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Rogue Sailor
10-02-2005, 05:16 PM
Cruise boat "Ethan Alen" capsized this afternoon on Lake George: 20 people confirmed dead!

Warren County Sheriff Larry Cleveland told the newspaper the wake from the "Mohican", a boat owned by Lake George Steamboat company, swamped and flipped the Ethan Allen.

Witnesses said the Ethan Allen sank in the lake.

The sheriff said all the passengers were accounted for by 5 p.m. EDT.

The passengers were reportedly part of a seniors cruise on the lake, the newspaper said.

Glens Falls Hospital said it was in "Code Yellow" disaster alert, taking the injured passengers.

The boat is run by Shoreline Cruises in Lake George, about 50 miles north of Albany.

Copyright 2005 by United Press International. All Rights Reserved.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Peter Malcolm Jardine
10-02-2005, 07:03 PM
:(

Granville
10-02-2005, 07:53 PM
you are responsible for your wake

someone should be up on multiple manslaughter charges

Joe (SoCal)
10-02-2005, 08:03 PM
Updated: 08:35 PM EDT
At Least 21 Die As Tour Boat Capsizes on N.Y. Lake
By CHRIS CAROLA, AP

LAKE GEORGE, N.Y. (Oct. 2) - A glass-enclosed boat carrying tourists on a senior citizens' cruise overturned Sunday on a calm lake in upstate New York, killing at least 21 people and sending more than two dozen cold and wet passengers to a hospital.

The initial report was that the tour boat was carrying a tour group from Canada, but state Assemblywoman Betty Little later said the group of senior citizens was from Trenton, Mich.

Authorities were investigating whether a large passing tour boat created a wake that caused the accident, Warren County Sheriff Larry Cleveland said.

The 40-foot Ethan Allen capsized around 3 p.m. on Lake George about 50 miles north of Albany in the Adirondack Mountains.

The accident apparently happened so fast that none of the passengers was able to put on a life jacket, Cleveland said.

Patrol boats that reached the scene within minutes found other boaters already pulling people from the water. All passengers had been accounted for within two hours.

Twenty-seven people were taken to a hospital in nearby Glens Falls. Some suffered broken ribs and some complaining of shortness of breath. Five people were to be admitted, hospital spokesman Jason White said.

Police investigators were at the hospital late Sunday.

Dorothy Warren, a resident who said she brought blankets and chairs to shore for survivors, said one passenger told her "she saw a big boat coming close and she said, 'Whoop-dee-doo. I love a rocking boat."'

Warren said the woman did not know how she got out of the water but said her mother was killed.

Many of the bodies were laid out along the shore, and the site was blocked off by police with tarps. A hearse, police vehicles and several sport utility vehicles later began taking the dead from the scene.

At the time of the accident, the weather was clear and in the 70s at Lake George, a long, narrow body of water that is a popular tourist destination in the summer and quiets down after Labor Day. The water temperature was 68 degrees.

"This was as calm as it gets," said Jerry Thornell, a former Lake George Park Commission patrol officer and a lake enforcement officer for the county sheriff's department.

Representatives of Shoreline Cruises, which operates the boat, could not immediately be reached for comment.

The boat's owner, Jim Quirk, whose family has operated Shoreline Cruises for decades, told the Glens Falls Post-Star: "It is a tragedy and it's very unfortunate."

The sheriff said a language barrier was slowing the process of notifying victims' families.

"Nothing of this magnitude has ever happened," state police Superintendent Wayne Bennett said. "It's unprecedented."

As dusk fell, several police boats were on the water, and at least half a dozen divers were in a small cove on the west side of the lake. The Ethan Allen lay at the bottom of the lake in 70 feet of water.

Cleveland said the captain, who was well known and well liked by law enforcement officials, survived. He was the only crew member aboard.

10/02/05 20:26 EDT

Katherine
10-02-2005, 08:18 PM
:(

Gary E
10-02-2005, 08:29 PM
Cleveland said the captain, who was well known and well liked by law enforcement officials, survived. He was the only crew member aboard.
Very sad ....

Over 45 on the boat and he was the ONLY crew?

Not even a tour guide on a Tour Boat?

Even a 6 pac fishing charter has a mate aboard

[ 10-02-2005, 09:30 PM: Message edited by: Gary E ]

Hughman
10-02-2005, 08:34 PM
I used to drive the Yellowstone tourboats by myself, the Connie was rigged like a bus and had 47 seats, I think.

Katherine
10-02-2005, 08:34 PM
Is it even legal to have just 1 crew member with that many passengers?

John B
10-02-2005, 08:53 PM
awful. :(

PatCox
10-02-2005, 09:46 PM
Unfortunately, on a tour boat like that, all the people will move to one side sometimes to see some sight. I have to say its the only thing that comes to my mind as to how a passing boat wake can capsize a 40 foot boat in calm conditions, maybe they all moved to one side to watch the steamboat pass. Not blaming people at all, this is where a mate might make a difference.

But it is my understanding that you are responsible for your wake, period. My 34 foot semi-trawler (a vintage mainship) pulls a veritable tsunami behind it at its upper speeds, biggest wake I have ever seen from a 34 foot boat, looks about 3 foot and it actually curls and breaks, I would love to see if someone could surf it). I slow down to idle speed when passing anything small that is drifting or fishing (idle is 4 knots, cruise is 10, not a major loss).

Katherine
10-02-2005, 09:53 PM
Pat, like you, I wonder how big the wake was if it swamped a 40ft boat in calm waters. Anyone got a pic of the boat? How much freeboard did this thing have?

[ 10-02-2005, 10:54 PM: Message edited by: Katherine ]

Katherine
10-02-2005, 09:56 PM
http://www.lakegeorgesteamboat.com/images/sidepic_mohican_pizza.jpg

Mohican

http://www.lakegeorgeshoreline.com/images/boats_ethanallen_sm.jpg

Ethan Allen

This is the top story here, since many of the Seniors were from Michigan. Apparently, instead of having fixed seating, it had plastic lawn chairs. The local newscaster stated that the boat was made of wood. Not sure what it's wooden construction has to do with the accident.

[ 10-02-2005, 11:16 PM: Message edited by: Katherine ]

RichKrough
10-02-2005, 10:38 PM
I was on the Ethan Allen once, I am not sure what the boat was orginally but it wasn't a tour boat. first of all the deck is up near the top of the lowest point of the sheer. That boat doesn't have a lot of beam. The day I was on it had maybe 25 people
on board. 50 IMO would be crowded on that boat.

The Mohican throws maybe a 2 foot wake. It is not bad IMO when you are kinda of close but when you get away 75-100 yards there is more of a long swell that will knock you around. I could see the Ethan Allen getting broadside in that swell and rolling over because of having her deck so high.

Al Kahawl
10-02-2005, 11:21 PM
So ya gotz a skiny boat wit da lowd hi an sitin in sumkinda chairz dat aint attacht ta notin. Figur da av wait iz 200 powndz an derez 50 of im. Da boat rollz alot ta one syde an yat gotz 10000 powndz a foks hittin da rail! Even a dum s h i t like me can figur whatll happen.

formerlyknownasprince
10-03-2005, 02:42 AM
Terrible!

They would send you to prison here if you had that many people on a 40 footer and capsized.

My boat is a 25 ton, 50'er and I can only have 21 on board in good conditions, less if conditions are adverse.

Ian

Gary E
10-03-2005, 08:19 AM
I just saw a stern view pic of that boat and from that it looks like the deck that all stand on is at the sheer line as shown on the pic in an above post photo and I am guessing the beam is less than 12 ft.

I checked to see if the boat was documented... it's NOT...although the TV just said it was inspected,,, ok...by WHO??

I think that is a criminal use of a POS boat to take that many people out and have moveable not fastened down deck chairs as tho it's your back yard patio. As likeable as they say the boat driver is, wonder if he has a license (I will NOT call him a Cptn, cuz to me he is a real jackass).

That boat should of been restricted to a theme park lake where the max water depth is 3 ft, or burn't for a wieenie roast.

There should be a lot of lawyers lining up for this tragedy and jail time for that boat driver.

Gary E
10-03-2005, 08:48 AM
Dyer is a good boat.

Now if you tell me that Dyer designed it the way it is in the photo's then it is truly a POS floating accident waiting to happen..and it did.

mmd
10-03-2005, 09:41 AM
A phrase for future reference:

"...mandatory stability analysis for passenger-carrying vessels, encompassing lightship, port departure, mid-voyage, port return, and worst-anticipated conditions..."

Yes, it will add a considerable expense to the cost of a small tour boat, but maybe it will prevent such a tragedy as this.

Memphis Mike
10-03-2005, 10:06 AM
Originally posted by Gary E:
I just saw a stern view pic of that boat and from that it looks like the deck that all stand on is at the sheer line as shown on the pic in an above post photo and I am guessing the beam is less than 12 ft.

I checked to see if the boat was documented... it's NOT...although the TV just said it was inspected,,, ok...by WHO??

I think that is a criminal use of a POS boat to take that many people out and have moveable not fastened down deck chairs as tho it's your back yard patio. As likeable as they say the boat driver is, wonder if he has a license (I will NOT call him a Cptn, cuz to me he is a real jackass).

That boat should of been restricted to a theme park lake where the max water depth is 3 ft, or burn't for a wieenie roast.

There should be a lot of lawyers lining up for this tragedy and jail time for that boat driver."Representatives of Shoreline Cruises, which operates the boat, could not immediately be reached for comment.

The boat's owner, Jim Quirk, whose family has operated Shoreline Cruises for decades, told the Glens Falls Post-Star: "It is a tragedy and it's very unfortunate."

The owner is the one who should have the book thrown at him. The skipper was probably just following orders and if it's anything like anything else in this country, was probably unaware of the dangers of overloading that boat.
He was probably untrained or ill trained at the best.

Also all of those passengers should have been wearing their PFD's. Especially if they were seniors.

Accidents like this happen all the time where the PFDS are on board but there was no time to use them.

[ 10-03-2005, 11:07 AM: Message edited by: Memphis Mike ]

Alan D. Hyde
10-03-2005, 10:20 AM
The vessel should be safe enough and stable enough that wearing the PFD's "all the time" is not necessary.

Alan

Memphis Mike
10-03-2005, 10:23 AM
Originally posted by Alan D. Hyde:
The vessel should be safe enough and stable enough that wearing the PFD's "all the time" is not necessary.

AlanEven "safe, stable vessels" are involved in accidents where the best swimmer in the world can drown without a PFD but suit yourself.

Alan D. Hyde
10-03-2005, 10:32 AM
Exactly.

If someone WISHES to wear a PFD, then they should.

But, it shouldn't be mandatory.

Do you wear a helmet while playing golf--- just in case you're hit by an errant tee shot?

Are your personal vehicles armored, just in case you're hit by a stray bullet?

"Safety" can be carried too far.

A life without risk would be a life without life.

Alan

Memphis Mike
10-03-2005, 10:47 AM
Originally posted by Alan D. Hyde:
Exactly.

If someone WISHES to wear a PFD, then they should.

But, it shouldn't be mandatory.

Do you wear a helmet while playing golf--- just in case you're hit by an errant tee shot?

Are your personal vehicles armored, just in case you're hit by a stray bullet?

"Safety" can be carried too far.

A life without risk would be a life without life.

