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Lost At Sea
Janine
Posted: Friday, July 17, 2009 8:54 PM
Joined: 02/05/2008
Posts: 392


Dockwalk magazine's regular column, What Went Wrong, highlights a different marine accident each month, focusing on the lessons learned. We've received feedback that some readers would like to comment on it. So we're republishing it in the forum so you can have your say.

 

This month is about a captain who lost his life in an attempt to save a tender.

 


Though many of the details regarding this story have to be omitted for the legalities and for basic courtesy, the story is certainly one that warrants further dialogue – even in the absence of moment-by-moment details. According to a claims specialist with a prominent marine insurance company, the incident took place on a 130-foot motor yacht near St. Barths in spring 2008. It happened at night, although the record is unclear whether the vessel was at anchor or underway when the crew realized that the tender was adrift.

What is clear in the report is that a hasty recovery attempt cost the captain his life.

The claims specialist admits the details are hard to believe. When the captain realized the tender was loose, he ran to the stern.

The report states that the tender’s lights (it does not clarify whether running lights or anchor lights) were on and the captain claimed that he could see the tender. According to the report, he felt he could reach the tender and decided he was going to swim for it.

“From what I understand, he just jumped in and started swimming,” the specialist says. “He didn’t even put on a life jacket.” The report then states that the captain swam about halfway to the tender when he apparently realized that the current was pulling him in the wrong direction while the wind was blowing the tender farther out of reach. Realizing his precarious situation, he called for help.

The mate immediately scrambled to launch the inflatable from the boat deck, but as the incident occurred at night, the crew were unable to keep a visual on the captain.

Because the tender’s lights were on, the mate was able to get to the tender; however, the captain was not aboard. After exhausting his comfort threshold looking for the captain, the mate contacted the coast guard to aid in the search. Both French and Dutch officials joined the search that night and continued to look for the captain for several days. The captain’s brother also flew down to assist. However, the 42-year-old captain was never found.

“The owner obviously was very upset,” the claims specialist recalls. “He couldn’t understand why the captain didn’t just leave the tender, which was both insured and replaceable. If the conditions were dangerous, why would he take such a risk?”

We may never really know why. Perhaps his judgment was affected because there were guests aboard at the time and he felt an urgency to retrieve the tender to preserve the trip. Whatever the case, the ill-fated recovery resulted in the captain being lost at sea.

Specialists in maritime loss prevention are acutely aware of the number of maritime incidents and tragedies that ultimately can be attributed to captains who lacked sufficient experience for handling atypical situations.

“Most captains have sea time and certificates that qualify them for normal conditions,” one specialist says. “However, there are many captains with vessel command who lack sufficient experience in dealing with the unexpected.”

“Unfortunately, scenarios like this are not a part of the normal licensing curriculum. Towing is covered, but only in terms of load limit calculations and procedures under normal conditions,” says Tom Dante, the dean of the Chapman School of Seamanship in Stuart, Florida. “A lot of yachts tow an Intrepid or Contender these days and it’s very important that the towing rig is sufficient and to use something like a Mighty Tow setup. However, even with the best setup, the weakest point is usually the towing eye.”

If you lose a tender, “Don’t panic and rush to a decision,” Dante advises. “If you’re underway, turn back, circle around the tender and get a feel for the sea state. Prudence is the better part of valor. If you cannot come about to assess the situation, then a recovery may be too dangerous,” he says. “Your boat has insurance; the tender can be replaced if it’s not recovered. Once you get in the water, you are taking your life into your own hands – getting into the tender from the water while it’s adrift can be very dangerous and if [the tender] does not start, attempting to get back aboard the big boat is even more dangerous.” However, if you’re at anchor and can safely launch the inflatable, then that is likely the safest option for retrieving a boat that’s adrift.

If you’re in a situation that requires someone to get into the water, “Never get in the water without flotation,” Dante says. “At the minimum, wear a wetsuit, but you should always wear a PFD so you’re protected if something goes wrong.

The boat should get as close to the tender as safely possible before anyone jumps in, and a tag line with a buoy or fender should be used as a safety precaution.”

Ultimately, both Dante and the claims specialist agree that none of these steps should be taken unless you are very confident that you will be able to safely board and retrieve the tender under the conditions.

If not, let it go. It will be much easier to explain to the yacht’s owner that he needs to file a claim on the tender than it would be to explain that a member of the crew was lost trying to save it.


Henning
Posted: Saturday, July 18, 2009 2:04 PM
Joined: 01/06/2008
Posts: 1049


While I think this is an important post as an exemplar, I think it is not a great one to put into a discussion forum. There is only one direction the discussion can possibly go, and it would be quite unkind to a dead person and would invoke the treaties written by a man named Charles who sailed on the Beagle.
rwoods3942
Posted: Saturday, July 18, 2009 3:00 PM
Joined: 26/11/2008
Posts: 9


I agree not a very good forum, we need to have respect for our industry and leave this one alone. Captain Ron Paramour
hullothere
Posted: Saturday, July 18, 2009 3:00 PM
Joined: 16/06/2008
Posts: 6


It is an unfortunate set of circumstances in which this Captain lost his life. UNfortunately, training and proper tender tow are the causes for 99.9% of all mishaps with a towable tender.
Capt.Dave
Posted: Saturday, July 18, 2009 3:09 PM
Joined: 11/04/2009
Posts: 20


You have got to check and double check your tow set up and put that extrat bite on the cleat if you're tying up to the hip. A lot of times you see crew in a hurry to attend to the guests at anchor or you've got a stew trying to hook up with the big boat after leaving the dock, and all she wants to do is get out of the tender while the mate is trying to fend it off the swim platform and get hooked up. Towing a tender is dangerous business. Good idea to think through what you should be doing and what you might do if things go wrong. Hasty decisions are prone to tragic outcomes. Just because you are on the hook does not mean that the sea is any less dangerous. It's a scary story, but if you ask me it's a long overdue wake up call for a few boats that have some bad habits.
hullothere
Posted: Saturday, July 18, 2009 3:09 PM
Joined: 16/06/2008
Posts: 6


It is an unfortunate set of circumstances in which this Captain lost his life. UNfortunately, training and proper tender tow are the causes for 99.9% of all mishaps with a towable tender. I have towed tenders before, as well as 400 foot barges across Oceans in a past life. Training and Proper tow set up are not done, nor followed in this industry. More times than not, I have seen, with utter shock, a man get in the water to retrieve a tender. NOBODY gets in the water in the Towing profession to retrieve ANYTHING. Make that RULE number 1 before ever agreeing to tow anything. Plan for the eventual loss of the tender, and practice the retrieval without ever getting somebody wet, or injured, or damaging the yacht. This topic needs discussion in detail with all of the complexities of proper towing. Just please, always remember RULE 1. Nobody gets in the water... I will bring this topic up again later in a future posting, or article.
Capt.Dave
Posted: Saturday, July 18, 2009 3:16 PM
Joined: 11/04/2009
Posts: 20


