Marine Accident Report

Grounding of the Small
Passenger Vessel Finest
Sandy Hook, New Jersey
January 4, 2001

NTSB Number NTSB/MAR-02/03
NTIS Number PB2002-916403
PDF Document (559K)

Executive Summary: About 1930 on January 4, 2001, the domestic high-speed vessel Finest, with 258 passengers, 5 crewmembers, and one company official on board, ran aground outside the channel to the Shrewsbury River, Sandy Hook Bay, while en route from New York City, New York, to Highlands, New Jersey. The Finest refloated at 0007 on January 5, after the tide changed, and proceeded to Sandy Hook Bay Marina, where it docked at 0026 and discharged its passengers. No one on board the vessel suffered any injury, and the vessel sustained no damage. One person on board had to be evacuated from the vessel by helicopter for medical treatment of an allergic reaction unrelated to the accident.

The National Transportation Safety Board determines that the probable cause of the grounding of the Finest was the failure of the vessel master to use appropriate navigational procedures and equipment to determine the vessel’s position while approaching the Shrewsbury River channel. Contributing to the cause of the grounding was the lack of readily visible fixed navigational aids. Also contributing to the cause of the grounding was the failure of New York Fast Ferry to require the use of installed navigation equipment and to set guidelines for operations in adverse environmental conditions.

The major safety issues in this report are as follows:

As a result of its investigation of this accident, the Safety Board makes one safety recommendation to the U.S. Coast Guard and three to New York Fast Ferry Services.