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July 19th, 2011

NTSB Blames San Diego Boating Accident on Speeding, Lack of Oversight

The National Transportation Safety Board has released its final findings after an investigation into the 2009 boating accident in the San Diego Bay that killed a young boy.  According to the report, the accident was the result of excessive speeds by the Coast Guard boat involved in the accident as well as lack of oversight by the Coast Guard.

The accident occurred on December 2009 in the San Diego Harbor.  A 33-foot Coast Guard vessel crashed into a 24-foot recreational boat.  There were 13 people on the boat, all watching a traditional parade in the harbor.  The impact of the accident was severe, killing an 8-year-old boy on the boat.  At least four other people on the boat were also seriously injured.  None of the crewmembers on the Coast Guard vessel were injured in the accident.

According to the National Transportation Safety Board report, the Coast Guard vessel was traveling at least 19 knots, and possibly as high as 42 knots.  These high speeds contributed to the accident.

It also did not help that the Coast Guard has inadequate oversight over its small boat operations.  According to the report, the Coast Guard Station in San Diego did not have an effective oversight system to monitor small boat operations.  The National Transportation Safety Board says that had such a system existed, it could have prevented the accident.

The National Transportation Safety Board also places some of the blame for the accident on the Station’s officer on the Coast Guard vessel at the time of the accident.  He should have advised the coxswain to slow down speeds, but did not.

The maritime attorneys at Schechter, Shaffer & Harris, L.L.P., Accident & Injury Lawyers represent workers injured in boat accidents, fishing vessel accidents, cruise and cargo ship accidents and other kinds of maritime accidents.

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