Find the answers to many of your expat questions here

View Latest Posts

You're missing out...

As a member you can enjoy exclusive info and offers.


Hit by a boat -- what next?

Posted by marcandjen-180991 - Created: 15 years ago
0 0

I'm wondering if someone can suggest what course of action to take given the following:

While swimming last week during the middle of the day, I was struck by a large pleasure boat travelling roughly 50 kph. I was swimming about 200m offshore of Cap d'Antibes, roughly 900m due east of Plage de la Garoupe, just west of where the Cap turns the corner.

The boat's captain turned around after 15 seconds or so after he noticed an angry swimmer gesturing in his wake. My first reaction was that I would black out in the next moments and my last view of this earth would be a large wake, a boat veering to starboard to circle 'round, with the Cap in the background. However, a quick check of my forehead, where the boat struck, revealed no blood.

I was wearing a neon-orange swim cap, winds were light and the sea was calm. The captain/owner was approximately 3 meters above the water and had clear visibility heading due west (towards Plage de la Garoupe) near 13:00, sun to port and no reflection off the water.

I didn't hear him coming as (fortunately) it was a jet boat. He struck from behind with a glancing blow to my left forehead, precisely because I was taking a breath to my left at that moment. Had my head been down it would have been my temple or back of my head. My neck and shoulders took the brunt of the blow and were sore several days later, with a slight accompanying headache. Head turned face down instead of to my left, or the boat a few cm (2? 3?) more to starboard, and I am convinced I would not be here to write this.

The captain/owner gave me his cell phone number and his place of business, but I have as yet not ventured to speak with him. I feel extremely lucky and the enormity of the odds that I swam away to live another day still have me a bit confused and not sure as to how to proceed next. Part of me says "lucky, savour it", while another says "pure negligence, he captained his boat like the French drive their cars." I'm convinced the reason he saw me after running over me is that he was motoring along while looking out the back and not ahead along the path he was navigating.

Any advice and suggestions welcome.

Sorry no image available

10 replies (Showing replies: 1 to 10)

Sorry no image available
Posted by BiotBoy-191709 - 14 years ago

I'm for the iceberg -  floating along, minding its own business,  all nice & peaceful, in wonder at all the pretty stars etc.  Along comes this damn great boat at full speed,  no thought for others,  ties to pass on wrong side  etc  etc

Sorry no image available
Posted by JHM - 14 years ago

"Hit by a boat -- what next?"

This a new kind of lawsuit? Mid-Atlantic Iceberg Vs SS The Titanic.



Sorry no image available
Posted by BiotBoy-191709 - 14 years ago

Do I get a prize for spotting a  poor wind up !<?xml:namespace prefix = o ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:office" />


Aside from the insanity of swimming  in a busy open water sea lane, where  M/Y are doing  hi-speeds


In the sea you HEAR   boats coming – jet drive or any other drive,  even under sail.

This boat hit you without dragging you along the hull by suction & all the skin fittings & rudders missed you.   Etc  etc     A minor miracle

At 200 mtr off the Cap he went inland of you, and still missed the rocks ?  Ultra shallow draft je suppose.

From a  skipper’s view  your cap would be just another  discarded  Orangina bottle !  etc  etc

 Not a very convincing story.       Get serious mate.


Have you never heard of  “might is right”.   A  wise man once told me ‘ it’s OK  to be right – but no gain being dead right -  the mortuaries are full of Frenchmen who took their right of way  & ( for example) drove into the path of lorries going down hill on packed snow.  They where  all  DEAD  right !

Litigation is non-applicable at the Pearly Gates !


Forgive me for asking if you go for walkies along runways ?  don’t forget to face the planes ‘ cause you wont hear them – jet drive you see !

Good fun  Forum though,  I  enjoyed the light entertainment value



Sorry no image available
Posted by marcandjen-180991 - 14 years ago

Hi All,

Thanks for your emails and your inquiry as to the outcome of this event. As you can see, I'm still here. :-)

I never did undertake to speak with the coast guard or anyone else regarding this, except on one occasion during another long swim inside the buoys between Biot and Baie des Anges (and back) some  weeks after. During the swim one of the small patrol boats used to patrol the beaches happened by so I waved over the officials and took the opportunity to ask them what they suggested. Their response was "typical French bureaucrat"; i.e. shrug of the shoulders, "c'était un accident", etc. etc. and all in all they couldn't have cared less.

