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Dive Boat Conception deaths - more details


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https://www.military.com/daily-news/2020/05/22/autopsies-34-who-died-conception-boat-fire-offer-grim-new-details.html

"Of the 33 passengers and one deckhand below deck, at least six were wearing shoes, boots or some kind of footwear when their bodies were discovered, according to the coroner's records.

One man was clutching a cellphone in his right hand. A woman was holding a blue flashlight and wearing brown slip-on shoes, according to a coroner's report. 

The man with his silver cellphone was wearing denim pants with a black belt. According to the coroner's records, he was wearing an unusual combination of footwear, one black sandal and one brown-black hiking boot for a left foot."

So in other words - some of them awoke, started to get dressed and couldn't get out...

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Odd in the tight sleeping quarters one would take the time to find your shoes which are probably stowed somewhere in your gear cubby... unimaginable horror 

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People act irrationally in emergencies - look at the high percentage of people grabbing carry on luggage during an emergency evac of a plane (I now make sure my passport is in a pocket, not in a bag so I'm not tempted to dig through one when I should be bracing).

Very grim reading; I didn't even know there was such a thing as a 4th degree burn.

 

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Thanks for the info. Very tragic event. A former college roommate of mine was among the dead. I hadn't seen him in 35 years but he was a good guy and didn't deserve to go this way. 

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30 minutes ago, Zonker said:

People act irrationally in emergencies - look at the high percentage of people grabbing carry on luggage during an emergency evac of a plane (I now make sure my passport is in a pocket, not in a bag so I'm not tempted to dig through one when I should be bracing).

Very grim reading; I didn't even know there was such a thing as a 4th degree burn.

 

I didn't either and wondered about that when I first read the '4th degree' part. Apparently it goes further and gets progressively worse.

  • First-degree burns damage the outer layer (epidermis) of the skin. These burns usually heal on their own within a week. A common example is a sunburn.
  • Second-degree burns damage not only the outer layer but also the layer beneath it (dermis). These burns might need a skin graft—natural or artificial skin to cover and protect the body while it heals—and they may leave a scar.
  • Third-degree burns damage or completely destroy both layers of skin including hair follicles and sweat glands and damage underlying tissues. These burns always require skin grafts.
  • Fourth degree burns extend into fat, fifth degree burns into muscle, and sixth degree burns to bone.
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If I recall correctly, this charter company has another almost identical boat.

Which - if there was justice - would allow for to place the owners, the sleeping crew, and the USCG inspector who approved the “escape hatch” (that opened under a countertop) down below and set it afire.  See how they feel about meeting the bare minimum requirements then...

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Oh, God. This tragedy taught me to have a ditch bag always ready. Now I will pay whatever to get a cabin above waterline with a window I can get out of. Yes I know this narrows choices.

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3 hours ago, Starboard!! said:

If I recall correctly, this charter company has another almost identical boat.

Which - if there was justice - would allow for to place the owners, the sleeping crew, and the USCG inspector who approved the “escape hatch” (that opened under a countertop) down below and set it afire.  See how they feel about meeting the bare minimum requirements then...

Starboard, I understand the sentiment, but I'm not sure this is completely fair.  The USCG inspector can only hold owners to the regs as they exist, not as they might want them.  The Owner builds and operates boats according to those same regs...Its tough enough to make money, and doing more then required, and hoping folks pay for it doesn't usually work out.  If the watch was asleep, as it certainly appears, well yes, that guy might have saved all or most had he not been asleep.  But was it an act of commission?  Or an act of omission?

Do you write the regs for the one in 100 years disaster?  The Naval Academy flooded back in 2003 when Hurricane Isabel came up the bay, and deliberately decided not to "fortify" the yard for what was a 100 year event...I'm just asking the questions here, not pretending I know the answers...

 

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1 hour ago, Crash said:

The USCG inspector can only hold owners to the regs as they exist, not as they might want them

The inspectors can and will interpret the regs if they want to. 

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7 minutes ago, Zonker said:

The inspectors can and will interpret the regs if they want to. 

USCG inspectors are just that--inspectors. Unlike for instance a class surveyor where especially in certain classes, they have effectively final say, where the technical (say LR) in a DAD says, "AQS" and the surveyor OKs the installation details.
In USCG, you have the Marine Safety Center--the technical office--and if there is some dispute, it gets cleared up there.

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1 hour ago, Zonker said:

Can't the technical office say "that escape sucks - it barely meets the letter of the regs and not the intent"

That sounds hard, paperwork etc... No reason to do that unless the owner has pissed you off in some way and you or your office is trying to make a point.

My experience with the USCG and other law enforcement is they are quite happy to interpret regulations however they see fit, though that is probably to some extent because I am an individual and not a corporation, which (in practice) generally have more rights than people.

 

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13 hours ago, Starboard!! said:

That sounds hard, paperwork etc... No reason to do that unless the owner has pissed you off in some way and you or your office is trying to make a point.

My experience with the USCG and other law enforcement is they are quite happy to interpret regulations however they see fit, though that is probably to some extent because I am an individual and not a corporation, which (in practice) generally have more rights than people.

 

USCG plan review, Marine Safety Center, etc is a completely different thing than the enforcement branch--on the water--that you cross paths with as a recreational sailor.