AlanDo you wear your seatbelt? And I don't play golf. :D

[ 10-03-2005, 11:49 AM: Message edited by: Memphis Mike ]

Katherine
10-03-2005, 11:08 AM
These people were elderly, slow moving, and handicapped. They should have been required to wear a PFD before the boat left the dock. Even able bodied people have a hard time putting on a PFD in a hurry or already in the water. If the boat was overturned by a big wake, it may not have been entirely the Ethan Allen's operator's fault.

Granville
10-03-2005, 11:26 AM
do you think these folks are required to wear pfds? http://www.bodyinmind.com/Maid_of_the_Mist.jpg

edited for resizing

[ 10-03-2005, 04:34 PM: Message edited by: Granville ]

Dan McCosh
10-03-2005, 11:27 AM
It's unlikely that a PFD would have done much good in a situation like that anyway. A rapid rollover in a closed boat is going to make it difficult to get out, and a PFD could easily be a hinderance. We had a discussion last night about two people who were trapped in a capsized catamaran this way. Realistically, a tour boat on a calm lake is not going to have many people wearing PFDs. The rollover itself appears to be a combination of the boat's characterisics and an unusual wave pattern. A similar event sunk the mailboat in the Detroit river a couple of years ago, killing the captain.

Art Read
10-03-2005, 11:27 AM
When was the last time any of you insisted on wearing a life jacket when boarding a passenger carrying vessel? Water taxi, tour boat, whale watcher, car ferry? I guarantee, unless you were in the third world somewhere, that there was a lifejacket on board for every single passenger, but I seriously doubt they'd seen the light of day since the last time the coast guard inspected 'em. ANY passenger who requested one would have instantly received one when I ran an inspected vessel. In fact, I can recall handing out child's life preservers several times for nervous new parents. But the thought of REQUIRING every passenger to wear them all the time is laughable. The "blame" for this incident does not rest with the captain's piloting skills, the other boat's wake or the passenger's rushing to one side. Obviously this vessel was manifestly unsuited for the use to which it was put. The designers, builders, inspectors and owners who allowed it to do so all dropped the ball. I suspect that when stability tests are done on the salvaged hull, lots of asses are going to start scrambling for cover.

[ 10-03-2005, 09:03 PM: Message edited by: Art Read ]

Alan D. Hyde
10-03-2005, 11:29 AM
Handicapped? Perhaps a mandatory PFD.

On a smaller vessel in challenging circumstances, like those faced by the Maid of the Mist? Of course.

BUT, in the Verandah Grill on the QE2? I think not. :D

Alan

Gary E
10-03-2005, 11:34 AM
There is no way any "Tour Cruise" would tell those gettting on the boat "YOU MUST WEAR a Life jacket"... nobody would get on the tub. Same reason that the airlines determined more than 60 yrs ago that NO PARRACHUTES will ever be carried on an airliner. Another reason was that it's cheaper for the airlines to pay off a death than an injury due to a passenger landing using a chute.

This is an accident, and a sad one. But it seems that eveyone here can see that the boat was top heavy, call it stability or what ever technical term you want, THAT IS A TOPHEAVY POS BOAT not fit for use in water deeper than 3 ft. Why cant the owner and boat driver see that?.. my opinion is they only see the ticket sales, not the danger in operating that tub.

What ever happened to that tour boat or ferry or what ever it was called that dunked a bunch of people in Baltimore harbor and killed a few?

Katherine
10-03-2005, 11:34 AM
Who the hell, blew up this thread? :rolleyes:

The Maid of the Mist is an entirely different set up. As Dan stated, PFD's may not have done much good. The would, however, have given the rescuers more time to help those who did get free of the boat. The passengers were partly hampered by the physical handicaps. It was not easy to pull them into rescue boats when they were unable to help pull themselves up.

Art Read
10-03-2005, 11:34 AM
I would be VERY surprised if the "Maid's" passengers are required to wear lifejackets.

(How about resizing that monster picture there, Dutch?)

cedar savage
10-03-2005, 11:45 AM
The sheriff said a language barrier was slowing the process of notifying victims' families.
What's this language barrier all about?

Katherine
10-03-2005, 11:49 AM
Apparently the English in upstate New York is different then the English in Southeast Michigan.

Paul Pless
10-03-2005, 12:06 PM
I don't recall wearing a PFD on the Maid of the Mist.

[ 10-03-2005, 02:15 PM: Message edited by: Paul Pless ]

RichKrough
10-03-2005, 12:16 PM
The media has widely reported that the Ethan Allen is a wood hulled boat, I was pretty sure the hull is fiberglass with a mostly wood superstructure. The local paper this morning reported it is a fiberglass hull

The glass on the boat doesn't completely surround the boat (or at least it didn't the day I was on it) But if you were near the bow you could easily be trapped.

The language barrier supposingly has to do with the tour company which is Canadian. eh?

[ 10-03-2005, 01:19 PM: Message edited by: RichKrough ]

mmd
10-03-2005, 01:30 PM
Folks, with the greatest of respect for your concerns about whether or not wearing PFD's should be mandatory on commercial tour boats, that issue is, IMHO, secondary to the real question here.

Why did the boat capsize in the first place?

There should be no way in God's green earth that a commercial tour boat should be able to be capsized by the wake of another, larger, boat in a lake, near shore, on a clear, calm summer's day. None. Zip. Nada.

Legislate that an accurate linesplan is required for all commercial passenger-carrying hulls - if not available from the designer/builder, measure the boat. Require that such boats have calculated ultimate stability and conditional stability in multiple loading conditions, including worst case scenario. Make it a requirement of licesure for operating a tour boat that the captain understands the principles of stability and can understand a stability booklet. Confirm the boat's displacement and centre of gravity by conducting an inclining experiment prior to issuing a certificate of seaworthiness. Prove that the boat has sufficient stability to be safe in all operating conditions. Then inspect the boat on a regular schedule to enforce compliance. Legislate that any changes to the boat arrangements, structure, or powering requires re-certification.

Draconian? Yes, definitely. But if it keeps someone's Granny from drowning in her wheelchair, it is worth the effort, IMHO.

(rant over...)

Alan D. Hyde
10-03-2005, 01:43 PM
Exactly, Michael.

Alan

Gary E
10-03-2005, 01:48 PM
MMD,
Your right... 100%...

I checked to see if this is a Fed Documented boat... it's NOT... I am not sure if that is a requirement for this type or class of boat service, but most are, and are inspected by the Goast Guard for stability.

But I am sure that according to CoastGuard rules the pilot MUST have a License...

The TV reporter said this boat was inspected... I wonder BY WHO was it inspected? the CG? ... sounds like a used car inspector did the job.

Gary E
10-03-2005, 01:57 PM
Look at this site...

http://www.lakegeorgeshoreline.com/

Doesnt that boat look a lot like the one blamed by the people for makeing a big wave?...

Hummmm

P.I. Stazzer-Newt
10-03-2005, 01:59 PM
I'm sure that there is an interesting discussion here.

But half of it is off screen -> right.

Or the other half has "gone left".

Makes following the argument a little tricky.

Paul Pless
10-03-2005, 02:02 PM
Click on the 'printer frindly view' link on the bootom of the screen.

George Roberts
10-03-2005, 02:34 PM
mmd ---

I would suggest that accidents happen.

The best engineering, the best crew, the best regulations, and the best (fill in the blank) don't prevent accidents like this.

The passengers died in part because they were not boat people. And in part because they were old.

Gary E
10-03-2005, 02:45 PM
Originally posted by George Roberts:

I would suggest that accidents happen.

The best engineering, the best crew, the best regulations, and the best (fill in the blank) don't prevent accidents like this.

The passengers died in part because they were not boat people. And in part because they were old.George,
The BEST was clearly NOT used... common sense being one...

What would you say about passengers that die in a car wreck as a result of a POS bucket of bolts and it's operation..they wernt car people?

What about those thrown from the back of a pickup?.. they werent truck people?

This is a clear case of neglence and the National Safety transportation people are on the case, they will prove it.

mmd
10-03-2005, 03:16 PM
Yes, George, accidents do happen. And it is the responsibility of designers like you and me to see to it that the possibility of these types of accidents is reduced as much as humanly possible, and the responsibility of our respective governments to enact legislation to protect the inexperienced public, including the elderly and very young, when they go aboard vessels that are in the business of accomodating them.

At this early stage of the investigation into this accident - and I am willing to be proven wrong by future developments - I believe that the vessel in question did not possess sufficient stability to withstand the rolling motion incited by the wake of a passing vessel. That the vessel was incapable of remaining upright in these rather benign and predictable conditions is, in my opinion, a fundamental lack of proper investigation of the seaworthiness of the vessel for its intended purpose. That is a human failing, not an act of God or bad luck, and human failings in engineering can and should be ameliorated. I believe that it is the responsibility of government agencies such as your Coast Guard and my Dept. of Transport to enact regulations that sets guidelines for ship safety, and that accidents like this one should cause such agencies to review their regulations and enforcement to ensure that the public can be confident that the boats they go aboard are as safe for the given purpose as can be reasonably attained, regardless of the experience or age of the passenger.

I am very surprised that you, as a fellow professional designer, are so glib in assigning responsibility to the passengers for their own demise. Do you not feel that the responsibility falls upon the designer, builder, and operator of these vessels to make the boats safe for the customer, regardless of their inexperience and physical limitations? Should non-boaters and the elderly be refused access to small tour boats?

Yes, accidents happen. But I believe that with proper naval architecture and legislative efforts this one did not have to happen.

Granville
10-03-2005, 03:36 PM
Who the hell, blew up this thread? as your hillbilly friend might say " bite me"

Katherine
10-03-2005, 04:32 PM
These tours have been operating on the lake for years. If the boat was so unstable or the Mohican had a huge wake, then why haven't there been other incidents, or are they just unreported?

Dan McCosh
10-03-2005, 04:48 PM
Just a theory, but several reports mentioned a sharp turn just before the boat rolled over. I would speculate that the turn aggravated the effect of a wave just the right shape and heigbht to accelerate the roll, and it went over.

mmd
10-03-2005, 04:52 PM
Katherine, the boats don't have to be terribly unstable, just enough so that when the right conditions are present they become just a little bit too unstable. It is the job of the naval architect to determine where the "too unstable" point is and to determine what the worst anticipated conditions are, and design the vessel to have enough reserve stability to survive the worst anticipated condition.

Surely your engineering background has taught you that just because a machine hasn't failed yet doesn't mean that it won't, and therefore you don't have to determine its failure probability because it hasn't failed yet. By your logic above, you shouldn't have to carry a life ring aboard your Owens because nobody has ever fallen overboard ... yet. ;)

Katherine
10-03-2005, 04:53 PM
I wonder if it would have been so bad if the passengers had been more able bodied? I'm not saying the elderly or physically challenged should not go out on the water, but that may not have been the best boat for them to use. Sounds like a strange set of circumstances added up to a tragic event.

Katherine
10-03-2005, 04:55 PM
mmd, if someone falls off the Owens right now, it will be very painful, about 10 ft down to the ground. tongue.gif

Yes, we always look at the worst possible case, why do you think modern cars have so many safety systems, however, I'm just surprised that nothin like this has ever come up before given the decades those boats have been on the lake.

Bob Adams
10-03-2005, 04:58 PM
If the boat was an inspected boat, it had to either:
Passed a stability test, where water filled barrels are moved around on the boat to simulate a "worse case" passenger loading and distribution
or
Had a sistership pass the test and be "type accepted".
At least I seem to remember it that way.

