The Transportation Safety Board says a small, high-powered fire boat that capsized in Halifax harbour last fall had limited stability and it took only a small amount of force to tip it over, dumping eight passengers into the water.
No one was hurt when the 8.5 metre Firehawk flipped in calm conditions near the Dartmouth side of the harbour on Sept. 17, 2008.
The California-built vessel — valued at $250,000 — was undergoing its third day of performance trials when the firefighter at the controls steered the vessel to port in a slow, tight turn.
The safety board says that as the vessel leaned into the turn, the driver was told to apply more throttle, but the boat continued to roll to port and quickly overturned.
The board's final report says the boat was not overloaded and it would have passed existing safety standards used in Canada.
But a comprehensive, computerized stability test revealed the Firehawk actually had limited stability, having failed to meet virtually all of the minimum requirements in the test.