Investigation findings into capsized vessel

A creel boat which capsized resulting in the presumed death of its skipper, had no Emergency Position Indicating Radio Beacon (EPIRB).

The Fraserburgh-registered Goodway was reported overdue to its home port (MAIB)
The Fraserburgh-registered Goodway was reported overdue to its home port (MAIB)

An investigation into the incident by the Marine Accident Investigation Board also found that a personal locator beacon (PLB) purchased by the skipper did not mean the regulatory requirement to transmit to satellites on 406MHz.

The Fraserburgh-registered Goodway was reported overdue to its home port on the evening of October 16, 2021.

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A search and rescue operation was started and the Goodway’s upturned hull was located at 10.33pm but its single occupant, Skipper Joe Masson (73), was not found. He was presumed to have fallen overboard and died while trying to free creels that had become fast in rocks on the seabed and had been unable to send a distress alert. It is unknown if he was wearing a personal flotation device or carrying his recently purchased automatic personal locator beacon at the time of the incident.

Investigation officers said the Goodway was not fitted with a float free EPIRB and the PLB purchased by the owner did not operate on the frequency required to transmit a distress alert to the coastguard.

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In a safety flyer issued to the industry, the MAIB says the ability to send a distress signal from the water could save a life.

It stated: “A single-handed fishing vessel must carry a 406MHz PLB if it is not fitted with an EPIRB.

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"This is the only frequency that operates on the global satellite alerting network and, when manually operated, can immediately transmit an alert.”