Sailor who died unable to inflate life vest due to 'cold water shock'

Keen sailor Bryn Watkins' death was ruled as 'accidental' by coroner's after his body was found by fisherman off the coast of Bute.

Grandfather who died off Isle of Bute after entering water ‘unable to inflate life jacket’ Bartley Sailing Club
Bryn Watkins drowned off the coast of Scotland when his lifejacket did not inflate.

A grandfather who was found dead by fisherman off the coast of Scotland may have been unable to inflate his life jacket due to “cold water shock”.

Bryn Watkins fell into water near the Isle of Bute last October after attempting to attach a rope to a buoy near his yacht, Athena 2.

The 74-year-old, from Cleobury Mortimer in Shropshire, is thought to have fallen into Kames Bay before his wife made a series of panicked calls to local coastguard crews.

His body was discovered shortly after 8am on October 19.

Watkins death was ruled as “accidental” by investigators at Worcestershire Coroner’s Court.

He had previously been commodore at Bartley Green Sailing Club and was also a member of the Dudley branch.

Assistant Coroner James Puzey recorded a verdict of accidental death noting: “It is unclear how he came to be in the water.”

Investigator John Field wrote in his report: “At some stage, he dropped the main sail continuing under the jib alone but was then unable to attach a rope to the buoy.

“After failing, he decided to stop close to the buoy and then used the dingy to take the rope to the buoy. It’s not easy to attach a rope to a buoy when sailing single-handedly.

“Mr Field speculates that at some stage while getting into or preparing the dingy on the deck, he fell into the water. Cold water shock and/or other events may have made him incapable of inflating his life jacket(manually).”

In a statement, Bartley Green Sailing Club wrote: “It is with sadness that we informed members of the passing of one of our former Commodores Bryn Watkins at the age of 74.

“Bryn sailed a Supernova at the club and was Commodore from 1997 to 1998.”