A near miss is an unplanned event that did not result in injury, illness, or damage – but had the potential to do so. Only a fortunate break in the chain of events prevented an injury, fatality or damage; in other words, a miss that was nonetheless very near. Although the label of ‘human error’ is commonly applied to an initiating event, a faulty process or system invariably permits or compounds the harm, and should be the focus of improvement. Other familiar terms for these events is a “close call“, or in the case of moving objects, “near collision” or a “near hit”.
Recording non-reportable near misses is not a statutory requirement but doing so and using the information provided is good safety management practice as reviewing the report (at the time and/or periodically) may help to prevent a re-occurrence. Recording these near misses can also help identify any weaknesses in custom and practice. These may only happen infrequently but could have serious consequences. A review of near misses over time may reveal patterns from which lessons can be learned.
Boaters are encoraged to report near misses below, and share experience for the benefit of all. NABO will summarise and publish any learning, and send it to Navigation authorities if appropriate. You may also wish to report the event to the applicable Navigation Authority.
Briefly describe the event, and give the date and place, perhaps weather conditions if relevant. Can you say what the route cause was? Lack of training or awareness, unsafe surface, lack of protective clothing, missuse of tools?