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Fire on dive boat Conception in CA

Discussion in 'Accidents and Incidents' started by divezonescuba, Sep 2, 2019.

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  1. Eric Sedletzky

    Eric Sedletzky Great White

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: Santa Rosa, CA
    We don’t even have a report yet of what caused the fire. But if it turns out that it was a l-ion battery I can assure you there will be substantial changes made whether you guys think it’s bad customer service or not.
    Safety for the passengers is number one, not somebody’s entitled demands that they must be able to charge their toys because they are so special.
    I would think the safety factor should come from the battery manufacturers, not the burden of safety being placed on the end user and the dive boats (needing to build and fabricate special steel cabinets so no one is “inconvenienced”). Holy crap! Fix your damn batteries!!!
    This is the kind of crap that enables those A-holes to keep making and selling this garbage. Vape pens exploding in peoples’ pockets, hover boards burning houses down, phones going up in flames, etc.

    I suppose if the boats do the cabinet thing and then increase charter prices to cover those costs you’re cool with that right?
    shoredivr likes this.
  2. SapphireMind

    SapphireMind Nassau Grouper

    # of Dives: 0 - 24
    Location: CA, USA
    Yes, because that's what the hubs do - they regulate the power more and keep it to a lower level, which lowers the chance of shorting and overheating. Realistically, there will be some cameras needing charged after a night dive, but the dive lights do not need to be charged during the night - you're not going night diving first thing in the morning. In the AM you can plug them in. You can choose what sort of output they have, and whether they have higher output on all ports or just one or two. I have hubs for everything in my home, most of them are the lower power ones because I'm plugging in things that are plugged in frequently. My phone or other things I might want to quick charge, there's the higher voltage ports to still allow quick-charge.

    Dive computers are far more essential to keep powered and a decent hub that gives a higher voltage that is still controlled will charge those devices. That leaves camera batteries only as the ones that might need higher juice in the middle of the night. That's a far smaller "population" of items that need to be dealt with, and can be screened.

    If there's a night watch, plug those in near where the night watch spends most of their time.
  3. Steelyeyes

    Steelyeyes Manta Ray

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Kralendijk, Bonaire
    Sure. Lets say a metal box costs $5000. If the boat only went on a trip on weekends 50 weeks a year with 30 paid customers what would that increase the cost by per customer to pay it off in a year? I got three bucks and change. Of course it might not only cost $5K because it is a boat after all. So $20k with the same math and pay it off over 4 years, same three bucks and change. The cheap route would just be a metal box that gets closed at a given time, say 2100 and that would easily be done for less than mentioned. A fancier version with the actuator would cost more and maybe cost as much as an additional nitrox fill per trip over a few years. I think people could live with that. People pay more for fancy coffee drinks at Starbucks.
  4. Manatee Diver

    Manatee Diver Stop throwing lettuce at me! ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: None - Not Certified
    Location: Tampa Bay, FL
    Really toys? My dive computer is a toy. :rolleyes:

    All lithium rechargable batteries have a chance of exploding, no matter who makes them. Cheaper ones simply have a greater chance. And how will the deck crews know which ones are cheap or expensive? And if this will be the day that the expensive one decides to explode.

    When you are talking about the cost of an average liveaboard trip and the life of such a cabinet, it is a very small expense that I doubt most will even notice. Sure the "camping at sea" liveaboards like Blackbeards, the Flower Gardens One in Texas, and this one might find the cost expensive, but even then I doubt it as it probably doesn't need to be that advanced.
  5. Jayfarmlaw

    Jayfarmlaw Divemaster

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Tuttle, Ok
    Since the accident occurred, I have been wondering this exact scenario. I have several of these chargers. From $5 Walmart/Target variants to one that holds enough energy to jumpstart several cars, but is no larger than a few decks of cards. I know lots of people that can not be without their phones/iPads in bed. Given the charging station would not allow charging in the bunks, and the previous owner believed that the fire started in the berth (is that the right word?) and there is lots of speculation that the victims died in their bunks, could one of these chargers let off enough toxic gas to incapacitate the entire room before it lit off?

