Mind that propelor

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Re: Mind that propelor

Post by Bod »

I know the area quite well where Nigel was hit. Bizarrely this summer we turned back from crossing Torbay, due to the perceived risk of getting mown down by multiple jetskis, and went back towards the location of Nigel's incident because we felt safer. I have never even considered hi-Viz gear, over and above BA/drysuit etc. Aside from fitting Phalanx or Goalkeeper to your boat, I can't see any real solution.
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Re: Mind that propelor

Post by lg18 »

This is absolutely terrible, it sounds like your feet and legs have been mangled and sliced horrifically - I hope you manage to mend, good luck and WELL DONE for having the amazing good sense to capsize to save your life.

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Re: Mind that propelor

Post by TechnoEngineer »

Harrowing story Nigel, get well soon.

Not wanting to speculate, but would have it been possible to jump out the boat and dive?
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Re: Mind that propelor

Post by Rich Sims »

Oh my God, Nigel... So sorry to hear of your horrendous episode. May I wish you the best for a full and speedy recovery. It will certainly make me focus my mind when having to paddle amongst the various forms of petrolheads down here in Hayle.

Best Wishes,

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Re: Mind that propelor

Post by Ken_T »

Hi Nigel,
I'm glad you survived. Hope you recover soon.

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Re: Mind that propelor

Post by woody »

Hell's teeth man that's absolutely awful - stuff of nightmares. Very glad you're still with us and I wish you a speedy recovery.

Yeah paddling among petrolheads is not my favourite. Even less so now.

Good luck
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Re: Mind that propelor

Post by David A »

A distressing post indeed. This highlights how vulnerable we are on the water on occasions due to the incompetence of other water users. I don’t know makes me more nervous when they are near me: a pack of jet skis or a RIB. Get well soon Nigel.

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Re: Mind that propelor

Post by catweasel »

A truly horrific incident, I wish you a speedy recovery Nigel.
Safe paddling, Andy.

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Re: Mind that propelor

Post by idp »


You did well to think quickly and capsize, I wish you a quick and full recovery.

The following paragraph is not for now as you are busy getting well again. It contains advice about litigation, if this is unwelcome I apologise.


I know a lot of people have strong opinions about litigation and it is not my intention to start a contentious debate but when you are well again you may want to contact a negligence lawyer who will work on a conditional fee agreement (no win no fee). Some of these require purchase of after the event insurance to pay the other sides costs in the unlikely event they win. There is a time limit for this, possibly 5 years but dont take my word for it. In not seeing you the driver of the boat will probably be considered to have been negligent and to have failed in their duty of care to you. I am not a lawyer but I have sued under slightly different circumstances. I made some money - not a fortune but nice to have. The main thing was that they thought they would just shrug and walk away but I took the fight to them and won, at the time this was important to me. You may just want to get back to paddling.

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Re: Mind that propelor

Post by Oarsome »

I hope you'll have a full recovery, Nigel. Best of luck to you.

Not that I think one bit that this would helped in this instance, but I'm contemplating this sort of thing for the at times very congested waters between Denmark and Sweden:


It's the "railblaza" flag whip, and apparantly it's available in orange-red and in that lime-green-yellowish thing. At least it will give you some height. But from the pictures, it doesn't stand out so well against a city backdrop. On the sea, I think it will stand out pretty well, though.


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Re: Mind that propelor

Post by JohnA »


A similar system is compulsory in Auckland Harbour. Don't know if it has had any effect yet. As with motorcycle visibility issues, you can use all the high vis gear you can find but you are still utterly reliant on the idiots looking where they're going.
You have to assume that you're invisible and act early to try and stay out of their way.


It's hard to dive in a PFD. That's the main reason why surf ski paddlers don't like them, they can't bail out and dive under a big wave.