The issue of what the rules really mean is always a problem. As someone who actually designs passenger vessels, I would never have let an arrangement out the door that way--but that's me, and my colleagues. The rules are always a minimum--not automatically good design. I've gone beyond the rule requirements on safety aspects in past designs (stability, for instance). Prudence should always be first. And where cost isn't even an issue, then it *really* makes no sense to make it the less safe way. There was no reason this boat could not have been built with the aft escape exiting outside of the enclosed area. I also wonder whether there was a fire door between sleeping and galley? There are other details as well, which I wont go into now.

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Until this disaster, I personally had not considered the danger of charging all the little devices with embedded modern batteries. Sure, when selecting the main vessel batteries, I ensured they are LiFePO4. But I have no idea what the batteries are inside iPhones, Android phones, iPads, hand held VHFs, rechargeable flashlights, and so on. Eye opening!!

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On 5/24/2020 at 6:06 PM, Team Subterfuge said:

I have been on the Conception and other Truth Aquatic boats - and had done so for years.  It was a very well run operation.   

There was no fire door between the lower deck and main deck/galley - just a staircase.

If I’ll be spending any time below on a boat I’ve always made it a habit to suss out any openings I can fit thru to escape in an emergency and develop a quick escape plan in my mind “just in case”. The one that always made me jiggy was a Bene 45f5 that I was nannying...the companionway is the only way out. No other openings that anyone larger than a toddler can fit thru. Engine is right under the companionway, fire from that or any other conflagration that makes the ladder unusable and there’s no hope for you. Otherwise a great yacht, but stunning that the design was allowed from a safety viewpoint; I’m sure there are others.

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5 minutes ago, WhoaTed said:

If I’ll be spending any time below on a boat I’ve always made it a habit to suss out any openings I can fit thru to escape in an emergency and develop a quick escape plan in my mind “just in case”. The one that always made me jiggy was a Bene 45f5 that I was nannying...the companionway is the only way out. No other openings that anyone larger than a toddler can fit thru. Engine is right under the companionway, fire from that or any other conflagration that makes the ladder unusable and there’s no hope for you. Otherwise a great yacht, but stunning that the design was allowed from a safety viewpoint; I’m sure there are others. 

Re: Bene 45f5 lack of exits... Every modern Beneteau I've been on has at least one, if not two decent-sized Lewmar hatches, one in the forward berth & one either right behind or right in front of the mast.  I think it's a requirement for European Cat A/B/C design standards.

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7 minutes ago, Starboard!! said:

Re: Bene 45f5 lack of exits... Every modern Beneteau I've been on has at least one, if not two decent-sized Lewmar hatches, one in the forward berth & one either right behind or right in front of the mast.  I think it's a requirement for European Cat A/B/C design standards.

The big forward hatch on the 45f5 is in the forward locker (no access from inside the cabin). All the other hatches are small ventilation hatches.009A89AD-3A20-436C-957C-2FF2DC1390BE.jpeg.fb7a1f4dc99388b9ba03d225ca6e3f99.jpeg

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On 5/23/2020 at 5:16 PM, Zonker said:

https://www.military.com/daily-news/2020/05/22/autopsies-34-who-died-conception-boat-fire-offer-grim-new-details.html

"Of the 33 passengers and one deckhand below deck, at least six were wearing shoes, boots or some kind of footwear when their bodies were discovered, according to the coroner's records.

One man was clutching a cellphone in his right hand. A woman was holding a blue flashlight and wearing brown slip-on shoes, according to a coroner's report. 

The man with his silver cellphone was wearing denim pants with a black belt. According to the coroner's records, he was wearing an unusual combination of footwear, one black sandal and one brown-black hiking boot for a left foot."

So in other words - some of them awoke, started to get dressed and couldn't get out...

OMG that is a tough grim read but thanks for posting it Zonker.  Its a good reminder.

On 5/23/2020 at 10:38 PM, Crash said:

Starboard, I understand the sentiment, but I'm not sure this is completely fair.  The USCG inspector can only hold owners to the regs as they exist, not as they might want them.  The Owner builds and operates boats according to those same regs...Its tough enough to make money, and doing more then required, and hoping folks pay for it doesn't usually work out.  If the watch was asleep, as it certainly appears, well yes, that guy might have saved all or most had he not been asleep.  But was it an act of commission?  Or an act of omission?

Do you write the regs for the one in 100 years disaster?  The Naval Academy flooded back in 2003 when Hurricane Isabel came up the bay, and deliberately decided not to "fortify" the yard for what was a 100 year event...I'm just asking the questions here, not pretending I know the answers...

 

 

On 5/24/2020 at 12:13 AM, fastyacht said:

USCG inspectors are just that--inspectors. Unlike for instance a class surveyor where especially in certain classes, they have effectively final say, where the technical (say LR) in a DAD says, "AQS" and the surveyor OKs the installation details.
In USCG, you have the Marine Safety Center--the technical office--and if there is some dispute, it gets cleared up there.

 

On 5/24/2020 at 3:44 PM, fastyacht said:

USCG plan review, Marine Safety Center, etc is a completely different thing than the enforcement branch--on the water--that you cross paths with as a recreational sailor.

The issue of what the rules really mean is always a problem. As someone who actually designs passenger vessels, I would never have let an arrangement out the door that way--but that's me, and my colleagues. The rules are always a minimum--not automatically good design. I've gone beyond the rule requirements on safety aspects in past designs (stability, for instance). Prudence should always be first. And where cost isn't even an issue, then it *really* makes no sense to make it the less safe way. There was no reason this boat could not have been built with the aft escape exiting outside of the enclosed area. I also wonder whether there was a fire door between sleeping and galley? There are other details as well, which I wont go into now.

