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Tragic Sinking Evokes Safety Regulation Questions

Do you think boating laws should change or was this tragic accident unpreventable?

Experts and detectives are of the tragic Fourth of July sinking that .

Eyewitnesses have speculated on the cause of the capsizing, including overloading the boat past a safe capacity and irresponsible boaters who drove past, knocking the boat over in their wake.

Key questions being asked include:

  •  Were there too many people aboard the 34-foot Silverton at the time. Investigators said 27 were aboard when it capsized. Boating experts believe that number to be excessive for a boat of that size.
  • Did speeding boats making a fast getaway from the area cause a large wake sufficient to capsize the boat?
  • Was pilot error to blame in any way?
  • Was approaching bad weather a factor?
  • Were there a sufficient number of life vests aboard? One is required for each passenger (although they need not be worn by all.)

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Some are taking this as a sign that boating regulations and enforcement must change.

Do you agree? Do you think the tragedy could have been prevented with stricter boating laws? Would this accident have happened anyway because of the turbulent waters after the fireworks?

Vote in the poll below and share your thoughts in the comments.

Tony Chliek July 06, 2012 at 02:39 PM
I've been boating my entire life, but only in out boards. So before I bought my 39' Sea Ray Express cruiser, my wife and I took a US Power Squadron boating course. It showed me how little I really knew about boating and taught me so much useful information. It should be a law that everyone take a safe boating course before they are allowed to purchase any size boat.
pbug56 July 06, 2012 at 02:51 PM
To Tony; how many people could you safely take out on your 39' boat? My impression of the boat that capsized is that it wasn't meant to carry anywhere near that many. Not so much an issue of physical capacity / buoyancy, rather not enough access to abandon, stand without being crowded, etc. I can imagine the panic on that small boat. As to what caused the wave, I'm guessing another boat going way too quickly.
Tony Chliek July 06, 2012 at 03:38 PM
I'm certain there were too many on the boat. There are plaques fastened to every boat that will tell you how many any boat can safely carry. I'm not really sure what the capacity is of my boat, but I've had 10 on board. My express cruiser doesn't have a bridge, so all of the weight is closer to the waterline. than a bridge boat. I've been in 12 ft seas and I never felt like the boat was going to capsize. Unlike my BILs bridge boat. There were just three of us on the bridge and got hit by a wave broad side. I thought for sure we were going over. That's very likely what happened to the boat mentioned here. Way too many on the bridge to get a good view, they were hit broad side by a wave and went over. The kids inside were probably standing on the bunk with their heads out the forward hatch, our kids have done that many times. When the boat capsized, they panicked and couldn't find their way out.
pbug56 July 06, 2012 at 03:56 PM
I got onto the manufacturers web site and could not find any info on capacity. Mind you if I were them I'd be temporarily blocking that info for the moment. But what you said makes sense. The rules need to change.
Sue July 06, 2012 at 03:57 PM
I would believe that the boat was overloaded and with all that excess weight, it sat closer to the water line. A wake from a passing boat would certainly cause it to topple easier. It is a shame that the adults in charge weren't more prudent. Those poor children perished unnecessarily. I do feel the laws need to be changed that ALL children under the age of 14 be in life jackets at all times when onboard the vessel. Being in the cabin only protects them from falling overboard.
Tony Chliek July 06, 2012 at 05:47 PM
The Silverton, owned by Kevin Treanor has a maximum capacity of just 15 people — 12 less than were aboard it when it departed the Harbor Boating Club in Huntington, said a Nassau County Police spokeswoman. Read more: http://www.nypost.com/p/news/local/at_least_two_missing_after_boat_vZ91m0w6XHfkPCFREweIaP#ixzz1zrjd0W9D
Ed Curto July 06, 2012 at 07:10 PM
You have to blame the capt. I would never consider overloading my boat even if it were to go slow in the bay to watch a fireworks show. Wakes from other boaters cannot be blamed. I've been hit with wakes from big yachts miles aways...should they go 5 miles per hour in the sound. No way! If 50% of the people on board shifted at the same time I'm sure the boat could have easily capsized. Capt is to blame. I really feel for him as I'm sure he just wanted to please everyone but you have to draw the line somewhere. Enforcement of the laws is important but this is one of those extreme nights where they cannot watch or stop everyone. People need to take responsibility for their own actions!
BERNIE SCHACHNER July 09, 2012 at 09:58 PM
I am a New York Safe boating Instructor and New york state is way behind the times. Certification of any boat operator should be the law!!! too many people without any knowledge of the rules and safety on the water out there.,...Its Crazy wrong!!! Capt. Bernie


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