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Fatal boating incident with alleged overloaded 34' Silverton

Discussion in 'General Yachting Discussion' started by RT46, Jul 5, 2012.

  1. RT46

    RT46 Senior Member

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    Local Long Island NY Media is reporting a fatal boating accident in Long Island Sound.

    The article indicates that a 34 Silverton with 27 people aboard rolled over as a result of wakes.

    The brother of the boats owner is quoted as saying the boat was not overloaded.



    From Newsday.com:

    Three people were killed when the boat they were riding in capsized in the Long Island Sound near Lloyd Harbor after a Fourth of July fireworks display, police said.
    Two dozen others were rescued after the 34-foot Silverton capsized shortly after 10 p.m. Wednesday between Centre Island and Caumsett State Historic Park, authorities said.
    Nassau Police Deputy Insp. Kenneth Lack said early Thursday preliminary indications are the cabin cruiser capsized from the wake of other boats, an account supported by eyewitnesses from another boat that picked up many of those thrown into the waters.
    In all, 27 people had been on the boat, police said.

    At the yacht club, one man, who did not identify himself, said his brother, the boat's owner, was very experienced on the waters and other experienced boaters were on board with their family. He said the boat was not overloaded.
    "It's a big boat," he said, adding that the weather was not a factor. He said all of the people on board ended up in the water.
  2. carelm

    carelm Senior Member

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    This could get nasty for a couple of issues.

    1. I don't think a 34 foot Silverton is rated for 27 people, but perhaps someone who is more expert can provide more information.

    2. A lack of personal floatation devices for passengers seems to be a contributing cause.
  3. jhall767

    jhall767 Senior Member

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    My buddy has a 34 silverton. It's a flybridge sedan. Nice layout but the only way you get 27 people on that boat watching fireworks is to have them in the cockpit, on the bow and a lot on the flybridge. The captains brother (apparently a marine architect or engineer) said it was not overloaded. Not overloaded? Well maybe if the weight was in ingots in the bilge. But above decks and on the flybridge? And dynamic? That boat wouldn't be very stable tied up to the pier - much less underway.

    Very sad.
  4. CTdave

    CTdave Senior Member

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    We were there last night & watched/heard it all unfold.

    Three children were killed, 8, 11 and 12 from what we hear.

    The first boat on the scene called for help & gave his exact lat/lon. As he was calling for help in a very clear and professional voice, the Nassau County police asked how many people were in the water. " A lot, 15 or 20, we need help immediately".
    Nassau marine patrol kept asking for a landmark or bouy & said the lat/lon didnt help them. This killed a good 10 minutes until my friend who was on the scene finally set off his epirb & said "here is the exact location" as he sent up four flares.
    The USCG had the lat/lon & were en route but were 12 minutes out,

    Sea tow was quickly on scene & hats off to the operator who upon getting there, immediately called the USCG & said "the boat is going down and there are possibly people still inside. I have a tank on & am going in the water now". He was in the water in seconds & spend easily an hour searching.
    My friend who had night vision circled the area, scanning for victims.
    We hear that the boat was newly purchased & that there were 27 people on board. Tragic mistake. It happened just after the fireworks concluded & I assume that they got into someone's wake & with the overloaded bridge, the boat just rolled.

    What an awful night for these families.
  5. MBevins

    MBevins Senior Member

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    I can not even imagine what would allow the boat owner to think he could put 27 souls on a 34' Silverton. I suspect the bridge was "fully" loaded with passengers as they negotiated for the best view. This obviously caused the center of balance to go way out of whack. As someone stated, a new boat,
    it's most unfortunate that innocent people pay for these errors in judgement.
  6. carelm

    carelm Senior Member

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    What's worse is that except for the operators, all involved appear to be children, at least that's what I've read in reports.
  7. dennismc

    dennismc Senior Member

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    We has a 42 Meridian here at our dock, on the stairway leading to the F/B there was a visible warning notice about the maximum loading for the bridge in weight, was probably equal to about 6 people, don't know about Silvertons.
  8. ScrumpyVixen

    ScrumpyVixen Member

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    I was going to make a pithy comment until i read the account of the boat at the scene.

    Just looked at a pic of the boat. 12 people - probably ok.

    27 at night, thats a mistake only a person new to boating could make.

    We all make mistakes, but that is a bad one. She must have had people everywhere.
  9. PacBlue

    PacBlue Senior Member

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    A totally tragic event that could have been avoided, can't imagine the agony the families are facing right now..............

    As far as I know, there are no U.S. (ABYC or USCG) capacity label requirements for vessels of 34' now or at the time of construction for this older vessel. It is different with today's CE Certifcate that most dometic builders acquire for the export market, as each vessel will be designated with its applied for Category (A/B/C/D) and the appropriate stability work will be submitted. If there are issues with Bridge or wind loading they will be noted at this time. It also addresses locations of opening/penetrations with respect to the waterline..........

    Maritime law will always lay the responsibilty on the Master (Captain) for the safety of those onboard.............
  10. CaptTom