You know it is possible to have a responsible discussion about this topic without it turing into a trial for the captain. Those who are unwilling to learn from history (however unfortunate it may be) are doomed to repeat it. But anyone thinking about turning this into a persoal assault on the captain should have the common decency to keep their thoughts to themself.
Henning
Posted: Saturday, July 18, 2009 4:00 PM
Joined: 01/06/2008
Posts: 1049


Well, this particular one has nowhere to go but downhill. The errors in thought processes are egregious. As for the Towing issue and yacht crews no being properly trained in towing, on that I agree completely. I used to run for Crowley towing big barges around, and there are a lot of hazards to towing, and most yacht crews should only be towing with polypropylene line. A few years ago, a friend in the industry gave me a call. She was all happy that she had a position on a nice 93' Cheoy Lee with good people onboard. She told ne how they were going to be towing some 25' Contender around and had just got a great new towing rig made of Plasma line and I immediately interrupted her and said "Take it back, y'all aren't qualified to tow with Plasma, someone is going to get hurt. Get Polypro, it floats." "Well, we already have it, and they like it, it's supposed to be the greatest thing..." "Yep, the stuff is great, it's extremely strong but it sinks. The stuff is for professional towing crews who know the hazards. " Well, no time, we're leaving anyway" "Ok, be very careful when making and breaking tow and shortening up..." About a week later I got a call..."OMG, it was horrible I was looking out the back window (she was the chef/stew) as we were shortening up and the wind was blowing and the captain (the deckhands husband, how would you like to be responsible for your wife losing her foot?) had to put it in reverse and all of a sudden the deckhand was yanked off her feet and the line was twisted around her ankle and her foot caught under the lip of the cockpit and it just cut it off and blood was squirting everywhere..." "Ahhhh crap, I hate "Told ya so's"..." Luckily, all the girl lost was her foot. I have seen much worse when doing anchor handling setting rigs. Towing entails a lot of extra hazards that both the captain and deck crew need to be aware of and you really need to know what you're doing as captain. I have seen some yacht crews doing make and break evolutions that just made me shudder. These are large masses with high horsepowers and greater inertias. In any conflict between them and flesh and bone, flesh and bone always loses.
Clive C-W
Posted: Saturday, July 18, 2009 4:01 PM
Joined: 25/09/2008
Posts: 12


Hmm, nothing new here.  I have just read a book writen in the 1930s with a very similar story.  Two boys, aground in a gale in the Thames estuary, painter parts, one swims to rescue the tender (in his underwear in winter!), oar breaks, spark plugs from outboard had been removed and stowed in the yacht to save them from getting wet, second boy swims to his aid, both are swept away but fortunately rescued.  Could have been a very simialr story, just with 80 years differance.
I agree that this is not the place to write advice about how to avoid such tragedies.  The poor chap made a bad decision on the spur of the moment and paid dearly for it.  We all make bad decisions with the best of intentions and are very lucky when we get away with it.  How to tow a tender and what knot to use is irellevant, do we all stop to think just what risks we are taking in order to try to cut the number of bad decisions we make?

Capt.Dave
Posted: Saturday, July 18, 2009 5:00 PM
Joined: 11/04/2009
Posts: 20


You guys are sending some mixed messages. You say,"I don't think this is the right forum for this subject, but since we are already talking about it, here's what I think..." There is no shame in learning from your own mistakes and the mistakes of others. If you don't talk about it here, then you just might end up talking about it at the memorial service for the next guy who makes the same mistake because he did not know any better. Part of being a good captain is being a good teacher and helping others to learn from your experience. If you are not prepared to teach, then you shouldn't try to lead. Why does everyone's pucker-factor redline whenever someone tries to talk about things that really matter? There's important lessons to be learned here. I'm looking forward to seeing more from captains with smart advice like you "hullothere", because I think there are young captains out there who could benefit from experienced wisdom on this tragic accident.
Richard
Posted: Saturday, July 18, 2009 7:18 PM
Joined: 29/07/2008
Posts: 10


It is worth remembering that laws have been enacted to make us all safer after loss of life. Solas came about after the Titanic disaster and more recently ISM after The Herald of Free Enterprise rolled over. It is tragic to lose a single life but the family and friends of a lost person would surely wish that others could learn to avoid the same fate by being made aware of the dangers related to any incident. We are all 'at peril on the seas' and it is important to give as much exposure to those 'dangers' as possible. It is especially important for those with more experience to expose the dangers to all the youngsters coming into the industry. This discussion will not make law but may just save one life ... that makes it worthwhile.
LeAnn
Posted: Saturday, July 18, 2009 7:55 PM
Joined: 16/07/2008
Posts: 11


I too agree with Captain Dave that we all can learn from the mistakes of others. This discussion forum is the place to be for anyone who works in the industry to learn what it takes to make their job a safer place.

I am not here to judge the Captain in his decision making that ultimately took his life, but I do believe that his actions do require us to take a good look at the practices that we use on board our places of employment. Are all necessary safety precautions implemented? Does everyone on board know how to handle a "Man over Board" situation or any emergency situation such as a run away tender?

We all can question the actions of the Captain, but what we really should be doing is questioning the crew. How knowledgeable is the crew and is everyone on the same page?


Being lucky to have worked with a Captain who made it a habit of discussing with his crew the "What if's and How to's'' has given me some great knowledge I needed in order to work in a safer environment. It has been said so often that knowledge is only good if you give it away!

It is tragic that a life was lost at sea so now we must learn from it.

My condolences goes out to his family and friends.

Anonymous
Posted: Saturday, July 18, 2009 9:02 PM
OK, some horror stories, some opinions but only 2 bits of useful advice. I think the idea of towing a comfortable tender that is too large to go on deck is catching on and we are seeing it more and more in the industry. I have been a Captain for some years now and this is my first where we are towing a very large tender.
I consider myself reasonably experienced but am ashamed to say that while contemplating different scenarios and possible courses of action while towing, the idea of someone getting in the water had been considered. After reading this I am now aware of the stupidity of this line of thinking so am very appreciative of the advice given. Any other rules we novices can follow??
In addition, as tragic as any disaster is, if discussion can prevent just one future accident then does this not outweigh the morality. No one is perfect and we all make mistakes. Learn from our and the mistakes of others and we are progressing.

yachtone
Posted: Saturday, July 18, 2009 10:48 PM
Joined: 27/07/2008
Posts: 96


I think we are missing something here, this was such a poor decision that I have to conclude that the Capt. was not thinking properly & with guests on board I would  guess that fatigue was probably a major factor. Even following regulations it can be difficult to get enough uninterrupted  sleep . Fatigue can really fowl up the reasoning process, even if we can function on our own autopilot doing our routine job any abnormal event can expose our frailty.

