The Merchant Shipping (Accident Reporting and Investigation) Regulations 2012

The new Regulations contain some minor procedural changes to its predecessor but are primarily designed to transpose into UK legislation the requirements of Directive 2009/18/EC which introduce common standards for the investigation of marine accidents across the European Economic Area.
The Regulations were subject to a focused consultation conducted in January and February 2012. The MAIB would like to thank all those who contributed to this consultation process. The new Regulations and a response paper detailing the results of the consultation are available below. Go to the MAIB website for more information…


Improving bathing waters on Wales’ beaches as weather changes

The changing weather forecast will provide a boost for visitors and beach-goers this Summer as water quality at some of Wales’ most popular beaches is likely to improve with more settled weather, according to Environment Agency Wales.
The record rainfall during June and early July not only caused flooding in parts of Wales, it also affected bathing water quality at some of the 100 designated bathing beaches sampled by the Agency.
At the midway point of the bathing water testing season (which runs from May to September) results had dipped reflecting the unsettled weather pattern of recent months. Agency sampling officers found that bacterial levels increased following the heavy rain partly as pollutants from fields and urban areas were washed into rivers. The heavy rainfall also caused storm sewage discharge systems to release diluted sewage into rivers in order to protect homes from flooding. Other sources of pollution that impact on water quality include badly maintained cesspits and septic tanks, and poor household plumbing. In some cases, foul water pipes are incorrectly connected to the surface water drainage systems which flow, untreated into rivers.

Improving water quality
However, as the rain eases and the sunnier weather continues bacterial levels will reduce due to less pollution and some will be killed off by Ultra Violet rays from the sun. Bathing water quality has improved dramatically in the last 20 years, much of it due to Dŵr Cymru Welsh Water’s £1bn of investment into waste water improvements. In addition to influencing this investment, the Agency has also been advising farmers about different practices in order to reduce diffuse pollution. However, more work needs to be done to meet tough new standards in the revised Bathing Water Directive coming into force in 2015 with some standards being twice as stringent as those in previous years.

Further investigation into sources of pollution
The Agency will continue to investigate the source of pollution affecting water quality in order to tackle those responsible.
It is working closely with Dŵr Cymru Welsh Water and other sectors to secure continued improvement in future water quality and Chris Mills, Director, Environment Agency Wales, said:

“I am sure many of us welcomed the recent sunshine and made the most of it at some of the fantastic beaches in Wales. And the good weather will also mean better water quality for bathing. The record rainfall which fell in June and July has affected water quality and some beaches will have struggled to meet the standards expected. We have seen a dramatic improvement in bathing water in the last 20 years but remain determined to push on from this and make sure bathing waters are clean and healthy, not only to meet EU rules, but for the people and economy of Wales.”

People can find out information on bathing waters either on the Environment Agency website or:
Bathing Water Data Explorer website
Beach Finder app available for download on most smart phones. Go to the RNLI pages for more information.

New video for divers promotes the benefits and safe use of closed circuit rebreathers (CCR)

A new video has been produced for divers to give them a solid foundation in the key benefits and safety considerations of using closed circuit rebreathers (CCRs) – a technology often referred to as enabling “bubble-free” diving. CCR use, which is historically associated with military and cave diving, is expected to rise sharply among recreational divers over the next few years. With CCR technology accepted to be developing fast, the CCR Aware video is targeted at those new to rebreather diving as well as existing users who might be at risk of becoming complacent.

There are about 250,000 divers in the UK and, at present, it is thought only a small percentage (estimates are between 1.6 per cent and four per cent) use CCRs, although the number of users could be rising by about 400 a year. Internationally, the potential CCR market is huge; for example, there are 1.2million divers in Germany alone.

The CCR Aware video is the result of a project led by the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA), which, in 2011, was asked by the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills to investigate and promote the safe use of CCRs. Twenty diving organisations have been involved in the project. RoSPA worked with rebreather industry experts to identify the key safety issues. In order to reach the international diving community we created the RoSPA CCR Aware film, which gives divers and those new to rebreathers a solid awareness of the key safety factors for diving with rebreathers.

RoSPA CCR Aware has been created to help you make informed choices about your diving and we’re sure that it will be of interest as a reminder for experienced rebreather divers. For more information regarding Closed Circuit rebreathers please go to: –

Environment Agency water safety warning

Enjoy our waterways but stay safe. That is the message from the Environment Agency to people who may be tempted to visit their local river during the current hot weather.
Fast currents, weirs and locks, cold water and unstable riverbanks can pose a serious health and safety risk – or even kill.  It’s a startling fact that the majority of people who drown in rivers can actually swim.

“Water claims the lives of more than 50 children a year in the UK. Drowning is the third most common accidental death among Britain’s under 16s, behind road accidents and house fires. We have worked hard to raise awareness among young people but the statistics show there is still work to do to get the message across that the hazards are often hidden, and underestimating the dangers of water can have tragic consequences.” Environment Agency Waterways Manager Irven Forbes.