I still retain the owner's name and points of contact but decided to take the philosophical route on this. That is, if I need a favour or assistance of some sort in the future, maybe I'll look him up and remind him of our encounter.

Other than that, it marked a philosophical turning point and came at a time when I needed to sharpen up on human nature again. Since then life's been nothing but on the upswing despite submitting ourselves to the horrors of the French mortgage acquisition system. I'll take a boat across the head anyday before I go through that again! :-)

Nevertheless, the case can be made that this would be fair leverage to wield to "encourage" the local coast guard to enforce maritime safety standards a bit better in the coming season. I am open to suggestions or collaboration with others in this regard, as alone with only passable French the nature of bureaucracy in these parts makes it an unpalatable venture to set forth on.

Sorry no image available
Posted by classic-pro - 14 years ago


well done at last somebody with sense, you are a patrion saint. 

Sorry no image available
Posted by mixer-186069 - 14 years ago

round of applause for stgeorge!

Sorry no image available
Posted by stgeorge-182529 - 14 years ago

Classic - Pro.

The minefield of different qualifications to drive yachts/boats/zodiacs and their equivalents for the various nationalities whether British , French or other are well known amongst the maritime community and organisations - however , this bears no relevance whatsoever to local coastal French Regulations which specify quite clearly that it is an offence to go over 5 knots within the 300 metre demarcation zone . If this zone is not marked by yellow buoys then common sense , radar , GPS can be used - if not sure then slow down and keep a proper lookout !!

The attempt to differentiate between the RYA Coastal and the Permit Cotiére , which are intrinsically the same ,seems to me to be getting away from the original posting - and none of us know the outcome !

However , from my observations this past season , the French approach to professional training and qualifications for yacht captains and boat drivers is now every bit as rigourous as the RYA and the MCA. I would refer you to the International Convention on Standards and Training , Certification and Watchkeeping for Seafarers ( STCW 95 ) of which the French are signitaries - for example The Brevet De Patron Cotiere is a French STCW 95 Master Near Coastal less than 500 gt and not more than 200 miles from a Safe haven from the coast of France , which is the equivalent to the RYA Yachtmasters Offshore Certificate. One is a commercial ticket , the other is for pleasure craft , but can have a ' commercial endorsement '.

I refer you to Marine Guidance Note ( MGN ) 221 (M) - Training & Certification Guidance - part 19 and MG 195.

In other words the British & French maritime rules & regs. are the same - BUT local regulations are applicable (everywhere !! )as well as indicated in the Livre Abord or the Admiralty Pilot ( or Heikell's cruising guides , which are just as useful ).

My final point is that this isn't a ' battle ' between the various European or even International maritime administrative bodies , but an attempt by all of us employed or working within the industry , and under flag states of many different nations , to ensure that to the best of our ability , we try and apply common sense safety and security procedures to ourselves , our passengers ( private,charter or friends ) and to this end caution and vigilance is advised at all times !!



Sorry no image available
Posted by classic-pro - 14 years ago

shaunjarvis You mentioned the International Rules for the Prevention of Collision at Sea. Watchkeeping and speed. Thats "BRITISH Maritime law" your not in British waters now this is FRANCE, FRENCH WATERS.

So to control a plessure craft in these waters you require minium I.C.O.P.C. International certificate. for Operator of Plesure Craft or French eqilivent which does not require knowlege of I.R.P.C.S. 

Which will even be given out by the RYA for a measly £15 last (last time checked)  this allows a person drive up to a 24 Meters power craft for those who have only driven RIB's previously. This ios madness and is BRITISH MARITIME LAW


thank's for Europe and Europeen's laws. 

Sorry no image available
Posted by C J Flynn - 14 years ago

Perhaps not so obviously, there was a discontinuity with this thread. But it would be nice to know the end of the story. Was it a reported accident in the end? or did a nice meal come of it?Pray tell.c J Flynn

Sorry no image available
Posted by mixer-186069 - 14 years ago

pretty cold to be swimming in December...brrr!