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Fatal boating incident with alleged overloaded 34' Silverton

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

  1. Capt Ralph

    Capt Ralph Senior Member

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    I'm not an engineer, but it is not a weight vs, weight problem. Gravity centers and trim changes drastically with just a few pounds. Ad some ugly wake in the formula and things do roll or flood.

    Were forgetting coolers of ice with drinks, fried chicken and salads for 27 people also. Fuel, water and holding tanks.
  2. luckylg

    luckylg New Member

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    I'm sure there are stability experts on here who could better answer this. That said, it's possible. A boat with an already high center of mass could well be made unstable with an additional 3300 above it's center of mass. Ship stability is a highly complex consideration. Here's just one primer I found: Stability and Trim for Ships, Boats, Yachts and Barges ? Part I

    It doesn't mean that the boat loaded like described will capsize. However, it does mean that it makes the boat easier to capsize.
  3. Mark I

    Mark I Member

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    That model only weighs about 12,500 (dry).
  4. jhall767

    jhall767 Senior Member

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    I understand the argument about manufactures providing load recommendations but ... Hypothetical newbie post.

    "I just bought a new yacht. It a 34' silverton Flybridge sedan and I'm planning on taking about 25-30 people out to see the fireworks. Although the boat is new my brother in-law and I have plenty of boating experience. Any recommendations on the best place to anchor to see the fireworks?"

    And what would the response be on this forum?
  5. Marmot

    Marmot Senior Member

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    In front of the television.
  6. Beau

    Beau Senior Member

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    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



    Again, I respectfully disagree. All the placards in the world would not have prevented this foreseeable tragedy. It was the captain's poor decisions - he willingly put 10 lbs of tomatos into a 5 lb bag.
  7. Marmot

    Marmot Senior Member

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    But the very good point NYCAP made is that absent any advice on how big the bag is, he should not be condemned for lacking the information required to operate within an unpublished or undisclosed "limit."

    In all honesty, how many boat operators know what GM means much what it is on the vessel they operate at the beginning and end of a voyage? How many readers here right now know where the VCG is on their boat with reference to the waterline?

    There is no shortage of anecdotal "information" about what is "safe" or not but we should know how terribly wrong that collective belief can be.
  8. Laurence

    Laurence Senior Member

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    Photo from YachtWorld

    Boat is much smaller than I thought with a much smaller flybridge. Where did they put everyone?

    Attached Files:

  9. RT46

    RT46 Senior Member

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    Lawerence,

    I think that pic is of an old 31 Silverton.

    The 34 that was involved in this incident was a little bigger, but not much.

    I think most experienced operators are shocked that there were 27 people on a 34 Silverton.

    Beau,
    I have to agree with Beau on the reasonable man theory:

    Here is the test: You have to ask yourself, if you were a reasonable, non-commercial owner/operator of a 34 Silverton would you operate such a craft at night, on the 4th of July, with severe weather forecasted, and significant pleasure craft traffic with 27 People onboard. Answer, No, No, No, No, and no...


    Regardless of placards, load limits, stability tests, manufactures recommendations, Local laws, State laws, Federal laws....I feel pretty confident that the answer for most reasonable operators is NO.....
    They would not operate such a vessel under those conditions with 27 people on board.


    However, I was surprised the other day to have a conversation with one individual who owns a similar size and brand production boat. That owner told me that he believes the capacity of his boat is equal to the number of seats on the boat to include berths and interior seating plus the number of people who can stand in the boat's cockpit. Wow did I disagree with him on that. At least he did not include the head and shower as 2 additional passengers.


    I will add that when things go really bad (like in this incident), there is usually more than one thing that goes bad that contributes to the end state.
    For example, overloaded, beyond the design and intended use of the vessel, weather, darkness, traffic, sea conditions (wakes), inexperience....

    As far as responsibility and accountability; ultimately, the owner/operator/capt is responsible for everything that does and does not occur. That is the cost and responsibility of ownership.


    At this time, although most experienced operators find this incident shocking, there do not appear to be any media reports of aggravating circumstances, such as drugs, booze, or "super" reckless conduct that may suggest criminal conduct occurred.

    Civil Accountability, yes, I expect this will be litigated.

    Moral responsibility and accountability will be determined by higher authority.

    This is a tragic loss of life and a tragedy the families involved.

    Hopefully, some changes in required training or safety certification for recreational users comes out of this that helps to prevent re-occurrence of unnecessary incidents like this one.
  10. Kafue

    Kafue Senior Member

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    No one is guilty of purposely injuring anyone, but of very bad judgement with consequences that will be the worst punishment imaginable. This is heartbreaking and I don’t doubt that there are many on this forum, no matter how expert or experienced that think “but for the Grace of God go I.” Before I get flamed, tell me you haven’t done a dumb thing in a car, boat etc. at some age in your life that could have escalated to tragedy.
    Yes, we all have done dumb things, mostly that are no more serious than a turn to starboard without looking back, or taking a racing boat out in seas that are too big (I am still reminded regularly by the stab in my back). Luckily for us, these bad decisions stopped on a short chain.
    This group of families had a long chain of events that compounded in tragedy.
    I would never go out with 27 people on board at night for a celebration with nutters around, no matter that my 53’ vessel could take it or not, but that is experience. What if this guy (I don’t say Captain) was planning on 12 and had some added people beg for a ride or whatever. Yes, it was incompetent, maybe stupid, but most of all SAD.

