Proceedings Of The Marine

SPR 2016

Proceedings magazine is a communication tool for the Coast Guard's Marine Safety & Security Council. Each quarterly magazine focuses on a specific theme of interest to the marine industry.

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59 Spring 2016 Proceedings Deadly Fun Personal watercraft operating dangers. by ms. sARAh K. WeBsTeR Former Managing Editor, Proceedings, U.S. Coast Guard Public Affairs Specialist U.S. Bureau of Reclamation In this ongoing feature, we take a close look at recent marine casualties. We outline the U.S. Coast Guard marine casualty investigations that followed, which explore how these incidents occurred, including any environmental, vessel design, or human error factors that contributed to each event. Article information, statistics, conclusions, and quotes come from the f inal, promulgated Coast Guard investigation report. Lessons Learned from USCG Casualty Investigations Story 1: A Day on the River On a Sunday afternoon over Memorial Day weekend, a group of three arrived at a riverboat ramp with a personal watercraft (PWC). The group launched the personal water- craft with all three aboard, then headed toward a beach approximately 2.5 miles downriver. They arrived about f ve minutes later and dismounted the PWC to enjoy some rec- reation on the beach. Around the same time, the mate of an uninspected towing vessel (UTV) relieved the navigation watch and prepared to get underway with a tow conf guration totaling approxi- mately 1,128 feet. While traveling upbound with a 14-barge tow, the mate acted as the sole lookout from the wheelhouse. Approximately an hour later, one woman from the personal watercraft trio asked the owner if she could ride the recre- ational vessel solo. The owner said, yes, she could, but that two friends were back at the boat ramp awaiting a ride to the beach. The woman agreed to pick up the friends and was last seen aboard the PWC traveling upbound at a high rate of speed. 2 The PWC operator set her vessel on a parallel course to the uninspected towing vessel, moving at 50 to 70 miles per On May 30, 2010, a woman went out on the Ohio River with a personal watercraft for some fun. Instead, she lost her life after crossing paths with a vessel and its tow. On September 28, 2013, a man and a woman rented a personal watercraft for a tour. The male driver, who had little expe- rience in properly operating a personal watercraft, made a hard turn right into the center tunnel of a tour boat's catamaran hull — ultimately ejecting both riders from the personal watercraft and into the water. Both died from the collision. Operator inattention, improper lookout, operator inexperience, excessive speed, and machinery failure rank as the top five primary contributing factors in recreational boating accidents. 1

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