Sample Case Descriptions
Motor Boat / Pipeline Allision
A runabout type boat struck a dredge pipeline at high speed, fatally injuring a 10-year-old passenger. The floating pipeline was marked with maritime danger buoys, but the boat operator did not know the meaning of the buoys. The central issue was whether the buoys provided a sufficient warning to boaters who had no knowledge of standard aids to navigation.
Water Sports / Seamanship
A small recreational boat, towing an inflated “towable” device without an occupant, proceeded at slow speed to a lakeside picnic area. Without warning, the towline and failed metal snap hook recoiled to the boat, striking and killing a passenger. The primary issue was whether the towline/metal snap hook connection to the towable device was proper.
Access Step on Offshore Production Rig
An offshore worker exited a living quarters module and stepped down on a wet grated/serrated steel step to the dock. His foot slipped, causing him to fall to the deck and be injured. At issue was whether such a single step was required to be fitted with handrails.
Offshore Personnel Transfer
An offshore supply vessel transferred workers to a platform via swing rope. One worker fell into the cold water and was not rescued in time to prevent his death. An overriding issue was whether the offshore supply vessel was prepared, as required by regulation, to initiate rescue attempts of a man overboard in a rapid manner.
Condition / Readiness of Lifesaving Equipment
A commercial fishing vessel, returning to port at night, took on water and sank. The hydrostatic release on the vessel’s life raft did not release the life raft, and a knife aboard the life raft could not be located in time to cut the life raft free. The crew then jumped into the water and swam from the sinking vessel. One crew member, a non-swimmer, disappeared and is presumed to have perished at sea. At issue was whether the lift raft had been properly inspected for condition/readiness during onboard man overboard drills.
Personal Watercraft (Jet ski) Explosion
A rented jet ski exploded when the renter turned on its ignition, which action catapulted the renter/rider some 12-15 feet in the air and injured him. The jet ski had been moored to a buoy in the hot summer sun prior to its rental to this person. Accordingly, the main issue was whether the owner/operator of the jet ski rental facility fully ventilated the engine compartment of highly flammable gasoline vapors before renting the jet ski.
A commercial diving vessel with embarked diver/passengers ventured out into stormy weather for a day of scuba diving. Although the diving was carried out without incident, on its return to port the vessel capsized. One diver/passenger was trapped in the vessel and drowned. The primary issue was whether the vessel was properly maneuvered in storm wave conditions.
A steel section of an elevated marine pile driver broke from its mold and fell onto a barge, killing a bridge construction worker. The issue was whether the deceased worker had knowingly or unknowingly entered a danger zone near the pile driver.
For more case issues see
Offshore Oil Drilling and Prodution Industry Accidents
Recreational Boating and Water Sports Accidents
Ship Accidents and Crew / Passenger Injuries
Inland Towing Vessel Accidents and Injuries