The Agency has also linked up with the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA) to produce the popular website

More than half of all drownings each year occur in rivers, canals, lakes and pools. According to RoSPA in 2009, coastal and inland waters claimed the lives of 405 people.

The Environment Agency has issued 10 tips to ensure people stay safe around water. They are:

  1. Don’t jump or dive into rivers – the depth is uncertain and there can be unseen dangers in the water.
  2. Be aware of strong currents and don’t go into water near weirs, locks, pipes and sluices.
  3. Take notice of safety information, warning signs and flags.  Know what they mean and do as they advise.
  4. Water can be very cold no matter what time of year. Cold water can quickly cause cramp and breathing problems making it difficult to swim.
  5. Keep away from the river’s edge and supervise young children. Drowning can occur very quickly, even in shallow water.
  6. Wear the recommended safety equipment for your activity, such as life jackets and helmets.
  7. Airbeds, inner tubes and other floatation devices can easily be carried or blown into deep water and may not keep you afloat.
  8. Consuming alcohol may impair your ability and judgment when on or in water.
  9. Get trained in lifesaving and resuscitation techniques. Know what to do in an emergency.
  10. Teach children to swim and not to go into water alone, or unsupervised.  Always ensure someone knows where you are and what you’re doing.

What to do if you see someone in difficulties:

Get help: Ring 999 or get someone else to. If you are on your own without a mobile phone, shout for help if people are nearby, or go and get help.

Think: Of your own safety first. Don’t go into the water to rescue someone – you may get in trouble too.

Reach: A stick, scarf or clothes tied together can help you reach the person. Crouch or lie down to avoid being pulled into the water.

Throw: A rope is best – you can pull the person to dry land. If you don’t have rope, throwing something in that will float, such as a ball, a plastic bottle or a lifebuoy, will help keep the person afloat until help arrives.

Keep warm: once rescued, keep the casualty warm and ensure they get medical help as soon as possible.

The Environment Agency manages around 1,000km of navigable inland waterway across England and Wales and issues safety advice as part of its role to encourage everyone to enjoy these rivers, as well as coastal waters, wisely. It is also one of several leading organisations that make up the National Water Safety Forum, which aims to prevent water-related fatalities and accidents. Check out our interactive website at
Children and teachers can also find out more on 

ASA launch the new ‘Go Swimming!’ resource

Exciting new resource for everyone who wants to ‘Go Swimming’!. Help inspire more people to Go Swimming today. Join in getting ready for the Games and encourage everyone to visit, the brand new online companion launched by the ASA. Quite simply, it provides everything a person needs to know about taking part in aquatics. If you have been inspired by our athletes to find out more about swimming and its disciplines, you will discover some great features, including an easy-to-use Poolfinder tool where they can check out details of the clubs and centres nearest to them. Encourage everyone to share in the mounting excitement of the Olympic and Paralympic Games with us as we provide all the information needed to enjoy all elements of aquatic sports:

  • An easy to use ‘Poolfinder’ tool to locate the nearest pools, view their facilities, clubs and contact details
  • Clear, concise guidance on how and why to join a club including routes on getting into and trying out water polo, synchronised swimming and diving
  • Exciting, not-to-be-missed content such as tips on improving swimming from the experts, exclusive video excerpts and interviews with Team GB heroes
  • How to get more involved in swimming, from volunteering or officiating through to starting a brand new career as a teacher or coach
  • Guidance and advice for everyone: adults, parents, under 16s, the disabled, existing swimmers or those completely new to aquatics

To find out more go to the website… 

Children take to the beach with confidence thanks to the RNLI

As pupils and teachers across the country enjoy the start of the Summer holidays, over a thousand children can take to the beach with confidence this summer thanks to RNLI educational programme Hit the Surf. Over the past six weeks, the charity’s lifeguards have been holding beach safety sessions at Tenby, Poppit Sands, Newport and Aberavon to teach primary school children vital skills and knowledge that will help them stay safe on the beach this Summer. In total, 1188 primary school children took part in the charity’s educational programme over the six week period. Nicky Palmer, RNLI Lifeguard Community Engagement Supervisor said:
‘Once again RNLI Hit the Surf was a great success across south and west Wales. This was the first time for the team to hold the educational sessions on Aberavon beach, but we had a warm welcome from the schools, as well as a chance to work closely with Port Talbot volunteer lifeboat crew who were a great support to the lifeguarding team. Hopefully the children will remember the safety tips they learnt at Hit the Surf, and that the skills will help them stay safe on the beach this summer.’
Even though the weatherman is forecasting warm weather and sunshine over the weekend, RNLI lifeguards are advising members of the public to be careful when enjoying the sea as the water temperature is still colder than usual for this time of year. Hit the Surf is an educational programme that’s presented by a team of RNLI lifeguards at various locations across the coast. During the sessions, children from local schools learn about the meaning of different flags they may see on the beach, top safety tips as well as a chance to don their wetsuits and learn basic board skills under the watchful eye of the RNLI lifeguards. Read the full article on the RNLI website…