Katherine
10-03-2005, 05:02 PM
It could be when it started to roll the sudden shift of everything on board had enough momentum to keep it rolling. This sometimes happens in rollover car accidents.

mmd
10-03-2005, 05:05 PM
" wonder if it would have been so bad if the passengers had been more able bodied?" Katherine Probably not.


"...but that may not have been the best boat for them to use. " Katherine Exactly my point. But how do you know if the boat is best for the purpose? You do a stability analysis for the worst-case scenario. If the boat can't be safe for elderly or infirm passengers who are restricted in their ability to move about quickly, the tour boat operator has two choices: get a better boat or disallow a certain class of passengers. There are two methods of determining the viability of a hull for a particular task - calculate it's stability in a worst anticpated condition, or drive it 'till something goes wrong. Apparently this boat was selected for the second type of testing. In the computer software world, isn't that called "blind beta testing"?

EDIT TO ADD:

The reasonable response to your question about "operating all these years", Katherine, would be to find out if this particular boat in its current configuration had a long history on the lake, of was it recently put into this service or modified?

The problem with static inclination testing is that if you merely accept the data that shows the boat won't roll over with static weights on the rail in calm water (such tests are required to be carried out in calm water) and don't do the calculations for dynamic rolling and free-surface effects, you don't really know the vessel's capabilities (or lack thereof). The argument has been made many times that such testing is too expensive for small boats, and to some degree I agree with that. However, when a vessel is being put into service to carry passengers who may be infirm and ignorant, I think that such vessels have to comply as stringently as large passenger-carrying ships to safety regulations, including minimum stability requirements and inspection protocols.

[ 10-03-2005, 06:17 PM: Message edited by: mmd ]

Katherine
10-03-2005, 05:08 PM
Unfortunately their test method got 20 people killed. Unacceptable.

Hwyl
10-03-2005, 05:41 PM
I don't think the Coast guard license is worth the paper it's written on.

There are schools that virtually guarantee you to pass, and they administer the test.

Yes: I do have one.

I'm not wild about Dyer boats, Nick Potter designed them for another era and they are much modified since his day.
I'm confident he never envisaged this use or deck layout.

George Roberts
10-03-2005, 06:20 PM
mmd ---

I never said the passengers were at fault. I simply gave an opinion as to why they died rather than just getting wet. Considering the speed of rescue and that 1/2 of the people lived it seems that not knowing how or not being able to exit a sinking ship may have been a cause of death for some. I also allow other causes not related to boat design or boat handling.

I do my engineering. I let others do theirs. I don't think there is any professional who puts a boat on the water if he thinks people will die.

As for "I believe that with proper naval architecture and legislative efforts this one did not have to happen." 40,000 people die in the US from car accidents each year. Provide an engineering and legistative plan to reduce that to under 1000 and I will agree with your statement. Accidents happen. People die.

RichKrough
10-03-2005, 09:46 PM
A few more peices of information have come out today. One is that state law does require at least 2 crew on tourist boats that carry between 21 and 50 passengers.

A local news show says The captain stated he was steering the boat to avoid a wake and when the boat began rolling in the wake all the passengers slid to one side on the wooden benches and knocked the boat over.

(C&P) A former captain of the boat, William Huus, said the Ethan Allen would list to the left :eek: when fully loaded because of the way the seats were configured. But he said he never had a problem with the boat. "I carried hours and hours and hours on that boat and she was, I thought, a very safe boat," Huus said.

Another clip and paste from the Glen Falls NY Post star( local newspaper to Lake George area)

NTSB safety report:
Outdated weight rule allows overloading

Last year, federal officials urged changes in Coast Guard regulations that might have prevented the tour boat accident on Sunday in which 20 people died.

Those changes, however, have yet to be adopted.

A December 2004 report from the National Transportation Safety Board said the Coast Guard was using an outdated formula to determine the carrying capacity of passenger boats.

The formula, which dates to 1960, sets the average weight of passengers at 140 pounds. But the average weight of American men and women has risen almost 25 pounds since 1960.

The outdated formula was brought up in a report on the March 6, 2004, capsizing of a water taxi -- the Lady D -- in Baltimore's Inner Harbor, in which five people died.

The Lady D was carrying 25 passengers, its maximum. But the passengers' average weight was 168 pounds, which meant the boat was carrying 700 pounds more than its capacity.

The Ethan Allen was also carrying close to its maximum number of passengers. Forty-eight people were on board; the boat is rated for 50. But the combined weight of those 48 people could have far exceeded a capacity based on a 140-pound average.

Warren County Sheriff Larry Cleveland said all of the passengers he saw seemed to weigh more than 150 pounds.

Cleveland said the boat did not have a weight limit, but did have a maximum passenger number. He said one of the things the National Transportation Safety Board will look at is whether the boat was overloaded.

"Their (state) permit reads 'passenger limit,' not 'weight limit,' " Cleveland said.

Other eyewitnesses said most of the passengers they saw appeared much heavier than 140 pounds.

A leading naval architect who has worked on Lake George tour boats said extra passenger weight could have been a factor in the turnover of the Ethan Allen.

Jack Gilbert of John Gilbert Associates in Hingham, Mass., said that if most of the passengers moved to one side while the boat was leaning that way, their weight could have contributed to the capsizing.

Police said Monday that passengers did slide to one side of the boat immediately before it turned over.

Gilbert's company handled the reconstruction in recent years of the Mohican and the Minne Ha-Ha for the Lake George Steamboat Co. and has designed passenger and automobile ferries for Lake Champlain, Martha's Vineyard and Maine.

"The 140 pounds goes back to the beginning of time," he said. "I don't know how that hung in there.

I don't think there are many American adults that weigh 140 lbs these days :rolleyes:

Katherine
10-04-2005, 11:40 AM
This is, of course, big new around here since most of the passengers were from Michigan. Last news report said that the boat had fixed bench seating but whem poeple started to slide, over it went.

Bruce Hooke
10-04-2005, 12:00 PM
Yes, the paper here also reported that when they hauled the boat up the seats were wooden and were attached to the deck. So, it sounds like the bit about lawn chairs was false. I'd guess that as the boat started to roll it felt to the passengers like the seats were sliding, when, in fact, the passengers were just sliding down the seats.

Gary E
10-04-2005, 12:43 PM
I see no diference with the seats...either one makes no difrence when that POS was as top heavy as it is...

Now the radio is reporting that the Tour Operator / Pilot could be fined for not having a 2nd crew member on board as required... yeah...Big frikin deal... The Fine is from $25 to a max of $100...

Bruce Hooke
10-04-2005, 02:46 PM
It will be interesting to see what the official analysis of the accident comes up with. Given how long this boat has been in operation it does seem suprising that something has not happened before now because they surely must have encounter boat wakes and waves with a full load of passengers. You would think that in that time they would have encountered a situation where the boat did not roll over but, say, rolled far enough to cause a smaller group of passengers to slide over to one side and thereby raise questions about the stability of the boat...

Bruce Hooke
10-04-2005, 03:29 PM
Originally posted by Gary E:
I see no diference with the seats...Seats that are fastened down at least make it a bit harder for the passengers to all slide down to the low side because they actually have to slide off the seats rather than the seats just tipping over. Also, it means that at least the weight of the seats themselves is not also shifted to the low side. However, it's clear that none of this was enough to prevent the tragedy.

Alan D. Hyde
10-04-2005, 03:37 PM
An UNSTABLE, shifting, load is far more dangerous than is a stable load.

This is very important on tankers or bulk carriers, is it not, mmd, Andrew, John, and others???

Apparently in this case the center of gravity was too high? There's a metacentric height formula which is not now coming to mind...

Alan

[ 10-04-2005, 04:38 PM: Message edited by: Alan D. Hyde ]

John of Phoenix
10-04-2005, 03:41 PM
You're gonna need a five point seat harness with an ejection seat mechanism for at least every other passenger to prevent similar mishaps.

"We have the techology." - The Six Million Dollar Man, '70 something.

brian.cunningham
10-04-2005, 04:13 PM
Tragic. :(

I always wear a PFD when I up on deck of a boat.
The trouble is those people were "inside".
If that boat had a doors where those hugh openings are it might have better survived to knock down.

BTW just on the news, the operator will be fined for being the only crew on board, all of $25. :(

Dave Fleming
10-04-2005, 04:31 PM
.

[ 10-06-2005, 01:02 PM: Message edited by: Dave Fleming ]

mmd
10-04-2005, 10:25 PM
WARNING!! WHAT FOLLOWS IS PURE SPECULATION BASED ON MINIMAL FACTS AND IS IN NO WAY INTENDED TO BE TAKEN AS A PROFESSIONAL EVALUATION OF THE ACCIDENT INVOLVING THE ETHAN ALLEN

OK, I’ll jump in with a speculative description of how the accident occurred. In a year or two, when the Coast Guard and coroner are finished with their investigation, we can look back at this to see how far off the mark I was.

Initial conditions:

Calm, clear day, light breezes, calm water surface. Passengers are seated and boat is making way along the shoreline. Seats do not have armrests or other features that keep passengers in place. Deck is at the level of the lowest point of the sheer of the boat, and partial bulkheads topped with Plexiglas form a shelter around the passenger area. A full-length roof on pillars covers the entire passenger area. (Are there secondary exits from this space? I don’t see any in the pictures, but that could just be due to perspective.) This combination of high deck and heavy roof structure makes the boat a bit tender, but as the boat only operates at slow speed in good weather, it is not deemed problematic.

Sequence of events:

The second crewmember for the boat doesn’t come to work that day for some reason. The captain is committed to providing the tour for a bus tour group, so decides that he can conduct the tour without a second crewperson. He pilots the boat along the shore and provides commentary (usually the task of the second crewperson) to the tour group about the shore-side features. By directing most of his attention to the group and the shore, he fails initially to notice the approaching wake of a passing ferry.

The captain notices the approaching wake when it is about two boat-lengths away. Realizing that it is large enough – probably in the range of 18 to 24 inches and starting to break - to cause discomfort to his passengers, he guns the throttle and turns into the wave, hoping to take it more on the bow of his boat than broadside. However, the combination of centrifugal force and prop torque heel the boat away from the on-coming wake wave as the boat begins to make its turn. As the bow quarter of the hull makes contact with the vanguard of the approaching wave, the hull is heeled to about ten degrees away from the wave.

As the wake wave begins to pass under the boat, it carries the bow with it, pivoting the boat about its lateral centre of effort, which is located aft of centre due to the configuration of the semi-displacement hull with full skeg. As the hull turns parallel to the wave, the wave builds up under the hull, increasing buoyancy under the hull side that is facing the wave. This exacerbates the existing heel of the boat to an alarming position, probably to about 20 or 25 degrees. The captain opens the throttle to full speed and puts the helm hard over to try to bring the bow back into the wave. This action causes the boat to bury the stern, exposing more of the hull’s flat aft buttocks to the oncoming wave, but does precious little to turn the boat.

Now the full impact of the wake slams into the precariously heeled boat. The nearly vertical portion of the breaking wave hits at nearly right angles to the hull bottom, imparting its full force on the hull. This increases the velocity of the rolling motion of the hull and lifts the boat momentarily, changing the position of the centre of buoyancy and rendering the boat unstable. The boat falls off on it’s side away from the wake wave. The sheer of the hull submerges and acts as a pivot point for the wave to roll the hull over rather than to merely push the hull across the surface of the water. At this point the boat is nearly lying on its beam-ends, but by now the wake wave has nearly passed under the boat. Even in this precarious position there is probably enough reserve buoyancy in the hull which, coupled with the “down-slope” of the back of the wake wave, will bring the boat back upright … unless some other force appears to thwart this action. Unfortunately, some other force arrives at just the opportune time.

