Mistakes can have consequences – legal consequences. On the one hand, you might loose your license:
“We hope that this case involving poor judgment and risky behavior is a wake-up call to all mariners, whether commercial or recreational. We enforce our regulations to safeguard the lives and well being of mariners and the public….” USCG
… unless of course you don’t have a license:
After an exhaustive investigation, [state] prosecutors on Monday dropped a misdemeanor charge of violating navigational rules against Roland Desrochers, who skippered one of four boats involved in the fatal wreck.
You know, there has been a debate for years about whether a licensed mariner might be held to a higher standard [see my earlier post on that here] than a layman, and I think these two cases illustrate that there is indeed a difference, if only from the USCG’s point of view. The parasail incident involves a licensed captain, and the USCG suspended his license for one year. The single death in this case was caused by stupid behavior on the part of the dead guy – not directly related to the actions of the captain, other than the captain allowed the fool to violate some parasail safety guidelines.
In the Miami incident that killed 2 people, there is some strong evidence that a number of very basic Rules of the Road were violated, not to mention that Club Nautico, a boat rental company, assigned a 16 year old employee to act as a towboat captain. I don’t even see that the USCG was mentioned as party to the investigation. Not that there wasn’t oodles of poor judgment and violations of the regulations to investigate. Improper lights, unlicensed mariners, unsafe speed, failure to keep lookout… yadda yadda. The Coasties were called to the scene originally, so they must have known about the accident.
Read the USCG quote again in light of these two recent fatal incidents. When they say “we enforce our regulations” I must assume that they are referring to regulations that allow them to suspend or revoke a mariner’s license, rather than regulations like the Rules of the Road. If they were really interested in “all mariners, whether commercial or recreational”, how do they explain their total absence from the Miami incident? Is it because there is no USCG issued credential for them to suspend?
The USCG didn’t go after the licensed captain for any criminal conduct, nor was that captain ever charged with a crime that I know of. They just suspended his license for a violation of the regs. Meanwhile, the Miami story mentions criminal prosecution by the state District Atty, and the USCG doesn’t seem interested. You would think that if the conduct was serious enough to warrant criminal investigation, that the USCG might just want to have a look to see if any regulations had been violated.
You would think…