    More questions than answers, hope this doesn't add to the noise.

  6. BRT

    BRT not a soft touch ScubaBoard Supporter

    Or maybe, just maybe, it is not that easy to make lithium containing batteries never catch on fire.
  7. chillyinCanada

    chillyinCanada ScubaBoard Supporter Staff Member ScubaBoard Supporter


    A ScubaBoard Staff Message...

    The time has come to shut down this thread to comments. The Staff are working behind the scenes to provide a different helpful summary style post(s) that will probably be appended here once it has been completed.

    **That said, this thread may be reopened when further information becomes available.**

    In the meantime, if you are still wanting to discuss batteries and chargers, there is an existing thread:

    Refer to CONCEPTION FIRE - RESOURCE PAGE for further information. It will be updated as needed.

    Tough love for the industry's lithium addiction
  8. bowlofpetunias

    bowlofpetunias Oh no, not again! Staff Member ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: Sydney Australia

    A ScubaBoard Staff Message...

    Summary updated 20/9/2019 is meant to be a guide to help navigate to some of the key discussions in the thread. It does not imply that ScubaBoard supports any of the views expressed within the thread or the links provided here. Please read the posts around the links to get different perspectives, angles and insights. Refer to Conception Fire - Resource Page for additional information. It will be updated as more information becomes available.

    We believe there is credible information provided but it can not be established as proven facts prior to completion of the investigation.

    Please be kind when you post in A&I. There are special rules. Please consider families, friends and survivors who are reading this. Accidents and Incident Threads: Victim Perspective

    We can not determine the cause. Discussion of possibilities may help to prevent future tragedies.

    34 Casualties DNA identified. Coroner/Sheriff Brown states probable COD smoke inhalation

    Conception compliant met or exceeded applicable USCG requirements on last inspection implies approved; fire alarms, fire fighting equipment and escape routes
    NTSB (National Transportation Safety Board) Preliminary Report
    Preliminary Report: Marine DCA19MM047
    Discussion points
    • states all crew sleeping
    • Statement in Preliminary Report says it may contain errors
    Anchor Watch
    Rough time line as reported
    • night dive time? commonly done by passengers
    • 2:30 crew member finished up in the galley verified heating elements were out and cold etc. Then went upstairs to bed. Not indicated if this was the designated Anchor Watch
    • Between 3 and 3:14, a crew member awoke hearing a bang. He attempted to go down to investigate but stairs already afire.
    • 5 crew were in the wheelhouse two levels above the berth area. 1 crew member in the berth below did not survive.
    • crew jumped to deck, one broke leg other undisclosed ankle injuries
    • Captain first Mayday from Bridge documented 3:14
    • crew tried to reach the passengers from aft passage into the salon/galley then via forward front windows
    • forced from the boat by the fire some swam aft to the dingy & brought it alongside to rescue injured crew
    • sought help from nearby vessel Grape Escape Another Mayday call.
    Most suspected causes of fire discussed
    Original location of fire not yet established
    • former owner believes it started in passenger berth area
    • some believe it started in galley/salon area
    Conception's layout and facilities
    • all electric no propane or other fuel used for cooking
    • Nuvair Membrane Nitrox = NO banked Oxygen
    • O2 First aid tanks or stage bottles were aft (last to burn)
    • Conception Safety Video link

    • Dorm main exit - stairs to starboard forward end of the dorm to the galley/salon.
    • emergency hatch above bunks aft end of dorm exited aft portion of salon, just inside the passageway to after deck.
    • no locked doors to the galley, salon or berth area.
    The design of berth area and escape hatches discussed extensively. It meets current USCG standards which many believe may see changes as a result of this tragedy.

    Excellent DAN article Mental Health post incident

    Out of Darkness comes light and Hope

    Related threads

    A personal perspective on California Live-aboards
    Discussion of legal aspects
    Battery discussions
    Diving and Seamanship
    Condolences posted
    Akimbo, Mike Boswell, Bob DBF and 2 others like this.
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