California boat fire: At least 25 confirmed deadThis unfortunate incident has devastated the community. As search efforts continue for the nine people who are still missing, the community – as well as the family members of the deceased and the missing – has been left with many questions.
- Why did the boat catch fire?
- Was there any known fire risk?
- Why wasn’t there an escape hatch for the people on board?
- Could the deaths have been prevented?
- Did the boat have any known issues that could have resulted in the fire?
The Conception – Safety InformationThe Conception was owned by Truth Aquatics – a dive-boat company founded in 1974. Specifically, the Conception was added to Truth Aquatics’ fleet. The Reid’s, who are familiar with the Truth Aquatics fleet, claim that all three boats in which they have sailed – including the Conception – are “among the best and the safest.” They claim that the boats were always “immaculate” and that crewmembers were always thorough when reviewing safety instructions in the start of all trips including information on life jackets, exits, and fire extinguishers, for example. The Reid’s also confirmed that the below-deck sleeping area is tight – as bunk beds are stacked close together, there is only one stairway, and there is only one exit. This would mean that sleeping divers wouldn’t have been able to escape the fire and that crew members wouldn’t have been able to reach them to warn them. Safety records provided by the Coast Guard show that although there were safety violations within the last five years, they were all addressed quickly and efficiently by the owners of the boat. At least two safety violations were associated with fire safety. More specifically, a 2014 violation was in regard to a leaking fire hose, and a 2016 violation was in regard to a heat detector in the galley.
Fires in BoatsMany people believe that fires in boats are less dangerous than fires on land – after all, boats are surrounded by water. However, there is a significant risk of fire present on all boats due to the heavy machinery on board. Boiler rooms, leaking pipes, leaking fuel reservoirs, oily rags, and even heat-producing bacteria can contribute to fires. The risk of fires can be significantly increased by the negligence of the boat’s owners, the negligence of maintenance crews, and the negligence of crewmembers, for example.
Find out more about how we can help you. CHAT LIVE with a representative now.
Understanding Liability in Boat IncidentsOn boats, general negligence applies. What does this mean? Victims (and surviving family members of deceased victims) must be able to prove that the harm suffered (either injuries or death) was a direct cause of the negligent actions of a party that owed a duty of care towards the people on board the boat. To prove negligence, the following elements must exist:
- Duty of care
- Breach of duty