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TOPIC: Boat operator could face charges after passenger dies

Boat operator could face charges after passenger dies 25 Aug 2017 17:31 #1

  • Norton Rider
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Boat operator could face charges after passenger dies 25 Aug 2017 17:51 #2

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And what purpose would there be to send him to jail? I would imagine he already has suffered.

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Boat operator could face charges after passenger dies 25 Aug 2017 18:01 #3

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yachtman wrote: And what purpose would there be to send him to jail? I would imagine he already has suffered.


I often wonder the same thing in cases like this, whether they are boat or auto related.
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Boat operator could face charges after passenger dies 25 Aug 2017 18:27 #4

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the person in command of the boat is ALWAYS the one responsible for everyone on board, no matter the size of the boat. the person in command is not always the owner of the boat, nor is the person steering the boat always the one in command... but there will always be someone on board who the law will deem ultimately responsible for making the decisions and the vessels safe operation, and they can be charged with any form of misconduct or negligence that results in accident, injury or death...
this is not a new rule but has been around since the beginning of boats...

in the case at hand, its very unfortunate that a decision was made to take a small and probably overloaded boat out in rough waters... that resulted in a death. there were undoubtedly many other boats of the same size out there, but the difference being, there were no deaths resulting from poor decision making on those boats.

usually the law and family of the victim sees a boating death as an accident (as probably would have happened in this case), UNLESS there is found to be some damaging evidence of an acute action that caused the death...
but here it seems the family of the deceased wants someone to blame and has filed a suit. so now it becomes a serious and possibly life altering issue for the person in charge of the vessel.... although its highly unlikely that that the outcome will be as life altering as it was for the victim...

there's never a problem with taking chances, until there's a problem.... then its a big problem!

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Boat operator could face charges after passenger dies 25 Aug 2017 18:57 #5

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I was no more than a couple hundred yards from that boat when this occurred. We had several members of our yacht club that specifically remember that boat passing by on it's way out. It was really nothing about the conditions that were inherently unsafe that day (very calm actually), but that was much too small a boat to be loaded like it was and operating in a busy channel as he was.

Charges are appropriate. Should he go to jail? I dunno. That's for a judge and jury to decide. He made the decision to take those folks out there in a SMALL jon boat. He needs to face the consequences of those decisions.

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Boat operator could face charges after passenger dies 25 Aug 2017 19:36 #6

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We were coming down the river from Dagmars as this was unfolding. I didn't realize, nor did I even consider, that it was a Jon boat. I feel terrible about the guy who died, but continue to be amazed at what people will go out on Port Gardner Bay in. I'm not sure jail would serve any purpose. Ingvall has it correct "you can't fix stupid".

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Boat operator could face charges after passenger dies 25 Aug 2017 20:07 #7

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Well, as an insurance agent I can guarantee you that the dead guy's family is going to go after the boat owner's assets. It's funny (not really) how quickly friendships fade when money gets involved. I hope the boat owner had strong liability coverage, otherwise he could lose everything.

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Boat operator could face charges after passenger dies 25 Aug 2017 21:23 #8

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robster_in_edmonds wrote: Well, as an insurance agent I can guarantee you that the dead guy's family is going to go after the boat owner's assets. It's funny (not really) how quickly friendships fade when money gets involved. I hope the boat owner had strong liability coverage, otherwise he could lose everything.


Insurance, ....on an overloaded 16' open aluminum boat where not even the owner is wearing a pfd. Anyone wanna place a bet on that one?

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Boat operator could face charges after passenger dies 25 Aug 2017 21:35 #9

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I don't know the conditions of the water or traffic there, but having operated a Jon boat of the same size for years, I am surprised that someone would take it out with four people in 1. Anything but dead calm simultaneously with 2. gear to fish for a day, and four people, I assume adults.

This reminds me of a conversation I had years ago with the pilot of a Cessna 172. When he asked me to fly with him I asked him if he was insured, he said his own life at risk was my insurance. I told him, sorry, I had a wife and three small kids that depended on my income and therefore my life. He got really angry, even when I relayed to him that my own father died in the crash of a small plane and the only thing that kept my family at the time off the streets was the modest insurance payment from the company the pilot used. Even at that, we got 10 cents on the dollar of that policy's value after fighting with the insurance company. No negligence, experienced pilot, heart attack on final approach. Stuff happens but insurance can keep that stuff from destroying further lives. Like Rob, I hope this guy had it but I'm doubtful given it's a Jon boat. I'm going to check my own policy, not because I'm worried about losing all I have but because I want the families taken care of...like I was.

Jail is stupid at his age, especially, but responsibility is not. Should be a civil, not criminal, issue but the criminal charges put him in a bad spot civilly, even if he serves no time.

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Boat operator could face charges after passenger dies 25 Aug 2017 21:35 #10

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And this is why many boat launches have LEO's "harassing" everyone.
There is no such thing as common sense and no matter how many yellow warning stickers you put on anything someone will still manage to harm or kill someone with it.

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Boat operator could face charges after passenger dies 25 Aug 2017 21:53 #11

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Nickdixon wrote: ...This reminds me of a conversation I had years ago with the pilot of a Cessna 172. When he asked me to fly with him I asked him if he was insured, he said his own life at risk was my insurance.


That was a stupid answer from the pilot. I flew professionally for many years and I'm still amazed at the unsafe things that pilots would often do.

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Boat operator could face charges after passenger dies 25 Aug 2017 22:09 #12

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Norton Rider wrote:

Nickdixon wrote: ...This reminds me of a conversation I had years ago with the pilot of a Cessna 172. When he asked me to fly with him I asked him if he was insured, he said his own life at risk was my insurance.


That was a stupid answer from the pilot. I flew professionally for many years and I'm still amazed at the unsafe things that pilots would often do.


Agreed. Never flew with him and never trusted him in anything else he did thereafter.

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Boat operator could face charges after passenger dies 26 Aug 2017 03:20 #13

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CptCrunchie wrote: ....on an overloaded 16' open aluminum boat where not even the owner is wearing a pfd. Anyone wanna place a bet on that one?


They were all wearing PFDs. The guy who died was VERY heavy (i heard over 300#) and it didn't help. :(

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Boat operator could face charges after passenger dies 26 Aug 2017 03:44 #14

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SomeSailor wrote:

CptCrunchie wrote: ....on an overloaded 16' open aluminum boat where not even the owner is wearing a pfd. Anyone wanna place a bet on that one?


They were all wearing PFDs. The guy who died was VERY heavy (i heard over 300#) and it didn't help. :(


Paragraph 6 of the article, "There were enough life jackets for everyone on board, but they weren’t worn, investigators found. "

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Boat operator could face charges after passenger dies 26 Aug 2017 07:26 #15

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It's concerning to me to see criminal charges in cases like this. It's been happening more often over the last couple of decades. I've been in the aviation industry since 1986. We've seen tremendous change in compliance and safety philosophy over the last 3 decades. We stopped ending people's careers over simple mistakes-even when there was a loss of life. It has worked. When is the last time you boarded an airliner in the U.S. and worried about arriving at your destination? At the same time, the criminal side has been growing their reach. Apparently frustrated with the futility of prosecuting those who have nothing to lose, it has become good political fodder to pursue cases which are completely without malice or intent, but will presumably gain them some public favor via the media.

I can understand the desire to make someone pay for the loss of a life, but criminally?

Vengeance is not justice.
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