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Author Topic:   Whaler accident
Dick posted 08-03-2001 10:20 AM ET (US)   Profile for Dick   Send Email to Dick  
Tragic accident here in Seattle last night. 17 Whaler speeding in a 7 knot area hit something a threw the 3 occupants into the water, two were rescued but one is still missing.
Full story and pictures at:
Bigshot posted 08-03-2001 10:46 AM ET (US)     Profile for Bigshot  Send Email to Bigshot     
Whaler or not, drive safely. Night driving(especially under bridges or unfamiliar areas) is dangerous. I usually drive barely on plane or slower when visibility is good. At 18mph You would not break legs or even fly out of the boat probably. Last time I saw this these kids hit a bulkhead in a montauk but turned in time(daytime). The boat kinda rode up the bulkhead and they were off the throttle and it just kinda stopped and they fell out and it slid down into the water again. Was like slow motion. Nothing happened to the kids or the boat except a couple minor scrapes. Will never forget that.
maverick posted 08-03-2001 04:03 PM ET (US)     Profile for maverick  Send Email to maverick     
Looked at the story via the link you indicated. Doesnt look like a 17 Whaler to me...even though it is upside down. Tragedy indeed...Mav
Dick posted 08-03-2001 04:32 PM ET (US)     Profile for Dick  Send Email to Dick     
Hard to tell from some of the pictures but they are reporting it as a 17 Boston Whaler. On the live broadcast this morning you could see the Whaler decals, so no doubt it is a Whaler.
Dick posted 08-03-2001 10:14 PM ET (US)     Profile for Dick  Send Email to Dick     
Tonights news showed pictures of the boat after recovery and upright. It is a 16 or 17, not a Montauk, it had a low bow rail and looked like a cooler seat at the pilots station. I am not an expert on these older ones so the model eludes me.
One life lost to stupidity, alcohol or both.
Einar posted 03-14-2004 12:35 AM ET (US)     Profile for Einar  Send Email to Einar     
Operator was sentenced to two years in jail. (3/12/2004)
Dick posted 03-14-2004 06:57 PM ET (US)     Profile for Dick  Send Email to Dick     
i saw that on the news.
Very disheartening to see that a life is only worth 2 years. Hopefully his cellmate will make his time spent memorable.


Taylor posted 03-15-2004 02:10 PM ET (US)     Profile for Taylor  Send Email to Taylor     
I can't find a reference online - but I seem to recall reading in the Seattle Times over the weekend that the operator of the boat had a previous DWI incident that also involved the death of a friend. You probably don't want to be this guy's friend. The judge is supposed to have said that while he could not take that into account in the sentencing (since it happened some years ago), he did take it into account in accepting the prosecutor's sentencing recommendation.

alkar posted 03-16-2004 12:23 AM ET (US)     Profile for alkar  Send Email to alkar     
What a shame. Too many young lives are lost because of this kind of behavior. We don't do enough to discourage it. Maybe we can't do enough.

If Washington's penal system is anything like our system in Oregon, automatic "good time" reductions will turn that 24 month sentence in to a maximum theoretical sentence of 19 months. If the criminal is also allowed to participate in boot camp or some other special prison program, the net sentence could be further reduced to a net of less than a year...

Hopefully Washington is in better shape than Oregon. It couldn't be much worse.

BQUICK posted 03-16-2004 10:48 AM ET (US)     Profile for BQUICK  Send Email to BQUICK     
How bout that accident on Chesapeake Bay?

Twin turbine 175 mph, no capsule.


This is (was) the boat.

BEACHPANDA posted 03-16-2004 12:58 PM ET (US)     Profile for BEACHPANDA  Send Email to BEACHPANDA     
This is clearly a tragedy.

Now my point, though a little off topic, really isn't. The following story is true, and can be confirmed by anyone who calls Jim (the owner) of Bob Hewes Boats (305.681.6602)

Some of you may recall that I had purchased a 1980 V-20 Outrage and wanted to repower it with a 200hp engine... while the boat is only rated for 180hp.

Though several of the forum members said I should do it, Bob Hewes didn't. I had gotten all kids of stories from their employees as to why they wouldn't, even one that included that the USCG wouldn't allow them to overpower any vessel due to their contracts. Oh, by the way, FLORIDA law doesn't allow overpowering vessels.

Well, I spoke to Jim, and he told me exactly why they don't.

Many years ago, a guy came to Jim and had asked him to overpower a boat by 5 hp. Jim oblidged, but on condition that the owner sign a waiver of liability. The owner signed.

Several weeks later, the owner, like the captain of the boat in this above story, had an accident. The captain crashed into the jetty at WOT. The passengers were ejected, and one died.

The family of the passenger that died, sued Jim and his company for wrongful death. They claimed reckless endagerment in overpowering (for profit) as the contributing factor to the unsafe operation and building of an unsafe vessel. Furthermore, the passengers did NOT sign the waiver that the owner/captain signed.

