Forums > Windsurfing General

Neil Scheltema hit by speed boat

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Created by skeltsy 3 months ago, 18 Mar 2019
skeltsy
3 posts
18 Mar 2019 10:11AM
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Hi guys,

Nic Scheltema here, Neil's son.

Between 4:00pm and 4:30pm yesterday afternoon (Sunday 17th March), my Dad was hit by a boat while sailing out of Pelican point.

His injuries are severe, and he is currently in Royal Perth Hospital receiving surgery.

I am aware this is this is the second boat vs. windsurfer accident that has occurred in recent weeks. I'm also aware that many windsurfers sailing out of Pelican wish for changes to speed limits in the boating channel.

I'm looking to create a petition (or similar) to get the wheels in motion for change. As i'm not a windsurfer myself, I need more context as to what everyone wants to see happen. Is it a recreational zonation of the river, reduced speed limits, or more specific?

I'm reaching out for two things:

1. The change you want to see implemented.

2. Any instances or run ins you have had, or know that have occurred on the swan rivers between recreational river users and boats.

I am currently requesting information from the DoT about swan river incidents under the freedom of information act, but would love more information, no matter how fleeting.

Any information provided will be useful in prevention of critical injury or death on the Swan in the near future.

Thanks,

Nic.

snorkel692
QLD, 221 posts
18 Mar 2019 12:16PM
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From over the other side of the country best wishes for a speedy recovery to Neil.

Roo
640 posts
18 Mar 2019 10:24AM
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Best wishes for a fast recovery from over here in the Gorge. Neil's a tough old bugger so here's hoping he back on the water soon.

Imax1
VIC, 1935 posts
18 Mar 2019 12:29PM
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Get well soon.

Sparky
WA, 912 posts
18 Mar 2019 10:37AM
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So sorry to hear about this, I am sure he will battle well through the injuries.
Do you have details of what size boat hit him and the direction they were both going?

azymuth
WA, 630 posts
18 Mar 2019 10:39AM
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Well done Nic for taking action JJ

skeltsy
3 posts
18 Mar 2019 10:41AM
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Sparky said..
So sorry to hear about this, I am sure he will battle well through the injuries.
Do you have details of what size boat hit him and the direction they were both going?


Hey Sparky,

The info is still a little hazy. All I know is he was travelling up wind (It was a SWerly) and the boat was travelling westward.

decrepit
WA, 9172 posts
18 Mar 2019 10:46AM
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Best wishes Neil, get better soon.

lao shi
WA, 1194 posts
18 Mar 2019 11:02AM
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Speedy recovery, Neil.
Nic, best to liase with Windsurfing WA as the state body for windsurfing they communicate with DOT etc.
www.windsurfingwa.org.au
Not sure if Neil is a member?

Mark _australia
WA, 19187 posts
18 Mar 2019 12:10PM
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I can't believe it. Power always gives way to sail, so how does this even happen......? Let alone twice...
Best wishes to Neil and hope at least some positive changes occur

elmo
WA, 7899 posts
18 Mar 2019 12:49PM
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Best wishes Neil for a speedy recovery

firiebob
WA, 2844 posts
18 Mar 2019 1:23PM
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Best wishes Neil, so sorry to hear this, hope you're up and sailing again soon.

clarence
TAS, 852 posts
18 Mar 2019 3:24PM
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lao shi said..
Speedy recovery, Neil.
Nic, best to liase with Windsurfing WA as the state body for windsurfing they communicate with DOT etc.
www.windsurfingwa.org.au
Not sure if Neil is a member?


Tim Brazier from Windsurfing WA is aware of the situation.

Clarence

petermac33
WA, 5025 posts
18 Mar 2019 1:29PM
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Just noticed this thread.

When I read the word severe - hard for me to read on.

Something has to be done before a third person is seriously injured or worse.

If you are on a boat powered by a motor and struggle somewhat to see a windsurfer due to glare etc - then you have no right to use the boat.

I heard it was another tinnie - banning them say a kilometre either side of Pelican Point during the windsurf season (October to March) might be a solution.

I am at the hospital on Monday the 25th and was planning on popping in to see Neil but after reading his injuries are severe and looking at the pic it is not going to be easy.

Sailing in the future at Pelican Point after this second accident is completely out for me. At least till something genuinely positive is done by the authorities to make sailing there safer. Those tinnies ARE the problem.

Best wishes Neil for a full and speedy recovery.

Harrow
NSW, 2623 posts
18 Mar 2019 3:32PM
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Mark _australia said..
I can't believe it. Power always gives way to sail, so how does this even happen......? Let alone twice...
Best wishes to Neil and hope at least some positive changes occur

I think a lot of the time speedboat skippers are simply unaware of the speed of a sailboard. The speedboat cuts across the path of the sailor thinking he has plenty of room. I've seen speedboat drivers do a double-take when they've tried to cut across my path, suddenly realising they're not going that much faster than me.

