New Zealand Diving Charter Fined in death of Bruce Porter

Bruce Porter

Bruce Porter

Bruce Porter was a member of the Western Underwater Dive Club. Eleven club members, including Mr. Porter, booked a dive charter vessel tour in New Zealand on 7 February 2014.

Mr. Porter was from England and settled in New Zealand on Aukland’s North Shore with his wife in 2008.

While diving near the entrance to Poor Knights Islands he was struck by the dive boat’s propeller and later died from his wounds. They were diving from a 53 foot catamaran, the Pacific Hideaway.

We previously covered the accident at: Bruce Porter Killed by Dive Catamaran Propeller.

Investigators found Bruce Porter had returned from his dive and the vessel was preparing to get underway. The captain asked Bruce who was still in his dive gear to free the anchor which had become stuck. Due to some miscommunication about the anchor breaking free just before he dove in, the boat was put in gear and began to move forward as Bruce went under the boat. He was pulled into and fatally struck by the propellers.

On June 10, 2015, fines were levied against parties under the New Zealand Health and Safety Employment Act in 1992 based on the dive charter failing to ensure no action of an employee would harm any person.

Dollar amounts below are in New Zealand dollars. Multiply the amounts by about .7 to convert them to U.S. dollars in June 2015.

Judge John Macdonald ordered “The Dive Spot” (the dive charter firm) to pay a $50,000 fine, and to pay another $50,000 to Bruce Porter’s family.

Mark Barnes, director of The Dive Spot was also operating the boat on the day of the accident. He was ordered to pay $25,000 in fines and another $30,000 to the family.

The Deputy Director of Maritime New Zealand, Lindsay Sturt, said the accident was avoidable, “The risk from propellers was not included in the vessel’s hazard register, nor was it mentioned in the briefing for divers on the day of the accident.”

“In addition, the company did not have a clear system of communicating with divers about their entry into the water, nor did it have a clear policy that passenger divers were never asked to dive to free anchors.”

Here at we continue to note several firms, companies, Universities, and the military being fined in Australia and New Zealand following propeller injuries and fatalities under their Health and Safety Acts. These organizations correspond to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) agency in the United States.

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