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Tragic accident: USCG & pleasure boat

Discussion in 'General Yachting Discussion' started by JWY, Dec 21, 2009.

  1. Henning

    Henning Senior Member

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    Geez, what's with CG in San Diego....? Years ago my buddy turned over his Pacificat (not uncommon and I'd just flip him back upright using his rigged sling and a hawser on my boat) and the CG told me to stand off, brought him aboard, life jacket, yada yada, hooked up a long hawser then floored it. :eek: Turned his cat into 5 pieces when the slack played out.
  2. travler

    travler Senior Member

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    our experiance with the coast guard in all of so ca from santa barb so has not been good either

    travler
  3. NYCAP123

    NYCAP123 Senior Member

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    Tragic, so very tragic, especially at this time of year.
  4. Yacht News

    Yacht News YF News Editor

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    That is indeed sad, I was thinking that 13 people was a bit many persons on such a small boat? But then again...
  5. GrahamF

    GrahamF Senior Member

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    How sad. My question is why did the boat travel at the reported 30-40 knots in crowded bay. I know there was a emergency call for a grounded boat but it seems nobody was in danger on the grounded boat. Hell they are the first guys to give a person hell when a boats cause a bit too much wake.
  6. NYCAP123

    NYCAP123 Senior Member

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    Too be fair to the CG who risk their lives daily for us, the story states that "The boat was among a dozen anchored on the bay" which is hardly a crowded bay. Also, two tell tales were that "He said he tried to steer out of the way but couldn’t" (the obligation of a boat being overtaken is to maintain course & speed) and also that he had 13 persons on board. He may well have steered into the path of the CG boat or even not shown (or had obscured by the 13 passengers) the proper lights (no mention either way in the article). A grounding at night may well have entailed lives at risk so the CG's task is to get there quickly. The major blame may well (and IMHO rightly so) go to the CG captain, but this is really just one of those tragedies that happen. There are enough agencies investigating that I'm sure blame and punishment will be determined. In the mean time this CG skipper is living with the results as are everyone else involved. Tragic.
  7. YachtForums

    YachtForums Administrator

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    So true Graham! It seems the West Coast Coasties are not unlike our East Coast Misfits; often young, testosterone-laden, self absorbed, sphincter-abysses who think they are above the law. I can't tell you how many incidents I've seen over the years, but one comes to mind...

    About a year ago, one of these 'boaters with a badge' was running southbound, flat-out in the intracoastal just north of the Atlantic Blvd. bridge in Pompano Beach when he made a high-speed 180 degree turn in a crowd of boats about 100 feet north of the bridge. In doing so, he sprayed a family on a bow rider, throwing his wake into a gas dock on the east side as well as the waterway restaurant Houston's on the west side. The intracoastal is less than 300 feet wide at this point, as it is for most of Broward County. I was about 200 yards north of the bridge watching this fiasco unfold, only to find him headed my way. Guess who he sprayed next? Me! He had plenty of room to pass, but opted to 'showboat' as he sped by me, soaking my dash, seats and passengers.

    I hope the Coastie responsible for the San Diego accident is held fully accountable.
  8. CaptainSilva

    CaptainSilva Senior Member

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    Why is everyone so quick to bash the CG here?

    The same ones who bash the CG for driving too fast are usually the same ones who bash them for taking too long. :rolleyes:

    The victim's vessel was 26ft with 13 people aboard. Seems a bit overloaded to me. Also, if he was monitoring Channel 16 (like any prudent mariner should) he would have heard the call about the grounded vessel and managed to either move his vessel to a safer location, or at least be more aware of his surroundings and possibly prevent this collision in the first place.

    Also, it was said that he "heard the CG vessel coming up from behind." This is an overtaking situation. As stated by NYCAP, "he tried to steer out of the way and couldn't." Right there, the victim's father made a wrong decision. A vessel should always maintain course and speed when being overtaken by another. For all we know, the victim's father could have turned directly into the path of the CG's responding vessel last-minute, causing this catastrophe.