Fez
NSW, 118 posts
18 Mar 2019 3:34PM
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Unfortunate but incidents occur more often than realized. Hope for a speedy recovery.
Mark, not always. If a sailing boat/windsurfer etc is overtaking a motor boat then the sailing boat/windsurfer must give way to the motor boat! All other situations, then power should give way to sail.
Not saying this was the case here as I don't know any details, but we must keep this in mind when sailing fast boats/boards etc.
This collision regulations and Maritime rules have a big bearing on who is at fault, responsible and consequences in the aftermath if we think otherwise.

Aus501 Boz
WA, 25 posts
18 Mar 2019 1:34PM
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Neil, so sorry to hear whats happened, speedy recovery mate.

sboardcrazy
NSW, 6552 posts
18 Mar 2019 3:44PM
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Sorry to hear this! Best wishes for a speedy recovery.
I hope they throw the book at the #@@!
Ps - regarding right of way rules..forget about them..just treat everyone like they're twits , deaf and blind and give way to them..
In a collision we're going to come off worse than any boat or jetski..

RichardG
WA, 2575 posts
18 Mar 2019 2:08PM
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Hi, I hope Neil Scheltema, your father, gets better real soon.

I wonder what is achievable for corrective regulatory action.Some have called for powerboat bans.

At the very least power boats (other than prescribed rescue and police craft) should be banned weekends say from 2 pm - 5:30 pm when sailors are out racing and enjoying the seabreeze or an 8 knot speed limit imposed at all times on the river for powerboats.

There are windsurfing fleets (eg LT and Techno) racing on the weekend from RPYC, MBSC, other clubs and other dinghy classes all of whom are under risk of collision or injury with powerboats. Having said that no one wants to see windsurfing being banned from the river. I understand power boats are now more numerous than in the past and that each yacht club has a high level of powerboat ownership/membership. Some have asserted that the ratio of power to sail is now in power's favour. Hence any lobbying on this issue may be difficult and problematic.

See this article from Freesail 1989 about another incident on the Swan with very severe consequences. This is only posted for an insight into past historical deliberations on the issue. The facts of that matter are rather different to that involving Neil as I understand it. In the 1988 incident, the windsurfer did allegedly gybe into the path of the powerboat, so it was alleged he had a significant contribution to the accident. Equally, the power boat was found to have poor vision over the bow due to cloudy "clears" on the flybridge.

I think the best advocate for windsurfing with the regulators would be a collective voice represented by WWA.


hardie
WA, 4001 posts
18 Mar 2019 3:57PM
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Horrible to hear about this. Just saw Neil in mandurah after not seeing him for 20 years, he appeared very happy and healthy and loving life and totally rejuvinated in windsurfing. It;s hard to believe. But the photo in hospital brings it home. I hope you recover quickly and well, with no long-term consequences.

wa881
WA, 142 posts
18 Mar 2019 5:05PM
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Are you serious !!

I couldn't go for a sail yesterday and drove down to my boat at Perth Flying Squadron to do some things on it. I saw Neil sailing with his distinctive KA sail heading towards Nedlands Yacht Club, doing his usual upwind run as I drove past.

When I was in the boat after about 15 mins I noticed an ambulance down at the club boat ramp about 100m away. They seemed to be treating someone in a small boat pulled up there. Then anotehr ambulance turned up. Must be serious I thought. Someone's gone boating and had a heart attack or fallen over and split their head open.....

I left after half an hour and by this stage, the boat had moved to the little beach in front of the clubhouse. There were about 5 ambos at the back of the boat in the shallow water. I got out to have a squiz and whilst I could not see what was going on in the distance, I could certainly tell that this person was in pain - only to know realise it was Neil who I had seen sailing about half an hour beforehand !! And this is after leaving PeterMac and Whitey 10 mins before Pete got hit.

I'm starting to feel very nervous.

Get well quick Neil. If I had known it was you, I would have come over so at least there was a familiar face there for what it's worth - nothing else I could have done.

Get back quickly so we can continue our chats about the economy at Peli Point !!

