He spotted something in the water approximately 1km south...

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He spotted something in the water approximately 1km south...

Post by Seanie » Tue Oct 02, 2012 4:06 pm

The MCIB published a report "Incident involving the Neptune Outdoor Education Centre", which I have already added to the accidents DB.
Girls National School, Glasnevin, Dublin 11 arrived at the Neptune Outdoor Centre in Clogherhead for a day’s adventure sports. The group consisted of 27 girls from sixth class and one teacher. One group of 7 girls were taken out in kayaks by one instructor. In the rough conditions, all the kayaks capsized and the combined effect of the wind and remainder of the ebb tide was to carry the kayaks and their occupants away from the shore out to sea. The group was subsequently rescued by the RNLI, brought ashore to Port Oriel Harbour, where they were transferred by ambulance to Our Lady’s Hospital, Drogheda for assessment. A seventh girl, who had become separated from the group managed, with some difficulty, to make her own way ashore. There were no injuries, fatalities or pollution associated with this incident. All times are quoted as local time.
Incident involving the Neptune Outdoor Education Centre
(2.22MiB)Downloaded 459 times
Normally I'd a avoid an open discussion of these reports, but in this case there were no fatalities, the instructor is not named and company has ceased trading. So I'm up for an open and frank discussion of this.

The most disturbing part:
4.6 At this stage, the instructor was asked if there were any missing from his group. He appeared confused, but said that he thought they had all been picked up. The lifeboat crew made contact with the centre ashore who also appeared confused about the total number of people in the group.

4.7 Another member of the lifeboat crew was observing from the lifeboat station ashore with binoculars. He spotted something in the water approximately 1km south-east of the others and relayed this information to the lifeboat. The lifeboat immediately followed his directions and found a seventh person in the water no longer with her kayak.
I'm amazed that this doesn't equate to criminal negligence. When will NGO's, the Dail and Senate get their shit together and legislate? About 10 years ago legislation was drafted, but it was pretty wide ranging and didn't have a hope of being passed. Since then there has been no action.

The simple fact of it is this. Without laws to regulate adventure and outdoor sports, established for profit companies are going to continue to hire unqualified instructors, not maintain safe instructor ratios and fail to equip or plan for emergencies. This is a numbers game and at some point in the future a kid will die. I guess the NGO's, Dail and Senate will be interested then, but don't for one second believe them if they claim they didn't know.

Joined:Tue Feb 22, 2011 1:26 am

Re: He spotted something in the water approximately 1km sout

Post by Simon92 » Tue Oct 02, 2012 4:54 pm

Like all of the incident reports I see coming out of the Marine Casualty investigation board, I've some serious problems with their wording in relation to kayaking.
Despite his wealth of experience in the field of marine sports, including
kayaking, the instructor possessed no formal qualification for taking charge of a
group of young persons on the water.
What experience are they talking about? Assuming he's unable to paddle a kayak for 2 seconds, would his other "marine experience" not have told him that these were no conditions to bring children out in? And the other instructors as well as this one should have been well able to make the call that the water conditions were unsuitable given the weather forecasts
The instructor on the water was in possession of a VHF radio, however, he did
not use it to make contact with persons ashore due to lack of opportunity.
I take it he wasn't trained to use that either? But I'm puzzled as to why he didn't make the call himself.

While I could talk/procrastinate more on this, I better get back to work.....

While the RNLI often overestimate how much they do in minor situations(I guess to keep up funding), in essence they bailed this outdoor centre out of a situation where a large pile of shit was probably about to hit the fan. Fair play.

Joined:Tue Jul 03, 2007 6:37 pm

Re: He spotted something in the water approximately 1km sout

Post by tiernan » Tue Oct 02, 2012 9:01 pm

Seanie wrote:When will NGO's, the Dail and Senate get their shit together and legislate? About 10 years ago legislation was drafted, but it was pretty wide ranging and didn't have a hope of being passed. Since then there has been no action.
Ye for sure, but if we want this stuff to change... we have to start emailing TDs, Senators, etc. The support is obviously there from the MCIB...
Conclusions wrote:7.1 Due to the lack of any official register, this centre and all others like it are
effectively unregulated with no monitoring of staff or operations.
Recommendations wrote:8.1 It is recommended that the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport review the
existing arrangements for activity centres involved in marine activities and in
particular to develop standards for such activities dealing with:
a. Safety Management Systems of Centres
b. Qualifications of Instructors
c. Safety of the equipment they use.
Also did ehhhh... Discover Ireland get the memo??