Jim spent $15,000 to defend himself and his company. Later, it was found that the captain had several DUI's, and after the accident had several more. The guy was just an alcaholic who had no respect for anyone and shouldn't have been driving.

The case was dismissed.

Today, that could cost you, your family, or your estate, in excess of $60,000 just to defend against a trial. Do you really want to do that?

Let this be a lesson in driving drunk, as well as the responsibility of overpowering a boat. Don't do either.


elaelap posted 03-16-2004 02:16 PM ET (US)     Profile for elaelap  Send Email to elaelap     
I tend to agree with BeachPanda. There's much talk at this site regarding whether 'overpowering' will void a Whaler's hull warranty...I'd be much more concerned whether overpowering would void my liability insurance policy.

Keep in mind that unless the fact that the craft was overpowered was the proximate cause of the accident, mere overpowering itself would not make its owner automatically liable for damages, but it might well kick in a coverage exclusion. Examples: Let's say that your policy has a provision that excludes coverage if the insured craft is overpowered. If I take a friend out in my overpowered craft and I'm blasting along at WOT, straight as an arrow on a calm clear day, and I slam into a jetty killing my buddy, my insurance carrier would most probably be able to leave me high and dry as to coverage, especially if they could show that but for the overpowering, my boat couldn't have gone fast enough to kill when it hit the jetty (and they might not even have to prove that). Same scenario -- this time my boat is grossly, ridiculously overpowered, and I'm putting along with my friend at fifteen miles per hour and hit the same jetty and my friend dies. Could the insurance company get out of paying the decedent's family because of the boat being overpowered? MAYBE not, because the fact of the boat being overpowered was not a legal, proximate cause of the accident...but that's a big, potentially very costly 'maybe.' Third scenario -- your boat is stolen and the thief, blasting down the channel wide open kills somebody...1) does liability attach to you? and 2) if so, is the carrier on the hook. Maybe not as to Issue 1. Your lawyer would argue that the theft constituted an 'intervening, superseding act' which broke the chain of causation. But watch out for Issue 2. If it were determined that you WERE at fault, and further that the boat wouldn't have been able to go fast enough to kill unless you had overpowered her, your insurance company might be off the hook.

Bottom line, of course, is READ YOUR POLICY. Know what you're covered for and what not. If it doesn't make sense to you (and many policies don't make sense to lawyers and judges, so don't be ashamed), have a sit-down with your agent, have him/her explain it, and if an operative provision seems critical to you, have your agent write out his/her explanation and keep that with your policy. Be very aware that sh*t happens very, very fast on the water, and your simple absolutely unintentional, sober error could end up costing you your boat, your home, and your life savings if you're not properly covered and if you don't understand and comply with the exclusions.


Chuck Tribolet posted 03-16-2004 02:26 PM ET (US)     Profile for Chuck Tribolet  Send Email to Chuck Tribolet     
BQUICK, that url doesn't work.


Smitty posted 03-16-2004 04:29 PM ET (US)     Profile for Smitty  Send Email to Smitty     
See if these work.
Buckda posted 03-16-2004 05:06 PM ET (US)     Profile for Buckda  Send Email to Buckda     
How quick does a boat have to be before falling out of it can be deadly?

Unless the boat is operated at a speed that the max HP rating would be uableable to propel the boat at, couldn't that be argued?

I think the reason most people want to overpower is not so much for the max speed factor as the efficiency of a motor that is working less hard, and reserve power for emergency situations.

Just my thoughts on that. I agree that you can't count on the legal system, your lawyer or any jury to make a logical decision at any given time, but it seems like there is just a point where liability goes too far, common sense walks out the door and the looney tunes begin.

If you do choose to overpower your boat, and/or your have purchased a boat that is overpowered, be sure your insurance carrier is aware of this fact. There have been several threads here on carriers that will still write policies for you.

When you are contemplating overpowering, first give your insurance agent a call. Ask him for a quote on the insurance, and be explicit that the HP will be more than the stated capacity plate. Better yet, fax a request for a quote from him and save a copy of your letter.

I find that documentation, in general, heads off silly/frivilous arguments "at the pass". My college profs called it CYA - Cover your arse...

Boat safely...


elaelap posted 03-16-2004 07:08 PM ET (US)     Profile for elaelap  Send Email to elaelap     
Right on all points, Dave...especially the 'looney tunes' comment. You have no idea.
AQUANUT posted 03-17-2004 09:28 AM ET (US)     Profile for AQUANUT  Send Email to AQUANUT     
Overpowering........not to be confused with adequate...

I once owned a 1968 charger r/ was equipped with an 440 ci magnum...and had manual brakes..."all go and no whoa"

funny I never rear-ended anyone tho..or wrecked it...

its not how the vessel is equiped...{ever drove a rice-eocket?}.....its its how you operate it!

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