Working in a Federal regulator role I will simply confirm what Crash and Fast say.  Its very frustrating sometimes to be bound by the letter of the law and regulations but we are.  Its sucks both ways sometimes.  But when you cite it and it goes to court all that matters is what the damn regulation says.

18 hours ago, carcrash said:

Until this disaster, I personally had not considered the danger of charging all the little devices with embedded modern batteries. Sure, when selecting the main vessel batteries, I ensured they are LiFePO4. But I have no idea what the batteries are inside iPhones, Android phones, iPads, hand held VHFs, rechargeable flashlights, and so on. Eye opening!!

Yea, right after this disaster we implemented a rule on the boat that nothings gets put on any kind of charger unless somebody is awake. 

RIP for those lost and peace to anyone who knew them.  Its just unimaginable.

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On 5/23/2020 at 7:26 PM, Starboard!! said:

If I recall correctly, this charter company has another almost identical boat.

Which - if there was justice - would allow for to place the owners, the sleeping crew, and the USCG inspector who approved the “escape hatch” (that opened under a countertop) down below and set it afire.  See how they feel about meeting the bare minimum requirements then...

That’s very disturbing that you would actually think that’s an acceptable thing to propose. 

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The Conception's escape hatch was only 24" wide (and opened underneath a countertop above, not even an open space), and the LA Times has reported it lacked lighted exit signs.  The 1950's regulations -- that it was built under --  required two means of escape.

It did not meet the current regulations, which require 32" minimum + lighting, and would had to receive an exemption in 1996, when the new rules were put into effect.  At that time, it would have been reasonable for the USCG not//not to give them that exemption, since the hatch opened into a cabinet, and no reasonable person should have interpreted that as a sufficient "means of escape" for 32 people.

Like what the fuck? How much would it have really cost to slightly widen the hatch hole, remove that counter-top, and install some $20 exit lighting? A few thousand and a couple days work at the most. Probably less.  The owners, captain and crew, and USCG inspectors deserve to burn in hell for their laziness and greed.

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3 minutes ago, Starboard!! said:

The Conception's escape hatch was only 24" wide (and opened underneath a countertop above, not even an open space), and the LA Times has reported it lacked lighted exit signs.  The 1950's regulations -- that it was built under --  required two means of escape.

It did not meet the current regulations, which require 32" minimum + lighting, and would had to receive an exemption in 1996, when the new rules were put into effect.  At that time, it would have been reasonable for the USCG not//not to give them that exemption, since the hatch opened into a cabinet, and no reasonable person should have interpreted that as a sufficient "means of escape" for 32 people.

Like what the fuck? How much would it have really cost to slightly widen the hatch hole, remove that counter-top, and install some $20 exit lighting? A few thousand and a couple days work at the most. Probably less.  The owners, captain and crew, and USCG inspectors deserve to burn in hell for their laziness and greed.

Good catch on the dimensions. While it is true that that should have possibly happened, it still wasn't good enough. Lack of fire doors, that aft exit going into the galley, and possibly A/C ducting blowing toxic smoke (this is one of my hypotheses I mentioned in the original thread) would have needed to be addressed....the latter hasn't been discussed anywhere official yet that I know of.

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Here's another fool that deserves (and will) spend the rest of his retirement tied up in lawsuits, the designer, Roy Hauser.

Does he express sympathy... nope, and even has the gall to claim that it was "absolutely safe".  Welll Roy, thirty two people who cooked to death might say you could have bothered to give them a ladder and few extra inches wider hatch, or even a fire door for that matter.

“I designed the entire layout of the vessel,” Hauser said. “I drew it out a quarter inch to the foot and then gave it to a marine architect. They put together the final Coast Guard papers, if you will. Glenn has all the plans and they are all stamped ‘approved.’ … Everything you do has to be approved by the Coast Guard.”

Hauser said Fritzler had kept the boat in “immaculate” condition and he defended its design characteristics as “absolutely” safe. He noted that many of its features are common to California dive and fishing boats, an assertion backed by others in the industry.

 

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So other than shit slinging you got nothing. The boat operated for decades before this and it is going to change how these type of craft are designed, built and operated. You are a bit late in chastising the designer or owner. 

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8 minutes ago, Sail4beer said:

So other than shit slinging you got nothing. The boat operated for decades before this and it is going to change how these type of craft are designed, built and operated. You are a bit late in chastising the designer or owner. 

Just because it operated for decades without incident does not mean it was ever safe. The thing was a fire trap from day one. And what happens in a collision or capsize? There's no way 47 people (its design limit) get through that hatch alive. And let's not pretend this was the first time the operated it with no one on duty at night...

For Christ sake, it was a wooden boat, not like redesigning a boeing 777. One day with a sawzall, a planer, and some varnish and I or almost anyone else could have built them a better forward escape hatch.

 

 

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7 minutes ago, Sail4beer said:

So other than shit slinging you got nothing. The boat operated for decades before this and it is going to change how these type of craft are designed, built and operated. You are a bit late in chastising the designer or owner. 

The real issue is subchapter T...

You are going to see the NTSB make recommendations...

...and the USCG ignore them...

This is par for the course. Remember the cost/benefit analysis is required by law for USCG regulation development. As the saying goes, "you can burn 49 but you can't burn 50."

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13 minutes ago, Starboard!! said:

Here's another fool that deserves (and will) spend the rest of his retirement tied up in lawsuits, the designer, Roy Hauser.

