Capsize concern over Markham powered catamarans

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Consumer Protection is concerned about several boating incidents involving Markham catamarans which have capsized.

An investigation of the incidents by the Department of Transport has been unable to determine an exact cause, but it is believed the cause may be a combination of the particular design characteristics of these vessels and handling errors by the skipper in some sea conditions.

The agencies responsible for marine safety and product safety believe it is appropriate that vessel owners and skippers are warned of the potential hazard.

Acting Commissioner for Consumer Protection Gary Newcombe said the operators of these vessels need to take extra care especially when gaining experience in using these vessels.

“As a precaution we advise the skippers of Markham powered catamarans to exercise extreme caution and become familiar with the handling characteristics of their vessel before heading out onto the open sea, even in moderate conditions,” Mr Newcombe said.

“Powered catamaran vessels generally have a reputation of performing well in rough seas and, for this reason, are favoured by some recreational fishermen. Skippers need to be aware, however, that these boats have different strengths and weaknesses and handle differently when compared to mono-hulled boats, so need be driven accordingly.

“We are aware of four confirmed capsized incidents in Western Australia and four in New South Wales that have occurred since 2009. There is also anecdotal evidence of several other capsize incidents in other states, all involving Markham vessels.

“A common theme to these capsize events has been that the skipper has been manoeuvring the boat at low speed with a following or beam seas, the bow has buried and the boat has capsized suddenly.

“These incidents have not resulted in any injuries so far and we want to ensure that remains the case in the future.”

For further enquiries, contact the Department of Transport by email at


Media Contact (Consumer Protection)

Consumer Protection
Media release
22 Dec 2014

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