Tugboat Captain Found Dead in Boat Near Buzzards Bay; Coast Guard Investigation Underway

On Wednesday morning, the Coast Guard received a call for a boat taking on the water in the area of Hog Island Channel near Buzzards Bay. The bay was extremely choppy that morning, and upon arriving on the scene, authorities discovered a 29-foot towing boat almost completely submerged in the water. Tragically, Captain John Redler of Marion was found dead in the cabin of the towing boat by divers from the Wareham Fire Department. Captain Redler is survived by a wife and a young son.

The Coast Guard is currently investigating the incident. As with all deaths on the water, this investigation is extremely important to determine the exact cause of this fatality. The Coast Guard must investigate whether proper safety equipment was on board and in good working order. Common causes of towing boat accidents include:

  • Fatigue caused by long hours and bad weather
  • Collisions with hazards in the water
  • Tow lines that are heavy or improperly lead
  • Improper procedures for setting out and securing lines of tug, barge and vessel towing
  • Water pumps not working properly or not fast enough
  • Inattention
  • Lack of or defective navigation equipment

Captain Redler’s family may be allowed to recover under the Jones Act, as he worked on the vessel and had a connection to the vessel that is substantial in both time and nature. Seamen’s families are able to recover damages under maritime law for unseaworthiness of the vessel if an employer failed to implement necessary safety precautions or equipment failed to work properly. Recovery for a wrongful death include damages for loss of support, loss of services, loss of nurturing, loss of training and education, loss of inheritance and any conscience pain and suffering the seaman endured before death. An experienced Jones Act lawyer would be qualified to sort through the complex maritime laws that apply to the case and to ensure the victim’s family and dependents receives proper compensation and care into the future.

Latti & Anderson LLP – Boston Jones Act attorneys