View Full Version : Four people killed in boat collision (Aus)

09-02-2007, 07:26 PM
By Paula Doneman, David Murray and Kay Dibben | September 01, 2007

FOUR people were killed and seven others injured, three critically, when two boats collided on Brisbane's Moreton Bay late this afternoon.
Two men, a woman in her 20s and a child died in the accident which happened in calm conditions, 2km offshore from the Pinkenba boat ramp at 4.45pm.
One of the boats involved was a 7m Fourwind, with 10 people on board, believed to be from two families.
The other craft was a Haines Hunter, with at least three adults on board.
The seven injured were taken to the Kirra St boat ramp at Pinkenba, where a fleet of ambulances were waiting.
Water police, a rescue helicopter and RAAF helicopter were still searching the water for survivors.
Police at the boat ramp set up a command centre to co-ordinate the search and rescue mission.
The accident came as dozens of boats headed up the Brisbane River for the Riverfire fireworks festival.
Ambulance officers said one woman was in a critical condition, a 15-year-old girl had been unconscious when she was brought in and a 13-year-old girl had broken legs.
At least a dozen police were at the scene and a helipad was set up at the Pinkenba boat ramp.

Seems no alchohol was involved, both family groups. Not much caverage of this so it's hard to get a good picture of what happened.

The Bigfella
09-02-2007, 08:15 PM
There was a photo of the smaller boat - the Haines in the paper today - and on the news last night. Can't find the photo on the web yet, but it is stove in on the starboard fore quarter. Seems a fairly simple case of the smaller boat cutting across the bow of the larger one - but I guess one shouldn't jump to conclusions. The guy at the helm of the larger boat was only 17.


Found one:


Wild Dingo
09-02-2007, 08:30 PM
What we heard was a lot about the young 17 year old but not much about the other boat operator... what we heard was that the young fella was licensed we didnt hear if the other boat operator was... what we heard was that the young fella was not drinking we didnt hear if the other operator was or not.... what we heard was that the young fella... well you get the drift

The media here at least is having a frenzy about ANYTHING to do with young people being involved in anything... anyone not a young person is not given the same sort of intense coverage

Speed was from what we heard possibly an issue but the only thing we heard was that the young bloke could have been speeding... well DUHHHH So could the other bloke!

Sad very very sad. :(

09-02-2007, 08:34 PM
Now that youŽve mentioned the age of the helmsman in the larger boat..........

I think it was Andrew Craig Bennett who casually mentioned that it is like a birth right for a person to gain a license to pilot a boat in Britain ! Just sounded too daft to be true, but he assured us it was, specially when you take into account the demands they make before issuing a person a DriverŽs License for a motor-car.

Similarly in Switzerland, where one of my sisters and her two boys hired a speedy motor-boat on a lake, without any previous experience of piloting a boat of any sort. The boat hire people simply instructed them about the use of the throttle and rudder and told them to make off with it. Simply unbelievable !

Domesticated_Mr. Know It All
09-02-2007, 08:40 PM
Happens here every summer.
Sometimes more than once.
Sailboaters never seem to be at fault, it's usually a jet ski or plastic speed boat full of drunk fishermen who are at fault.
I hope they can sort it out and find ourt who was at fault.

The Bigfella
09-02-2007, 09:04 PM
The Queensland licensing seems a bit different from the NSW situation - they have a safety course, followed by a lifetime licence fee. In NSW it is clearly more about revenue. Go to the NSW Maritime website and try to find what carrying capacity you are allowed for a 7m boat - it may be there, but what you are more likely to find is the 4,356 ways they have thought of to relieve you of money.

They have recently increased the training / testing requirements in NSW - but what a joke that is. It will take 50 years for the currently licensed yobbos to disappear and be replaced by the new lot - but, of course, there is no follow-up testing or training. Every trip on the water highlights that people have no idea what they are doing.

Nothing is done about effective enforcement. I have two boats moored in a 4 knot / no wash zone. 50% or more of the boats passing by violate one or both of those regulations.