When the boat suddenly rolls to near vertical from the wake’s impact, the passengers begin to slide athwartships on the armless seats. This has several effects: Firstly, with the mass of half of the passengers removed from the wake side of the boat, the wake is able to lift that side of the boat more easily. Secondly, the mass of half of the passengers added to the low side of the boat increases the heel and reduces the available righting moment. Finally, the force of the acceleration of the bodies sliding athwartships provides enough energy to drive the hull past the point of no return, and the boat continues to rotate until it finds equilibrium, which is probably close to completely inverted.

Conclusions:

Could this accident have been averted? Yes, I think so, but I don’t think that any one person, through accident or lack of knowledge, can be blamed. The need to do a comprehensive stability analysis for all boats that carry the general public should be a national standard to ensure, as much as is possible, the safety of the passengers. The general public doesn't need to know about boats and safety - it is the duty of the designer and builder and owner to do everything they can to ensure the public's safety, and the duty of your government to demand due diligence. Had such standards been in place, it is quite likely that the stability analysis of the boat in the worst-case scenario would have discovered this instability condition and the boat would have been denied a service endorsement. A few alterations that may have been open to the boat owner in this situation would be to lower the deck height above the waterline, provide fixed seating with armrests strong enough for passengers to hold on to, and ensuring that the roof and its support structure was as light as possible. Maybe this would lower the C of G enough that the boat would be stable enough in the worst-case scenario.

This will also ensure that tour boat operators place stability on a higher level of importance than price when selecting a boat for use as a tour boat. And wouldn’t you want the boat that sweet little Auntie Ruthie is going on to have been inspected and tested to be stable in every condition it is likely to encounter?

Ian McColgin
10-05-2005, 06:29 AM
I find Michael's scenerio persuasive.

Seems to me that they could have lowered the passenger deck a foot or two, maybe requiring the helm station to be elevated and thus having better aft vision anyway, and limiting the passengers foreward view, which is limited for all but a few passengers anyway. That and arm rests on the seat would probably have prevented this.

We have a tour boat with a similarly over-high passenger deck, but it is a fanciful "pirate" vessel that takes kids and operates well withint its weight limits. They recover a "treasure" at mid trip so they keep the weight down to the point where it's safe to have everyone on one rail.

Bruce Hooke
10-05-2005, 06:49 AM
Very interesting. Thank you for that analysis Michael.

martin schulz
10-05-2005, 07:02 AM
I German television they also mentioned that the standard passenger weight in the US is calculated with 65kg (since 1950). The boat was allowed to carry 50 passengers, that would be 3250kg (calculated). In reality I guess it is safe to assume that those elderly people weighed at least 80kg per person, which would lead to an overall weight of 4000kg, 750kg more than allowed (calculating with 50 passengers).

Perhaps an adjustment of the standard passenger weight calculation would make sense?

RichKrough
10-05-2005, 07:58 AM
The NTSB had a press conference last night on the local news, They say they are investigating several possible contributing factors. most interesting is that the NTSB says the boat was designed for a vinyl canopy with vinyl curtains. The wood and glass enclosure was added in the 1990s. The engine was replaced a few years ago with a heavier and more powerful engine. Several lead "bricks" were added as ballast to the bow presumbly to counteract the weight of the heavier engine in the stern. They also noted the boat had a manual bilge pump not an automatic bilge pump.

The NTSB is planning to conduct stability tests on the sister boat to the Ethan Allen during the next couple of days

There has also been much focus on the Captain and his activities during the 72 hour period prior to the incident. The captain has agreed to provide a urine sample for drug and alcohol testing.

[ 10-05-2005, 09:05 AM: Message edited by: RichKrough ]

Alan D. Hyde
10-05-2005, 09:14 AM
Thank you, Michael.

That was well-thought-out.

Why not a private organization to certify seaworthiness and safety of design and construction? Something akin to U.L. (Underwriters Laboratories)???

Alan

Bruce Hooke
10-05-2005, 09:50 AM
One small additional note, an article in today's Providence Journal noted that the hull of the Ethan Allen was built here in Rhode Island around 40 years ago and was sent unfinished to a company in Connecticut (that no longer exists) that specialized in making tour boats. So, the boat has likely been in use as a tour boat for 40 years, BUT as Rick's post points out, for most of that 40 years it had a "soft top," which would likely have been much ligher than the current hard roof. That roof is weight high up, which, as most of us know well, has a big impact on stability.

Bruce Hooke
10-05-2005, 09:55 AM
Originally posted by Alan D. Hyde:
Thank you, Michael.

That was well-thought-out.

Why not a private organization to certify seaworthiness and safety of design and construction? Something akin to U.L. (Underwriters Laboratories)???

AlanRather than giving authority to one organization that might decide that anything non-standard (e.g., steam power) is simply not worth their trouble to certify even if it is in fact quite safe or make the certification cost so absurd that it is only viable for production boats thus eliminating most wooden tour boats, I would rather see simply stricter Coast Guard requirements regarding stability calculations that could be performed by any certified naval architect.

George Roberts
10-05-2005, 10:07 AM
mmd ---

It is too easy to do engineering after an accident without the facts. Let's make it a bit more
difficult for you.

You are now the designer/modifier of the boat in question.

Before the accident happened what stability numbers would you have required?

Would those numbers have kept the boat upright?

I expect had you or I designed and supervised the modifications of the boat it still would have sunk.

Alan D. Hyde
10-05-2005, 10:22 AM
Specifying realistic weight limitations might have been done had an N/A or good designer looked into stability.

If the average adult weighs 35 pounds more than the old CG assumption, then there was a weight of 1680 MORE pounds than that assumption (140 pounds) would have supposed.

I assume that this much weight above the boat's center of gravity might make a fatal difference.

Alan

[ 10-05-2005, 11:31 AM: Message edited by: Alan D. Hyde ]

Gary E
10-05-2005, 10:27 AM
Realizing that it is large enough – probably in the range of 18 to 24 inches and starting to break - to cause discomfort THAT BIG??? wow... this is reported to be either a 38 ft or 40 ft boat... and an ocean going one at that... and your thinking a bathtub wave of that size is going to danger that boat?... IF it truly would then that POS is dangerous and the pilot knew that from day one and should of sunk the POS on day 2.

Where is the owners Insurance Co on this deal?

mmd
10-05-2005, 11:23 AM
"You are now the designer/modifier of the boat in question. Before the accident happened what stability numbers would you have required?' - George Roberts In Canada, codified figures for required stability of small craft under 15 tons GRT are not available, and I suspect it is the same in the USA. It can also be argued that existing stability criteria for boats over 15 GRT such as STAB-4A which decrees a minimum area under the GZ curve (in metre-radians) of the vessel at specified angles of heel is not wholly accurate because it does not address dynamic stability. In light of this, I do not propose that a catch-all minimum stability standard be promulgated. Instead, I propose that each vessel intended for passenger traffic be evaluated for stability performance within the parameters of its mission and local environment.

In this particular case, I would have evaluated the stability of the boat as I described in my previous posting, by calculating the worst possible condition using data gained from an inclinimg experiment and research into the local environment and the boat's mission profile. If the boat proved to be unstable in the defined condition, I would have reported that the vessel was unfit for the intended useage. I would assume that the boat owner would then have me do further calculations to determine whether alterations can solve the problem, or whether the boat is simply unsuitable for the job.


"Would those numbers have kept the boat upright?" - George Roberts Numbers don't keep boats afloat, good engineering and common sense do.

Gary E.; I'll try to ignore your misguided name-calling for the moment to answer the question about the size of the wave. I guesstimated the height of the wake wave at under two feet because if it had been larger there probably would have been a record of complaints by shore-side property owners about the ferry wake causing damage. And yes, a two-foot wake can cause a 40-foot boat to capsize. If the boat has a high centre of gravity and low metacentric height, and if the wake wave train happens to be at the same frequency as the boat's roll period, a violent rolling motion can be induced in the boat, possibly culminating in capsize or foundering.

As for the boat being a POS, it depends on whether the boat is being used for its intended purpose, or being wildly mis-matched to its actual use. For example, a Mercedes-Benz is a fine car, but a POS if you try to use it as a dumptruck.

Katherine
10-05-2005, 11:31 AM
mmd, it sounds like the tour company modified the boat in ways that it was never designed for. I wonder it it still would have sunk if the captain had not tried to turn it and just warned the passengers to try and brace themselves.

mmd
10-05-2005, 11:49 AM
Katherine, I think that the salient event was the passengers falling to the side of the boat, providing the proper amount of dynamic loading at just the right moment to assist in the roll-over. If they had been able to remain in their seats, I think that the boat would have taken on water but I don't think it would have rolled. However, as George is sure to remind me, this is just speculation that is completely unfounded in fact. As to whether turning into the wave was the right thing to do in that specific circumstance, that is a judgement call that I am not prepared to second-guess. Turning into a wave is the right thing to do in most circumstances, but there is also elements of timing and knowing how the individual boat behaves in such conditions. I am content to believe that the captain, with his many years of experience with the boat, tried to do the right manoever, but that circumstances beyond his control overwhelmed his efforts. As I stated earlier, I don't think that this is an accident that can be blamed on any one person or agency, but rather the result of inadequate regulation of a specific segment of commercial boat licensing.

Katherine
10-05-2005, 11:55 AM
It'll be interesting to see whether or not the boat's modificaions helped cause the roll over. People modify cars all the time without realizing what they're actually doing to the vehicle. I wonder if this will lead to more regulations about how the boat can be used and whether or not they can carry infirm passengers.

ahp
10-05-2005, 12:42 PM
From today's NYTs I gleaned several pieces of information which have also been mentioned in this thread.

The Ethan Allen was built in 1966 and the NYTs article suggests that its design and approval for carrying passangers was grandfathered and its stability was not evaluated ever again

In 1996 a number of changes were made to the Ethan Allen. The canvas top and vynel window were replace by a wood and fiberglass top, and something more rigid replaced the former windows. All of this added weight up high.

The engine was replaced in 1996 also, with a larger one. Perhaps the lead blocks up foreward were added to correct the fore and aft trim. At this time the deck was raised to accomodate more passangers. The raising of the deck may have been only aft over the new engine. This is not clear.

The Ethan Allen had two and three seating. A previous captain stated that he rearranged the seating of the passangers if the weather was rough. He claimed she was stable but even older captain, now 88, stated through his daughter that the Ethan Allen was "tipsy".

It sounds like there are some real questions about stability that need to be answered.

George Roberts
10-05-2005, 02:41 PM
mmd ---

(without looking back to verify this:) It appears that you too would not have considered the conditions you propose - 2' wave, sudden turn, passenger's sliding - in your stability computations.

Certainly those conditions are not those one would expect on that lake.

Life is tough for engineers.

mmd
10-05-2005, 02:52 PM
"It appears that you too would not have considered the conditions you propose - 2' wave, sudden turn, passenger's sliding - in your stability computations." - George Roberts
You may have elected to ignore those conditions, George, but I sure as hell would not have. That is part the process of defining a "worst case condition".

ahp
10-05-2005, 03:38 PM
I forgot, an 1996 a some sort of pilot house was also added. It may have been small but that is a few more pounds above the CB.