Does he express sympathy... nope, and even has the gall to claim that it was "absolutely safe".  Welll Roy, thirty two people who cooked to death might say you could have bothered to give them a ladder and few extra inches wider hatch, or even a fire door for that matter.

“I designed the entire layout of the vessel,” Hauser said. “I drew it out a quarter inch to the foot and then gave it to a marine architect. They put together the final Coast Guard papers, if you will. Glenn has all the plans and they are all stamped ‘approved.’ … Everything you do has to be approved by the Coast Guard.”

Hauser said Fritzler had kept the boat in “immaculate” condition and he defended its design characteristics as “absolutely” safe. He noted that many of its features are common to California dive and fishing boats, an assertion backed by others in the industry.

 

First of all, Roy is an old man. So "rest of his life" isn't really very long.

And there was an engineering firm that submitted it for plan review. At that point Roy is out of the picture. I wouldn't be surprised if the engineering firm no longer exists. Who is going to sue whom? Obviously the owner of the boat is the only exposed party--not the "designer" (not) Roy Houser.

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1 minute ago, fastyacht said:

The real issue is subchapter T...

You are going to see the NTSB make recommendations...

...and the USCG ignore them...

This is par for the course. Remember the cost/benefit analysis is required by law for USCG regulation development. As the saying goes, "you can burn 49 but you can't burn 50."

One solution that would have an immediate effect. USCG implements emergency regulation that imposes a passenger limit on all vessels that don't comply with the 1996 rules. 

Sure, it might be overturned in court -- in a year or two -- but the owners aren't going to wait that long and go out of business.  Most of them would install compliant escape hatches. We're really not talking about a lot of money here.

 

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2 minutes ago, Starboard!! said:

One solution that would have an immediate effect. USCG implements emergency regulation that imposes a passenger limit on all vessels that don't comply with the 1996 rules. 

Sure, it might be overturned in court -- in a year or two -- but the owners aren't going to wait that long and go out of business.  Most of them would install compliant escape hatches. We're really not talking about a lot of money here.

 

And why would the USCG do that? (I'm being cynically realistic here).

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Right, they won't. Because they figure that after a little while, it'll blow over and they can safely ignore this until the next time it happens. And by then someone else will be in charge and it won't be their problem.

But if they WANTED TO, they certainly have loads of authority to impose their will; the only real limit on their authority is the courts, and that is a very slow process. So it just comes down to wanting to do something about it.

 

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9 minutes ago, Starboard!! said:

Christ sake, it was a wooden boat, not like redesigning a boeing 777. One day with a sawzall, a planer, and some varnish and I or almost anyone else could have built them a better forward escape hatch.

 

 

I wish you had.
 

We were all up in arms last year about this.

This thread is about where to go from here, not who or how many to place the blame on for vengeance.

That’s up to the courts, attorneys and new case law.

 

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Just now, Sail4beer said:

This thread is about where to go from here, not who or how many to place the blame on for vengeance.

I'm guessing the captain and whoever was supposed to be on-watch will get 32 counts of negligent homicide. But that doesn't really fix anything. Unless the USCG is publicly castigated to the point where they ask for new regulations, nothing will happen to the culture of  "grandfathered design doesn't need to be safe".

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Here's something you can do - call your congressman/woman and demand they pass H.R.5413

https://www.congress.gov/bill/116th-congress/house-bill/5413/all-info

This bill applies U.S. Coast Guard regulations regarding safety management systems to small passenger vessels and requires the Coast Guard to prescribe additional regulations to secure the safety of individuals and property on board certain small passenger vessels.

The regulations prescribed must include requirements for

  • the addition of interconnected fire detection, protection, and suppression equipment, including fire extinguishers, in all areas to which passengers have access, including dining areas, sleeping quarters, and lounges;
  • fire detection, protection, and suppression systems in unmanned areas with machinery or areas with other potential heat sources;
  • fire detection, suppression, and control in all areas to which passengers have access, including dining areas, sleeping quarters, and lounges;
  • all such vessels to have not less than two avenues of escape from all general areas accessible to passengers;
  • marine firefighting training programs to improve crew member training and proficiency; and
  • the handling, storage, and operation of flammable items, such as lithium ion batteries.
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18 minutes ago, Starboard!! said:

Right, they won't. Because they figure that after a little while, it'll blow over and they can safely ignore this until the next time it happens. And by then someone else will be in charge and it won't be their problem.

But if they WANTED TO, they certainly have loads of authority to impose their will; the only real limit on their authority is the courts, and that is a very slow process. So it just comes down to wanting to do something about it.

 

It doesn't work that way.

1. NTSB writes a scathing report pointing out deficiencies in regulations. (They have done this numerous times. Look up the fatality on a T boat casino ferry in Florida 2018).
2. Coast Guard decides to go for revised regulations. Sometimes this happens, mostly due to law being passed but sometimes on their own.

3. Proposed new rule is developed after much internal study including the cost/benefit analysis required by law. Assuming it passes internal MSC muster, then:

4. NPRM "notice of proposed rule making" is published in Federal Register.

5. Comment period where public can and will write in with comments to the proposed rule.

6. Revisions to rule after comment period.

And on until it comes into force.

"Loads of authority" is constrained by law and process. Even in the days of Drumpf.

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In practice, however, the Federal government's authority is basically whatever it says it is, until/unless overturned by the courts.  The real question is whether they feel like it and have the political capital (or white house backing) to push it. Which, of course, they don't.