JC

Plainview
WA, 142 posts
18 Mar 2019 5:14PM
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Awful news.
It would be interesting to know how many people are successfully prosecuted for being at-fault in a collision according to maritime right-of-way rules. And the penalties handed out. Perhaps these outcomes do not present a meaningful deterent.
In a more litigious society (eg / ie USA) the likelihood of being sued for a serious amount of money probably would create more of a deterent. And lets be clear, "being surprised by the speed of a windsurfer" is not an excuse. No offense meant to the previous poster on this btw.
Like most people, I do not like the idea of Australia becoming like USA where everyone is suing everyone, but if the fault is clearly with the power boat drivers in these cases and the prosecution outcomes are not serious enough, then maybe suing is the way to go both to recompense the victims for loss of earnings and to present a deterent.
Another thought on this, if an insurer is having to pay out, they will certainly look to recover costs from anyone determined to be at-fault.

decrepit
WA, 9172 posts
18 Mar 2019 5:28PM
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t2wheeler said..
>>>>And lets be clear, "being surprised by the speed of a windsurfer" is not an excuse. >>>>


I'm sure it wasn't meant to be an "excuse", just stating facts. In other words you can't rely on boat captains to make the right decision, if they get it wrong, you suffer. So it's best to go behind them, and put up with the wake. Assuming a boat will give way to you is just asking for trouble.
But both Peter and Neil are very experienced sailors, I suspect the boats in question were in their blind spots.

Mark _australia
WA, 19187 posts
18 Mar 2019 5:37PM
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sboardcrazy said..
Sorry to hear this! Best wishes for a speedy recovery.
I hope they throw the book at the #@@!
Ps - regarding right of way rules..forget about them..just treat everyone like they're twits , deaf and blind and give way to them..
In a collision we're going to come off worse than any boat or jetski..



Sorry Sue I disagree. If you did that on the road, people would duck and dive all over the place and make it worse. Same on the water, if its congested.
Yes overtaking vessel keeps clear. Yes the ultimate is to avoid collision so even if you have ROW you don't enforce it to the point of a crash.

But you can't just forget the rules. For example, on opposite tacks, the one on starboard has to hold their line and the one on port yeilds, else using your ethos the starboard one may change at last minute and in the same direction as the port one.

Its such a shame to see a recent post that claims the rules are old and outdated and nobody knows them. From the usual suspect....
Trouble is in kiteland that seems to be the case.
Boaties however have no excuse as they need an RST to be on the water.

I hope both crashes result in sanctions against the boaties as there is never an excuse to hit a sailing vessel.

Plainview
WA, 142 posts
18 Mar 2019 5:43PM
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decrepit said..

t2wheeler said..
>>>>And lets be clear, "being surprised by the speed of a windsurfer" is not an excuse. >>>>



I'm sure it wasn't meant to be an "excuse", just stating facts. In other words you can't rely on boat captains to make the right decision, if they get it wrong, you suffer. So it's best to go behind them, and put up with the wake. Assuming a boat will give way to you is just asking for trouble.
But both Peter and Neil are very experienced sailors, I suspect the boats in question were in their blind spots.


Hi Decrepit, my post was not clear, I meant it's no excuse in the eyes of the law. I am sure we all do our best to avoid collisions as we are certain to come off worst. Peter made a good comment in another thread "we are the motorcyclists of the water". This rang with me as I was until recently a motorcyclist and always rode under the assumption that other road users were out to kill me. But you can only do so much.

sinar63
3 posts
18 Mar 2019 6:29PM
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Wow I am shocked and in absolute dismay. First and foremost, I am very sorry to hear and I do hope your injuries will never stop you from what your whole life is about, being out on that water.
Get better soon, the road ahead will be challenging but I am sure you are in top hands.

paulyNOR
WA, 53 posts
18 Mar 2019 8:12PM
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So that's 2 of the keenest, most experienced Swan river sailors taken out in less than 2 months

Best wishes to both of you.

azymuth
WA, 630 posts
18 Mar 2019 8:15PM
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Neil is in good spirits - it could've been a lot worse and at this stage he's optimistic that his knee will be ok.
More tests and scans will hopefully confirm this.
He's one of the fittest, gutsiest windsurfers I know, which I'm sure will speed his recovery

He thanks everyone for caring.


Plainview
WA, 142 posts
18 Mar 2019 8:30PM
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I was lying there in Royal Perth 9 months ago with a broken hip (actually femur, just below the neck of the ball), my metalwork is internal but pretty intimidating nonetheless. I was windsurfing on the river 5 months later and in the ocean 6 months later. Now at about 90% I'd say, I dont even notice it on a normal day.

Just sharing my experience for encouragement - get well soon.

azymuth
WA, 630 posts
18 Mar 2019 8:39PM
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Mark _australia said..



I hope both crashes result in sanctions against the boaties as there is never an excuse to hit a sailing vessel.




I agree with Mark - there is never an excuse for a power vessel (that's able to maneuver) to hit a sailing vessel.
Just as there's never an excuse for a motorist to hit a cyclist.

petermac33
WA, 5025 posts
18 Mar 2019 8:46PM
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That calliper is a bit of a concern but otherwise great news.

I just hope he's prepared for the pain post op if he does need surgery.

I refused the anaesthetic they can give you during surgery which puts off the pain for 24 hours.

Sure the pain is the least of his concerns though.

Having been there my advice is stay positive,drink regularly and don't eat the junk food for dessert!



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"Neil Scheltema hit by speed boat" started by skeltsy