Peter Eikenberry
09-02-2007, 09:45 PM
This from TheWest.co.au


Tougher boating laws flagged for Qld
2nd September 2007, 11:31 WST

The Queensland government would consider tougher boating restrictions pending the outcome of an investigation into a tragic collision which claimed four lives, Premier Peter Beattie said.

Mr Beattie expressed his condolences to the families of those killed in the accident off Pinkenba in Brisbane's Moreton Bay on Saturday afternoon.

"This is a terrible tragedy and as premier I want to express my condolences to the families who have been devastated," he said.

Police are yet to determine what caused the collision between a 5.5 metre boat and a seven metre cruiser but Mr Beattie said the government would consider tougher licensing restrictions for boat drivers if needed.

"We don't know at this point exactly what happened down there and I think it's very important that we let the investigators do their work.

"If there needs to be tougher measures, if that is required out of this we will do so.

"We will make our water as safe as possible and our roads as safe as possible."

Police breath-tested the 17-year-old skipper of one of the boats but he returned a negative test.


I have a news alert every day on boating accidents and this one has hit the press big time down under. We'll see how it plays out, and whether they actually do something, or this is just political posturing.

The Bigfella
09-02-2007, 09:51 PM
I'm just wondering whether 10 people on a 7m cruiser is considered overloading or not? Not that overloading appears to have caused anything here.

Peter Eikenberry
09-02-2007, 09:59 PM
Here's another from News.com.au

Queensland boat licence standards blastedBy Steven Wardill, Jodie Munro O'Brien and Tristan Swanwick
September 03, 2007 07:28am
Article from: Font size: + -
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THE deaths of four people in a collision between two vessels in Moreton Bay has divided the local boating community, with accusations rogue operators are certifying boaties with little regard for their competence.

As the boating community reeled from the weekend tragedy, some of Queensland's privately operated training providers claimed the practice was making Queensland's waterways increasingly dangerous.

The training providers, who asked not to be named, said $140 courses in boating were being operated with little scrutiny from Maritime Safety Queensland since the Government privatised training and certification in 2004.

Transport Minister Paul Lucas rejected the claims, saying Queenslanders had to undergo on-the-water training while other states offered multiple-choice tests.

"MSQ advise me that they regularly conduct reviews of BoatSafe organisations, including checking of people who have undertaken courses, examining paperwork and enrolling in courses anonymously to check them out," he said.

Boating groups also have voiced concerns about legislation that allows people to drive large boats after training in tinnies.

Marine Queensland general manager Barry Hibberd said his organisation had held talks with the Government about amending Queensland's laws, but they had come to nothing.

Mr Hibberd said there had been a 67 per cent increase in boat registrations in Queensland and 20 per cent of these were for vessels larger than 8m. "Getting a licence in a runabout and then getting a 10m boat is a huge call," he said.

Mr Hibberd said Queensland needed a tiered licence system where larger boats required additional training.

Police are interviewing the survivors of Saturday's boat collision in a bid to discover how the accident occurred in calm waters 2km off Pinkenba about 4.30pm.

All four people killed were aboard a 5.5m Haines Hunter vessel that sustained significant damage to its side and had to be refloated by authorities.

Go Boating Publications' Rhys Scott said the incident highlighted the lack of education boat owners had received.

"It highlights the fact that MSQ have done a very poor job in educating the marine public in general, especially if you've got two vessels travelling in close quarters at high speed," he said.

Premier Peter Beattie yesterday indicated the Government would consider tougher boating restrictions if needed.

"We don't know at this point exactly what happened down there and I think it's very important that we let the investigators do their work," he said.

"If there needs to be tougher measures, if that is required out of this, we will do so."

To obtain a Queensland recreational marine driver licence you must:
Be aged 16 years or older;
Demonstrate you are competent to navigate and manage a recreational boat by successfully completing an approved BoatSafe licence training course. The course, which costs about $140, will last a minimum of six hours and cover relevant regulations and safety procedures;
Provide evidence of identity such as a Queensland driver licence;
Pay a lifetime fee of $36.90.