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21 minutes ago, Starboard!! said:

Here's something you can do - call your congressman/woman and demand they pass H.R.5413

https://www.congress.gov/bill/116th-congress/house-bill/5413/all-info

 

That sounds much more reasonable and achievable than killing the guilty parties.

I will Contact my  congressman and badger him to pass it. 
 

Oh, and I removed the downvote now that you showed something tenable here. 

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17 minutes ago, Starboard!! said:

In practice, however, the Federal government's authority is basically whatever it says it is, until/unless overturned by the courts.  The real question is whether they feel like it and have the political capital (or white house backing) to push it. Which, of course, they don't.

That leaves my head spinning. Almost as if you are wanting little despots in control of the CG? There are some good people working there doing good work. There are also issues with the rules. Serious shortcomings as in this case. Real disagreements about philosophy. But there isn't some despotic CG leader who would simply run roughshod over process. That's a madcap idea--especially suggesting that the white house should get in there and stir it all up.

I feel dizzy just trying to align what you are suggesting with both reality as well as what your apparent interest in the issue is.

The bill floated by the Cali contingent is a good start. And that's how it is supposed to work!

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3 minutes ago, fastyacht said:

That leaves my head spinning. Almost as if you are wanting little despots in control of the CG?

Not at all!!. But what we've all collectively learned in this covid crisis, is that actually as long as the courts are silent, the guys with the guns make the rules.

And I'm pretty sure USCG has broad emergency powers -- it'll take me a bit to find them -- that allow them to waive things public comment periods etc...

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12 minutes ago, Starboard!! said:

Not at all!!. But what we've all collectively learned in this covid crisis, is that actually as long as the courts are silent, the guys with the guns make the rules.

And I'm pretty sure USCG has broad emergency powers -- it'll take me a bit to find them -- that allow them to waive things public comment periods etc...

That's absolutely frightening.

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Starboard, just what is it you do to earn a living?

How safe is safe?  How many deaths are acceptable?  Even automobiles, which have had safety improvements imposed on them for decades now, and are unquestionably safer, still manage to kill 30,000 Americans/year.  And the cost of those safety improvements are almost 1/3 of the cost of a new car today...which many people can no longer afford.

There is no one easy, simple, inexpensive fix.  That would have been “low hanging fruit” that was done years ago...

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24 minutes ago, Crash said:

Starboard, just what is it you do to earn a living?

How safe is safe?  How many deaths are acceptable?  Even automobiles, which have had safety improvements imposed on them for decades now, and are unquestionably safer, still manage to kill 30,000 Americans/year.  And the cost of those safety improvements are almost 1/3 of the cost of a new car today...which many people can no longer afford.

There is no one easy, simple, inexpensive fix.  That would have been “low hanging fruit” that was done years ago...

Usable exits are just about as "low hanging fruit" as you can get for fire safety.  Smoke detectors are another low-hanging fruit -- $20 at home depot. Can't get much lower hanging than that.

 

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Smoke detectors were required. I think you misunderstand that the prescriptive paradigm of the rules will always lead to the possibility of poor outcomes where the letter of the law is met but the design is, um, "suboptimal."

This boat could have been much safer with no additional initial build cost, but the engineering firm that took Roy's napkin sketches ("drawn at 1/4 inch to the foot") and turned them into a submittal did not in fact carry out any critical design review. They simply checked the boxes.

That's the nature of the beast. Good luck getting the whole rule paradigm changed. Among other things, that would cost a fortune...and may STILL lead to occasional poor outcomes!

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I guess I'm just unconvinced that a USCG inspector had no recourse other than to approve their inspection, because they met the letter of the law in terms of hatch dimensions, even though the hatch:

1 egressed into the same compartment as the primary exit, thereby providing no actual means of escape;

2. Was in no way fit-for-purpose, in that it was on top of a bunk and opened into a confined space under a counter-top, where it was highly susceptible to blockage.

For example, what if the hatch opened under water -- would that meet the rule? Or above the props? Or into an automatic blade-beheading machine?

** edit ** Just because the 1950 regulation didn't articulate all the ways that an escape hatch SHOULD NOT be designed, shouldn't mean that the inspectors were supposed to ignore clear hazards that prevented the hatch from meeting the intent of the regulation.

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Jesus Christ, was just on the Truth Aquatics website. Not even a note of sympathy or acknowledgement of the tragedy, this in particular hasn't aged well:

" In 1981 the Conception was launched and this dive boat brought a new meaning to the word “liveaboard”. A larger vessel with new innovations such as circulating game wells, below deck shower room, air-conditioned bunkroom, large sundeck, and a built in bar-b-que were just a few ideas that set this liveaboard boat in its own class. "

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7 minutes ago, Starboard!! said:

Jesus Christ, was just on the Truth Aquatics website. Not even a note of sympathy or acknowledgement of the tragedy, this in particular hasn't aged well:

" In 1981 the Conception was launched and this dive boat brought a new meaning to the word “liveaboard”. A larger vessel with new innovations such as circulating game wells, below deck shower room, air-conditioned bunkroom, large sundeck, and a built in bar-b-que were just a few ideas that set this liveaboard boat in its own class. "

The owner is toast. Why change?

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  • 4 months later...
On 5/28/2020 at 6:33 AM, Starboard!! said:

Just because it operated for decades without incident does not mean it was ever safe. The thing was a fire trap from day one. And what happens in a collision or capsize? There's no way 47 people (its design limit) get through that hatch alive. And let's not pretend this was the first time the operated it with no one on duty at night...

