Imagine working on a fishing vessel when the bilge alarms begin to sound—now imagine the skipper telling you that the boat is taking on water.
It is a scary situation to think about, but not terribly uncommon. This is why you can buy damage-control kits at marine supply stores and/or assemble them yourself. The kits can include items like plugs, patches, fasteners, and tools, as well as flooding guides. The items can be used to prevent water from taking over a vessel, in the event of a possible flooding incident.
In addition to a damage kit, the U.S. Coast Guard offers a Checklist Generator on its website that you can use to see if you have necessary safety equipment. Additionally, to schedule a dockside exam to check for emergency items, you can email your local regional Coast Guard office.
Why You Need a Damage Control Kit: An Example of an Emergency Coast Guard Rescue
We bring this issue up because recently the Coast Guard had a report in National Fisherman about the crew of a 76-foot steel seiner that was fishing for tuna near California when the alarms began to sound. The skipper of the vessel discovered that it was beginning to take on water below the transmission, notifying the Coast Guard about the situation, who arrived with dewatering pumps.
The skipper and deckhands aboard the vessel were able to figure out there was a golf-ball-sized hole where water was coming in. They then attempted to plug the hole with a piece of wood; however, the water kept dislodging it. Eventually, the portable pump they had stopped working, and additional plugs and pumps also failed, leading the skipper to inform the deckhands to don survival suits and prepare to abandon ship.
The workers deployed the vessel via a life raft and a Coast Guard helicopter had to retrieve them. The vessel sank about an hour later.
An Attorney Can Help Following a Vessel Accident
While nobody was injured in this incident, it shows why damage control kits are important. As the Coast Guard notes, the kits can be a lifesaver.
In the video above, we explain the importance of obtaining legal counsel following a vessel incident. For further information about maritime law and injury incidents, visit our Facebook or Twitter pages.
Latti & Anderson LLP – Nationwide Maritime Attorneys