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Re: Mind that propelor

Post by Graham T »

Having got back to paddling recently I made a trip or two which included not being close into shore, which does give some protection as rock hugging will at least have the blind drivers cause for pause. On one 30 mile or so paddle I was in fear on three separate occasions. An example was a boat leaving a small bay putting on a very large bow wave and heading straight towards me. On crossing the lanes of sailing craft as well as power craft both large and small going into and out of the Helford river I lost count how many times I watched them from over a mile away judging time distance to know if to paddle and cross their path or not. There seemed to be an inevitable change of course towards me reducing margins again and again. I even met those who left me with the impression that to hoon past at speed was fun probably related to a male size thing (sorry ladies)
This left me thinking that I may have to choose to hug the coast particularly when alone. I certainly felt relieved more than once and was not as unfortunate as to be hit but as others have pointed out increasing your visibility does not help against an idiot who thinks it okay to drive a potentialy lethal weapon not looking where they are going. Who here drives there car at speed with their eyes closed ? It is no different to the girl who made repeated texts while driving at 70 mph killed another girl who had broken down, and later still thought she had done nothing wrong.
Following this I wonder if the whistle I carry would have been sufficient, and if a fog horn would but at what point to do you stop. Some of the freedom and pleasure would disappear if I felt I had to take radar reflectors Klaxons and so on every time I ventured onto the water
Sorry i'm ranting again but the lack of thought or consideration of others is one pet peve.
Sorry if this does not help you heal Nigel and I hope you are making progress with a good outcome expected. Certainly you have highlighted something which needs some consideration by all of us. I had not expected so many others to have had close calls which was naive of me.

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Re: Mind that propelor

Post by SeaSpirit »

Nigel, your spirit to overcome and get back to kayaking is a true inspiration. I wish you well for a full recovery and trust that 'justice will be done' for the reckless and grossly negligent actions of the RHIB 'skipper'.

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Re: Mind that propelor

Post by Cadair »

On the subject of litigation, I am a Barrister specialising in personal injury. The time limit is 3 years. From your description of the accident you will have no problem establishing the liability of the RIB operator and I can see little if any scope for contributory negligence on your part. When you are better I would be happy to talk it over if you wish. No charge of course!
Volenti non fit injuria!

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Re: Mind that propelor

Post by PeterC »

Nigel, Best Wishes for a speedy and full recovery.

A number of years ago I used to do a fair bit of solo paddling, as part of my kit I used to carry a white flare (which I never had to use). Having read your post I now wonder whether there would have been sufficient time to use it in any case?


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Re: Mind that propelor

Post by ol »

Best of luck for a full recovery. What a horrendously scary experience.

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Re: Mind that propelor

Post by dwrgi »

Thoughts with, hope you have a smooth, successful recovery.

In this situation, I always thought I would turn and paddle towards an imminant collision giving me that last seconds of control to go left or right and hit the boat's bow wave to push me as much out of the way as possible in the last split second. It would also give more distance covered in the short time to try and avoid it. Granted this accepts that panic and freezing does not come into it...

To me, capsizing infront of a prop is not the best option as I think the boat will ride over and push the kayak down and pin you to it's hull waiting for the cut of the prop. Bow to bow I think there is a chance of being pushed out of the way. Probably well trashed granted, but not cut to bits. It's just what's been in the back of my mind incase the situation, -God forbid- ever happened to me.

What are other peoples thoughts?

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Re: Mind that propelor

Post by Veedurb »


Many thanks for sharing this with the paddling community; being a local to the area I too have had some close calls with other water users so I sypmathise with your situation and wish you a full and speedy recovery and positive outcome.

Also, my better half regularly solo paddles in the bay when I am away with work so this incident has grabbed my attention; it serves as a reminder to all to not let themselves become completacent (which you clearly weren't) but instead to expect complacency from others, and when all preparation fails to then hope for the best.

Thanks also to Heather Rainsley for putting this on the SW Seakayaking FB group.

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Re: Mind that propelor

Post by Green.media »

Jeebers! I wish you a speedy recovery and hope to see you back on the water, as a diver cox who regularly handle 7m 150 hp Rhibs i know the damage there capable of and also the ignorance of many other water users who are oblivious to the needs of others.
Good luck with the surgery.

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Re: Mind that propelor

Post by CCL »


In case it makes you feel any better, here is just one more Get Well Soon message for you.

Whilst I have wondered about the possibility of collision on a longish crossing (as I have seen what looks like a small fishing boat on the horizon turn into a big super tanker as we both got nearer to each other), it never dawned on me that it would actually happen, be completely unavoidable (on the kayakers part) and that it could be so violent and unpleasant.