Wild Wassa
09-02-2007, 10:13 PM
"Go to the NSW Maritime website and try to find what carrying capacity you are allowed for a 7m boat." ... "Whether 10 people on a 7m cruiser is considered overloading."

For motor boats in NSW.

The 'capacity' is normally calculated by the manufacturer and will appear as a capacity sticker or an Australian Builder's Plate. If there isn't a capacity sticker or Builder's Plate with the boat the Skipper can be charged with negligent navigation.

Alternitively a sticker will be issued by NSWM for boats without one. This sticker only indicates the appropriate number of passengers for good conditions and reductions are made for adverse conditions or when in open water.

By ringing 13 12 56, NSW Maritime Boating Code and advice, advice on a boat's capacity will be given.

The capacity figure depends on both the length of the boat and the beam of the boat. For example a 7m LOA with a 3m beam has a carrying capacity of 9 people and is consistent with the following conditions;

A vessell only complies with the capacity limits, if appropriate safety equipment is included for each on board;
Children up to one year of age are not counted.
Children between 1 and 12 years, equals one half of an adult.
The capacity of a person is assessed at 75kg with an allowance of 15kg per person for personal gear.

In NSW, as of 1st October last year, multiple choice tests no longer apply. Sitting a boating safety course is now mandatory, before a person is tested and granted a powerboat licence. The only time some of these terrible boat drivers who already hold licences can be made to sit a boating safety course is if they are charged with an offence and lose their licence and/or they want to renew their powerboat licence after allowing it to laps for longer than 2 years.

"To obtain a Queensland recreational marine driver licence you must:
Be aged 16 years or older;
Demonstrate you are competent to navigate and manage a recreational boat by successfully completing an approved BoatSafe licence training course. The course, which costs about $140, will last a minimum of six hours and cover relevant regulations and safety procedures;
Provide evidence of identity such as a Queensland driver licence;
Pay a lifetime fee of $36.90."

Being the holder of a NSW Maritime boat licence, I can only agree that, that is one hell of a light weight set of requirements for gaining a marine driver's licence ... six hours instruction?


The Bigfella
09-02-2007, 10:36 PM
Thanks Warren. Yes, I'm aware that the capacity sticker is a legal requirement. Mine are on the water - along with the boats - and its 4 people on my Markham Whaler (3.8m) and 22 on Grantala (15m). It used to be on the Maritime NSW website - but seems to be well hidden or gone now.

Those requirements are a bit silly in their application though. The Markham Whaler is a catamaran - and is significantly more stable and able to carry a much heavier load than a neighbour's slightly longer tinny. The use of a stability test would be far more sensible - but it will never happen.

09-03-2007, 01:52 AM
Training "blasted" Boating community "reeled" BS BS BS.
How about this headline?
"Press Milks Tragedy for All Its Worth, and a Bit More".
Not one attributed quote in the story above.
Just because two boats collide once in a blue moon does not mean you have to completely change the licensing scheme.

09-03-2007, 05:36 AM
Given the way some stinkboat owners fang about I'm surprised not more accidents happen. We were motoring back down the channel into Manly Harbour and were passed by quite a few that completely ignored the effect their wake was having on us and other yachts. 8 knots be buggered, it's full throttle or nothing.
As for the accident, I don't know what really happened there but it is possible one was heading up river and the other was coming from off a boat ramp. One claimed he didn't see the other because of the sun in his eyes, where the other was looking is anybodies guess. Given the speed some of these blokes cruise at, I doubt they would have had much reaction time.
Where we were just up river of the Story bridge there were quite a few resort boats , barges, moored yachts and other watercraft. Judging from the noise coming off a few there was quite a bit of alcohol being consumed. The water police were very much in force which meant when the accident happened it took some time before the water police could get there.

George Roberts
09-03-2007, 08:35 AM
"because of the sun in his eyes"

Great excuse for killing 4 people.

Peter Eikenberry
09-03-2007, 02:16 PM
The Australian Standards are at http://www.nmsc.gov.au/#

Hopefully the police will do an investigation and we will find out what really happened.