Anonymous
Posted: Sunday, July 19, 2009 6:39 AM
I can't believe the original post advises wearing a PFD or wetsuit to go in the water. NEVER get in the water with a large tow. If it is too rough to launch another boat to get to the tow then it is way too dangerous to try swimming for it, especially underway. You are risking your life and becoming a victim in what is already a rescue situation. The tender is an inanimate insured object. You are not. I'm an Aussie beach trained lifeguard with 5 years on beaches worldwide, some SAR training and cliff rescue experience and you wouldn't get me jumping in for it.
Henning
Posted: Sunday, July 19, 2009 9:45 AM
Joined: 01/06/2008
Posts: 1049


Capt Dave, I believe I said this is the wrong subject for this forum, ie: a discussion forum. The original post in and of itself does an adequate job of pointing out the salient facts required to educate. It would be a good article for reading and discussing with crew aboard while training them. Discussion of this event and doing a "root cause analysis" will lead eventually to one word, "Stupid". There was a chain of errors in action and judgement here. Nearly every fatal accident I have been involved in the investigation of in either the maritime or aviation sectors has had a chain of 6 factors leading to the fatality. The factors can involve physical failure of components and machinery, human errors in handling components and machinery, and errors in judgement handling the failures. Typically, all three factors are involved. The last factor though, errors in judgement in handling the failures is typically the final precipitant in the fatality. The sad thing given this result is, the fatality chain can be broken between any two links and it resets, so there were multiple failures between each of which the proper actions by the captain could have broken the chain and prevented the casualty. In this case, there were egregious violations of protocol. First off, the master does not leave the vessel, or more typically the wheelhouse, in an emergency, especially with passengers onboard. Read the station bill, take BRM, read your ISM/SMS manual... They all dictate the same thing. The master is on the bridge coordinating. It's the mates job to be "on scene" Secondly, the master NEVER allows someone to risk life or limb to save material, never. There is nothing on a boat that can't be repaired or replaced. I always instruct my crew, "If it looks like I'm going to slam into something, get the hell clear from there. I can fix the boat quicker, cheaper and easier than I can fix you, and your actions won't amount to a hill of beans difference in the damage to the boat. Thirdly, he did not accurately asses the conditions or risks involved, ie: winds and currents. Fourth, he made an incorrect evaluation of the urgency of the situation. He should have launched the on board tender right away and sent the mate and deck on watch off to recover the the towed tender while supervising their progress. If the mothership was underway he should have proceeded on course to the proximity of the intercept to the closet point he had safe water if that was a factor. There were so many basic and fundamental errors on his part that in discussing them all individually bring to question the guys suitability to be the master of a vessel. From there the conversation will just degrade the guy even further. The guy is dead, the facts speak for themselves and did in the first post. If you need them pointed out to you, you probably shouldn't be running as captain yet. Captain is not a training position. By the time you are entrusted as Master of a vessel, this stuff should all be ingrained in your very being. Your first thoughts on everything that you are about to do should always be "What can possibly go wrong here, and how can I best mitigate that risk?" and you should be instantly able to come up with the appropriate answers. If a person cannot or does not do that, then they are still in the realm of experience which makes them Mates. Mate is a learning position. Master is exactly that, someone who has mastered their craft. Sure, we still make errors, but we recognize the errors and break the accident chain before a casualty occurs. That's the difference, recognition. Never let errors, yours or others, compound. Perhaps if he would have spent some more time as a Mate, he'd be alive today. In this industry, the yachting sector, I see an awful lot of people rushing into being "Captain". I recently met a young man with all of a year aboard yachts (no previous maritime experience) who took a course and passed a test and is now a Yacht Master. I spoke with him before he took his test and stated frankly, "You're not ready, you simply don't gain the experience required to fulfill all your responsibilities and liabilities as Master in a year, even if you are out on a boat that is working every day." He didn't like hearing that. He wants to be Captain. He argued the point with me, and I ended the conversation with, "Remember this, Master means you are morally, civilly and criminally responsible for everything that happens. If you get someone killed through your actions or inactions you can, and in many countries will, go to prison for manslaughter. Besides, how would you feel if you got someone maimed or killed?" I walked away, I'm not sure if it sank in.
Henning
Posted: Sunday, July 19, 2009 9:52 AM
Joined: 01/06/2008
Posts: 1049


Yachtone, therein lies a Catch-22 situation because it's the captains responsibility to assure everyone, including himself, is properly rested. The reasoning that he was fatigued is self indicting negligence. He's guilty of Manslaughter, he happened to be his own victim. Had it been the mate or deckie, he'd be in prison rather than dead.
Henning
Posted: Sunday, July 19, 2009 10:04 AM
Joined: 01/06/2008
Posts: 1049


LeAnn, the crew is irrelevant. The Master bears the sole responsibility. It's in the definition of the job title. Could the actions or inactions of the crew been a precipitating factor? Of course, but that is not a mitigating factor because the Master is responsible for the actions of his crew and the training of them. He should not undertake towing evolutions until they are all properly trained, or being supervised by someone properly trained and experienced. That is his duty and responsibility, so if it is a factor, it is yet another failure on his part. This is why I thought this was a poor case for discussion, because every angle leads to the failure of the captain and makes him look like a complete idiot. While this is something we discuss in private onboard while training our crews and in class rooms, discussing it on an internet forum open to public search is not a kind thing. Consider that a family member may come across this thread on a Google search or something. It just has a bad flavor.
Henning
Posted: Sunday, July 19, 2009 10:16 AM
Joined: 01/06/2008
Posts: 1049


Anonymous, the best advice I can give you on towing is to use a polypropylene towing rig with no metal parts. Polypro floats which helps keep you out of the greatest hazard and that is catching the tow line in the prop while maneuvering. The tow line should also be lead to a winch so crew can shorten tow while the vessel is still making way. This again reduces the hazard of getting the line in the prop, and also allows you to keep steerageway and maneuvering speed on the vessel when coming into a tight situation with an adverse wind or current. Since the tow is small, you can keep adequate maneuverability while leaving the tow line pivot behind the rudder posts so it can be run through a fairlead/tiedown at the very stern of the boat if that is desired. The truth is, most yachts are not rigged for towing properly, but since the tows are small, it's feasible with some minor rigging. The bridal sets I see yachts using are wholly unsafe and a huge liability risk. Lastly, always have a sharp axe near the tow line and if in doubt, cut that puppy loose, it's insured and nothing to let anyone get injured over or allow to put the primary vessel at risk for.
yachtone
Posted: Sunday, July 19, 2009 12:25 PM
Joined: 27/07/2008
Posts: 96


Henning wrote:
Yachtone, therein lies a Catch-22 situation because it's the captains responsibility to assure everyone, including himself, is properly rested. The reasoning that he was fatigued is self indicting negligence. He's guilty of Manslaughter, he happened to be his own victim. Had it been the mate or deckie, he'd be in prison rather than dead.
Henning. I was not making excuses, I was highlighting a factor that is often overlooked in these situations as a warning to others. While we have the regulations & make every effort to get adequate sleep a noisy party starting on the deck above your head just after you get to sleep can spoil your plans, as can a charter guest demanding to see you to discuss where they want to be when they get up at 11am. These are facts of life for a charter boat Capt. This discussion is a warning of the importance of mitigating these factors.