We just had a case a couple of months back where a bunch of Marines in an amphibious assault craft were drowned when their "track" sank off San Clemente Island. I recall riding one ashore at Pendleton as an NROTC midshipman and it was one of the scariest experiences of my life. We were supposed to have the low bulk, inflatable life preservers but there weren't enough of them so we climbed down through what might have been a 30 inch diameter hatch wearing our kapok Type Is, full web gear, pack, rifle and tin pot and sat, elbow to elbow on benches. There's a long vertical double door opening overhead that's supposed to open to allow you to swim out if the thing floods and goes down but water pressure will hold it closed if a pressure relief valve on the floor fails to open. Maybe one or two will make it out the circular hatch before everyone else dies, maybe. Plowing through the swells, water splashed through the edges of that hatch onto us. When we finally made it to the beach and the ramp dropped, you could've timed a four flat forty yard dash from every one of us. Reading the accounts of this year's Marine's tragedy made me relive the claustrophobic fear more than fifty years later and now, reading the Conception details is going to give me nightmares thinking about those poor people.

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13 hours ago, VWAP said:

Investigators find no definitive cause of California dive boat fire that killed 34 people last year

https://www.washingtonpost.com/national/california-dive-boat-fire-cause-conception/2020/10/20/97eb9bf4-12f1-11eb-9f38-35350e52c23c_story.html?fbclid=IwAR2DW6V6UqddT6zx_88vBYqB00TWwdiDGrh6hXrT7_kZjRgje8jZA4QNE_M

12 hours ago, Guvacine said:

Its a fucking disgrace. That sardine packed passenger cabin was murder waiting to happen.

Kind of hard to find proof of anything when it burnt to the waterline.

As for a sardine packed cabin, ever go on a Ferry or Fishing trip?
It only takes one asshole to fuck everyone.

 

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16 minutes ago, Meat Wad said:

Kind of hard to find proof of anything when it burnt to the waterline.

As for a sardine packed cabin, ever go on a Ferry or Fishing trip?
It only takes one asshole to fuck everyone.

 

What an asshole - a lot of people died and it doesn't take a marine inspector to see that the accommodation design was a death trap.

This ruling guarantees that nothing will happen, and that more people will die at some point in the future.

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Not an asshole, G, he’s just being honest. The boat burned so badly that there is no evidence available for investigation. We all know it was a death trap after the fact...
 

None of us here think that the result is desirable, but if there was some evidence remaining that could help shape legislation, we would have welcomed it.

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Doesn't sound like a very thorough investigation... only five survivors and they didn't even interview them all?

"One photograph presented during the hearing showed numerous cellphone charger cables draped over the back of salon seats on the boat. One of the five surviving crew members told the Coast Guard that sparks emanated from an outlet when he tried to plug in his cellphone that day, but NTSB investigators did not interview the crew member. "

 

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41 minutes ago, Sail4beer said:

Not an asshole, G, he’s just being honest. The boat burned so badly that there is no evidence available for investigation. We all know it was a death trap after the fact...
 

None of us here think that the result is desirable, but if there was some evidence remaining that could help shape legislation, we would have welcomed it.

True that, appropriate apologies to Meat Wad.

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22 hours ago, Meat Wad said:

Kind of hard to find proof of anything when it burnt to the waterline.

As for a sardine packed cabin, ever go on a Ferry or Fishing trip?
It only takes one asshole to fuck everyone.

 

22 hours ago, Guvacine said:

What an asshole - a lot of people died and it doesn't take a marine inspector to see that the accommodation design was a death trap.

This ruling guarantees that nothing will happen, and that more people will die at some point in the future.

20 hours ago, Sail4beer said:

He’s a good guy, no problem here

20 hours ago, Guvacine said:

True that, appropriate apologies to Meat Wad.

Thanks for that.

Being that I have lived (1970) and dived (1974) in the area and been on many different boats, you have to understand that they do pack them in. Now days with the cost in Calif to do any business venture you can bet the dive business will be hurting for some time to come.

But like I said. It only takes on neglectful person to screw the whole group. It's just too bad the boat did not have adequate egress. Just look at any boat. Even my 26. If a fire broke out near the cabin entry/exit, and I was down below, I would be screwed (no forehatch).

Don't worry, even the Ed sends me emails warning me about being Honest, Brutally Honest some times. Nobody likes to hear the plain truth anymore., everyone wants to tiptoe through the tulips.

 

 

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It's making me rethink some arrangements on my boat for sure. I bet most of us have certain ingress/egress challenges on our boats in the event of a fire or other serious safety event. In my case, a double cabin door exits directly into the portside galley with the companion ladder on centerline. At a minimum, I'm going to find a place install another fire extinguisher inside that door, I don't care how awkward it might be for the occupants. There's one by the companion ladder itself but you'd have to dash through a galley fire to get to it.

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1 hour ago, Raz'r said:

It's just "too bad"?
Criminally negligent you mean?

 

It's an older boat and the CG approved it. 
fire is a tough thing to deal with in a wooden boat. It's like a fire in the ISS or a Sub.

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10 minutes ago, Meat Wad said:

It's an older boat and the CG approved it. 
fire is a tough thing to deal with in a wooden boat. It's like a fire in the ISS or a Sub.

So your answer is “govt” said it was ok.

mr Big Govt comes out again.