RichKrough
10-05-2005, 10:11 PM
Some reports today by the local media:

The captain/pilot stated during an interview to the NY post that he is a recovering alcoholic who "takes a drink occasionaly" The captain's attorney confirmed this statement. He has voluntarily submitted to testing.

C&P (Lake George - CBS 6) — Joyce Cloutier was a witness to the capsizing of the Ethan Allen and was one of the first people to place a 911 call on Sunday. Cloutier and her husband were in their boat heading south on Lake George when she noticed how unstable the Ethan Allen looked seconds before it went under. The couple was only 50 yards away from the Ethan Allen when the boat began making a sharp right hand turn. Cloutier claims when the boat began to make the turn people started to topple to one side. She also stated she has never seen the Ethan Allen with so many people on it at once. Cloutier does not believe the boat capsized because of a large wake, she claimed the water was "very, very calm." The Cloutier's rescued several of the elderly people that were tossed into the lake as the boat sank. She says she will never be able to erase the memory of the boat capsizing or the people struggling for their own lives.

From the NTSB briefing at 6pm :
The NTSB and a Naval Architect (John Scarano I think) performed a USCG "simplified stabilty test" (http://www.uscg.mil/d13/units/msopuget/tboatpackagesecF.htm) on the sister boat "De Champlain" they placed 12 plastic barrels full of water in the center of the boat to simulate the weight of 50 people weighing 140 lbs each. They moved weight around the vessel to simulate passengers moving about, at one point they placed 8 empty barrels on the port rail and began filling the barrels with water, The NTSB stopped the test at 3 barrels as the boat listed to the point of being unsafe. The barrels were said to weigh 475 lbs.
Tomorrow more tests will be conducted and more data collected.
The NTSB also will conduct tests on the tourist boat " Mohican: which is one of the larger tour boats on the lake to measure it's wake.

ahp
10-06-2005, 09:48 AM
Maybe they were just lucky. More in the NYTs today. Stabiltiy tests were just conducted on a sister ship using barrels of water. The tests were not completed because had they continued the boat would have capsized.

George Roberts
10-06-2005, 10:38 AM
mmd ---

Then you are a better engineer than any I have seen.

Alan D. Hyde
10-06-2005, 11:03 AM
George, my impression is that he's well above the average... :D

Alan

mmd
10-06-2005, 11:50 AM
George, there is nothing special about being thorough.

Gresham CA
10-06-2005, 12:01 PM
And Micheal went to a VERY good school too. You have to be way above average just to get in.

Noah
10-06-2005, 12:15 PM
And Micheal went to a VERY good school too. You have to be way above average just to get in. Isn't that the same thing for this forum... :rolleyes: :rolleyes: :rolleyes:

Gresham CA
10-06-2005, 12:23 PM
If it is Noah, then I musta caught them at a weak moment because I'm just average.

Ian McColgin
10-06-2005, 04:59 PM
Having seen Michael's work, I know that he is well above average. When I hit megabucks, he'll have the commission for my perfect vessel.

But Michael is absolutely correct that any boat designer or navel architect should be able to do stability calculations. Sorta like a land based architect might design the building floors differently if it's to be a home or a library or a stable or a boat shop . . .

Actually, all licensed operators and I think all even moderatly intelligent amatures ought to know this stuff as well. It's really terribly obvious.

mmd
10-06-2005, 05:29 PM
redface.gif Ummm, thanks very much guys, but please stop. This shouldn't be a popularity contest, but a discussion of differing viewpoints. George is entitled to his opinion, as am I. The Coast Guard's (or whchever agancy has jurisdiction) report will eventually prove one of us somewhere nearby right.

htom
10-06-2005, 06:59 PM
You are, however, entitled to your (that is, mmd's) opinion of George's opinion.

Lots of people design to the middle; this leads to 34.9087/987 = wrong answer.

ion barnes
10-06-2005, 07:46 PM
It was explained to me some years ago that the 150lb per person allowance was for the average weight of a person sitting in a swamped boat; and in the case of a small boat ie. less than six people.

George Roberts
10-06-2005, 08:09 PM
mmd ---

There was purpose to my posts ...

A while ago a ship at dock sank while loading several hundred tons of generator.

A while ago a ship carrying rock hit a submerged rock and sank.

Looking at the ships and boats along the Gulf coast one sees a lot of damage.

Boats are not designed for expected conditions. And certainly not for worse case conditions.

qm
10-06-2005, 08:24 PM
I was thinking someone left a valve open or a valve broke and then she had some water, then a wake took her over. Of course, as someone has already pointed out, the passengers sit up very high for the boat and there were by common sense too many of them for the boat. QM

Bruce Hooke
10-06-2005, 08:26 PM
Originally posted by George Roberts:
Boats are not designed for expected conditions. And certainly not for worse case conditions.Say What!?!?!?

Of course no boat can be designed to withstand absolutely the worst that nature or man can throw at it so you may have a semantic point there -- the ability to withstand extreme situations needs to be balanced against what is practical, so "worst case" is maybe semantically a little bit inaccurate. But when I designed my rowboat I considered factors like how high the sides should to be for the kinds of places I plan to use the boat (i.e., expected conditions) and how strong the gunwales should to be to withstand an oar being dropped on them (which may not be "worst" case but is at least "worse case"). Of course a lot of this is based on what has worked in the past, but that is the way engineering works 99.99% of the time from what I've seen -- you extrapolate (or use tables that extrapolate) from past experience and calculations that often are approximations but that have proved to be sufficiently accurate to be effective if applied properly. But to do all that you still need to establish the conditions (load) that the structure needs to withstand, which means deciding on both what the normal or expected conditions will be and deciding what the worst case conditions are that the boat needs to be able to survive.

Katherine
10-06-2005, 08:33 PM
Originally posted by George Roberts:


Boats are not designed for expected conditions. And certainly not for worse case conditions.No engineer in their right mind would think that statement was anything but stupid!

Ian McColgin
10-07-2005, 06:55 AM
Samuel Plimsoll never visited Oklahoma.

George Roberts
10-07-2005, 10:40 AM
Bruce Hooke & Katherine ---

I gave 3 examples of boats being sunk/destroyed in normal conditions. (Yes, hurricanes are normal in the Gulf region.)

I take that as proof of my statement. You are free to be wrong. No, not free to have a different opinion.

Ian McColgin
10-07-2005, 11:17 AM
There is something about Mr Roberts' points that I am really missing. I see nothing in common between, on the one hand, accidents caused by improper cargo handling, faulty navigation or extreme weather, and on the otherhand a very obvious hazard that should never have slipped past any inspection.

That boat's modifications were drastic enough that had I any prosecutorial authority, I'd be looking as exactly whom to charge with what level of at least negligent homocide.

Sure you can't design for perfect safety in every circumstance, but stability standards are about as basic as you can get. Just because the operators slipped by on grandfathered assumptions and some years of safe operation is no excuse for the accident.

Katherine
10-07-2005, 11:25 AM
George, granted I design parts for cars not boats, but we always have to take into account the type of conditions the part is expected to be used in, every day, and worst case. Cars crash in all sorts of conditions, that does not mean that the engineers neglected anything, but that the stupid human factor on the part of the operators took over.

[ 10-07-2005, 12:27 PM: Message edited by: Katherine ]

Bruce Hooke
10-07-2005, 12:58 PM
What is your underlying point George? We can argue all day about what constitutes "normal" and "worst case" but I feel like you're trying to make a larger point.

I think it is pretty clear that you have a VERY different definition of "normal" and "worst case" than most engineers or yacht designers, but as I said, it seems to me that you must have some point beyond just the definitions of a couple of words.

For whatever it is worth, using a hammer as an example, I think most engineers would say that:

"Normal" means pounding in and pulling out nails that are reasonably matched in size to the hammer (i.e., you don't use a tack hammer to set a 12" spike and call it "normal").

"Worst case" is a nail that is deeply embedded in a hard wood so it takes a lot of leverage to remove the nail. At a certain point you have to assume a reasonably intelligent user would realize that they were reaching the reasonable limits of the tool and switch to another tool like a crowbar.

You could argue that my "worst case" should be "normal" and that "worst case" should be, say, putting a 12 foot piece of pipe around the handle of the hammer to gain more leverage and expecting it not break, but I don't see what the point would be.

Bruce Hooke
10-07-2005, 01:00 PM
Originally posted by George Roberts:
I take that as proof of my statement. You are free to be wrong. No, not free to have a different opinion.:rolleyes:

John E Hardiman
10-07-2005, 02:12 PM
I think there are a couple of points in this thread that could stand to be brought out.

First, as has been said by many, the "lives and fortunes of men" reside on the skill and knowledge of the craftsmen that provide the conveyances of those hopes and dreams out into the world. The loss of a single life is a failure of the craftsmen, regardless of how young, old, rich, poor, lucky, or intelligent (or not), those who lost their lives are. To design vehicles; boats, ships, airplanes, cars, trains, spacecraft, etc; is one of the most demanding of all practices because the finished vehicle can, and most certainly will, be moved out of the control of the craftsman. For a craftsman to take the approach of washing his hands of the vehicle once it has left his shop, shows a lack of ethics that is unconscionable. Might as well be a lawyer, or someone who makes gravel.

In response to some quotes by George Roberts:

I do my engineering. I let others do theirs. I don't think there is any professional who puts a boat on the water if he thinks people will die.

Boats are not designed for expected conditions. And certainly not for worse case conditions.

George, I do not know what profession you have or the type of boats you build, but to be either so vain about ones own prowess to believe that any boat you build cannot result in the loss of life, or so ethic less to believe that you are not at fault if a boat you sell results in the loss of life, appalls me and makes me apprehensive about the safety of your clients. Now I understand that the written word is black and white, while the world is many shades of gray, but for a craftsman to say that “I don’t have to design for such-and -such or install this safety device because it would be their fault if they die” is walking a path towards negligent malfeasance that could be interpreted as criminal depending on your ability to foresee the commonness of the event (i.e. the chainsaw brake precedent). It devolves on the craftsman that builds a boat not to subject the mariner to risks other than “the normal risks inherent to the sea”.

Whenever one of my vessels go to sea, she leaves with my knowledge that people may die, and that in the damage control manuals I decided which people may die given all foreseen conditions. And yes there are conditions that I may not have foreseen. On the other hand, I have done everything to ensure, if not the vessels then the crews, best chance of survivable in all expected and foreseen worst case conditions. I know economics is also a driver in other cases, but there are also limits on that through barratry law, merchant laws, code inspections, SOLAS, wages, insurance, etc. While it is true that these limits are less restrictive that the ones I labor under, they still require that the risk to the mariner and passengers to be minimized against all “common and prudent” risks. I would say that this includes all expected and worse case conditions.

Now that they have determined that the Ethan Allen did not meet stability requirements, and that she had been modified since her stability certificate had been issued, I think that the hole in the requirements that permitted this will get closed up. Just like the Rocknes, the space shuttle, the General Slocum, and the Titanic, it is a sad fact that sometimes people must die before a hole in the codes or an unforeseen risk becomes just another code rule or design consideration. Just like a bus gets a yearly brake inspection, so should small passenger-for-hire boats get a stability test.

Gary E
10-07-2005, 02:25 PM
Just like a bus gets a yearly brake inspection Now that you mention that. Do you remember the bus with 45 passengers from assisted living home in Houston that cought fire and KILLED 22 people as it was taking them to safety from the aproaching hurricane Rita?