    Sounds to me like the victim's father was maybe a bit too inexperienced? Granted, that's speculation, but 13 people on that little 26' boat is A LOT.

    To refer to Coast Guard officers as 'boaters with a badge' is a GROSS understatement and misrepresentation of what these individuals do. Go to Kodiak and call those guys that.

    Accidents happen. It's life. I feel for the victim, the family, as well as the CG captain who has to live with this poor boy's blood on his hands for the rest of his life.

    And no, I'm not (nor ever was) enlisted in the Coast Guard.
  9. Marmot

    Marmot Senior Member

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    Because they are not the victims.

    So that made him fair game as a target?

    How do you square that with the following?


    [QUOTE]"Also, it was said that he "heard the CG vessel coming up from behind." This is an overtaking situation. As stated by NYCAP, "he tried to steer out of the way and couldn't." Right there, the victim's father made a wrong decision. A vessel should always maintain course and speed when being overtaken by another. For all we know, the victim's father could have turned directly into the path of the CG's responding vessel last-minute, causing this catastrophe." [/QUOTE]

    It sounds to me like he had situational awareness and tried to move out of the way in order to avoid a collision. In one paragraph you condemn the victim for not moving or being aware and in the next you condemn the victim for being aware and moving. It's "heads the CG wins, tails the victim loses" by that logic. Why do you want to blame the victims?

    There is a fundamental problem with the way the CG is training their small boat operators. They have become like cops who speed through red lights in order to stop someone with a burned out tail light. This incident will hopefully become a landmark event in determining how the CG looks at its duties and responsibilities in the operation of their small boats. The hero card is no defense against lousy training and poor judgement.
  10. Henning

    Henning Senior Member

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    Negative on two fronts. That rule (as do all the steering rules) have two critical points to them, when they begin to apply (when risk of collision is determined) and "In Extremis", the point at which the maneuvers of one vessel will not be adquate to avoid collission. By the time you hear a boat coming up behind you, you are most likely In Extremis. At that point both vessels are required to maneuver as required to avoid an accident and when possible, avoid turns to port. Also, in an overtaking situation on US Inland waters, one is to make passing arrangements using light or sound signals or radio contact, and under US Inland rules (which apply where the accident occurred) you have to wait for a response. If you don't get a response, then you have broken the rules of an overtaking situation therefor assume all liability and responsibility for any accident that results.

    Regardless, the CG is sunk on this as they were not operating at "A Safe Speed" and this is required regardless any emergency responding, flashing lights, whatever. The rules never give an exception for travelling at Safe Speed. If you've run someone down, by definition you were not travelling at a Safe Speed.

    Please, if you're going to use the RoR, know them thoroughly, not partially. A little knowledge is a dangerous thing....
  11. NYCAP123

    NYCAP123 Senior Member

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    Very true. If only there were a way to get 30 years of experience into a 21 year old body. From what I understand the CG training does need more emphasis on the limitations of running at high speed in reduced visability, and the need to slow when you either can't see clearly or when boat lights may be obscured by background lights. As far as the "In Extremis" exception to the rules is concerned the bottom line is the bottom line. You better be right. This sounds like it will come down to inadequite training and experience on the part of both operators. Hopefully lessons will be learned by the CG and the public.
  12. Marmot

    Marmot Senior Member

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    That is what maritime training facilities do every day. They instill the lessons of generations of seafarers into the training objective so that the 21 year old doesn't have to reinvent the system.

    If you mean how do you put the benefit of 30 years of judegement, bad or good, into a 21 year old, you do it the same way. This latest example will become a "case study" that will hopefully be used to illustrate the results of very bad judgement and poor training.