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13 minutes ago, Meat Wad said:

It's an older boat and the CG approved it. 
fire is a tough thing to deal with in a wooden boat. It's like a fire in the ISS or a Sub.

morally negligent.... with the construction.  Kind of like when an old apartment building burns down.  when its modern counterpart would not have.  they didn't break those rules...

the criminal part is the no anchor watch, dodgy or no training for crew, and no safety briefing with guests. 

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Meat Wad didn’t own the boat and hasn’t made any excuses for the design, so can we move on now?

I live on my boat and make sure my exits are clear and unlocked EVERY SINGLE NIGHT before I go to sleep. My aft cabin has no escape port and will not be used by my daughters when they visit. My smoke detectors and fire extinguishers are fresh so I can at least escape the boat in case of a fire. It can be replaced...

 

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Why not post the actual preliminary report instead of the clickbait "news" article intended to generate angst and clicks?

https://www.ntsb.gov/investigations/accidentreports/pages/DCA19MM047-preliminary-report.aspx

 

Quote

Investigators have collected documents from recent Coast Guard inspections and visited another Truth Aquatics vessel, Vision, a vessel similar to the Conception. Salvage operations to bring the wreckage to the surface for examination and documentation have begun. Investigators plan to examine current regulations regarding vessels of this type, year of build, and operation; early-warning and smoke-detection and alarm systems; evacuation routes; training; and current company policies and procedures. Efforts continue to determine the source of the fire.

 

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3 hours ago, Sail4beer said:

 My smoke detectors and fire extinguishers are fresh so I can at least escape the boat in case of a fire. It can be replaced...

 

I'm curious, how many have smoke and/or CO detectors on their boats?

Wonder if that ought to be made a USCG requirement? Would seem to contribute more to safety than, say, a mandatory trash dumping placard.

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3 hours ago, Meat Wad said:

It's an older boat and the CG approved it. 
fire is a tough thing to deal with in a wooden boat. It's like a fire in the ISS or a Sub.

The Ruskies successfully put a fire out on MIR

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17 minutes ago, TJSoCal said:

I'm curious, how many have smoke and/or CO detectors on their boats?

Wonder if that ought to be made a USCG requirement? Would seem to contribute more to safety than, say, a mandatory trash dumping placard.

Funny thing, that. There is an international treaty called MARPOL. TYhere is another one called SOLAS. The latter does not dip into personal pleasurecraft--on purpose

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On 10/21/2020 at 12:25 AM, VWAP said:

I won't read that. There is no point. It is WaPo fer Chrisssakes.

There will be a lot of stuff happenieng on account of the tragedy.

image.thumb.png.ce3aa7b4b16dafdf7ded7da96e20b5cf.png

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38 minutes ago, TJSoCal said:

I'm curious, how many have smoke and/or CO detectors on their boats?

Wonder if that ought to be made a USCG requirement? Would seem to contribute more to safety than, say, a mandatory trash dumping placard.

I don’t know the minimum length requirement for a sailboat or powerboat. I know that surveys on my 40’ and 42’ sailboats noted the number and condition of the devices and their inspection schedule. One in the galley and one in each stateroom minimum.

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6 hours ago, Raz'r said:

It's just "too bad"?
Criminally negligent you mean?

 

How many people have died from not being able to egress from a fire on a dive boat prior to this?  You say “criminally negligent,” but for what?  If the boat met all required safety standards, both at the time of build and on subsequent inspections, where is the negligence?  
 

No boat is 100% safe.  None. Ever.  So where does the line as to what is and isn’t acceptable get drawn?  It’s not fair to draw it once you have the benefit of 20/20 hindsight.  
 
Plus at some level, where does individual responsibility come into play?  No body held a gun to their heads and said you must get on the boat and go on this trip.  No one made them go, even without a safety briefing.  No one prevented them from inspecting emergency egress and deciding “nope, not this boat it’s a death trap”

 

Why do we always want to make it someone else’s fault?

 

Now if you want to talk negligence due to no posted watch, that’s a different story....

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As for design: intent and practice. Moving target. I live that practice.

Designing to intent while under financial pressure can be an issue.

On the other hand some of us have backbones.

My old boss said steel is cheap. Save a life.

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1 hour ago, Crash said:

How many people have died from not being able to egress from a fire on a dive boat prior to this?  You say “criminally negligent,” but for what?  If the boat met all required safety standards, both at the time of build and on subsequent inspections, where is the negligence?  
 

No boat is 100% safe.  None. Ever.  So where does the line as to what is and isn’t acceptable get drawn?  It’s not fair to draw it once you have the benefit of 20/20 hindsight.  
 
Plus at some level, where does individual responsibility come into play?  No body held a gun to their heads and said you must get on the boat and go on this trip.  No one made them go, even without a safety briefing.  No one prevented them from inspecting emergency egress and deciding “nope, not this boat it’s a death trap”

 

Why do we always want to make it someone else’s fault?

 

Now if you want to talk negligence due to no posted watch, that’s a different story....

That’s the negligence.

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Lithium batteries are fire-prone it seems.  They're an ignition source the T-boat Tech plan reviewers did't have to consider back when most of these boats were designed and built.  The NTSB doesn't identify an ignition source but do any of us doubt that that's what combusted and started the fire in the salon area where there should have been a night watchstander, but wasn't?

The problem is in recognizing a new hazard before it kills people, rather than after it has.  The maritime industry in general, and regulators in particular, have typically been reactive than anticipatory, so any new regs are almost always the result of a serious, usually fatal, casualty.  Decades ago in Marine Safety Basic Inspections,  School, we young Coast Guard officers heard the old-salt instructors tell us, "all the marine safety regulations are written in blood".  