That bus was....
..using a expired inspection cert
..anothers bus's license plate
..being driven by a Mexican with NO US permit

And just for the record, many of these "charter bus" operations are allowed to "self inspect" ..That's Texas LAW for ya...

ohh and I forgot to say that it was a brake fire that started the inferno

[ 10-07-2005, 03:28 PM: Message edited by: Gary E ]

Alan D. Hyde
10-07-2005, 02:30 PM
Thank you, John.

Alan

Dave Fleming
10-07-2005, 02:41 PM
Bravo, JEH!

George Roberts
10-07-2005, 04:26 PM
John E Hardiman ---

"but to be either so vain about ones own prowess to believe that any boat you build cannot result in the loss of life"

It was mmd who claimed to know the proper "extreme conditions" to design to. The implication was that the people would not have died if he had designed the boat. I simply said that was impossible.

For the record: I will use all of my wealth and give my life to make anyone placed in danger by MY boats whole. Only after that will my insurer pay.

"small passenger-for-hire boats should get a yearly stability test."

This boat was over 20'. Had it been a private boat it would not require a stability test. And the dead would have been just as dead. Consider the incident from that point of view.

"And yes there are conditions that I may not have foreseen."

My claim exactly.

I understand that I do not write well. I suggest you take a bit more time when you read what I write. I will take a bit more time to write.

[ 10-07-2005, 05:26 PM: Message edited by: George Roberts ]

Bruce Hooke
10-07-2005, 04:42 PM
Originally posted by George Roberts:
It was mmd who claimed to know the proper "extreme conditions" to design to. The implication was that the people would not have died if he had designed the boat. I simply said that was impossible.I find this statement rather surprising because it seems that the boat could not pass even a fairly basic stability test, so it seems like if any competant designer had been involved in BOTH the design and the subsequent important modifications then this boat would never have ended up the way it did and the tragedy would, thereby, have been prevented.

Or maybe your point is that nobody can know every possible extreme condition that a boat should be expected to survive. This, of course, is true -- there is no way to predict every possible combination of circumstances -- but there are certainly ways to address the vast majority of them. At the least, the apparent circumstances that caused the loss of this boat would clearly have been caught by some fairly basic stability calculations that should not be seen as at all exotic.

It still feels to me like you are trying to make some particular point but that you are, for some reason, beating around the bush about it. Either that or you've got a small nit about a few words that you won't let go of...

Bruce Hooke
10-07-2005, 04:47 PM
Originally posted by George Roberts:
"small passenger-for-hire boats should get a yearly stability test."

This boat was over 20'. Had it been a private boat it would not require a stability test. And the dead would have been just as dead. Consider the incident from that point of view.Of course. Why does it seem odd to you that a commercial vessel would be inspected while a private one would not? First off, it is very unlikely that many private boats in this size range regularly carry 48 people, so simply in terms of trying to focus on the areas where there is the most to be gained it makes all sorts of sense to focus on commercial vessels. Second, it seems to be a fairly settled concept that when a service is being provided for money then there is a much higher obligation on the provider to protect his customers, and this obligation is codified in our laws in many, many ways.

George Roberts
10-07-2005, 05:51 PM
Bruce Hooke ---

re post 1)

I will repeat:

It was mmd who claimed to know the proper "extreme conditions" to design to. The implication was that the people would not have died if he had designed the boat. I simply said that was impossible.

re post 2)

I don't accept that argument because stability tests are required on private boats under 20'.

In fact, boat builders build over 20' for the sole purpose of avoiding the test.

John E Hardiman
10-07-2005, 05:52 PM
Originally posted by Bruce Hooke:
</font><blockquote>quote:</font><hr />Originally posted by George Roberts:
"small passenger-for-hire boats should get a yearly stability test."

This boat was over 20'. Had it been a private boat it would not require a stability test. And the dead would have been just as dead. Consider the incident from that point of view....snip... Second, it seems to be a fairly settled concept that when a service is being provided for money then there is a much higher obligation on the provider to protect his customers, and this obligation is codified in our laws in many, many ways.</font>[/QUOTE]Thanks Bruce, this is the point I was trying to make. When a company that sells a service, the public has the reasonable expectation to safety, regardless of all that fine print on the back of the ticket. I doubt that a lake tour boat company could have a release form like a white-water river raft company.

Which I think brings up one of George's points. Say I build white-water kayaks. I know what the intended use is for. What is the limit of my reponsibility as a builder? What are "prudent" design loads? What if they are used by a hire company? When or how is the use of the boat "patently unsafe"? I could make and sell a kayak made out of cardboard and duct tape (Kids....get parental permission and adult supervision before trying :D ) If I sold it as a "white-water" craft and got someone to buy it, what would my responsibility be if they killed themselves running a Class V rapid? Can I hide behind the "he was unskilled" argument? What if the kayak was top of the line in materials and construction? Is it still that "he should have known better"? What if he dies in a Class I river?

Also George may be right about the deaths being caused by
The passengers died in part because they were not boat people. And in part because they were old. While a strong able man may have been able to get out of a capsized boat with a hard top, it is clear fact that children and now older people can't. We as engineers have failed to protect them. We should change the rules to ensure that there is easy egress.

Bruce Hooke
10-07-2005, 06:15 PM
Originally posted by George Roberts:
Bruce Hooke ---

re post 1)

I will repeat:

It was mmd who claimed to know the proper "extreme conditions" to design to. The implication was that the people would not have died if he had designed the boat. I simply said that was impossible.I know that's what you said, and repeating does not make it make any more sense to me...

ahp
10-07-2005, 07:02 PM
I doesn't seem like the conditions on Lake George that day were anything close to "extream".

George Roberts
10-07-2005, 09:28 PM
Bruce Hooke ---

Despite my best "good behavior" I have seen both mmd and John E Hardiman "question" my abilities and ethics and what ever else I might have missed.

They do this because they have 20/20 hindsight.

I guess I will reevaluate my view of them. (And I guess many others who have posted in this thread.

mmd
10-08-2005, 12:57 AM
George, I have reviewed all of my postings on this thread, and I cannot find one incidence in which I questioned your skills, professionalism, or ethics. I did, however, express surprise at your posted opinion on this accident, and as the conversation developed over the next two pages, it became apparent that we disagree on whether a stability investigation including a proposed worst-case scenario would have detected an instability condition that would explain this accident. If either of these two situations have insulted you, then I apologize; such was not my intent.

However, I stand by my conjecture of how the accident occurred and my opinion that a naval architect experienced in small craft stability and having diligently researched the vessel's operational parameters would have postulated a worst-case scenario that would have discovered the dangerous condition prior to these deaths having occurred.

Don't go away in a huff, accusing me of maligning your professionalism, just because I don't agree with you.

John E Hardiman
10-08-2005, 10:35 AM
George;

As I said earlier, words are black and white, while the opinions behind them are all shades of gray. Before as mmd said, "going off in a huff" we all should take some time as you said, "take a bit more time when you read what I write. I will take a bit more time to write."

I have done so, and as you said "I understand that I do not write well." But there are some things about your very first post to this thread that we need to take lessons away from.


Originally posted by George Roberts:
mmd ---

I would suggest that accidents happen.
Yes, that is a maxim. However, many of us will differ as to what is an accident. Being struck by a meteor, being rammed by a drunk in a 60 knot speedboat, striking an uncharted rock, those are unavoidable accidents. The first two cannot be planned for with reasonableness, for the last you fit a bilge pump to give you time and carry PFDs when the pumps give out. What about a ruptured fuel hose spraying down a hot manifold? We also have controls on this in material specifications and fuel shutoffs and routing requirements and fire suppression. A fire may still happen, but if everything is done to code, it is much less likely to result in a loss. If you use non-fuel rated hose in a boat and a fire breaks out, is it an "accident"? Is tour boat capsizing on a lake due to another boats wake an accident? This is one of those "known unknowns" like fire, and though while the wake may have been unexpected, the resulting capsize due to a moderate wake was certainly preventable.


The best engineering, the best crew, the best regulations, and the best (fill in the blank) don't prevent accidents like this. George, this is where you begin to make your points poorly. Yes, regulations and engineering cannot prevent all accidents. They did not here. But it wasn't because they could not, it was because of a hole that exists in the rules allowed an operator, who should have known better, to create a dangerous condition. This goes back to my comments above; it is not an unforeseen "accident". It is a disservice to the future people who could be placed in risk to dismiss this as unavoidable and not fix the rules, and this is a point you failed to bring out. Just like every military ship gets an inclining after coming out of structural modification to ensure that they maintain their damaged stability, so should every passenger vessel that requires a stability certificate. We can fix this danger.

It is sad that people had to die to close this hole, just like more passengers had to die on the Eastland than died on the Titanic before the US regulated the stability of passenger vessels. Indeed, the changes to the rules after the loss of the Titanic may have hastened the loss of the Eastland due to the added weight of the required lifeboats topside. That there will be risk holes in the rules is a given, all engineers know this and do everything to plug them when they find them. But in your first post you don't bring out this point, rather you projected an air of disinterest. Which is unfortunate, because it sets up your next point in an extremely bad light.


The passengers died in part because they were not boat people. And in part because they were old. A true statement but very poorly worded. They died because as the unstable boat capsized, they were unable to avoid falling onto the openings on the flooding side. They were unable to jump the 12 feet across the cabin, grasp the lipless edge of the up openings and using upper body strength only, and pull themselves to safety. They were unable to calmly wait for the cabin to flood and then easily exit. The bigger question is whether they should have had too. They were unable to help themselves and others to safety because the only floor level exit path was on the high side out of reach. Yes, they were not boat people, I wonder if any had been through the damage control "box", if any had the strength to perform the gymnastics to get out the openings between the sheer and the top. I wonder if being old had anything to do with it? Could you have done any of the above? I'd have to try hard.

This is the third recent loss of life I can recall that the top prevented the exiting of a sinking craft (the water taxi in Baltimore and the DUWK in Arkansas). George, when I was young, we rode in school buses with out exit doors or seat belts, but today we know better. Just like modern school buses, should all small, enclosed, passenger vessels have large exit doors on all sides, including the top? My opinion is yes.

However, in your first post, your words projected a very dismissing attitude of that the casualties were somehow at fault because "they didn't understand boats and couldn't find their own way out". To me this seemed a blatant troll designed to incite riot.....and it did. In the greater scheme of things you might say that being less able, cold water, and unfamiliarity with the boat may have increased the deaths, but that was not prime cause. The prime cause was not being able to exit the boat.

George, it has been my experience that the only real thing that a naval architect has to sell is his opinion. The better he can express those opinions, the better he can do. If I questioned your abilities, it is because your words were imprecise enough to allow that interpretation. I often say that I can’t make things sailor-proof, that the requirements are poorly written, that there are loopholes that can, and are exploited. But that doesn’t mean I don’t care if we lose even one sailor. Each person lost at sea is important to ME, because that is how I rate myself and my profession, we must do everything we can to prevent loss. And I, maybe unfairly, will apply that ethic to all I meet in my profession.

Rick Tyler
10-08-2005, 11:25 AM
Originally posted by Ian McColgin:
Samuel Plimsoll never visited Oklahoma.I have no idea what this means, but it would be a great title for someone's autobiography. You know, the early years in the plains before she realized her big dream of twirling flaming batons on the "Princess Gargantua" in the Caribbean.