    And how do you train an innocent bystander to avoid a drive by shooting? This guy may have tried to do what his lifelong training told him to do - move over for an emergency vehicle with flashing lights. Short of blasting the Coasties with a searchlight beam, what would you expect him to do?
  13. NYCAP123

    NYCAP123 Senior Member

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    Those in the hood learn from experience to hit the deck when the shooting starts. The tourists stick their heads up to watch the show. (experience/no experience). Not loading a 26' bowrider with 13 people would be a good place to start. Lest there be any mistake let me state that I believe that the helmsperson on the CG vessel will be found primarily at fault, but there are lessons to be learned on both ends. Do we know that the struck boat had it's running lights or anchor light on or that those passengers didn't drape an arm covering a light? Do we know if he turned into the path of the CG boat in a mistaken attempt to avoid it? Like I said before, this is a tragic accident and people will be held accountable. It should not be used as an excuse to bash the CG. Their numbers are shrinking and their bases are being closed. Some will be better than others and training can always be improved, but we need them out there.
  14. CaptainSilva

    CaptainSilva Senior Member

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    Are you really trying to relate this accident to a "drive-by shooting?"

    Wow.
  15. YachtForums

    YachtForums Administrator

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    I think Marmot made a reasonable analogy. You're presented with a situation that requires immediate evasive action. Without experience or training, some people may get flustered or confused, resulting in an unexpected reaction. I see it regularly with South Florida's senior drivers when an emergency vehicle approaches them from behind.
  16. CaptainSilva

    CaptainSilva Senior Member

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    ...but we're on the water. Not a two-lane street with a breakdown lane.

    I just don't see the comparison? :confused:
  17. Marmot

    Marmot Senior Member

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    Why the rush to blame the victims? Are you implying that if the victim's boat only had 4 people onboard it would not have been run down? Are you saying that since there were more people than you would have loaded they deserved to get run down?

    There simply is no excuse or mitigation for that CG boat to run down another vessel in that situation, lighted, unlighted, overloaded or otherwise.

    To attempt to blame the victim for this incident is contemptible. It adds insult to injury in a situation that should never have happened.

    So whatever became of the "reported grounding" that led to this tragedy?
  18. CaptainSilva

    CaptainSilva Senior Member

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    I highly doubt that's what NYCAP is suggesting. He's merely trying to state the fact that ANYONE who loads 13 people onto a 26' bowrider MIGHT not have the best judgment/experience/knowledge to safely navigate that vessel in the first place.

    Not to mention the fact that, with 13 people, space will inevitably be limited on a 26' boat. Obscuring running lights (assuming they were operational) is a strong possibility, along with limited mobility.

    If I was given a choice of captains, sight unseen: one who feels it's "safe" to load 13 people (immediate family members!) onto a 26' bowrider, or a USCG trained officer, chances are I'm going to pick the latter.....without thinking twice. Just my .02

    IMO, blaming the CG is "contemptible" since they are the same individuals you will undoubtedly first turn to in the event of an emergency on the water.
  19. Pascal

    Pascal Senior Member

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    I agree about the safe speed part, but not the rest. Have you tried hailing a no name bow rider (or small boat) in a busy location before passing? come one, let's get real here, it's not going to work!

    bottom line is that we dont' know what happened, we dont' have any facts and it's a little early to blame the coasties. Yes, there are bad apples among them, jsut like there are bad apples among profesional captains.

    one thing is sure is that 13 people in a 24' bowrider has to interfere with the operator ability to see what's going on aroudn him, especially at night, because of the number of people standing and the distraction.

    and relying on one witness estimation of the boat speed is a joke...

    am i the only one to think that if a 26' bow rider had been hit at indeed 30kts it would have sunk right there?

    let's wait for all the facts... the only fact so far is that the USCG vessel was running too fast for the conditions. but then again, we dont' know what they were rushing too.

    i can see the headlines if they dont' rush to a grounding that cause injuries or worst... "USCG crew busy watching Holiday Parade takes too long to reach grounded vessel, 1 dead"