MAIB Investigation Reveals Alarming Safety Issues in the Tragic RIB Acciden

By WATCHIT editorial January 22, 2024

The heartbreaking loss of a young life in a tragic rigid inflatable boat (RIB) accident sent shockwaves through the maritime community. As investigations uncovered, the Seadogz collision resulting in death and multiple critical injuries was tragically preventable.

On August 22nd, 2020, a devastating boating accident claimed the life of a young women and left multiple other passengers seriously injured. This heartbreaking incident, involving the rigid inflatable boat (RIB) Seadogz in Southampton, England, has shaken many across the boating community and public. 

The Investigation Report 

As uncovered in the official report by the Marine Accident Investigation Branch (MAIB), this accident was likely preventable if industry standards and best practices had been followed.  

 The captain, while qualified and experienced, conducted the ill-fated high-speed trip in a manner diverging from professional seamanship. Sadly, this lapse in judgment proved fatal. 

 Equally disconcerting is the ongoing lack of adequate protection for passengers against impact and slams injuries on such vessels.  

Despite numerous past accidents and subsequent warnings, little progress has been made to properly safeguard human life in the tenders and small craft industry.

Hard Stats and Bitter Reality 

To put it into context, here are some statistics from accidents report published by EMSA (European Maritime Safety Agency):  

  • The total number of marine casualties from 2014 to 2021 in Europe was 21,173. 
  • Human error is a major contributing factor in marine incidents, making up 81.1% of investigated cases. 
  • In 2021, 725 serious casualties and 36 fatalities were recorded, most of them were crew members.  
  • The main event causing fatalities was collisions. 

According to the Recreational Boating Statistics report of 2022 the US Coast Guard counted: 

  • 4,040 accidents  
  • 636 deaths 
  • 2,222 injuries 
  • approximately $63 million dollars of damage to property  

as a result of recreational boating accidents alone.  

Wake-Up Call 

The time has come for decisive action across manufacturers, regulators and operators to prevent history from repeating itself. Work must be done to close the gaps allowing human error to endanger passengers. And protective measures MUST be implemented to shield vulnerable boaters from harm. 

 As the MAIB Chief Inspector noted, this tragedy was an “accident waiting to happen” if unaddressed systemically.  

Today, promising technologies are in place to help avert such incidents through automated safeguards. 

One such innovation is WATCHIT – a smart prevention system designed specifically for recreational boating safety. This patented solution draws from automotive tech, seamlessly integrating sensors and analytics to identify collision threats early. Real-time warnings enable immediate action by the captain to avoid otherwise inevitable accidents. 

 By continually scanning surroundings, monitoring vessel dynamics and distinguishing true threats from false alarms, this artificial intelligence “first mate” has shown dramatic promise to reduce operator mistakes and augment human perception. 

The Role of Technology in Preventing Collisions 

Such smart systems capable of closing critical gaps in situational awareness and reaction times will soon become the STANDARD for passenger safety across recreational boating.  

The pioneering WATCHIT system leads the charge on leveraging tech and analytics to create a protective barrier from human and environmental hazards alike. 

 The tragic loss of Emily Lewis MUST serve as the final impetus to improve policies, vessel construction, operating culture and adopt modern preventative solutions. Collectively, we owe it to youth like Emily who simply wished to enjoy a day on the water and get back home safely. It is our solemn duty to enable that joy while protecting them to the utmost degree. 


Founded by former navy commanders who identified a critical need, WATCHIT has developed a “Smart Prevention System”.  

The system combines advanced algorithms with the valuable experience of seasoned captains.   

WATCHIT’s innovative prevention system eliminates human error by seamlessly integrating with the boat’s existing sensors and providing a timely warning for the main concerns while at sea – running aground, obstacle collision and navigating congested water.  

WATCHIT’s vision is to set a new standard in recreational boating safety, and our mission is to prevent accidents, so that loss of lives and irreparable damage become things of the past.   

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Renowned explorer Erik Aanderaa on his solo sail to Greenland, using WATCHIT Smart Collision Prevention System

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