- Rick

RichKrough
10-08-2005, 04:39 PM
Up date from the Glensfalls Post star:

ERIN R. COKER—coker@poststar.com

A U.S. Coast Guard safety expert questioned Thursday whether a process in which fiberglass absorbs water could have played a part in this week's fatal tour boat crash on Lake George.

Mark Bobal, a passenger vessel safety specialist for the agency, said a process known as "delamination" -- in which fiberglass-hulled boats slowly absorb water throughout a boating season -- could have significantly added to the weight of the boat.

He said a boat the size of the Ethan Allen could gain 1,000 pounds or more over the course of the summer from water taken in by its hull.

"You can notice it because toward the end of the season, the boat can be so much more sluggish," he said.

So a boat that passes stability tests or inspection in May could gain enough weight through delamination so that it would not pass a test at the end of the summer, Bobal said.

"What it does in May and what it does at the end of the summer would be different," he said.

Warren County Sheriff Larry Cleveland said investigators are aware of the possible effect of delamination, but it was unclear Thursday whether it was a factor in Sunday's accident.

The ability of the Ethan Allen to safely handle its passenger limits has emerged as one of the main issues in the investigation of why it sank Sunday, killing 20 elderly passengers.

The boat has had at least two major alterations since it was put on Lake George in 1979, including the addition of a new, fiberglass-and-wood canopy in 1997 and a new engine in 2000. Investigators from the National Transportation Safety Board are also questioning whether the boat was certified to carry too many passengers.

The issue of whether the Ethan Allen should have been recertified for stability and passenger numbers after the alterations has been raised, and Bobal said that depends on where it was being used and what the changes were.

Bobal said boats certified by the Coast Guard, which operate on navigable interstate or shipping waters, are required to be recertified when significant changes are made.

"If you are a Coast Guard-certified boat, we would do a stability test," he said.

In New York, the state Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation inspects and certifies vessels such as tour boats, but the agency has declined to comment on whether it recertified the Ethan Allen after changes were made.

Changes such as a new canopy would be something to prompt new stability tests for a federally regulated boat, Bobal said.

"We would want to know if you put a new engine in or what you do, because we have to reconfigure the weight," Bobal said. "But if you start changing the windage area ... and you have more weight on top, that's bad."

But Mark Rosenker, the acting Chairman of the National Transportation Safety Board, said it appears state law did not require a new stability test when the modifications were made to the Ethan Allen or its sister ship, the de Champlain, which had similar changes made after its initial launching. The boats are subject to state law because of where they are operated.

"That's a state issue, and their rules did not require it," Rosenker said.

From what he knows of the Ethan Allen tragedy, Bobal said it seems something was out of balance.

"Boats are usually very forgiving and have buoyancy," he said. "This boat seems like it was so tender."

htom
10-08-2005, 04:50 PM
"Boats are usually very forgiving ...", he said, seeming to have forgotten that the seas are not.

That fiberglass top could have absorbed water, too.

George Roberts
10-08-2005, 10:21 PM
A few corrects to the stability requirements that others have given:

Stability and load requirements produce 2 numbers.

The first is the total weight allowed for cargo and passengers. The second is the total number of passengers. These numbers are affixed to the boat and updated after modifications. The numbers are not related to the number of seats on the boat.

No one here knows what those numbers affixed to the boat are so no one here has the right to place blame on those who modified the boat.

While the number 140 does appear in the computation of the number of people allowed on the boat, it is not the weight of a person. It is a number that provides the "correct" answer.

Finally, the Coast Guard has set stability standards that it thinks provides a reasonable level of safety. No one here has ever petitioned the Coast Guard for stricter standards.

It appears we have too many engineers who "know" too much.

John E Hardiman
10-09-2005, 12:52 AM
Originally posted by George Roberts:
While the number 140 does appear in the computation of the number of people allowed on the boat, it is not the weight of a person. It is a number that provides the "correct" answer.

Finally, the Coast Guard has set stability standards that it thinks provides a reasonable level of safety. No one here has ever petitioned the Coast Guard for stricter standards.
George, the number in the calculation is 160 lbs 3 ft above the deck unless you wish to include children and then the number is 140 lbs and the total number of adults is reduced by the number of children. (cf. 46 CFR 171 and the MSM V4 C6).

Also, most other stability requirements fall under international agreements, the Coast Guard just maintains the CFR to those agreements. (cf. 46 USC Subtitle II). To get a major change in the stability rules would require a change to international agreements or federal law. And that has happened before after a major hole in the rules was stumbled on. And I would not expect the major manufactures of small craft to be for it as it may require retooling to meet the new rules. See the US response to the latest SOLAS draft.

Ian McColgin
10-10-2005, 07:02 AM
The remark about not knowing what I meant about Plimsoll not visiting Oklahoma might have been a subtle and perhaps deserved rebuke for my so airily dissing Mr. Roberts. I don't feel apologetic about it, as despite solid evidence of Roberts' competence as a builder and operator, he manages to say the dangdest things.

For others who may have not learned of Plimsoll's great leadership, he's an example of a reformer hated in his time by the owners and loved by the workers and customers. Among his many efforts at maritime safety, his regulations requiring marked waterlines effectively outlawed the coffin ships that cynical owners used to over-insure and send out to sea. We honor Plimsoll today by referring to the various waterline markings required on commercial vessels as the Plimsoll line. Every time I hear some industrial apologist foresee the demise of western civilization if some safety rule is implemented, I think of giants like Plimsoll and thank my stars that his reforms were well established before I got my first Z-card.

I'm utterly mystified by the remarks of Mark Bobal, identified in the news as a passenger vessel safety specialist. I hope the story just misquoted him very badly.

Undamaged fiberglass hulls can take up moisture through osmosis. I've seen hulls in the 40' range that could gain a few hundred pounds this way. In southern waters where glass vessels are left in all year, you'll also see osmosis blisters.

Delamination is a very different phenomenon. I suppose a boat could gain quite a bit of water weight between glass layers, but a boat that's delaminating has serious structural problems. Unless there are gaping cracks down by the keel, this water trapped between glass layers would freeze during winter haul-out (It's New York!) and be pretty obvious. Whatever else, delamination is not routine.

Could water trapped in the hull destabilize a boat? I can't come up with a way to hide even a half-ton of water in the topsides of a hull this size and don't see even that unlikely extreme as significantly destabilizing the boat. Whatever Bobal was thinking of, absent something more compelling it sounds like a crock to me - perhaps a little agency CYA.

Gary E
10-17-2005, 05:40 PM
Any news on this ??

Alan D. Hyde
10-18-2005, 09:38 AM
Bump.

Alan

George Roberts
10-18-2005, 10:21 AM
mmd & John E Hardiman ---

From mmd: "You may have elected to ignore those conditions, George, but I sure as hell would not have."

from John E Hardiman: "George, I do not know what profession you have or the type of boats you build, but to be either so vain about ones own prowess to believe that any boat you build cannot result in the loss of life, or so ethic less to believe that you are not at fault if a boat you sell results in the loss of life, appalls me and makes me apprehensive about the safety of your clients."

The above quotes seem to be personal attacks and be out of line. But ...

Bruce Taylor
10-18-2005, 10:45 AM
Just like a bus gets a yearly brake inspection, so should small passenger-for-hire boats get a stability test.And if the bus doubles as a tour boat, give it an extra-thorough check, OK?

Here's Ottawa's Lady Duck tour bus, five minutes before she sank, drowning four passengers:

http://www.tsb.gc.ca/en/media/photo_database/Marine/M02C0030/Images/m02c0030_Photo_10_lg.jpg

The company that owned that death trap is still giving tours on their Lady Dive "amphibus." I see it around town now and then, filled with paying customers.

Alan D. Hyde
10-18-2005, 10:49 AM
It sure as hell doesn't look very stable, Bruce.

Or very buoyant... :(

Alan

Bruce Taylor
10-18-2005, 11:09 AM
Alan -- Certified by the coast guard, apparently. :rolleyes:

The man responsibe for that lovely thing is one Daniel Beauchesne. From the company's website:

"In his other life, Mr. Beauchesne designs and builds "Big Foot" trucks that are used to spread tons of lime over farmers' fields. So, adapting an existing vehicle for another use is not new to him.
He began with an existing school bus chassis and engine - a 6.9 litre diesel capable of generating 165 horsepower. He then built a series of ribs up from the base, covering them with a thick sheets of aluminum.
A 22-inch propeller, which runs off the same motor, was added at the rear and a smaller prop at the front for low-speed turning of the bow. The tricky part, he says, was ensuring the motor was sealed. There is optional four-wheel drive, so that the front pair of wheels can pull the craft out of the water.
On top, he added curved sheets of special tinted plastic to give the passenger a bird's eye view. A washroom was added at the rear, as were comfort touches like air conditioning.
When all was said and done, the vehicle was 46 feet long, eight feet, six inches wide, almost 12 feet tall and weighed 20,300 pounds. It can attain land speeds of 110 km/h and water speeds of six knots. It has eight wheels and an ark-like profile.
So far, it cannot fly."

The current version looks a little slicker. But is it safer? We'll just have to wait and see.

http://www.amphibus.com/amphibus_files/stage13.jpg

[ 10-18-2005, 12:11 PM: Message edited by: Bruce Taylor ]

Katherine
10-18-2005, 11:15 AM
I'm not sure who built this one, but at least it has an open top.

http://www.harbourhopper.com/slideshow/ata08.jpg

Gary E
10-18-2005, 11:22 AM
Those guys in Cuba built a beter truck that actually got them damn near all the way to Florida... that big foot idiot should not be allowed to call that junk he builds a "DUCK" or even anything resembling what was a good US Military craft.

And you say it passed the Coast Guard Inspection?... WHOSE Coast Guard?

mmd
10-18-2005, 11:23 AM
George, no personal attack at all. You had stated that I most likely would not have included waves and passenger mobility in my worst-case stability condition calculations, and I emphatically refuted that.

EDIT TO ADD:

From the Canadian Dept. of Transport Marine Safety Division regulations (Except for the title, boldface type is emphasis added by mmd):

STANDARD: STAB 5
STANDARD FOR THE INTACT STABILITY OF PASSENGER VESSELS CARRYING MORE THAN 12 PASSENGERS

3 The owner of a vessel to which this standard applies, shall:

arrange for an inclining experiment to be carried out in accordance with the requirements of STAB 2.
provide stability data in accordance with the requirements of this standard and those of STAB 1, with the proviso that the cross curves required by STAB 1 are to include a curve at a 10o angle of inclination; and
provide a general arrangement drawing showing passenger seating arrangements and a ship profile view.
4 The owner shall submit for approval, stability data for each of the following conditions:

Lightship Condition - ship completely outfitted for sea but with no passengers, crew cargo or stores and with all fuel, fresh water and water ballast tanks empty.

Light Operating Condition - lightship condition, plus crew, full fuel, water and stores.

Departure Condition - lightship condition, plus crew, full fuel, water and stores, cargo, full passenger complement, normally distributed.

Arrival Condition - lightship condition, plus crew, 10% fuel, water and stores, full cargo and passenger complement, normally distributed.

Worst Designed Operating Condition - any condition likely to be encountered in service in which the distribution and quantity of consumables, cargo, and passengers produce lower values of GZ and/or GM than conditions (ii), (iii) and (iv) above.
5 In addition to the conditions required in section 4; an emergency passenger heeling condition, as described in Section 6, shall be provided in all cases where the value of GZ at 10 degrees, in the Arrival Operating Condition, is equal to or less than metres where:

B = moulded breadth of vessel in metres.
N = total number of passengers carried.
D = displacement of vessels in tonnes.