    CaptTom Senior Member

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    Let me chime in here...
    I had a 34-foot 1987 Silverton convertible like the one in the accident for 17 years. As for performance, it's a great cruiser and no problem handling waters of LI Sound. As for handling, good in most seas, little skitish on a following sea, could get a nice heave over on a strong beam sea or wake.
    Now with 27 persons on board, that means trouble. Kids were probably on the front bunk, only accessible via one doorway. There's a couch on the port side salon and when the boat went over the couch must have tumbled too, blocking access. Also, salon floor opens for engine room access and when capsizing the floor may have come loose, also another way to get water into lower hull area.
    Standard config was two bilge pumps, forward bilge and engine room. Not enough to save swamping boat if capsize due to flooding by breach of hull.
    With that many persons on board, I have to assume there were more than 6 on the bridge (bridge seating is three helm seats and aft bench seat). With more than 6 up top and more in salon and cockpit, center of gravity most certainly would change along with added weight. I don't remember the boat having a plate specifying the total wieght allowed, but with 27 persons, that seems to me as way too much. I have captained my Silverton with tops 15 persons, and that was only once (had 20 life jackets on board). Ususally only 6-8 persons.
    Cruising at night is not for the light hearted, especially with that many people. Add in the additional boat traffic and wakes, incoming bad weather, anxious passengers and such and the captain(s) has his hands full.
    The news said there were two operators of the vessel, and does that mean it was a local charter or fishing boat?
    This is a hugely unfortunate event and so many families will be impacted. Very sorry for the loss of life.
  11. Pascal

    Pascal Senior Member

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    Some news report and pics show an aft cabin Not a convertible. This means a higher CG due to the hardtop and folks on the act deck
  12. CaptTom

    CaptTom Senior Member

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    If memory serves me correctly, the 29-foot Sportcruiser from around that year looks like an aft cabin. There was also a Silverton aft cabin introduced in the early 1990's at 41-feet. No 34-foot Silverton was built as an aft cabin in 1984.
    Pascal, can you point to a photo (not that the news guys get it right the first time).

    Addition - Just saw a photo in the NY Post and they are showing a late model Silverton, not a 1984. If it was the later model, then you are correct. Either way, 27 persons is not good.
  13. ScrumpyVixen

    ScrumpyVixen Member

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    Cruising at night is not for the light hearted, especially with that many people. Add in the additional boat traffic and wakes, incoming bad weather, anxious passengers and such and the captain(s) has his hands full.

    You make a good point about cruising at night. I have done quite a few New Years Eve's on Sydney Harbour on my boat. Getting out at the end is frightening. Its dark, dots of lights all over the place (on the water & shore) fair wash from boats going to fast, boats with and without all lights, boats everywhere. Its the part of the evening i hate. We usally stay an extra hour or so to let it clear out, riding the wash at anchor.

    Don't get me wrong - great eveings - but you have to have your wits about you and we aware of your passengers/guests.

    Hell of alot more relaxing being at sea of a nice evening, moon up, engines humming, running back from a day of fishing off the shelf.
  14. Pascal

    Pascal Senior Member

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    I do a lot of night time running and I m used to it; it is indeed different than daytime running. The problem is that too many boaters only take their boats out at night on July 4th and dec 31st... Making them totally clueless!
  15. MBevins

    MBevins Senior Member

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    Detroit has one of North America's premier fireworks displays for the 4th on the Detroit River. I can tell you that only the amateurs and drunks typically take their boats out to view the fireworks. Leaving the area after is a total nightmare.
  16. Beau

    Beau Senior Member

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    Yachtworld lists many 34 silvton aft cabins. I believe they are going to try to raise the boat today. The news people will be all over that story with cameras in hand. We should know soon, definiively, what model Silverton it is.

    I have been to the Fireworks display -once. Sheer bedlam afterward!
  17. NYCAP123

    NYCAP123 Senior Member

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    One thing I never understood. Commercial vessels have stability and passenger limits. Recreational vessels under (I believe) 28' have passenger and load limits. I've never been aware of any load limitations for private yachts over 28' (except as I read here, for the export market). The few times I've seen a bridge load warning sticker it tells me that this company is really concerned with their liability for some reason.
    So technically, I don't believe this vessel was overloaded (although a lawyer is sure to disagree soon). Of course anyone with experience will feel it was overloaded, and the results certainly say she was overloaded, but the average Sunday sailor may well know no better than if they fit it must be oK. I've read many owner's manuals, looked at many registrations and Documents. I've crawled around many bilges. Am I just not looking in the right place for notice of a load limit or passenger capacity on private yachts?
    If I'm correct can anybody from the manufacturing side tell me why this is?
  18. discokachina

    discokachina Senior Member

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  19. jhall767

    jhall767 Senior Member

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    I've always assumed there were no ratings on recreational boats because of the cost but how much does it actually cost to have a stability test done? A friend of mine purchased a locally built 50' chesapeake deadrise style boat and it had a capacity rating. This type of boat is usually used for charter so that is probably why it was tested. However the builder didn't spend anything that he didn't have to. No frills at all and even rebuilt engines in a new boat.
  20. PacBlue

    PacBlue Senior Member

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    NYCAP123 - over the years, the US market has been fairly unregulated in terms of recreational craft requirements for small vessels. Let's say a small vessel is under 79', like ABS or USCG Passenger Vessels (Sub-chapter T)would say. The regulation would still fall upon USCG/ABYC/NMMA. With boaters taxes/revenue thrown into the local or federal general fund, there is very little financial support and overal interest to create governing bodies the way they do in Europe, and quite honestly, I am not looking to live in a society with "over-regulation". In many ways, lack of regulation has worked for the recreational market in the long term, most accidents are due to operater error/alcohol/or mother nature. Accidents occur even with the myriad safety labels that are pasted on most new boats today.

    There is no way any manufacturer could anticipate all the scenarios in which an operator would load his vessel, I would venture to say the designer's at Silverton never looked at loading a 34' boat with 27 people, honestly, I don't think I would have either. There will be more facts that will come out shortly and hopefully shed more light on the situation, then the lawyers will take over.

    You are absolutely correct if you see a particular warning label on the bridge of any recreational boat - an issue has been recognized by the mfg, and I would pay heed. I recall one mfg had to warn customers not to put an FRP hardtop on the bridge of their boat (something under 30'), and they still ended up in court for someones oversight down the road..........

    Recreational boating has sure recieved a "black eye" over this Holiday, as this is not the only incident that resulted in loss of life over the past few days :(