Captainrandysea
Posted: Sunday, July 19, 2009 12:57 PM
Joined: 10/04/2009
Posts: 3


The best lessons learned and experience in dealing with critical situations is, unfotunately, often at the expense of others. A tragic outcome leaves valuable lessons in it's wake. 1.) Have a plan. Having a proper tow make-up is crucial. Poly is acceptable in calm seas but has no stretch....it parts easily under shock load. A link with shock absorbing line is usefull in choppy seas. Rough seas require slower tow speeds to prevent shock loads.  2.) Have a contingiency plan. Retreival of a lost tow should be part of the crew training just as MOB or firefighting needs to be. Know the possible problems retrieving a lost tender may create and have a plan before things go wrong. Captains stay in the pilothouse / Mates are on scene....no one goes in the water. If a towline parts you should have a spare to re-rig the tow. If the towing eye breaks, have a bridle to connect to the bow cleats of the tender....towing a tender alongside ( on the hip ) is not an option in choppy seas. 3.) Get educated. There is a lot more to towing a tender than making a towline fast at each end. There are some excellent reference books related to towing that would be usefull to the novice. Don't be afraid to ask for advice from those experienced in towing tenders on a regular basis.....quite often they will provide valuable information on what NOT to do based on previous experiences.

 

 


Anonymous
Posted: Sunday, July 19, 2009 6:51 PM
I don't really have much to contribute to this conversation since I am still pretty new to this industry and have more "helm time" with a chamois than I do anyting else. But I wanted to say that I have learned more in the last 10 minutes reading this forum than I have in the last 10 months. Hullothere, Captain Dave, any chance either of you are looking for someone with really good chamois handling skills?
Anonymous
Posted: Monday, July 20, 2009 3:24 AM
Another mistake that is commonly made is not having a long enough towline, especially in a following sea. Many years ago Dockwalk printed an excellent article written by the captain of a well known Feadship that was towing something like a 34ft. Bertram around. They went to great trouble to design a proper bridle and to train the crew for as thoroughly as possible. As I recall the name of the yacht was Orion. As Captain Henning has tried to emphasize here the forces at work are so often underestimated and the potential for serious injury and death is very real when towing anything. I recall a deckhand on a waverunner who was towing a second waverunner back to the yacht when he had to slow down the towline was sucked into intakes of his waverunner, unfortunately the line managed to be wrapped around several of his toes which were quickly snapped off like baby carrots. Naturally in shock, he dove into the water in an unsuccessful attempt to retrieve his severed toes. Later he recalled the surreal image of his toes sinking downward through the crystal clear waters of the Bahamas. Just so you know, toes are more important that you might think. The comment above that describes the terrible accident that severed the foot of the Captain's wife is another instance of a sadly preventable tragedy. Maybe in that instance years spent on a sailboat and keeping your body parts away from coiled lines might have produced an instinctual response that might have kept her safer, but losing one's foot is a hard lesson.
Henning
Posted: Monday, July 20, 2009 10:13 AM
Joined: 01/06/2008
Posts: 1049


Yachtone, you are very correct, fatigue is a major issue in the maritime industry, and yachting in particular where there are no minimum safe manning rules below 500 tons. This topic has been discussed on this forum before. Smaller charter (and private) boats typically run far understaffed for the hours of operation involved. It's interesting the jump in crew size when that 500 ton mark is hit. Can a 499 ton vessel safely operate with half the crew of a 501 ton vessel? If there aren't 3 full watches, there is no way to stay out of dangerous fatigue levels on operations lasting more than 4 days, and typically actually one and a half days the way most boats are run. Watching the schedules chefs keep, I'm surprised we don't see more "finger food". :-O Again, it's still the masters responsibility to make sure everyone is rested, even if that means making the foredeck over the crews quarters restricted access, and making sure that there is adequate crewing to meet the demands of the operation and provide proper rest. Hence the Catch 22 because that's pretty much impossible on a yacht that doesn't require a Minimum Safe Manning certificate. Very few owners will go for it. The only way a captain can limit his liability on this is to draw up his own MSM requirements and present them to the owner and have proof of rejection (e-mails are good for this) by the owner. Masters are liability buffers for owners. Liability law works under Respondeat Superior (Let The Master Answer). The owner is the Masters superior. If the owner rejects the Masters advice, he then takes the liability. If the Master never presents the issue, then he as the hired expert takes the liability. Another issue with this aboard yachts is bunking for crew. In the old days, crews were "hot racked". You woke your relief and climbed into the bunk as they climbed out. Last Hot Rack boat I worked on was 10 years ago, and it has since had accomodations added.
Anonymous
Posted: Monday, July 20, 2009 2:28 PM
If we are going to have high hopes that a bunch of rookie crew are going to get something useful out of this conversation, then those who are attempting to provide good guidance should show some self dicipline and keep all comments constructive. There is no need to evoke the treatise of Darwinism or use language like "stupity" and "finger food" to expalin a tragedy. >>>>>>>> It is a slippery slope to even imply that all tragedies are the ultimately the captain's fault. Nothing productive is going to come out of laying blame. You can't blame one captain without blaming the captain who trained him or the captain in the boat beside him who bragged at the bar how he was able to swim-after and rescue a 32-foot tender in 10 foot seas and hundreds of fathoms of water. How about blaming the process that licensed this captain without including a course on this type of situation, which seems to happen to everyone sooner or later?>>>>>>>> Accidents at sea and colossally bad decisions seldom boil down to just one thing. Like others have said, it could have been fatigue. It could have been that the guests were bent and pressured the captain into making a rash decision. A lot of ramdom factors could have come into play.>>>>>>>> Le Ann's comment is a good one. A captain is only as good as his crew and a crew only as good as the captain. Some captains talked about this on the forum about the Espresso crash. If crew are not sure what the captain's emergency plans are for something like this, then sit his ass down and ask him. Make him think about it and make him convince you that his plan is not only a good one, but the safest one.>>>>>>>> My own two cents on the towing topic. Use two tow lines. Seeing a lot more boats doing that these days and it makes sense. I've also seen tenders being sent on a sea servant without the big boat. I think that makes a lot of sense. It may be more money than the boss wants to spend to send the big boat, but shipping the tender is not that expensive and makes the passage safer and less stressful for everyone. Niether of these things probably would have changed the outcome of the story that started this topic, but could in the event of about 100 other scenarios.
kdhguard00
Posted: Monday, July 20, 2009 3:16 PM
Joined: 16/09/2008
Posts: 31


We all have our own opinions, and this is a good thing.  We learn from our captains, our crewmates, our experiences and their experiences.  Too often, this industry has an unfortunate mix of too little concrete training and too much "my way or the highway".  This leads to a blind acceptance of the boat rules and discourages individual problem solving.  I have had a few captains misinterpret my curiosity for a personal challenge.  After they would bark back, I just began to shut up and shut down.  We could all open our minds a little in regards to any discussion.

