Tugboat Captain Dies After Falling Overboard

The body of Brendan O’Leary, 48, of Marblehead, Mass., was found on May 5 approximately four miles south of Montauk Point. He had been missing since April 25, when he fell overboard from the 91-foot STEPHEN-SCOTT approximately nine miles off the coast of Newport, R.I. Because there were no witnesses, the U.S. Coast Guard has said it will probably never know how the veteran tugboat captain came to fall overboard to his death. The STEPHEN-SCOTT is owned by Reinauer Transportation, which employed O’Leary for nearly 26 years.

It is believed that O’Leary fell overboard about an hour after being relieved from watch, presumably without a life jacket on. The Coast Guard conducted a search for the missing captain that lasted over 27 hours and covered more than 775 square miles. At the time O’Leary went missing, the water temperature was 52 degrees and there were winds up to 25 mph and waves up to six feet high.

Falls in the maritime industry are often the result of negligence. For instance, Latti & Anderson LLP obtained a $5.9 million settlement for a traumatic brain injury victim who fell off a vessel and landed on a dock approximately 35 feet below, arguing the defendant had failed to take reasonable steps to protect its workers from a fall. The defendant’s procedure for bringing in the brow involved creating a two- to three-foot unprotected opening on either side of it. When the victim tried to catch his balance to keep from falling into one of these unprotected openings, he fell over the side of the vessel.

If you have been injured in a fall while working in the maritime industry, visit our website to learn about your rights under the Jones Act and other maritime laws, and call us toll free at (800) 392-6072 to discuss your case with an experienced Boston maritime attorney.

Latti & Anderson LLP – Boston maritime trial lawyers

One thought on “Tugboat Captain Dies After Falling Overboard”

  1. Safety and security measures are incredibly important for every crew member onboard a ship, including the captain.While it is unfortunate that the Coast Guard says it will never know how O’Leary fell overboard, this tragedy demonstrates that even the most experienced seamen can be at risk when safety precautions are not followed. Many falls and maritime accidents can be prevented with full participation from all crew members at all times. Certainly the effort is worth the tragedies that are avoided.

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