The accident investigation of the collision between two recreational craft off the coast of Nauvo on 29 July 2018 is complete – one child and two adults were seriously injured in the accident

Published 24.4.2019

The Safety Investigation Authority has completed its investigation of the collision between two recreational craft in the Nauvo sea area on 29 July 2018 in which two adults and one child were seriously injured. The speed of both recreational craft at the time of collision was around 20 knots (around 35 km/h). In the collision, the smaller boat was overrun by the larger boat.

The development of the situation into an accident was a result of several factors. Both boats were using visual navigation. Both had inadequate watchkeeping. The larger boat had its radar switched on, but its rather large scanning area made objects close by difficult to notice. Additionally, on the larger boat, the cabin's support structures and the fenders stored on the side rail formed blind spots to the sides. The smaller boat was running with its canopy up due to rainy morning on the day of the accident. This made visual and auditory observation more difficult. Additionally, the calm traffic of a Sunday afternoon reinforced the feeling of increased safety.

The collision occurred because the boats were approaching each other at a high speed without changing course. Neither of the drivers noticed the developing risk of collision. The large size difference of the boats was the largest factor causing the personal injuries and the structural damage to the smaller boat during the collision. The mass of the larger boat was around tenfold to that of the smaller boat.

The rescue operations were promptly started. The master of the larger boat started rescue operations immediately after the collision and contacted MRCC Turku. Those injured in the accident were quickly evacuated to the Turku University Hospital to receive further treatment. The rescue operations were successful with the exception of the coordination of the emergency medical services. The delay in establishing a communications link between the Search and Rescue Mission Coordinator and the field commander of the emergency medical services did not slow down the rescue operations. Neither did it affect the prognoses or recovery of the patients.

Two safety recommendations to the Ministry of Social Affairs and Health

The Safety Investigation Authority recommends that, together with the health care districts, the Ministry of Social Affairs and Health shall prepare a nationally uniform training framework for the induction of field commanders of emergency medical services, containing at least the operating models required in different situations, as well as the responsibilities, obligations and authorisations related to regional knowledge and the role of a field commander.

The variety of emergency medical service tasks is extensive, and the frequency of the different tasks vary. During on-the-job orientation, all types of tasks will not necessarily be covered. The field commander coordinates the activities of the emergency medical service units. The task is multifaceted and demanding, requiring systematic induction in the duties.

Secondly, the Safety Investigation Authority recommends that the Ministry of Social Affairs and Health shall ensure that the health care districts harmonise the training and maintenance of the qualifications of emergency medical service personnel between the Coast Guard Districts and the Air Patrol Squadron.

The training and training practices of the health care districts and Coast Guard units related to the maintenance of emergency medical service qualifications differ from each other. The West Finland and Gulf of Finland Coast Guard Districts as well as the Air Patrol Squadron co-operate with several health care districts in their areas of responsibility. The flexible nationwide availability of emergency medical service personnel will improve readiness, particularly in cases of major accidents.

Investigation report (in Finnish)

Further information:

Risto Haimila, Investigator-in-charge, tel. +358 (0)295 150 730

Veli-Pekka Nurmi, Executive Director, docent, tel. +358 (0)295 150 701