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Fatal boating incident with alleged overloaded 34' Silverton

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

  1. Beau

    Beau Senior Member

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    Local news reports confirm it was a 1984 Sportfisherman model Guess I am late to the table again. They have not raised the hull yet.
  2. PacBlue

    PacBlue Senior Member

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    A charter boat will be required to have some sort of stability letter and passenger rating. The stability letter can be secured by a simplified method (following USCG calculation sheets) or a more formal Inclining Test and Analysis done by a Naval Architect (usually, but not always).

    An Inclining Test for a 34' vessel would take about 4 hours with a crew of 4, and the analysis could take up to 20 man hours, so cost would not be a big factor.

    We are ssuming that the bridge was overloaded (and it may have been) but I suspect some water in the bilge entering in a "downflooding point" may have also factored in this tragedy.
  3. NYCAP123

    NYCAP123 Senior Member

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    27 does seem a bit extreme, but who knows what the magic number is. I believe the Oldports carry somewhere near that as water taxi's, so it's not too far fetched to think a 34' yacht could do it, and there's nobody telling us differently. I've had 15 on a 29' express. With the low CG in the express my concern was in the gas motors no being able to handle the load, not rolling. But if I were hired to run this 34 and the owner showed up with 27, and had enough PFDs, I can't say I would refuse the job without being able to point at something in print saying that's the magic number.
    Actually that would only apply to a certified vessel (12 pax or more). A 6 packer isn't required to, and seldom does, have a stability letter.

    It was announced on tonight's news that one family already hired a lawyer (never ceases to amaze me). The attorney made the statement that this vessel is only permitted to carry 10. Any ideas where that number might have come from?
  4. PacBlue

    PacBlue Senior Member

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    I should have included the term "inspected" passenger vessel with regards to USCG Stability requirements, and I believe the cut-off for a small vessel may now be 65' .

    Not sure why it would be reported that the 34 Silverton has a capacity of 10 people unless it was a six pack??? Pure conjecture on my part.......

    I am sure that more experienced posters will be able to chime in after they get done enjoying their safe boating weekend. The lawyer part may be tangled as the Luhrs Group (mfg of Silverton/Mainship/Luhrs/Ovation powerboats) recently filed for Chptr. 11 BK due in most part to lagging sales on the powerboat side. Their Hunter Sailboat sales appear to be healthier.
  5. Capt J

    Capt J Senior Member

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    Silverton's are top heavy to start with before you even put people on them. They generally have a narrow beam for their length and a LOT of boat above the waterline with a relatively shallow draft. 27 people is WAY too many on one of those, especially if there are a bunch of people on the flybridge. I don't even know where on earth you could comfortably fit that many people on that size boat or where you could store 27 life jackets on that boat.
  6. NYCAP123

    NYCAP123 Senior Member

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    I've found the older Silvertons a lot more squat and stable than the newer ones, and was surpriised to see that this was a mid-80's. The newer ones are lighter and designed for more speed. 27 on a 34 bridge boat is still too much though, but considering that 10 were children I can see it being done with no engineer saying it shouldn't.

    It wouldn't have anything to do with the 6 pack rule as the boat was not chartered.

    I realize that this is a bad time for boat sales and the last thing they need is more regulations, but this is so overdue. Every boat needs to have a stability rating or we will see this happening more and more. If engineers and N.A.s aren't willing to put their stamp on a number, how can a mear captain or Sunday sailor be expected to figure out where the line is. This past week or so has been a terrible time for boating on Long Island and several other places, between this, the drunk that broadsided the boat on Great South Bay, and a number of other incidents. Sorry if it further hurts sale, but boaters need to be educated. I'm really getting sick of hearing emergency calls every single day I'm out on the water, and I'm betting the C.G. is as well.
  7. PacBlue

    PacBlue Senior Member

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    NYCAP123 - we still do not know all the facts/circumstances about this accident, and I do not know if Industry could provide a stability certificate that would resolve the situation. It is not like we have seen significant numbers of recreational craft craft capsizing due to poor stability characteristics over the years and the yearly loss of life statistics are relatively low for the amount of users in the country.