Tombarra: MAIB Accident Investigation Report

MAIB Report on the investigation of the fatality of a rescue boat crewman on board Tombarra at Berth 3, Royal Portbury Docks on 7 February 2011. The report was published 19 July 2012 in two parts: Report 19A/2012 & 19B/2012. A Safety Bulletin was also produced for this incident and can be viewed on our website:   Read Safety Bulletin.
A Safety Flyer was also produced for this incident and can be viewed on our website: Read Safety Flyer.
Read the report:
Part A – The failure of the fall wire.
Part B – The weight of the rescue boat.

Croyde lifeguards rescue eight people from rip current

RNLI lifeguards patrolling Croyde rescued eight people yesterday afternoon (Thursday 19 July) after the bathers and bodyboarders were caught in an extremely strong rip current. The group, which included children, were extremely frightened and shocked at the strength of the current and couldn’t get back to shore. Lifeguards on duty were alerted to the incident at approximately 1pm when the tide was at its lowest point of the day. RNLI lifeguard Gary Sinkevicius was on patrol at the shoreline when he noticed some people go outside of the red and yellow flagged bathing area and begin to struggle in a rip current. He responded immediately on a rescue board and paddled out to the scene. He said:
“I passed two adults and children who were also caught in the rip current but were managing so I went straight to a woman and two children who appeared to be in more imminent trouble and were distressed. I took the two children on the board while lifeguard Russell Harrison, who had paddled out on a rescue board to assist, helped the mother. We paddled them to shore and headed straight back out to the scene to help others. In that time lifeguard Jimmy Manley had also helped a man from the rip current and brought him back to shore. Russell and I went back out to two children and an adult and brought them back to the beach. About 30 minutes later I went back out into the water to rescue another man who was struggling.”
RNLI lifeguard supervisor Matthew Whitley, said:
“There was a particularly strong rip current in the middle of Croyde beach yesterday, and unfortunately these people went outside of the bathing zone and got caught in it about 50 metres offshore. The lifeguards responded swiftly to the situation and did a great job in bringing everyone back to shore safely. The casualties were all very shaken up afterwards and grateful of our help. With school summer holidays upon us, and the weather forecast set to improve, the RNLI is offering the following top five beach safety tips to help people remember their seaside trips for the right reasons”.
RNLI’s beach safety tips
1. Swim at a lifeguarded beach, between the red and yellow flags
2. Never use inflatables in strong winds or rough seas
3. Check weather and tide times before you go
4. If you get into trouble, stick your hand in the air and shout for help
5. If you see someone else in trouble, tell a lifeguard. If you can’t see a lifeguard, call 999 or 112 and ask for the Coastguard.
For further information on Rip Currents go to the RNLI website…

Advice for those hiring Canoes and Kayaks

With rain dominating the forecasts and flooding dominating the headlines Canoeing’s National Governing Bodies advise those hiring equipment to plan their activity carefully.
Canoeing on the Wye is very popular and has been so for many years. Hundreds of Thousands of people have taken to the water for the first time on the stretches of this river and had great experiences and memories to treasure of a great day out. Many people have hired equipment to take to the river for one of the numerous hire companies that exist on the river and again had positive experiences.
Canoeing like any outdoor sport is an assumed risk sport. The high rainfall that the UK has experienced over the last few months has lead to a number of incidents on the River Wye for inexperienced or first time participants who have taken to the river as an activity. Canoeing’s National Governing Body always advises planning and preparation, however in times of unusual high water it is essential to consider the conditions and your ability to manage them.
Richard Harvey, Chief Executive of Canoe Wales said:
“We are experiencing very unusual water conditions for the season on the Wye and anyone getting on the rivers should be aware of the additional risks that exist and are presented by extended rainfall and high water. This applies to all but especially to those taking to the water for the first time and to those hiring equipment if they have limited experience of the sport and the river. To the inexperienced or first time paddler a brown fast moving river shows little danger, whilst in fact the opposite is true. Simply put the speed of the water compounds things, dangers can often be submerged and minor mishaps can very quickly escalate in rescue scenarios. Unfortunately we have experienced some of these incidents this year on the Wye due to high water levels. We have provided some pointers for participants to consider when taking to the water and hiring equipment. This is common sense based. We are at pains to remind participants that the decision to go afloat must be your own, but that everyone should make an informed and educated choice about the conditions, their party’s fitness, experience and ability. Consider carefully and ask questions about the service conditions on offer from hire provider before taking to the water. A few moments to consider the trip and conditions can make the difference between an incident and an enjoyable fondly remembered adventure.”  Read more on the Canoe Wales website…