The BIA acknowledges the Deputy State Coroner in NSW Magistrate Kennedy’s efforts to investigate matters surrounding a tragic boating incident off the NSW mid north coast on 26 January 2020.

The Coroner found Alan Bruce Beeby died as ‘a result of an inherent defect in the vessel Eliza 1 causing it to capsize resulting in drowning’ whilst 16 nautical miles offshore and about 15 nautical miles north of Seal Rocks.

The Coroner’s recommendations were released last week and directed to maritime regulators primarily through the Australian Recreational Boating Safety Committee (ARBSC). This committee was established more than 10 years ago to provide national intergovernmental collaboration in support of safe and responsible recreational boating.

The BIA has already reached out to the ARBSC with the aim, where appropriate, of supporting improvements to vessel safety and boat brokerage standards, and the opportunity to support a national education campaign funded by maritime regulators to help the public, industry and stakeholders be aware of safety and responsibility issues when it comes to buying, selling and owning a boat.

The Coroner’s recommendations were largely directed to the ARBSC and were as follows:

  • To consider what legislative, compliance and enforcement tools can be implemented to ensure domestically built and imported vessels are built to appropriate internationally accepted/endorsed standards and implement those tools;
  • To consider undertaking a review of the Australian Builders Plate Standard and/or consider the adoption of any other certification mechanism, to include broader safety requirements including taking guidance from other jurisdictions for example, in the EU and the USA;
  • To consider the undertaking of a review by an appropriate industry body for the implementation of an industry wide code of practice and accreditation for boat brokers and retailers of imported boats that ensures safety, compliance with standards and full disclosure of information is a central focus of sale; and
  • To consider the undertaking of a national education campaign as to applicable safety standards, the suitability of different boat types and capabilities of such and what is required of brokers upon sale.

The Coroner’s court heard the Eliza 1 was built in China to a modified Halvorsen design, with concerns raised relating to compliance with internationally endorsed/ accepted standards. The Inquest findings and complete recommendations can be viewed here.

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