I wish you the very best and speedy recovery.

It seems to me that given how manoeverable a RHIB is (compared to a ship or tanker) there really is no plausible excuse that any skipper could invent that would explain why hitting you at speed (or at all) is a reasonable thing to do.

I have no idea either, whether in a similar situation, I would have capsized or merely just frozen from fear and incredulity? I suspect your presence of mind and decision to capsize may have saved your life....

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Re: Mind that propelor

Post by scotty »

Dwrgi wrote 'I always thought I would turn and paddle towards an imminant collision giving me that last seconds of control to go left or right and hit the boat's bow wave to push me as much out of the way as possible in the last split second' If you had time for that paddling out of the way would be easyer,no bow wave on a rib on the plane.
Did this incident get much coverage locally,any mention on rnli reports etc, it does seem worthy of local tv time at least.

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Re: Mind that propelor

Post by nigelhatton »

Someone's trying to kill me!
Since my last entry I have been moved to The Royal National Orthopaedic Hospital at Stanmore North London area.

The private ambulance I was in was in a near collision with a skip truck that refused to give way to us at a roundabout.

I was sent here for an operation on one of the damaged nerves in my left ankle but things took a nasty turn. When I started to come round after the operation I realised I couldn't breath very well. I was semi-concious and could hear things going on around me. I was asked to breath deep, breath deep, cough, cough but I could not. Next I could feel air moving quickly past me as I was rushed to a scanner machine. Inside the machine a electronic voice said hold “your breath” ”hold your breath”.

I came round fully on the ICU ward sometime later. An oxygen mask complete with steam was changed frequently with a nebuliser mask. There wires, pipes and other things attached to me.

It turned out a blood clot had moved from my calf into my lung causing a partial collapse. The next 44 hours were the longest of my life. Not a moments peace with staff constantly around me doing things. Even at night someone sits at the end of the bed.

Today 26th sept, I am now in a private room but 2 of the nurses need slower control with their syringe hand, screaming doesn't slow them down, they hurt me.

Trying to walk again over the next few months will be a problem and delaying an order for a full carbon sea kayak from Kirton Kayaks too.

On a more positive note I am told the operator of the RHIB has admitted liability and that an investigation is underway by Torquay Master.

tues 27th sept

tranferred back to Torbay Hospital.

Many thanks to all for the kind messages of support. Now I have access to the internet I'll try update more.


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Re: Mind that propelor

Post by Wilf »

I hope, in time, you will tell this awful experience, fully recovered. I wish for you a speedy recovery Nigel.

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Re: Mind that propelor

Post by Colin C »

Nigel, I like all the other readers of your story am horrified by your accident. I wish you a speedy and full recovery, and hope you are back on the water soon. All the best.

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Re: Mind that propelor

Post by Graham T »

Hi Nigel,

I am very sorry to hear of your further trials, and perhaps the skip driver is another example of not thinking of others. It must have been another frightening time for you. I am glad you have come through all this to be able to update us. You have remained in my mind and I suspect many others on this forum have continued to think about you and wondered how you are progressing so thank you for the update.

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Re: Mind that propelor

Post by Helen M »

Just caught up with this thread. What happened to you is my worst nightmare. I honestly think that any boat I see is heading straight towards me (even when it isn't!). Ribs and jet skis scare me most.

I wish you a quick and full recovery.

H - x

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Re: Mind that propelor

Post by Yakdiver »

Many thanks for the update and all the best for the future
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Re: Mind that propelor

Post by Robbie C »

Nigel's story has now made the local paper...

http://www.thisissouthdevon.co.uk/Kayak ... story.html

Sometimes life throws up stories that no one would make up, as it would sound too unbelievable.

All the best to Nigel for a speedy recovery & maybe a change of luck for the better!

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Re: Mind that propelor

Post by Graham T »

Four pairs of eyes and not one looking where they were going in a RHIB dumb doesn't cover it

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Re: Mind that propelor

Post by johnb »

Horrific story. Hopefully since the RIB was taking part in an organised event it will be well publicised through their organisation and they will be very wary of reckless driving in the future. The organisation itself will be worried about prosecution and will need to ensure safe practice in its events in the future.

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