JakeG
Posted: Monday, July 20, 2009 5:08 PM
Joined: 12/12/2008
Posts: 22


I have to say I am surprised that so many people are saying you NEVER swim for the tender. There are circumstances when swimming for a loose tender is not a suicidal idea. We take our guests diving when its 2-4 foot swells on the surface (sometimes more if they are experienced). We get in and out of the tender with all our scuba gear on and that’s not suicidal. How is it any different when it’s the middle of the day and you lose the tender because of a careless error or bad gear in moderate conditions? Assuming you have a good feel for the conditions, I don’t think there is anything wrong with following the advice from the Chapman’s guy. You put on a life vest and a pair of fins in case there’s current, you get as close as you safely can with the big boat, throw out a tag line just in case, put a crewman with a radio on the stern to keep watch and go get the boat. I know several people who have done this without incident. I also know people who have done this under crazy conditions and shown bad judgement. If you think it through, and it’s not safe, then it’s not safe, but I disagree that it’s NEVER safe. I think the problem with what happened in St. Barths is that it happened at night. If they were able to launch the inflatable, then it sounds like the conditions were pretty calm. Things may have turned out okay if the captain had on fins and floatation used a line and it happened in the day. So, I’d say what I get out of this is just because something is reasonably safe to do in the day, it’s possible for it to be too dangerous to duplicate at night so you really need to have more than one set of plans for any given situation.
Megellan55
Posted: Tuesday, July 21, 2009 2:51 AM
Joined: 06/03/2009
Posts: 3


I think this is a good place for this discussion, if not here then where? I know many yachts are now towing their tenders. I think this example could make everyone aware that you could die if you jump in the water to try to retrieve a tender without a life jacket. I would hope that this discussion would make captains aware that they need to have a plan if the tender has come adrift. Maybe make a Williamson turn and head back for the tender, then when close with everyone called out have a plan for re-boarding and securing the tender. Having the watch check the tender when underway every 30 minutes might be prudent also. This discussion would be a good one for the weekly safety meeting. I am reminded of the story of the man who is down and unconscious in a confined space and then the person who goes to rescue the person goes down too because he didn't put on a OBA. Instead of having one dead person now you have two. If I hadn't heard this story in a class somewhere maybe I would make the same mistake. For sure learning from the mistakes of others through reading and dicussion is a good thing. The knowledge gained could just save your life or someones else's life and from my point of view there is no disrespect to the person who you are talking about even if they ended up dead. Really this is all the more reason to talk about it. Smooth Seas!
junior
Posted: Tuesday, July 21, 2009 8:24 AM
Joined: 14/01/2009
Posts: 1026


Its rather amazing that no one on this forum has questioned the original advice given by Tom Dante, the dean of the Chapman School of Seamanship in Stuart, Florida. “Your boat has insurance; the tender can be replaced if it’s not recovered. "let it go. It will be much easier to explain to the yacht’s owner that he needs to file a claim on the tender than it would be to explain that a member of the crew was lost trying to save it. " Tom, when you knowingly release a 30ft floating obstruction into the sea you are knowingly endangering the lives of that young family sailing their 40footer at night. Will you find it easy to explain the loss of their lives to their next of kin ? Your caviler view towards the safety of fellow mariners ,by the loss of a large tenders , reflects an arrogance typical in the Mega yacht world. We got the money, we are in a hurry...who cares what kind of problems our arrogance causes. Mr Dante, the correct response to a tender broken free is to STAND ON STATION for as long as it takes to retrieve the tender, call in a professional or sink the floating obstruction.
captain Alexander Proch
Posted: Tuesday, July 21, 2009 10:35 AM
Joined: 28/07/2008
Posts: 2


I have juste finished a longtime job on a yacht that towed a large tender.
The captain installed a system on the tender with which we could locate it if it ever broke free. He also had in mind if it were ever stolen we could locate it as the system was placed so that it was not easily found.

we did loose the tender once but were able to locate it with the radar, it took several hours to get it back as the seas were big. We took the big boat back to the tender and circled it, the captain would never have left the big boat as that is his responsibility, that and the people on board. we would never have let the tender go either.
A crew member volunteered to swim over, he had on a wet suit, a vest and a cycle helmet (which turned out to be a very good idea). He took a line when he swam over, in case he couldn't make it so that we could pull him back.
As I say after hours of hard work we had the tender tied back up safely and no damage was done. I think it took so long because we didn't take any risks.
A shackle had failed. We were lucky that we didn't have guests on board, as that adds an extra stress.

I am very sorry to hear that someone lost their life.
We live a dangerous lifestyle, we do not need to take more risks then is absolutely necessary.

Anonymous
Posted: Tuesday, July 21, 2009 1:03 PM

It would be good to have facts straight before posting a blog with a yachts name involved. The Fedship mentioned was not towing a Bertram. I think sometimes for our own sake it is better to leave the yachts names anonymous. This is the first time I have posted anonymous, and am not trying to attack or offend anyone.

As this discusion began, it was said certain things were left out for legal reasons and respect, I agree with this decision.

I do feel that if we are trying to learn a lesson from this it should be the USE OF DRUGS AND ALCOHOL in yachting. I mean no disrespect, but hope it can be a lesson learned!


yachtone
Posted: Tuesday, July 21, 2009 1:33 PM
Joined: 27/07/2008
Posts: 96


PLEASE everybody, read the original post, if the yacht was underway & towing the tender who was driving it, not the Capt. not the mate, who ? This must have happened at anchor or the whole situation is beyond ridiculous. Capt. Alex relates a tale  showing that with intelligent forethought we can retrieve a tender, this is what we are paid to do, we use intelligence to work around the dangers & if we can do so safely we retrieve the owners property so he wont have to buy a new one. INSURANCE you say, well have you looked at the cost & restrictions to insure a tender under tow, they're expensive & onerous & no wonder with the attitude shown by some in this discussion. Regarding Alcohol & Drugs there should be no need to discuss these dangers amongst professionals.

Anonymous
Posted: Tuesday, July 21, 2009 2:04 PM
I'm not a captain so please no one rip me apart for asking this if it's a stupid question. I work on a boat that lost a tender for the same reason Captain Alexander did. The shackle broke. I've done a lot of rock climbing and mountaineering, and whenever a good climber sets up something like a top-rope or a belay or rappel line you use 2 carabiners with opposing gates so you do not plummet to your fate if one fails or gets compromised while climbing. So I have two serious questions. 1) Is the shackle failing a common reason for losing a tender or is it just coincidence that Captain Alexander and I have both been on boats where that happened? 2) If it is a pretty common reason for losing a tender, then does it make sense to use two shackles with opposing gates/bites (whatever the official word is for the part that opens on a shackle) when towing?
benjaminfisher
Posted: Tuesday, July 21, 2009 3:41 PM
Joined: 10/05/2008
Posts: 21


It is common for shackles to fail. They need to be replaced often as fatigue cracks that are not visible grow corosion and will lead to failure. A double shackle system, or even better a double tow line is a great idea. However it creates more work to set up each time you tow. And it is an additional expense to add a proper tow eye on the tender that will add redundency. This would seem a minimal expense in the over all sceme of things but we all know how the boss reacts when spending his money. I have suggested that system for our tow and was quikly turned down.

