NE Scotland, Orkney & Shetland

Missing Water Rail skipper was 'ill-prepared'

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Media captionDavid Irvine and Jim Reid had been feared lost at sea

A fisherman missing for two days and feared drowned before being safely found was ill-prepared for heading to sea, a report has said.

Jim Reid, 75, and his grandson David Irvine, 35, survived on a bottle of water and two biscuits after their creel boat Water Rail disappeared.

They had set off from Gourdon last May.

The Marine Accident Investigation Branch (MAIB) said the skipper did not have the necessary equipment or competence for the conditions.

He was unable to broadcast a distress message as there was no electronic means of communication on board.

The 16ft boat had run off course when the compass stopped working in thick fog.

A major air and sea search was carried out and hope was fading when they were eventually rescued by a passing fishing boat 45 miles off Montrose.

Image copyright Mark Spence
Image caption The Water Rail and the two men were found by a passing boat

The MAIB concluded the skipper "lacked the competence necessary to navigate safely in the prevailing conditions placing himself, his grandson, his boat and other vessels in significant danger".

It said they were "extremely fortunate" that they were spotted and rescued by the crew of the trawler Sylvia Bowers.

The report said: "This incident has identified the skipper's poor safety practices, which resulted in his rapid loss of situational awareness, an unnecessary search and a difficult experience for his family."

The MAIB recommended a navigation training course, and ensuring that safety equipment is carried.

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