What Lessons Did the 2017 NTSB Maritime Accident Report Teach Us?

Each year, the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) puts together a report called Safer Seas Digest. This publication is aimed at helping mariners and boat owners prevent future accidents. It details the accident investigations completed that year and the lessons learned from those incidents. Here are some of the lessons we learned from this year’s report.

The Lessons Learned from the 2017 Safer Seas Digest

  • Fatigue: Not only does fatigue put people on the road in danger, it is also a proven contributor to deadly accidents at sea. Fatigue can dull response times, slow decision-making and can ruin a mariner’s judgment and productivity. The NTSB recommends watching for signs of fatigue and adopting policies that allow crew members to get enough rest.
  • Operating in Dangerous Weather: Weather is a concern for both small vessels and heavy ships. Size does not make a vessel immune to the dangers of high winds and waves. The NTSB warns that vessel operators need to pay attention to forecasts and be ready to change routes or scheduled departure/arrival times. If severe weather is unavoidable, cargo must be secured and hull integrity needs to be monitored.
  • Staying Watertight: This issue was the NTSB’s top concern. It was associated with more accidents than any other oversight in the board’s report. The agency recommends the following measures to help ensure that a vessel is watertight. Regularly test alarms and bilge piping to make sure they will work in a situation when a ship is taking on water. Have hull thickness tested and make sure all repair work is permanent. In addition to maintaining marine coatings, every watertight door should be checked for proper sealing.

The report goes on to name several other issues that contributed to many maritime accidents investigated by the agency. You can read more about these issues and the accidents they caused by reading the Safer Seas Digest. If you have questions about an injury or loss you suffered on the open seas due to insufficient safety measures, don’t be afraid to contact Latti & Anderson, LLP. Our experienced maritime trial lawyers serve maritime workers and recreational boaters nationwide.