In this discussion, I don't think we are talking about a 130' yacht. I beleive it was a 100' hatterass working with three crew. On boats this size the capatins have to be more involved than just sitting on the bridge managing the situation. "The master is on the bridge coordinating. It's the mates job to be "on scene"". It takes two sets of hands to do a lot of things and that means the captain has to leave the bridge. I have had to recover a tender at sea and had to leave the stew on the helm while I went to the aft deck to recover the tow with the mate. Working at sea can be a risky job. We have rules in place and practice safe vessel operation but you cannot eliminate the risks of working at sea.

I agree that fatigue, drugs and alcohol are all a serious issue in the yachting industry today.


Anonymous
Posted: Tuesday, July 21, 2009 4:22 PM
So going back to the original story. What SHOULD the captain have done? I agree, it only makes sense if they were at anchor, so what is the right thing to do if you lose your tender at night while you are at anchor? And what if the inflatable is your only tender and that's what just floated away?
LeAnn
Posted: Tuesday, July 21, 2009 4:35 PM
Joined: 16/07/2008
Posts: 11


Joined: 01/06/2008
Posts: 55


LeAnn, the crew is irrelevant. The Master bears the sole responsibility. It's in the definition of the job title. Could the actions or inactions of the crew been a precipitating factor? Of course, but that is not a mitigating factor because the Master is responsible for the actions of his crew and the training of them. He should not undertake towing evolutions until they are all properly trained, or being supervised by someone properly trained and experienced. That is his duty and responsibility, so if it is a factor, it is yet another failure on his part. This is why I thought this was a poor case for discussion, because every angle leads to the failure of the captain and makes him look like a complete idiot. While this is something we discuss in private onboard while training our crews and in class rooms, discussing it on an internet forum open to public search is not a kind thing. Consider that a family member may come across this thread on a Google search or something. It just has a bad flavor.

__________________________________________________________________________________________

Henning, I do respect your opinion and input on this discussion, however, I disagree with you when you say that the Master bears the sole responsibility of the vessel. The Captain is not responsible for the training of his crew; he is responsible for hiring crew who are trained and certified in the positions that they were hired for.
As we all know working in this industry and getting the proper amount of sleep is almost next to impossible, especially when there are guest on board. It is in the definition of the job title for crew to expect sleep deprivation, lack of privacy, but great money. The Captain has only so much room to move in respect to the proper amount of sleep the crew gets. The guest who are paying thousands of dollars are not paying for the crew to get there 8 hours of sleep, they are paying for great service which requires crew to work on average of 16-18 hour days.
All of the facts that lead to this tragic loss are not given so it leads us to speculate on our own as to what could have prevented it. We do not know what instructions were given to his crew, if there was any pressure put on the Captain to retrieve the tender, or what the conditions were when the tender went adrift. What I was trying to say in response to this discussion is that we "ALL" should discuss this on board our vessels and make sure that each and every crew member is on the same page when it comes to emergency situations. That is why I feel that having this discussion here on Dockwalk is important. There are so many tragedies that have happened and there are a lot of people working in this industry who have a great deal of knowledge to pass on to people like me. It is in my opinion that the Captain does not bear the sole responsibility of the vessel; he is only responsible for the end result.
The discussions on this tragic accident have been for the most part respectful and informative, yet you say that Dockwalk is not the right place to discuss this because it has a bad flavor. For someone who doesn't think this is the place for this discussion you sure are doing a lot of talking. It is under the assumption that the family would not like us discussing this, but did anyone ask them? Maybe they do think talking about this loss is important if it can save someone else from going through a loss too.
If we compare apples to apples, please consider what the FAA does after an accident of any kind. They name names and give all pertinent information about the accident so that the safety standards can be improved. So why shouldn't we do the same thing here in the yachting industry? The end result is what is important, right?

Cap'n C
Posted: Wednesday, July 22, 2009 12:37 AM
Joined: 29/04/2009
Posts: 38


I do agree with Henning, the master bears sole responsibility, by law and custom. Even more so, the master is totally responsible for the training of his crew. By law he/she cannot leave harbour before he/she has assured that the crew and ship are fit for the voyage, prior training or no. So many masters have been slapped with heavy fines and even jail time because a supposedly licensed and trained crewmembers slipped up. It goes with the territory. That is why seemingly excellent mates sometimes turn into the ever controlling Captain Satan, while others suffer from perennial indecision. The ones who strike a proper balance, finds his/her comfort zone, and slowly expand areas of expertize and confidence are the ones who make great masters in the end. But it is a journey of patience and wits, ups and downs. As for fatigue and sleep deprivation, it is still the Masters sole responsibility, again, if the crew is not fit, by law DO NOT LEAVE HARBOUR! Fatigue has been an overwhelming factor in most fatalities at sea, but has never exempted a master from penal action, nor has been a mitigating factor, rather it lead to a bigger slap on the wrist. I have learned in my navy days, and also commercial, as master and mate, that a master can never relinquish or delegate responsibility, but he can delegate executive authority. Ie everything that happens aboard is the responsibility of, and on behalf of the master. That is why most places you sign a proper work contract, and most importantly sign that you have read and understood the Masters Standing Orders, amongst other things. The master answers to the company or owner, and legally everybody aboard, mice and men answers to the master, no ifs, no buts. In the RN the captain is called "Father" or "The Old Man" for this reason. If there are crew out there that do not understand the all encompassing responsibility a master have, they should take a good gander at their own attitude and education. If the sketchy description of events mentioned in the first posting, I again agree with Henning, any discussion around the master in question will lead to a unison "what a fool" statement. If events occurred as described a possible explanation was that he was under the influence of some substance. You simply don't relinquish responsibility and command in the dark hours by jumping into the oggin heading for some lights on a dinghy in the distance, however pricey it may be. I suspect that we are not privy to all that transpired that night, but in the end we can safely conclude that if the master is basking in the water screaming for help and ended up there by his own will and doing and the mate spends three hours looking for him in a dinghy, something horribly wrong to place in that masters head! I'm sorry, but I cannot with the events described bring my self to feel any kind of respect for a master who acted in such a way!
Henning
Posted: Wednesday, July 22, 2009 10:48 AM
Joined: 01/06/2008
Posts: 1049


