt this morning that the cox during this incident may have been instrumental in saving several lives. He/she (I don't know), though a junior, was more experienced than the rest of the crew, having been a regular cox at Walton Rowing Club. He/she asked the coach whether they should stop at the club (approx 500m above the weir for those not familiar with the stretch) to turn, but the coach told him/her to continue. When the crew got into trouble, it was the coxwain who was the most involved at getting all the youngsters safely onto the weir.

> The coaching launch that went over the weir (sans coach who by this time was on the weir with his crew) was the only reason the boy who went over the weir survived. He managed to grab it as it went flying past.

> The coach is still employed by the school and coaches day to day. I am not aware of any actions taken by the school to restrict or change his role.

> One parent who was asked some pretty serious questions of the head coach was told (something along the lines of) "If you don't want your son to row here, just take him out."

> All in all, the quick thinking & skill of the pupils is only matched by the shoddy amateurism of the staff at St George's IMHO.

> Kit (Walton RC)

If correct, what you write above would have exposed a scandal.

If true, it would suggest the deliberate covering-up of dangerous
incompetence &/or negligence by its own staff in order to prevent
exposure of a plain breach of its duty of care towards pupils, with this
cover-up being compounded by an attempt to marginalise, embarrass &
thereby coerce a legitimate complainant.

Should the parent persist in their alleged complaint, are we really to
understand that the school would actually insist on the child's
withdrawal from rowing?  What is the outcome?

Finally, does BR propose to ignore this unfortunate incident?

Carl

--
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     Fine Small-Boats/AeRoWing Low-drag Riggers/Advanced Accessories
Write:   Harris Boatyard, Laleham Reach, Chertsey KT16 8RP, UK
Find:    tinyurl.com/2tqujf