Henning 4148
09-03-2007, 03:15 PM
Being hit on the starboard side doesn't bode well with regards to the rules ...

Initial suspicion would be, that the small boat had to give way and didn't. It happens and at higher speeds, it happens fast. The investigation will find out. Doesn't help the victims of course.

George Roberts
09-03-2007, 04:16 PM
Since there is no right of way, I thought the first rule was not to hit other people.

In time some court or other body in charge will make a decision.

Wild Wassa
09-03-2007, 04:25 PM
There are right of way rules, they are the 'Giving Way' water traffic rules in both International Col Regs and in the local waterway ordinances including 'Distance Off' rules.

... and a lookout must be kept at all times is written in the International Col Regs. A master must be fully aware of the boating environment, especially in restricted visibility and a good lookout must be kept in both sight and sound.


George Roberts
09-03-2007, 05:13 PM

The Bigfella
09-03-2007, 06:39 PM
The Australian Standards are at http://www.nmsc.gov.au/#

Except that they don't give you the capacity for various (or any) boat lengths. I know there is a calculator on one version of the capacity sticker and there used to be one on the website IIRC.

09-03-2007, 07:06 PM
Capacity? Isn't it if you still have freeboard then you have the right capacity?

George Roberts
09-03-2007, 08:54 PM

allows the use of several different standards for computing capacity.

a) ABYC Standards and Technical Information Reports for Small Craft.
b) AS 1799.
c) ISO 6185.
d) ISO 13590.
e) ISO 14946.
f) A standard specified in the legislation of an Authority for the purpose of
determining the maximum person capacity and maximum load of a boat.
g) A relevant national or international standard that is not one of those
listed above.

The Bigfella
09-03-2007, 09:05 PM
Capacity? Isn't it if you still have freeboard then you have the right capacity?

Been there, done that - and scored an official warning - I had 5 1/2 on board the foam-filled catamaran - being used to ferry the crew ashore from Grantala for fish 'n chips . I'm pretty sure it would have been a ticket if I'd been in a tinny with the same load (which I wouldn't have been).

I've carried enough weight on that cat - during the strip-out of Grantala - that when it went on the trailer, it bent the trailer hitch. It makes a mockery of these arbitrary limits. My 3.8 metre cat has a larger cockpit area and carrying capacity than most 6m boats - and certainly more stability.

09-04-2007, 03:30 AM
I remember a night on Heron Island where we were luckly it was dead calm, I don't know how much freeboard we had but it wasn't much. We were all a bit pissed and we also had a couple of extras we were giving a lift out to their boat.
A lot younger and less wise back then.

09-04-2007, 06:50 AM
Thiiiiiiiiiiiiiings I used to do........ IŽd do them no more ! :o

The Bigfella
09-04-2007, 07:44 AM
Just remembered a short trip in a boat from a small island at Vanuatu back to the main island - the boat was just over 5 metres long and I was one of at least 27 people on board (it was a bit crowded and I lost count).

09-04-2007, 08:55 PM
There are at least 8 breaches of the 72 COLREGS. Rule 2=responsibility
rule 5=lookout
rule 6=safe speed
rule 7=risk of collision
rule 8=action to avoid a collision
rule 15= crossing situation
rule 16=axction by giveway vessel
rule 17=action by stand-on vessel
and a whole raft of appendices contained there-in.
And the youth in charge of the larger boat was found to be only 16 y.o. I have seen a police animation of the accident , the sun was behind them both, excessive speed by both vessels, no lookouts, they were both traveling from Manly around Bishop Island to enter the river.4-45 pm. The circumstances are similar to the fatal accident that happened in Sydney a few months ago. A good marine lawyer could make a feast of this. COLREGS apply in ALL navigable waters and Brisbane river limits do not apply until the pile light. regards rayman

09-04-2007, 09:14 PM
Thank you rayman.

The Bigfella
09-05-2007, 04:24 AM
It seems to have the hallmarks of two boats travelling in the same direction and one suddenly swerving across the bows of the other without looking - pure speculation on my part, but one of the common causes of these types of events.