Lighthouse worker wins compensation after bumpy sea injured her back

Rosemary Cairns was on her way to carry out an inventory when the boat she was in 'banged' down over a wave.

Isle of May lighthouse.
STV

A finance assistant who went to carry out an inventory check on lighthouse equipment on a Scots island has been awarded £21,500 in damages after hurting her back as a boat "banged down" in waves.

Rosemary Cairns told a court she was off work for 15 months following the accident on her trip to the Isle of May in the Firth of Forth.

She sued her employers the Northern Lighthouse Board and the boat owners Calypso Marine in an action at the Court of Session in Edinburgh. The amount of damages in the action was agreed but liability was contested.

Lord Drummond Young ruled both were liable but the boat firm should reimburse her for the whole amount they are liable to pay her.

The judge said: "The net effect will be that they are liable for the full sum payable to the pursuer (Mrs Cairns)."

Mrs Cairns, 55, from Edinburgh, had set off with others from Pittenweem, Fife, on the rigid inflatable Taeping to the island in October 2009.

She told the court: "I could see the lighthouse from the distance. It wasn't far off. I felt the waves had started to get higher It was a bit more choppy I felt."

She said the boat went up on the waves twice and "banged down". On the first occasion she felt something happen to her back and the second time she screamed.

She was in pain and felt sick and boat returned slowly to Anstruther where an ambulance met her to take her to hospital.

Lord Drummond Young said: "I think it is clear that the boat was driven continuously at a speed of about 17 to 18 knots, which was too fast for the conditions as it gave rise to a significant risk of slamming, with a consequent risk of injury to the passengers. That is precisely what happened: the boat slammed after crossing each of two successive waves and the pursuer was injured in consequence."

The judge said it was "plainly foreseeable" there was such a risk of injury if the boat was driven too fast in the prevailing weather conditions.

He said it was clear from expert evidence in the case it would have been possible to proceed slowly in such a way as to virtually to eliminate the risk of slamming in waves of the sort described in weather data.

Lord Drummond Young said in his written judgment he was of the opinion the safety briefing given by Stewart Taylor, the managing director of Calypso, was "inadequate" in that it failed to mention the need for bracing and taking weight on the legs.

The judge said: "Had that been done, it seems quite clear that the risk of injury would have been very much lessened."

One account. All of STV.

This field is required. That doesn't look like a valid e-mail format, please check. That e-mail's already in our system. Please try again.
ShowHide
Forgot password?
This field is required. At least 6 characters please. Did you enter your details correctly?
If you've forgotten your details then use the 'Forgot password?' link.
Need to reset your password?

We'll send a link to reset your password to

We've sent you details on how to reset your password

Please check your email and follow the instructions.

Forgotten your email address?

Have you forgotten the email address that you previously joined with? Don't worry, by emailing enquiries@stv.tv we can help.

One account. All of STV.

This field is required. Please enter at least 2 characters
This field is required. Please enter at least 2 characters
At least 6 characters please
ShowHide
This field is required. At least 6 characters please.
You have to be 16 or over to join
This field is required. This doesn't appear to be a valid date
Type your full postcode and select your address This field is required. It doesn't look like you've entered a valid postcode. Can't find your address? Confirm the details you've given us are correct by clicking here

By continuing you agree to our Terms of Use, including our Privacy Policy and Cookie Policy. Any issues contact us.

Upload Profile Picture

Please make sure your image is under 2mb in size and a valid JPG, PNG or GIF.

Are you sure?

Unfortunately, you'll be unable to access our premium content. We’ll be sorry to see you go, but if you change your mind you can rejoin us at any time.

Please verify your STV account

Please verify your STV account using the email we sent you. If you have lost the email, we can send you another one, just click the button below.

Thanks

We've sent you a new verification email.
Please check your email and follow the instructions to verify your account.

Welcome to STV
Thanks for joining us.

Oops!

Sorry, you must be at least 12 years old to place a vote for your Real Hero.

Please review our Voting Terms of Use for more information.

Oops!

Sorry! It seems that you are using a browser that is incompatible with our voting service.

To register your vote please copy the below URL in to your regular mobile browser. We recommend Google Chrome, or Safari.

http://shows.stv.tv/real-heroes/voting

Oops!

Sorry, you seem to have already voted in this category.

Thanks for voting

Now share your vote with friends on your social network

Share on twitter Share on facebook

Cast your vote

Please register or sign in to continue.

Cast your vote

This field is required. This doesn't appear to be a valid date

Cast your vote

Please fill out this form to cast your vote. As you are under 16 years old you will not create an STV account. Why do we need these details?

This field is required. Please enter at least 2 characters
This field is required. Please enter at least 2 characters
This field is required. That doesn't look like a valid e-mail format, please check.
Location This field is required.
Parental Consent This field is required.

That's you. All that's left is to click the 'Submit Vote' button below. By doing so, you confirm that you and your parent or guardian have read and accept our Voting Terms of Use, Privacy Policy and Cookie policy, and that the details you have entered are correct. We'll look after them as carefully as if they were our own.