Review of safety guidance for towed inflatable’s

The National Water Safety Forum (NWSF) and British Water Ski and Wakeboard (BWSW) are working together to review and further develop safety guidance for operators of organised towed inflatable activities.

The joint project has been launched in response to a recommendation made by the Marine Accident Investigation Branch (MAIB) following its investigation into a fatal accident at Princes Club Water Sports Park in Bedfont, Middlesex. An 11-year-old girl was killed in the accident on September 11, 2010, when she fell from a banana boat ride. MAIB published its report into the accident in July.

BWSW is the national governing body for the sports of water skiing and wakeboarding. It has 150 affiliates to which it gives advice and information. It also trains and maintains standards among its clubs.

BWSW has long-established guidelines about towed inflatables, which were drawn up in response to requests and concerns raised by its clubs and operators several years ago, rather than as a result of a catastrophic incident. BWSW makes this information freely and readily available through its literature and training materials, which are provided to all BWSW registered clubs, and examples were cited in the MAIB report.

BWSW will formally review its guidelines and has welcomed the opportunity for a second opinion to be provided by the NWSF.

During the course of the joint review of safety guidance, the two organisations will research the available information on incidents involving towed craft and participation levels, and make recommendations on the appropriate extent of regulation and enforcement.

Michael Vlasto OBE, the NWSF’s chairman, said: “We welcome the opportunity to work with BWSW in responding to the recommendations made following the MAIB investigation into last year’s tragic accident. Revision of the guidance will take place initially over the coming winter months, and we plan to have the results available by the end of March in order to meet the start of the 2012 season. The safety guidance will be subject to continual and continuous review to take account of changing circumstances.”

Read the report on the MAIB website…