They were right, and unfortunately they're still right..  Look back at the tragedies that spurred the regulations, it's a long list, here are the major ones I'm aware of:

The Sultana in the 1860s,  boiler explosion, fire, great loss of life.  It resulted in regs requiring engineer training and licensing, and better pressure relief valves

General Slocum, passenger steamer in the East River, over 1000 passengers died.  Result was better firefighting equipment and inspections of same.

Titanic you know about.  Better watertight subdivision bulkheads, Ice Patrol established, radiotelephone requirements,  And of course enough lifeboats for all the passengers

Morro Castle, cruise ship fire and grounding, hundreds dead.  Fire-resistant construction materials required, rather than relying on just watchmen. the US was quicker than the rest of the world in these regs. 

Many more, just not as noteworthy.

I've been a passenger on dive boats in the Gulf, and on a couple of occasions as Mate or Second Captain.  I've slept in those bunks down under the galley/salon, with the same egresses--one staircase and one small ceiling hatch. Is it kind of claustrophobic?  Yes for some, no for others. I was the latter, but I still made a practice of pacing and feeling my way to both from my bunk, so I'd know how many steps to get to either one in the dark or in smoke. And as Mate on rare occasion, with the 1800-0600 watch, I was awake, and and would make rounds.  But-- this boat had the wheelhouse on the same deck as the salon, so you could see it from the wheelhouse. 

Conception on the other hand had an upper deck for the wheoelhouse and crew bunks, and since they didn't require someone to stay awake as a watchman stationed mostly in the galley and making rounds, nobody would have been anywhere near the charging rack with the lithium lights and cameras. How they could all go to sleep and leave the entire main deck of the boat with absolutely no one there, I don't understand. 

New regs will come from this, there's already a pro forma one filed in the House, requiring smoke detectors and alarms, and a separate compartment egress from the sleeping quarters so both exits won't be in the same compartment.  More to come, I'm sure.  But all it would have taken is to have just one person in or near the salon, and we wouldn't be discussing this awful tragedy.  

 

 

 

 

 

 

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12 hours ago, nolatom said:

New regs will come from this, there's already a pro forma one filed in the House, requiring smoke detectors and alarms, and a separate compartment egress from the sleeping quarters so both exits won't be in the same compartment.  More to come, I'm sure.  But all it would have taken is to have just one person in or near the salon, and we wouldn't be discussing this awful tragedy.  even be aware of the problem....yet.

 

FIFY

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22 hours ago, Crash said:

No one prevented them from inspecting emergency egress and deciding “nope, not this boat it’s a death trap”

You're an idiot.

People rely on regulations and inspectors by professionals who should know this. Just like airplane passengers rely on the FAA not to allow planes that have software that might help it crash... OK bad example. You don't check the brakes on a Greyhound before you get on it do you?

The regulations were flawed. They required 2 escapes which is typical - but this boat had the escapes going into the same space above. If there is a fire in the space above you are screwed. They didn't require smoke detectors throughout the boat.

The emergency escape location is criminally bad. You have to climb up a 3 tier bunk bed to get up it. It should have had a ladder and clear way out, preferably to the open deck.

I'm with Nolatom. If I'm on any ship I start looking around for the exits, where the PFDs are stores, where is the lifeboat or liferaft. When things go wrong they can happen quickly and if you know the emergency equipment locations you have a better chance of survival. I also won't take ferries in 3rd world countries except in very limited circumstances. Way too many people die due to lax safety enforcement.

California boat fire: The Conception was a 'fire trap' experts say - Los  Angeles Times

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On 10/23/2020 at 5:52 PM, Zonker said:

You're an idiot.

People rely on regulations and inspectors by professionals who should know this. Just like airplane passengers rely on the FAA not to allow planes that have software that might help it crash... OK bad example. You don't check the brakes on a Greyhound before you get on it do you?

The regulations were flawed. They required 2 escapes which is typical - but this boat had the escapes going into the same space above. If there is a fire in the space above you are screwed. They didn't require smoke detectors throughout the boat.

The emergency escape location is criminally bad. You have to climb up a 3 tier bunk bed to get up it. It should have had a ladder and clear way out, preferably to the open deck.

I'm with Nolatom. If I'm on any ship I start looking around for the exits, where the PFDs are stores, where is the lifeboat or liferaft. When things go wrong they can happen quickly and if you know the emergency equipment locations you have a better chance of survival. I also won't take ferries in 3rd world countries except in very limited circumstances. Way too many people die due to lax safety enforcement.

California boat fire: The Conception was a 'fire trap' experts say - Los  Angeles Times

Zonker,

You’re right. I was an idiot for how that came out...On re-reading what I wrote, it became obvious to me I totally failed to communicate what I meant to communicate.  I  certainly didn’t me to imply the victims were in any way responsible for their deaths, nor that there aren’t design and oversight shortfalls. So my apologies...

 

When I have access to a computer (vice just my cell phone) I may try and write a more thoughtful and nuanced piece to see if I can better articulate what I meant...

Apologies to all,

Crash

 

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On 5/28/2020 at 5:29 AM, WhoaTed said:

The big forward hatch on the 45f5 is in the forward locker (no access from inside the cabin). All the other hatches are small ventilation hatches.009A89AD-3A20-436C-957C-2FF2DC1390BE.jpeg.fb7a1f4dc99388b9ba03d225ca6e3f99.jpeg

deathtrap

 

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