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Bottom Cleaner killed by thruster in Palm Beach

Discussion in 'General Yachting Discussion' started by olderboater, Jun 29, 2017.

  1. olderboater

    olderboater Senior Member

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  2. Ken Bracewell

    Ken Bracewell Senior Member

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    Tragic. That is our previous boat, prior to the name change.
  3. 30West

    30West Member

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    I'm always trying to come across as relaxed and happy on the boat, but things like that happen when people are too relaxed and comfortable around boats. I'm just getting back into boating after decades in aviation, hoping I start relaxing more, maybe not.
  4. Dj239

    Dj239 New Member

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    That's terrible. Just shows the lack of safety culture. My biggest question would be if divers are in the water why were systems not tagged out
  5. Scott W

    Scott W New Member

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    Accidents happen, but to engage a bow thruster with a diver in the water who's servicing your hull crosses the 'accident' line and comes perilously close to the negligent homicide line.
  6. chesapeake46

    chesapeake46 Senior Member

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    It may be possible that he was servicing the thruster. I can't imagine how the thing would be engaged otherwise. Sad no matter what. Nasty way to die.
  7. Ken Bracewell

    Ken Bracewell Senior Member

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    I wasn't there, and don't have any knowledge of the actual incident. But let's give the benefit of the doubt until proven otherwise. What if there was no prior knowledge of a diver in the water? Or what if he were working on another boat in the marina, and was swimming by beneath the surface with no dive flag?
    I've seen both of those scenarios in real life.
  8. olderboater

    olderboater Senior Member

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    I agree with Ken. We don't know at this point what happened. Let's withhold judgement until we do and for now just call it a horrible horrible accident.
  9. revluc

    revluc New Member

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    In the construction industry we have "Lockout-Tagout", where electrical panels and such are "locked out" by the trades servicing the equipment until their work is complete. I am surprised their isn't something like that for when divers are cleaning a hull on these larger yachts. There was a female diver injured a few years ago in Key West by one of the engines being put in gear while cleaning. But like Ken has pointed out could be a different yacht than he was cleaning.
  10. Scott W

    Scott W New Member

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    If he were working on an adjacent vessel, then I'd agree. Culpability becomes much more difficult to determine. But that doesn't appear to be the case as the statement from the lead investigating agency, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, confirms he was killed by the bow thruster of the vessel he was cleaning.

    Is it possible that he entered the water to begin cleaning without notifying anyone on the ship? I guess anything is possible, but it's not likely and I suspect it's not what happened here. If he did properly notify the ship's crew before work began, it's hard to imagine a scenario that exculpates the ship's captain and crew.
  11. 30West

    30West Member

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    Same with airplanes, there are signs maintenance stands on the center console, indicating don't energize the hydraulics or pressurize the fuel system or such precautions.
  12. Pascal

    Pascal Senior Member

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    Even though larger yachts usually will have a crew 24/7 in most cases divers show up and get to work without necessarily telling whoever is on board. Only clue the diver is near the boat is the compressor in dock.

    Easy to miss.

    Once I was doing some maintenance in the ER and started a generator not knowing my diver had showed up. She got out of the water pretty fast :) no harm done obviously
  13. revluc

    revluc New Member

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    The template exists in aviation and construction/manufacturing.

    Maybe orange cones on the dock, tape (with date) over the engine controls and ER?
  14. bayoubud

    bayoubud Member

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    Horrible accident. Have actually questioned procedure while a diver is servicing a thruster even though I have never had one. How would a thruster that size be powered?
  15. Fletcher500

    Fletcher500 Member

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    I am not going to make any judgments, because we don't know the details yet.

    Like others, I am also involved with shoreside construction and lock out tag out is a key component to keeping people safe as others have noted.

    One of the aspects I notice about divers in my area, is these guys are going 100 miles an hour in order to make a living. If you have never cleaned a hull, try it some day. It is hard work and not for the faint of heart.

    There has been an influx of divers from South America that Have driven down prices in my area so the guys are having to work harder for less. I pay my guy extra, so he doesn't rush, and hopefully is safer for it.

    Sad story.
  16. Fletcher500

    Fletcher500 Member

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    I would assume hydraulic.
  17. Capt J

    Capt J Senior Member

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    Hydraulic and generally the hydraulic system is run from an engine or generator with a power take off.
  18. olderboater

    olderboater Senior Member

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    Hydraulic PTO from Generator.
  19. bayoubud

    bayoubud Member

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    What I was thinking. Is there a normal check-in procedure when a contractor shows up to perform work on a yacht of this size?
  20. Capt J

    Capt J Senior Member

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    A lot of times divers just jump right in without telling anyone.

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