"Henning, I do respect your opinion and input on this discussion, however, I disagree with you when you say that the Master bears the sole responsibility of the vessel. "__________________________________________________ You are welcome to disagree, and I welcome you to provide some evidenciary proof of that statement. However, I believe you will be hard pressed to find any court records to substantiate your opinion. I am always interested though, so if you can find me some legal findings and citations to the contrary of the master having ultimate responsibility for not only making sure the crew is properly trained but also rested, I'd love to read them. Being able to quote legal precedent has bailed me out of a bind before.... Remember this as well, that you are not required to work more than 8 hours, and you are not allowed to volunteer for more than 12. If you work more than 12 hrs and your actions lead to a casualty, you may be held civilly culpable even if you are not on a boat where you can be held criminally culpable. When things go wrong and juries get involved, anything you did or failed to do gets counted against you whether you were required by law or not. If you are on a charter boat that happens to slide around the Minimum Safe Manning regulations by being on a demise charter contract therefore legally not "Commercial", you may get around administrative and criminal penalties. However, that will not apply in a civil court. The plaintiffs attorney will bring the written standards to bear as to what "The Prudent Mariner" would do. You as a crew member if you answer the questions correctly may come out ok. The master however will not. If you were working 18 hr days and said "I didn't know I shouldn't, it's what is expected of me or I will be fired", the jury will take pity on you. The Master however gets no such leniency. It is his duty to know, and in the course of his or her licensing has been instructed on the laws involved. If he chose to disregard the rest requirements because they weren't legally mandated for his vessel, he has left himself wide open in civil court. While criminal and administrative judges are bound by the letter of the law, civil juries have no such edict. If further questioned as to why he didn't have enough crew so that people could get a reasonable amount of rest (the laws governing commercial vessels will be brought forth to show what the maritime industry considers reasonable rest and that is what "The Prudent Mariner Standard" will be based on), the Master can multiply or mitigate the reaction. If he claims that he requested more crew of the owner but was refused (and can prove it such as by making the request via email and getting the response as an emailed reply) then he can mitigate his culpability by shifting it to the owner. If either of them reply that it is financially infeasible to have more crew onboard, they have opened up a double jackpot of entering into the territory of Gross Negligence. In some jurisdictions this opens one up to punitive damages. In other jurisdictions it opens one to manslaughter, and even murder criminal charges if there was a fatality involved. In some jurisdictions (Italy comes to mind) you're open to both. The best possible answer (if it's true) is "I have all my crew berths filled and don't have the room on the vessel to house any more." Now, you can choose to disbelieve any or all of this if you like, but I suggest you do some legal due diligence before acting on that disbelief. BTW, Required Rest rules can also protect you. Capt. Hazelwood (Exxon Valdez) was exonerated of liability in that wreck because he was on his mandatory time off and the OOW was properly licensed and trained, and there was evidence of the training. While the guests are there to enjoy themselves, I have never had any complain when they were told that someone was getting their required sleep in order that everyone remains safe. Most guests don't understand until it is explained to them, but once explained in a polite manner that their safety and that of the entire vessel is hinged that the crew is rested and alert, they are quite understanding and I have found even appreciative of ones professionalism. The trick is that you have to point out that "that lovely young stewardess is responsible for your safety as well as your wine and will be available to serve you in a few hours. In the mean time, is there anything I can help you with?" It's all the Masters job....
Anonymous
Posted: Wednesday, July 22, 2009 2:05 PM
"I am always interested though, so if you can find me some legal findings and citations to the contrary of the master having ultimate responsibility for not only making sure the crew is properly trained but also rested, I'd love to read them." Okay Henning, here's some reading for you. >>>>>>>>>> USCG Title 33 ---Navigation and Navigable Waters----Chapter 1, Section 160.202 - Applicability---(c) Unless otherwise specified...the owner, agent, master, operator or person in charge of a vessel is regulated by...and responsible for compliance. >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>The way the law is WRITTEN the owner is at the top of the totem pole and it clearly indicates that all parties share equal responsibility for code compliance. At no point does it say that the master has the sole or ultimate responsibility for compliance with the law. And don't you think that if it were true that the law ultimately held the captain responsible for all liablity under his watch that it would then be the captain the who would be required to carry liability insurance? It is the owner who hires the captain and the captain works for the owner. The owner can remove the captain's authority at a moments notice. The law will seek out the owner as the ultimate authority of any vessel. And smart owners look for captains who educate their crew to have a shared sense of responsibility for any facet of safety on board.>>>>>>>>>>>>>None of this is really relevant to this conversation. Wasn't the point to get something constructive out of this? Now it's back to pointing fingers.
LeAnn
Posted: Wednesday, July 22, 2009 3:33 PM
Joined: 16/07/2008
Posts: 11


Henning,
Once again I appreciate your opinion, but as this discussion has gone way off course I would like to ask that we go back and focus on the real topic of this discussion. We can point fingers and do the he said she said which would serve no purpose to this topic, so with that said, what do you think would have been the proper procedure for the Captain and his crew in retrieving the tender?
Personally I believe it would be hard to answer the question without all pertinent information
(anchored, underway, conditions, etc...)  concerning that fatal day.
Looking forward to hearing your reply.


Cap'n C
Posted: Wednesday, July 22, 2009 3:52 PM
Joined: 29/04/2009
Posts: 38


>>>>>>>>>> USCG Title 33 ---Navigation and Navigable Waters----Chapter 1, Section 160.202 - Applicability---(c) Unless otherwise specified...the owner, agent, master, operator or person in charge of a vessel is regulated by...and responsible for compliance. >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> It says "OR" not "and", that means that if a master is embarked and responsible for the voyage (person in charge) he/she bears full legal liability. There is no way around it. Masters not in compliance will be slapped with the letter of the law. That does not necessarily mean that any other mentioned will not be subject to prosecution, it is an extension, not a division of culpability. The whole ting is not a zero sum game. Culpability is lashed on in many layers where the person in charge, ie master is the "bun" of this layered cake! It is not a totem pole, it is a way of pinning liability when the situation is not as clear cut as a compliant vessel under way with a master embarked and in command. BTW in the colregs, rule 1 use the same formulation "owner, agent, master, operator or person in charge...". Is the agent in any way culpable for a collision at sea? The Nuremberg defence "I followed orders" is not a mitigating factor and has not been so in international law since 1946. "I didn't know the regs" opens up a different can of worms, lawyers have a field day with this, and lo and behold, suddenly there is icing on the layered cake or perhaps marzipan rose as well, and the bun just got way thicker! International maritime law sometimes, contrary to most nations penal codes, can divide culpability between two or more parties, but it is extremely seldom that masters involved in any accident at sea, regardless of who committed the error, walks without a lions share of the blame. BTW an owner cannot remove a master at his/her whim, but he can REPLACE one master for another. A vessel without an appointed master cannot legally sail Pls, Anon, do come up with something better! Or better yet, get your head around it! And if there is anything to be learned from this discussion, it would be along the lines of "do not relinquish command by jumping into the water to save a piece of kit, stay at your command post, and send a qualified deckie in a dinghy after it with a lifejacket and a radio"
junior
Posted: Wednesday, July 22, 2009 4:43 PM
Joined: 14/01/2009
Posts: 1026


Ya LeAnn, the tender incident got hijacked. The name of the Yacht Tribal Attraction 130 foot motor boat and the tender was a 32 Contender. From the local newspaper you can read..... ST. BARTHS—A yacht captain is lost at sea after jumping into the pitch black waters off coastal St. Barths Monday night trying to save his dinghy, The Daily Herald understands. The man was last seen about 10:15pm when he dove off his yacht, which was anchored at the harbour in Gustavia, in an attempt to retrieve the smaller boat that had started drifting away. Search crews from St. Barths and both French and Dutch St. Maarten could not find him after nearly 18 hours of searching and pulled back their teams early Tuesday afternoon. Jan Drost of St. Maarten Sea Rescue Foundation, one of the groups deployed to find the man, said teams did not usually attempt night-time rescues because the chances of finding anything were low. However, in this case, Sea Rescue’s Rescue 01 vessel and the others were dispatched because the search zone was a well-lit area, increasing the likelihood of rescuing the man. Sea Rescue was dismissed about 3:30am Tuesday after five straight hours searching. The rescue crew from St. Barths MMR pulled out of the waters at about 1:00pm Tuesday afternoon, with no sign of the man. Details of the man’s nationality and the origin of his vessel were not available.
Anonymous
Posted: Wednesday, July 22, 2009 7:06 PM
It appears that the yacht was called Triple Attraction from this article published in the Captain's hometown newspaper. http://www.postandcourier.com/news/2008/may/19/missing_yacht_captain_be_honored41377/
Anonymous
Posted: Wednesday, July 22, 2009 7:18 PM

Brian Quinn

The Post and Courier

Brian Quinn

MOUNT PLEASANT — Brian Quinn loved to travel the sea. He was a professional yacht captain who sailed from New England to South America. It was his job, but also his passion.

