Originally Posted by Ann T. Cate
Well, Sailing Fan,
I think that the reason the Charter Company is being held responsible is because the repairs
that were done to that boat were not appropriate to remedy its problems, and that the Company has a duty of care, to assure a reasonably safe product. Given the construction of the boat, it is both difficult and extremely expensive to make a proper repair. Go back and read the whole thread, where there is a lot of discussion about the repair/construction. There is also a thread about CF's resident boat repair genius, minaret,'s repair of a Waukiez, which shows how to do that repair, the principle's the same, the brand, different.
Furthermore, I doubt you could find a charter company who would allow you to haul out
their boat, and take it apart to check the keel to hull
connection before you use it. So, I do not think this incident is down to skipper
negligence. However, the court will decide.
What's really remarkable to me, is this is a CRIMINAL case, not a civil one brought by the families of the decedents.
It is going to be very interesting to learn what the guy from the company has to say on Nov. 3.
Ann, I do understand your point about poor repairs sinking the vessel (but did not see enough about this to understand what repairs were under way, all I saw was the article stating that the sinking occurred but missed the maintenance
and repair specifics). I don't doubt you at all on that point, but think we are not communicating effectively about what I was speaking about, the responsibility of people to take self preservation seriously.
What I am talking about is the loss of life that was actually preventable
, where these fellows did not use safety gear
. Sure, I understand that cruising tends to get folks to be complacent about safety vests and such (to our own peril, of course, but then it is not our manufacturer's fault if we then drown, is it!), but it seems foolish in some respects to head
to open sea without wearing something that will keep you afloat if you even fall overboard
. Maritime law requires these products to be on board and within specific levels of repair.
They advertise in the US with dozens of commercials about not having to often remove a vest from a drowned boater, something like 90% or more of the victims don't have a flotation device attached to their bodies here. Assuming the laws of physics don't change as people cross The Pond, not wearing a vest or other flotation device there by choice is just as potentially lethal.
Therefore, if the vests were not worn, if a locator beacon was not activated, and the life raft not accessible, who had last chance at performing these actions? People need to start taking responsibility for their own lives and stop blaming others when due to short sighted stupidity they suffer the fates of the Dodo. These folks were having a good time, skipped the safety gear, and paid dearly for it, sadly, as they probably had little to no time to do much of any preparation if the keel suddenly just fell away while they were moving through the water
, especially if heeled, I assume.
The same result would have happened had the vessel simply rolled at sea in a blow, keel still firmly attached. Likewise, a poop could have emptied the cockpit
, and those present would have died. No matter the emergency
, the lack of life preserver utility doomed these people, and the manufacturer and even the vessel owner who is not actually present at the time of the event has nothing
to do with that. The vessel owner COULD have installed an auto location beacon, however, at little cost. There seems a direct
liability connection on that part.
Now, I don't see that bodies have been recovered in the article I read, but why was the life raft not topsides, why were the flotation items not on passengers topside (assuming all of them were not killed inside the vessel itself with none outside when this happened, something I find excessively unlikely if it happened in daylight but quite possible if it happened at night given the lack of attention to navigation
watches topside that I keep hearing about in these threads from folks who live on radar
returns and AIS
issues and collision
avoidance at night), why was there no automatically activated location beacon to speed the search (which CAN
be blamed on the vessel charter owner, in my opinion, for what that may or may not be worth)?
As a passenger on a vessel, I would want to know these things were in place BEFORE departure, not after the vessel heeled over or split in two. By then, it is too late to go digging into a locker for a float coat or a life raft. There are pretty cheap
and effective (more than none at all) solutions today for life preservers, and they are not intrusive on movement regardless of clothing
choices otherwise. You can barely see them there in fact, unless you know what to look for. Not rated for offshore
by US Coast Guard authorities near the US, but better than nothing at all
wherever you may hit the water! I wear a vest on inland waters, I sure as hell
will wear some form of flotation device on open ocean, as I choose to be slightly less comfortable to counter a part of the risk, but I elect to, and am responsible for my own choices and resultant outcomes.
I am saying there is more blame to go around, and that the clients must assume some responsibility as well because they did not perform any due diligence in examining this gear and ensuring it was at hand in case of emergency
, which ultimately did kill
them assuming they don't turn up someplace alive.
I cannot blame them for not hauling the vessel, and make no claim that such was reasonable, but they needed to look inside, ensure they knew the gear, how to bring it out, and when to bring it out. In other words, it should have been available when the accident
happened, and the flotation should have been worn while the vessel was at sea and they were topsides (and I would say, even while asleep, because this could have been the scenario, and they would not have had time to find the stuff while half groggy and sinking in a tumbling sailboat).
A lesson is indeed available for all, that preparation for accidents at sea does not have to wait until after water
reaches into the vessel. To make the preparation effective, it should be completed well before the lines are retrieved from the dock cleats
. The repairs are simply the catalyst that allowed the physics already in motion to display themselves on these unprepared clients.
I can see the criminal prosecution, however, if shortcuts were taken, given what happened after the Titanic disaster and the more life-costly Sultana steam powered paddleboat in the Mississippi
River (USA) where the ship fitted metal patches to a boiler and managed to kill something like 1700 people in one blast and sinking event (more than Titanic) due to cheating a repair for profit of hauling more passengers ahead of competing transportation vessels.
Unfortunately, the Sultana sits on the bottom of the Mississippi
still, and few even realize she is there or what happened, and the media of the late 1800s did not make near the fuss over this event, so I doubt anyone was charged beyond the captain
himself (if he was even charged, I think he actually died in the blast IIRC). I don't know of any lawsuits filed regarding the accident
, but I do know that the Titanic lawsuits formed some sentiment to criminalizing proceedings relative to passenger carrying vessels.
another paddle boat that sank and lots of people died because iron bars had been used to get the cork life rings "up to weight" rather than replacing the dry rotted and undersize rings with new and larger equipment
I just have a hard time feeling for people who refuse to use flotation gear, then get killed by drowning when something unexpected happens. I don't want folks to die, but I half expect it when they don't take some pretty easy steps to protect themselves. The risk is there, so avert at own peril, and just be happy with whatever outcome is generated based upon the preventative actions taken (or not taken). Seems simple to me somehow, and after years of service
at sea without being forced to swim around a sinking ship, I still believe in life vests.
But everyone can do as they like, I am all for freedom of choice in this matter. Just don't blame someone else if you drown because of not donning one, that's all.
It's all good! Here are some flowers for ya, sweet Ann!