Discover Ireland's website...
Discover Ireland wrote:With ISA and ICU recognition, Neptune Leisure outdoor activity centre has been operating since 1996. Specialising in group activities; Neptune Leisure is renowned for its group programmes. Specialising in The Primary, Secondary Schools and The Youth Group Market; Neptune Leisure is now a recognised centre for the An Gaisce, President’s Awards.
Neptune Leisure provides a range of both water and land based activities. All our instructors are fully qualified, student to instructor ratios are kept low in order to maintain our 100% safety record.
MCIB Report wrote:Neptune Outdoor Education Centre held no accreditation at the time of the incident. Previously, the Centre had been accredited by the ISA for sailing and power boating only. The ISA do not accredit kayaking and the Irish Canoe Union has no record of any links with Neptune. The centre withdrew their ISA affiliation when the ISA certified senior instructor left Neptune in early 2010.
This is total bollox IMHO - Discover Ireland are the first port of call when tourists and locals alike are looking for info on where to these types of activities... if they can't get their shit right they are as negligent as Neptune!!

This would almost be funny if it wasn't so serious!!
MCIB Report wrote:The Centre was equipped with two RIBs as support /
rescue boats, however, neither was available at the
time as the engine had been stolen from one and the
other could not be started.

dave f
Joined:Thu May 01, 2008 12:12 pm

Re: He spotted something in the water approximately 1km sout

Post by dave f » Wed Oct 03, 2012 1:09 pm


I have to agree with all said so far, but I would also like to point out a couple of very basic flaws in companies behaviour beyond that already spoken of;

1. Weather should have been checked in advance...it was obvious that conditions were unsuitable. The trip should haven cancelled.
2. Equipment was completely unsuitable. The "boats" (this is being generous) were totally unsuitable. Wetsuits are totally inadequate.
3. Ratios would have made no difference in this case, it is unlikely even if the rations had been 1:1 if this would have helped because the instructor was unable to look after himself! 1.5 to 2m waves make rescue virtually impossible.
4. No meaningful thought had been put into contingency planning, no one seems to have asked the question "What if we have a swimmer(s)?" How will we cope? This should have been another yard stick to decide on cancelling the trip.

Irrespective of whether or not this person was a qualified kayaking instructor or not, these points are about as basic as it gets. This type of incident has happened before, and in one case (Dorset, mid 90's) there was a fatality.

Anyone who works in Adventure centres who are engaged in activities they are not certified in and reading this should do some very serious soul searching. They should ask themselves if they are doing the right thing engaging in these activities? If everything has been grand up to now, is that luck or design? This was the most idiotic example of wanton recklessnes I have ever seen in my 10 years paddling. I hope the perps are proud of themselves!

All the best


Peter O'S
Joined:Mon May 16, 2011 8:53 am
Location:Limerick, Ireland.

Re: He spotted something in the water approximately 1km sout

Post by Peter O'S » Fri Oct 05, 2012 5:59 pm

The MCIB report is fairly thin on detail. Was the instructor in a sit on top as well? Odd for instructors to use one. I wonder if he had been in a regular kayak would they have stayed in their boat and managed the group better. Seems fairly lucky the RNLI were there. Are their bases regularly staffed? A statement from the instructor in question would be great in the report to clarify the delay in contacting the centre on the VHF radio. The case can't be as simple as reported.

The representative of Neptune is blaming the kids saying some of them paddled off ignoring instructions to come back. A fairly poor response!

No point say the centre is closed down. I'm sure if will be sold as a 'going concern' and re-opened next Spring. A longer term solution is required to deal with centres that take unacceptable risk. Did they know both RIBs were out of action before the trip started?


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