Father believes his teenage son could have been saved if he had fitted a propeller guard

The father of a 14-year-old boy who died after being hit by a propeller believes his son would still be alive if he had fitted a guard.

Charlie Hutton was swept overboard from the family’s RIB off the Needles on the Isle of Wight last summer. He died in his father’s arms after being hit by the boat’s propeller.

An inquest found that the teenager died of multiple injuries to his pelvis and left leg.

The boy’s father, Simon Hutton, said the accident happened when a wave hit the boat and swept Charlie over board. He denied driving the RIB at excessive speed.

“It was like there was a big drop and then the wave came over us, it was like a big wall of water,” Hutton told the inquest. “I have never come across a wave like it, it engulfed the boat.”

Coroner Caroline Sumeray urged the leisure boating industry to promote the user of propeller guards to prevent similar accidents.

“If I had been aware of them I would probably have had one fitted,” Hutton said.

Update: We previously stated that the RYA discourages the use of propeller guards, but we have been told by the RYA that this advice applies to RYA recognised training centres only.

“Our advice in this instance is that the use of propeller guards is entirely at the discretion of boat owners and that any decision to fit a prop guard must be based on what they are intending to use their vessel for,” a spokesman said.

A verdict of accidental death was recorded at the inquest.

Charlie’s brothers have been fundraising for the RNLI since his death and have raised almost £10,000 to date. You can find out more about future fundraising events on their fundraising page.