Quinn was last seen May 5 when he jumped from a yacht off St. Barts island to retrieve a Zodiac-type boat. The night was moonless and overcast, inky dark.

He called for the crew to come get him. Then he called for help. Then he vanished.

A three-day intensive air and sea search turned up nothing.

"They never recovered a body so he's still listed as missing. There's very little hope that he is alive," said Jeff Quinn, his brother.

His family will remember him at 6 p.m. Thursday in a memorial at Holy Cross Episcopal Church on Daniel Island.

Although foul play is not suspected, his death remains something of a question mark.

Jeff Quinn wonders why the yacht tender was unsecured. "No one could give me an answer as to how it came untied," he said.

Quinn theorized that wind pushed the boat at a clip that outpaced his brother's free-style swimming. He might have tired quickly after a long day at work. Perhaps his muscles cramped up. Or a current might have swept him away. A shark attack? That doesn't fit the reported circumstances. Brian Quinn didn't scream.

Most likely, he simply misjudged the conditions.

"It was just an unfortunate mistake on his part," his brother said.

After graduating from Wando High School, Brian Quinn served six years in the U.S. Coast Guard.

He sailed boats for the well-heeled for more than a decade.

His last trip, from south Florida, was at the helm of the 125-foot-long Triple Attraction.

"Anywhere his boss wanted, that was where he took it," his brother said.

Three weeks ago, Brian Quinn, 45, returned to his home in Bluffton for a family reunion.

"He was excited to be home," his brother said. The family includes his father, Gerald Quinn, a local neurologist, and his mother, Patricia Quinn, a registered nurse.

Jeff Quinn said there is some solace in knowing that his brother died doing what he loved.

"It basically was his life," Jeff Quinn said.


Henning
Posted: Thursday, July 23, 2009 4:51 AM
Joined: 01/06/2008
Posts: 1049


Anonymous, read it again, the operative word in that string is "OR". The reason or is there is because if management/owner refuses to provide for the masters requests to meet standards, they can be held criminally liable as well (and as I said before, it provides mitigation for the master if he can prove it. Not absolution, just mitigation). This has been used to great effect in the Gulf of Mexico oilfields where when captains used to complain about dangerous orders and conditions, they were told "Do it or we'll find someone who will". What has happened starting about a decade ago is that they started putting shoreside operations personelle and managers (and IIRC one company owner) in prison in Angola. That really changed things for the better in the oilfield. Now when a captain says "No way, too dangerous" the company backs his call, and the contracting company accepts it.___________________________________ _____________________________________________ LeAnn, thing is, it's not hijacked. In the safety industry we call this a "Root Cause Analysis". It's all part of "What Went Wrong" and that is the name of this forum. You can't answer "What Went Wrong" by just saying "Somebody couldn't tie a knot." That may be a link in the accident chain, but it doesn't answer the greater subject. What went wrong has to go back to the first link in the chain. Without a root cause analysis the same accidents will occur over and over.
Cap'n C
Posted: Thursday, July 23, 2009 1:34 PM
Joined: 29/04/2009
Posts: 38


I'll venture a root cause in this debacle. I think it was question of training and maritime education (or lack there of). Trying to be "hero of the day", or "cap'n will fix it in a jiffy" and throwing caution to the wind is something that most training institutions try indoctrinate future masters as defunct and bad maritime judgment. To throw yourself or anybody else in harms way is a calculated risk. Factors such as training, drills, standard procedures, the actual environment you operate in, consequences of action and inaction, contingency planning etc should racing in a masters head before committing to a course of action. Because the responsibility of a master is all encompassing, one must place one self in a position where the responsibility can be maintained. When the master willingly abandons ship, he/she is no longer in a position to maintain the responsibility, nor exercising command. Jumping ship in such a manner has a consequence, 1st mate is bumped up to captaincy by default! I hardly think the unfortunate master thought about that before he decided to tread water.
Anonymous
Posted: Friday, July 24, 2009 4:21 PM

In response to  Cap'n C -

It's conceded "briefcase" captains like you, that "hands-on" captains despise.  The very fact that you would " venture a root cause in this debacle"and accuse him of trying to be " hero of the day"  without knowing any more than the crap thrown around in this ridiculous discussion, is testament to your ignorance.  The same goes for the disrespectful idiot who felt compelled to bring up the subject of drug and alcohol use in yachting.  Have some respect !  It's easy for you to sit there in your silly little hat, and spout on about what rules and regulations should have been followed by that captain.  A judgement call was made based on the situation at hand.  The fact is, you dont know the facts !  Most of you are absolutely correct in that you would never jump in to save a tender. A crew would be hard pressed to pull your nose out of  your computer( and your owners ass ), let alone have a captain who would take it upon himself to be proactive and actually get in the water for the sake of someones toy !

 


Cap'n C
Posted: Friday, July 24, 2009 9:09 PM
Joined: 29/04/2009
Posts: 38


To Anon: The fact that the unfortunate captain in this debacle threw him self in the water can not be regarded as proactive, it is classic REACTIVE
Anonymous
Posted: Friday, July 24, 2009 9:22 PM
Back in my day, as the saying goes, jumping in the water after a tender or not, in daylight or not, ALONE and with no life jacket, JUST DIDN'T HAPPEN. Going out on deck at night during a delivery ALONE, didn't happen either. The Captain was not thinking clearly. Maybe he had been a rescue swimmer in the CG and thought the normal rules didn't apply to him, whatever his thinking was, he paid dearly for it. The ultimate price. At least his fatal error did not result in the loss of anyone else's life. He isn't the first Captain and won't be the last to suffer from a super hero complex, sadly some have managed to lead their crew right into danger along with them.
Chief
Posted: Friday, July 24, 2009 10:04 PM
Joined: 02/06/2008
Posts: 341


Henning wrote:
Capt. Hazelwood (Exxon Valdez) was exonerated of liability in that wreck because he was on his mandatory time off and the OOW was properly licensed and trained, and there was evidence of the training.
 
You might want to review the Exxon Valdez case before posting such silly statements.

 
 Average 3 out of 5