The Marchioness Disaster: 30 Years On

When the pleasure boat the Marchioness was hit by the dredger Bowbelle on the night of 20 August 1989, the young partygoers on board had no time to react. The vessel sank in 30 seconds, with a loss of 51 lives. After two trials ended in a hung jury, a public inquiry in 2000 found the vessels had poor outlooks. As a result, safety improvements were made on the Thames, including the introduction of RNLI lifeboats and flashing lights on bridges to alert of the presence of large vessels.