    Accidents are just that.
    Costa Concordia was a crime, not an accident.
    You can cover that Silverton with bright yellow stickers from bow to stern and it would not have changed anything. The person capable of making such bad judgements would not read them.
    What will come out of this is for the next few years people will recall this tragedy before they load up for a cruise.
  11. dennismc

    dennismc Senior Member

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    since when do we have to look back before turning to starboard ??
  12. MaxPower

    MaxPower Senior Member

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    At Sea ... Aahhh ...
  13. Kafue

    Kafue Senior Member

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    Since I realised that there are vessels running behind mine who may not be watching what is happening ahead of them.
    Looking behind before turning to stbd or port makes good sense to me!
    Maybe you have a rearview mirror?
  14. Capt Ralph

    Capt Ralph Senior Member

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    Quote from the last news story;

    " Authorities say the capsizing could be due to the boat being overloaded. On the night it sank, there were 27 people aboard -- nearly twice the maximum capacity of 15. "

    Where did the number "15" come from??
  15. CaptTom

    CaptTom Senior Member

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    Let's look at some details. The 1987 34 Silverton pictured here is the same model/style as the one that sunk, which was 1984. The draft is approx. 3.5 feet, shallow but not bad for this vessel. See the scuppers in the transom? That's the cockpit height, well above the waterline. Salon floor is at same level. There's a lot of boat above the waterline. I almost had this boat capsize in a squall, so much that the boat heeled over where the water level was almost to the top of the gunwale, but she did roll back (only 4 persons on board).
    The bridge seats 5-6, but you can get 8-9 up top if required.
    Second photo shows a nice entry with two strakes and generous chine.
    Third photo shows that there is very little keel in the hull. Also the arrow shows the exhaust port which is just above the waterline. With 27 persons on board, the port and starboard exhaust will be underwater as the boat will ride low. Perhaps back pressure created a water leak in the exhaust system?
    But let me ask our resident hydro engineer this: a boat that sits low in the water and traveling over shallow depth could actually get pulled down due to hydro forces, can't it? At least the speed will be reduced until the boat crabs into deeper water.
    Having 27 persons on board had to be very cramped, with a lot of weight well above the waterline. And the aluminum radar arch on that yacht adds a few pounds.
    Just trying to illustrate.

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  16. NYCAP123

    NYCAP123 Senior Member

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    I keep hearing people (often lawyers) saying this boat has a capacity of 10, 12 or 15. I get the feeling that people are thinking that if they say it enough it will be taken as truth. Total BS, most likely being promoted by the involved lawyers and Silverton. We have some very well informed professionals on this forum. Somebody please cite a redily available, authoritative reference that backs up any of these numbers. Somebody is trying desperately to blame the captain or owner (Private insurance is such an easy target) when I believe the blame lies squarely with the industry for failing to publish stability ratings for private yachts. But of course you can't sue the entire industry, nor a manufacturer who adheres to the industry standard.
  17. Beau

    Beau Senior Member

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    NYCAP

    I don't believe anyone on this thread is blaming anyone - this is a tragedy about which none of us knows all the facts. But personally I don't believe all the stability ratings and placades with lights around them would have prevented those 27 people from boarding that boat, and in using my modest experience, that many people severely overloaded the boat. I respect your right to disagree with that asesssment, but let me give you an opposite example of why I think the human brain is the most important tool for making the final decision.

    About 2 years ago I had a dockmate come up to me and say "Beau, would you come over and look at my new inflatable. It was planing fine this AM, but when my wife and I took two guests across the mooring area for dinner, I couldn't get it up on plane at all. I think I must have screwed up the engine" My ego said, of course I'll help and went over to look. Well the tender was certainly rated for a 4 person load according to the placard- but the lightest of the 4 occupants on this little trip had to be 275lbs. But, according to that placard everything was fine, and we all just scratched our heads wondering why that little boat wouldn't plane. Just saying, a lot a folks don't use their noodle enough. Incidently, the boat had the correct horsepower according to the power rating, which was even more befuddling.
  18. dennismc

    dennismc Senior Member

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    seems a little like blame the gun industry when someone gets shot, or sue the drug company when the end user ignores the safety warnings.

    Will get the stage sooner or later when a "Government official" will accompany every person who wakes up ion the morning and guide them through the day. Look at that zero unemployment !!!
  19. ScrumpyVixen

    ScrumpyVixen Member

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    Actually I lay responsibility/blame with the owner skipper. Looking at the pics, 27 is way over the odds. You don't need a sticker to tell you that. A sticker will tell you if 12 or 14 is the number. Yes he was likely trying to do the right thing by friends and family etc, but if you stuffed people on the floor and boot of your car and had an accident, you would be dead in the water as driver.

    Accidents aside, how the hell do you keep track of 27 people on a boat at night?

    It was a bad decision and it ended badly. We have all made bad calls and got away with it. This one was on the outer edge of a bad call increasing the risk .
  20. NYCAP123

    NYCAP123 Senior Member

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    There definitely is a move to blame, both here, in the general public and with the lawyers. This boat WAS overloaded. The results prove that. My point is that nobody, who was in a position to know that, ever told anyone what constitutes an overload in that boat. When an N.A. probably designs a boat and it's manufactured by a professional and experienced company like Silverton, and neither of the professionals are willing to say what is an unsafe load, how is a Sunday sailor or even a captain supposed to make that determination? I've seen boats around this size with probably this many people on board plus ornaments in the Ft. Lauderdale boat parade, but they're not in a position where they'll get hit broadside by a big wake. I don't expect any changes. I think this just needs to be chalked up as tragic accident. Everybody should have done better, but there was nothing unusual done by anyone. In fact I doubt it was the only boat out there that night overloaded, but they didn't flip, so they weren't.