6 Where an investigation of the effects of passenger crowding is indicated by the provisions of Section 5, the following shall apply:

(i) The passenger complement shall be restricted, in addition to any other criteria applicable, by the angle of heel due to passengers crowding to one side of the vessel. The certificate shall be endorsed to indicate the maximum number of passengers allowed on each deck and the Master shall be made aware that these numbers are not to be exceeded.

If the stability calculations reveal that, due to a disregard by passengers of deck capacity limiting notices, it would be possible to produce a passenger distribution which would create a dangerous situation, the Board may prescribe special measures, such as additional crew members or restricted areas, to control passenger distribution.



[ 10-18-2005, 12:46 PM: Message edited by: mmd ]

Alan D. Hyde
10-18-2005, 02:11 PM
Thank you, Michael.

Do these Canadian rules apply on inland as well as ocean waters?

Are there any exceptions (e.g., those buses)??

Alan

mmd
10-18-2005, 03:45 PM
Transport Canada has jusridiction over all boats in Canada regardless of the waters they float on. As for the bus-boats shown above, I'm not sure whether they would be considered "vessels carrying more than twelve passengers" or "novel and experimental craft". Either way, if they carry paying passengers, they have to comply with the regulations specific to passenger craft.

Note that there is a difference between Transport Canada and the Canadian Coast Guard - DoT administers Canadian maritime law, Coast Guard enforces it. However, any other law-enforcement agency in Canada can enforce the law as well, so if you are boating without a lifejacket, the RCMP or local police can fine you as easily as the CCG can. But they all read from the same rule book.

Bruce Taylor
10-19-2005, 07:53 AM
Alan & Michael,

Here's a link to the Transportation Safety Board report on the Lady Duck accident. Very readable, with good photos & illustrations.

http://www.tsb.gc.ca/en/reports/marine/2002/m02c0030/m02c0030.pdf

mmd
10-19-2005, 08:35 AM
Thanks for posting the link, Bruce. I've skimmed it and it looks like it'll be an interesting read. A friend who works on Parliament Hill called me the day the Duck sank - he had watched it motoring downriver about fifteen minutes before the accident, but being quite non-boaty, he didn't notice anything unusual. Sad event, but (please excuse the cynicism) ample evidence that trucks are not meant to be boats.

Ian McColgin
10-19-2005, 08:45 AM
Seems to me we've had a Duck sinking or two in the states as well. It appears that there can be some sort of catastrophic seal failure, rare but deadly when it happens.

Ducks are fabulous surf boats, as I learned hanging with an oceanographer who had one out in Oregon. You've not lived till you surf a Duck to a cliff rimmed beach on a 12 foot wave and then motor up to dry ground. 'Course you get a bit damp on the way back out . . .

Alan D. Hyde
10-19-2005, 09:30 AM
Thanks for the link, Bruce.

Here's their synopsis---

"Marine Investigation Report

Sinking and Loss of Life

Amphibious Passenger Vehicle Lady Duck

Ottawa River
Near the Hull Marina
Gatineau, Quebec
23 June 2002

Report Number M02C0030

Synopsis

At about 1610 on 23 June 2002, the amphibious vehicle Lady Duck took on water while on the
Ottawa River during a combined land and water-borne sightseeing tour of the National Capital
Region. The vehicle sank rapidly by the bow in eight metres of water when near the Hull
Marina. Of the 12 people on board, 6 passengers, the driver, and the tour guide escaped from
the vehicle and were recovered by private craft on the scene at the time of the sinking. Four
passengers, trapped within the sinking vehicle, drowned. There was no environmental damage."

***

Alan

Paul Pless
10-19-2005, 09:33 AM
.

[ 10-19-2005, 10:51 AM: Message edited by: Paul Pless ]

John of Phoenix
10-19-2005, 09:52 AM
12 on board = 6 pax + 1 driver + 1 guide + 4 casualties.

mmd
10-19-2005, 09:53 AM
Paul, have another cup of coffee to sharpen your mental math. :D

OOPS! John beat me to it, and you've edited. Nevermind...

Paul Pless
10-19-2005, 09:56 AM
and to think that I minored in mathematics redface.gif

Alan D. Hyde
10-19-2005, 10:01 AM
6 + 2 = 8 + 4 = 12

Alan

hokiefan
10-19-2005, 10:02 AM
Mathematics and arithmetic are two entirely different beasts... just ask my middle school daughter. She constantly does the math right and then adds 2+3 and gets 6! I tell her she got that from her Dad, tough break.

Paul Pless
10-19-2005, 10:05 AM
maybe granville will come along and really rub it in :D

Alan D. Hyde
10-19-2005, 10:34 AM
The report, which I just finished reading, is competently done and sensible.

The conclusions are sound.

Interesting comparisons are made, BTW, to the Miss Majestic sinking in the U.S., which involved some similar factors (particularly with respect to the roof over the passenger area), and which involved greater loss of life.

Alan

Alan D. Hyde
10-19-2005, 01:58 PM
Anyone else here remember Miss Majestic???

Alan

John E Hardiman
10-19-2005, 02:10 PM
Originally posted by Alan D. Hyde:
Anyone else here remember Miss Majestic???

AlanI alluded to it earlier. Here is the NTSB summary

http://www.ntsb.gov/publictn/2002/MAR0201.htm

Alan D. Hyde
10-19-2005, 02:21 PM
Thanks, John.

The Miss Majestic is the Arkansas DUKW that john referred to earlier. Here's the summary of the NTSB Report on that sinking, the link to which John posted above.

"Marine Accident Report

Sinking of the Amphibious Passenger
Vehicle Miss Majestic, Lake Hamilton,
Near Hot Springs, Arkansas, May 1, 1999

NTSB Number NTSB/MAR0201
NTIS Number PB2002-916401
PDF Document(1.2MB)

Executive Summary:

On May 1, 1999, the amphibious passenger vehicle Miss Majestic, with an operator and 20 passengers on board, entered Lake Hamilton near Hot Springs, Arkansas, on a regular excursion tour. About 7 minutes after entering the water, the vehicle listed to port and rapidly sank by the stern in 60 feet of water. One passenger escaped before the vehicle submerged but the remaining passengers and the operator were trapped by the vehicle’s canopy roof and drawn under water. During the vehicle’s descent to the bottom of the lake, 6 passengers and the operator were able to escape and, upon their reaching the water’s surface, were rescued by pleasure boaters in the area. The remaining 13 passengers, including 3 children, lost their lives. The vehicle damage was estimated at $100,000.

The Safety Board’s investigation of this accident identified the following major safety issues:

Vehicle maintenance,
Coast Guard inspections of the Miss Majestic,
Coast Guard inspection guidance,
Reserve buoyancy, and
Survivability.

The National Transportation Safety Board determines that the probable cause of the uncontrolled flooding and sinking of the Miss Majestic was the failure of Land and Lakes Tours, Inc., to adequately repair and maintain the DUKW. Contributing to the sinking was a flaw in the design of DUKWs as converted for passenger service, that is, the lack of adequate reserve buoyancy that would have allowed the vehicle to remain afloat in a flooded condition. Contributing to the unsafe condition of the Miss Majestic was the lack of adequate oversight by the Coast Guard. Contributing to the high loss of life was a continuous canopy roof that entrapped passengers within the sinking vehicle.

As a result of this investigation, the Safety Board makes recommendations to the U.S. Coast Guard and the Governors of the States of New York and Wisconsin."

***

Alan

[ 10-19-2005, 03:21 PM: Message edited by: Alan D. Hyde ]

Bruce Taylor
10-19-2005, 02:50 PM
I hadn't heard of the Miss Majestic before reading Lady Duck report. I wonder if the Junkyard Warrior who built the Duck knew of it?

Not a word about any of this on Mr. Bigfoot's website, of course.

http://www.amphibus.com/index.html

Alan D. Hyde
10-19-2005, 03:41 PM
Here are the conclusions from the NTSB report linked by John above---

Conclusions

Findings

1. Water initially entered the Miss Majestic through the gap between the driveshaft and
its housing because the securing clamp for the watertight rubber boot had not been adequately secured by the maintenance mechanic.

2. The Miss Majestic sank because the DUKW had no watertight bulkheads and no reserve buoyancy and because its Higgins pump, which had been designed for significant dewatering capacity, did not operate.

3. The canopy on the Miss Majestic was a major impediment to the survival of the passengers.

4. Land and Lakes Tours, Inc.'s long-term vessel maintenance was inadequate and directly compromised the safety of the Miss Majestic and its passengers.

5. The Coast Guard’s inspection program for the Miss Majestic was inadequate and cursory.

6. The lack of Coast Guard guidance and training for the inspection of DUKWs contributed to the inadequate inspections of the Miss Majestic.

7. Industry and Coast Guard inspectors need to become familiar with the general background and unique safety issues of all types of amphibious vehicles to improve the maintenance, inspection, and operation of specialized amphibious vehicles.

8. Flooding from failed boots, open hull plugs, hull damage, collisions, groundings,
mechanical failures, improperly performed maintenance, and other scenarios continue
to present serious risks of rapid flooding and sinking in amphibious vehicles lacking
reserve buoyancy.

9. On amphibious passenger vehicles that cannot remain afloat when flooded, canopies can represent an unacceptable risk to passenger safety.

10. Wearing lifejackets before the vehicle enters the water would enhance the safety of
passengers on board DUKWs without adequate reserve buoyancy where canopies have been removed.

11. Weather, drug and alcohol use, and operator fatigue were not factors in the sinking of
the Miss Majestic.

12. Given the circumstances of this accident, the operator could not have taken any action
to avert or mitigate its fatal outcome.

Probable Cause

The National Transportation Safety Board determines that the probable cause of
the uncontrolled flooding and sinking of the Miss Majestic was the failure of Land and
Lakes Tours, Inc., to adequately repair and maintain the DUKW. Contributing to the
sinking was a flaw in the design of DUKWs as converted for passenger service, that is, the
lack of adequate reserve buoyancy that would have allowed the vehicle to remain afloat in
a flooded condition. Contributing to the unsafe condition of the Miss Majestic was the lack
of adequate oversight by the Coast Guard.

Contributing to the high loss of life was a
continuous canopy roof that entrapped passengers within the sinking vehicle.

***

Alan

[ 10-19-2005, 04:41 PM: Message edited by: Alan D. Hyde ]

Alan D. Hyde
10-20-2005, 09:37 AM
Bump.

Alan

RichKrough
10-20-2005, 09:56 AM
Someone asked for an update on the Ethan Allen ivestigation.

The major media pulled out a couple of weeks ago so not much is being reported nationally. The NTSB's engineering group finished up last week and headed back to DC. here is a summary of the past couple of weeks.

New York State Parks has lowered the maximum capacity of many tour boats in the state by 25%.

The lawsuits of course are piling up there is about 9 filed so far.

The owner of the Ethan Allen has been asking the NTSB to do further testing on the Mohican to see if he can lay some blame on that company.

A couple more former "captains" have come forward and attested to the instabilty of the Ethan Allen and the Champlain (a sister boat) when filled to capacity.

Here is a link to the local paper's archive of stories and video since the sinking
http://www.poststar.com/ea_archive.asp

Alan D. Hyde
10-20-2005, 10:37 AM
Thanks for that good link, Rich.

Alan