An investigative report by the Transportation Safety Board blames informal crew practices and a lack of supervision for an accident that occurred during a BC Ferries training exercise.
During a training exercise on Aug. 31, 2018 at the Swartz Bay ferry terminal, two crew members on the Spirit of Vancouver Island fell from a rescue boat as it was being swung out on a davit (a small crane-like arm for deploying and lowering rescue boats and other small vessels).
The accident injured one of the crew members and damaged the rescue boat they were in.
The report says that the rescue boat was new and had a greater height than the previous one, and did not align with the davit’s brake release line. Additionally, a chief officer was not supervising the drill at the rescue boat station as they were already busy with other duties.
Without supervision, the crew operated with an informal practice that caused the brake release line to snag, which caused the rescue boat to drop suddenly, hit the edge of the deck, and tip outwards, causing both crew members to fall into the water.
As a result of the accident, BC Ferries enforced a number of new safety measures including the creation of a new Asset Management Services Office, updates to vessel-specific manual procedures, and the development of a controlled fall system for rescue boat crew.