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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. Lorenzoid

    Lorenzoid idling in neutral buoyancy ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: I just don't log dives
    Location: Atlanta, USA
    My speculation about the Coast Guard dispatcher referring to a "locked" door is that he mis-heard "blocked." Perhaps the crew member said the exit was "blocked" (by fire).
    Gdog, Satrekker, YZed426 and 9 others like this.
  2. Louisville Diver

    Louisville Diver Nassau Grouper

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Louisville
    So where is the anchor watch?
    stevensamler likes this.
  3. cs4160

    cs4160 Angel Fish

    # of Dives: 1,000 - 2,499
    Location: San Diego County, CA
    I have had a lot of experience diving on the Truth Boats and similar socal LOB's like the old Great Escape. Initially, I was finding myself being defensive when people outside our little insulated west coast diving community commented on the emergency exit options. Never a problem before, its not a luxury boat, etc....

    Regardless of how this terrible tragedy occurred, or if the limitation of the egress options were a factor in the casualties, I am NOT speculating, taking a hard look at the set up of these boats is warranted. After a long day of pondering over this, I find myself now being more sympathetic to the statements by those that have not dove on these sort of vessels before. Perhaps its groupthink among our socal community, but it is not at all unreasonable to question the safety of having only one unobstructed egress for 34 people (the stairway). A hatch above a 3 tier bunk that, if memory serves, requires you to bend to exit is not unobstructed. Having 3-6 less bunks so you have a proper ladder, and perhaps a slightly smaller center console in the kitchen so that the exit is more manageable, seems obvious...but that certainly didn't seem so , at least to me, during the dozens of trips I have made in the past. This is certainly not a critique of Truth Aquatics, who I have always thought of as a class act and the gold standard for that particular sort of LOB. It's more simply questioning something that was never really a concern for me. And as someone who has just brought their teenage kids into the diving world, and was looking at a Truth trip next month with one of them, I find this a bit horrifying.

    As someone previously posted, I would have thought there would be a standard for that compartment to exit, like on a plane, in a certain time under certain conditions, for boats of a certain class. I can't see how you could have expected more than 1 person every 30 seconds or so to climb onto that bunk and exit under the best of circumstances. Again, this is not speculation as to the cause of this horrific tragedy, but simply perhaps a tragic accident causing attention to a previously ignored safety concern. And while there aren't that many diving boats that have this problem, there really isn't a large number of socal LOB's anymore, my GUESS is the more numerous and popular multi day fishing boats might also have the same issues.

    Its probably a statement to the relative safety of other potential factors that the limitation of being able to quickly evacuate three dozen people under certain circumstances has never been a factor before on these sort of boats (at least I don't recall there being an incident). These boats were not death traps, but, as doctormike just posted, rational analysis, especially questioning previously accepted standards, "is how we learn, this is how we do better."
  4. markmud

    markmud Self Reliant Diver--On All Dives. ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: South Lebanon, Ohio
    Hi Kevin,

    And your statement is what bothers me. Having been through a marine fire fighting school where we started and fought intense fires, and had 5 friends who suffered fires on their vessels while at sea, a roaring conflagration that engulfs the vessel faster than a coherent watchman (vertical) can react does not happen. Not unless there are large amounts of very low flashpoint liquids or items about.

    I am confused and upset.

    Gdog, PapaMeat, dmaziuk and 7 others like this.
  5. lexvil

    lexvil ScubaBoard Sponsor ScubaBoard Sponsor

    # of Dives: 1,000 - 2,499
    Location: jamestown, ca.
    I defer to your vast experience of live aboard diving.
    Gdog and Basking Ridge Diver like this.
  6. outofofficebrb

    outofofficebrb HARRO HUNNAYYY

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: San Francisco, California
    Think of this as a water taxi that you live on. You are essentially paying for it to take you to the sites and to let you sleep and eat on board. That is all. There is no divemaster or guide taking you on dives and there is no one in the water with you. The crew stay dry and usually don’t dive. You and your buddy or buddies plan your dive and dive your plan on your own. Gearing up, you were on your own. Maybe they might help you with your fins when you were coming up the boat ladder as you were tossing them up. Maybe not. The crew stay dry and on the boat. That price that you see is reflective of that. I say this because we need to think of the price relative to the fact that this is not your usual and true “liveaboard” by any means outside of the fact that you are living on it and sleeping/eating. 2 showers and 2 heads for 40 people. Everything about it is incredibly different - and I say this because I have gone out with Truth Aquatics and I’ve also done many “true liveaboards”.

    I’m not saying that the living arrangements or exit hatch were okay, especially given what happened. I went on it once and decided I would never return. It was not for me from a space, logistics, and comfort standpoint. I just want to ensure we leave some perspective on pricing for others and not automatically assume just because something is inexpensive it means that it is also automatically unsafe or bad. It was appropriately priced given the above type of diving and arrangements that was offered.

    Most liveaboards I’ve been on will not allow charging of electronics (especially lithium ion) in the rooms fearing fire hazards. There are usually dedicated charging areas and for good reason. Some allow charging of some items but def no camera equipment etc.
  7. tarponchik

    tarponchik Loggerhead Turtle

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: USA
    Is it possible that they had a back up generator running on gasoline, for example?
  8. lexvil

    lexvil ScubaBoard Sponsor ScubaBoard Sponsor

    # of Dives: 1,000 - 2,499
    Location: jamestown, ca.
    Part of the vast amount of things we don’t know for sure are the reports of recovered people who appear to have injuries consistent with drowning, perhaps some did manage to escape, I really don’t know but...
    Tricia likes this.
  9. NickB-LA

    NickB-LA Angel Fish

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: 90064
    That's my assumption and makes a great deal of sense.
    Bob DBF and chillyinCanada like this.
  10. shoredivr

    shoredivr Solo Diver

    # of Dives: 1,000 - 2,499
    Location: Ontario
    The website for the boat says it was purpose designed and built for divers, though.
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