    It still will come down to the captain's decison to leave port with 27 people (adults/children) and anchor in that location/conditions. The safety of his passengers is his responsibility. I agree with Capt J - Even with a reported 25 years experience, it was a poor decision to carry that many people on this particular vessel. Owner training would be a more effective tool, with periodic refresher classes. I am sure there is a significant amount of operators with experience who would not be able to pass the basic USCG Boater Safety Test without taking the Boating Safety Class. Our countries overall mariner knowledge/skill set has been dropping over the years - when applied to the masses (they are certainly small groups who have become world travelers and highly experienced).

    I found this statement on a USCG site: "the limits specified on the capacity labels affixed to a small boat by the manufacturer are not enforceable; they are required by regulation as guidance to the vessel's owner/operator".

    All I can say for any owner/operator is to not trivialize the journey any time you leave the dock, whether it is just going to the fuel dock or an offshore canyon fishing trip........
  8. NYCAP123

    NYCAP123 Senior Member

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    I would love to see that tattooed on the forearm of every new boat owner.:cool:

    Not that it happens all that much, but I'm at a loss as to what I would do in that captain's place. I've never asked an owner in advance how many guests he'll have on board, and, without something written that I could point to, I just don't know how I'd refuse to run the boat unless I felt her listing at the dock or something equally obvious.

    Last night I heard the attorney for one of the families say the boat's capacity was 10. Today somebody told me that Silvertom "recommends" that the boat carry no more than 15. Makes no sense to me why there is no stability
    As for
    I respecfully disagree as I know a cap of a 5 pax. Mako who has been using it for a commercial launch. He got hit with a misdemeanor last year "unsafe operation" for exceeding the boat's stated capacity, and was convicted.
  9. Beau

    Beau Senior Member

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    The word is that they will try to raise the boat Tuesday. A police boat is tied to it now. It's in the north channel that goes around the Cold Spring Harbor Light, still very near where they must have been anchored for the fireworks. Captain described the boat being "turned around" by an enormous wave. Does that sound like a wake from another larger departing boat may have hit him in the stern and pushed him around like a following sea on a slow moving boat? There are boats of all sizes out there for that display, and I doubt he had much headway. Just my speculation
  10. Capt Ralph

    Capt Ralph Senior Member

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    Let us not forget what makes a rouge wave (not tsunami); a lot of wave energy combines into a larger wave. More wave energy may combing more into a larger wave. Allot of energy may come together to make a powerful wave that may surprise an unprepared pilot. It has happened before and capsized small craft.
    So now, you have a bunch of boats screaming back to the docks and ramps. Lots of wake mostly in the same direction. Allot of these wakes may have combined into a larger wave, and then,,,,
    We don't hear allot about them because it rarely happens and when it does, usually just the coffee jets spilled and some foul language.

    But Now, A high C G hull at a bad position? Maybe, Maybe,,

    I'm convinced the captain messed up, but I also believe some effects contributed to the event. Yea, maybe he has had this many before with out any problems,,,,, Luck?
  11. colintraveller

    colintraveller Senior Member

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    Whilst most of you are looking at the causes / reasons ... Most of you are forgotten the most important fact in this sad tragedy the actions of others who's quick thinking helped saved others .


    Rest In Peace ....
  12. Capt Ralph

    Capt Ralph Senior Member

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    Yes
    One of the first responders even strapped on a tank and tried to penetrate the swamped hull.

    Please don't let my previous comments override our respect for the loss and ongoing pain of loss AND those that helped.
    But we here are discussing (amid allot of speculating again) a physical swamping of a vessel and why.
    ,rc
  13. NYCAP123

    NYCAP123 Senior Member

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    When I was in Florida I used to do the fireworks. My first year we relaxed after the show before pulling anchor. There were 100'+ yachts out there. Coming through the inlet there wer 6' waves coming from every direction off the jetties. That's a mistake I never made twice. 1st boat through after that. Doubt the skipper or captain understood the kinds of wakes he'd encounter.
    In tragedies like this we seek to blame someone. Sometimes it's just a tragic, if avoidable, accident. Everybody will certainly debate the wisdom of the overloading, but I've seen 40' boats make it from Haiti with 100 people on them. Unless the manufacturer puts a stability limit on their vessels (and 'We recommend not putting more than...' doesn't cut it) or the government mandates it, I don't see this as anything more than something to hopefully learn a lesson from, and a judgement call the owner and skipper will have to live with. My heart goes out to all those aboard.
  14. chesapeake46

    chesapeake46 Senior Member

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    When I first read the story, I was incredulous.
    " 27 people, what was he thinking...."

    If it were 27 people like me, 200 to 250LBs , then I'd expect the boat to heal over at the dock.
    27 people most of which were kids, say in the 100 lbs or less catagory, then maybe the boat didn't act all that funny under the load.

    The captain made a real error in judgement if the kids weren't wearing PFD's in any case.

    He will have to live with this for the rest of his life.

    And on the load limit subject, once again the capt may think
    " 3 kids = 1 adult.... we'll be fine"
    -
    I too have run at night alone and been stuck in the chaos of a July 4th night run.
    Running alone or with a couple others is OK. Especially in my " home waters "
    Being out there with the " drunks and amateurs" ( as mentioned earlier) is something I will not knowingly repeat.
  15. wscott52

    wscott52 Senior Member

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    It sounds like a "Captain" who screwed up bigtime desperately trying to CHA.
  16. Mark I

    Mark I Member

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    I used to boat in that area and have been to the Oyster Bay fireworks on the 4th a few times by boat. It is chaos. Normally at the end of the show, there are many knuckleheads roaring off into the night at full throttle, some without their lights on and some beered up from drinking all afternoon. Complicating matters, there were thunderstorms in the area and I'm sure that caused an even greater rush at the end of the show.

    I don't believe there was any drinking involved in this incident but the boat was overloaded. With that many people, it had to be listing at the dock. Being unstable, I would venture that even a medium size wake would rock it pretty good. In the dark, I'm sure it did seem "massive" to the guy at the helm.

    Unfortunately, common sense is often not common.

    I heard they had difficulty yesterday and were trying to raise it again today.

    Very tragic.
  17. NYCAP123

    NYCAP123 Senior Member

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    On what do you base that conclusion? He obviously erred in allowing that number of passengers under those circumstances based on the results, but I'm still waiting to hear of anything from the manufacturer, a N.A., or government reg that would have told him what the safe limit was. If the stability rating can be determined for commercial vessels, and recreational boats under 28' why is it suddenly assumed that a captain has the ability to determine what the manufacturer and government hasn't been able to or refused to do. I expect suits against Silverton, it's parent companies and the NMMA. This case could bring far reacing changes and regulations to the boating industry at a time they can least afford it. I don't see anything the captain did wrong, given the information available to him.
  18. Beau

    Beau Senior Member

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    NYCAP123,

    I have to repectfully disagree. Using the "reasonable man" standard common to the law, I think the vast majority in this thread agree he overloaded that boat.

    Apparent the bow was stuck in the mud down there as of yesterday
  19. luckylg

    luckylg New Member

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    I don't often agree with NYCAP123, but I do here. That he overloaded the boat is fairly clear, but I'm not sure that's the point NYCAP123 was making. Rather, that the "captain" was not given the proper tools to determine the safe loading for the boat he was operating. If there is no placard, and the "captain" is not trained on basic vessel stability (and very few non-professionals are) then a reasonable man might well be led to a disaster. A professional will be held to a higher standard. NMMA has largely taken a hands off approach to vessels this size leaving manufacturers to police themselves. Here, that approach appears to have backfired.
  20. Laurence

    Laurence Senior Member

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    Overloaded?

    What's a 34' Silverton weight? 30,000 lbs? If, let's say, 8 adults at 185lbs, 15 kids at 100 lbs, 5 little ones at 60 lbs.; that 3300 lbs, and that overloads a 30,000 lbs boat??