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Safety Recommendation Details

Safety Recommendation M-90-013
Details
Synopsis: ABOUT 1530, ON SEPTEMBER 15, 1988, THE 46-FOOT-LONG PASSENGER VESSEL COUGAR BEGAN TO TAKE ON WATER WHILE RETURNING FROM A FISHING TRIP OFF THE OREGON COAST. ABOARD WERE NINE PERSONS CONSISTING OF THE MASTER, THE MATE (WHO ASSISTED THE MASTER AT THE HELM), THE DECKHAND, AND SIX PASSENGERS. AN INSPECTION OF THE ENGINE COMPARTMENT AND LAZARETTE REVEALED SUBSTANTIAL FLOODING. THE PASSENGERS AND THE CREW FOUGHT THE RISING WATER WITH BUCKETS AND PUMPS FOR 1.5 HOURS WITHOUT SUCCESS. ABOUT 1615, A DISTRESS MESSAGE WAS REPEATEDLY TRANSMITTED OVER THE VESSEL'S VHF-FM AND CITIZENBAND RADIOS UNTIL THE MASTER ABANDONED THE COUGAR. ABOUT 1650, THE PASSENGERS AND CREW ABANDONED THE VESSEL. THE PASSENGER HAD SUFFICEIENT TIME TO LAUNCH A BUOYANT APPARATUS BEFORE LEAVING THE VESSEL. AT 1700, THE COUGAR SANK QUICKLY BY THE STERN. PIECES OF WRECKAGE THAT BROKE FREE OF THE VESSEL WERE GATHERED BY THE SURVIVORS AND USED TO REMAIN AFLOAT IN THE 55 DEGREES WATER. DURING THE FOLLOWING 18 HOURS, THE MASTER, THE DECKHAND, AND TWO PASSENGERS SUCCUMBED TO HYPOTHERMIA AND DROWNED. AT APPROXIMATELY 1048, ON SEPTEMBER 16, 1988, SEARCH AND RESCUE AIR UNITS OF THE U.S. COAST GUARD LOCATED THE MATE AND FOUR SURVIVING PASSENGERS. ABOUT 1100, THE FIVE SURVIVORS WERE RESCUED AND TRANSPORTED TO A HOSPITAL ASHORE FOR TREATMENT FOR HYPOTHERMIA AND EXPOSURE.
Recommendation: THE NTSB RECOMMENDS THAT THE U.S. COAST GUARD: REQUIRE THAT ALL UNINSPECTED PASSENGER VESSELS BE REQUIRED TO CARRY SURVIVAL CRAFT CAPABLE OF SUPPORTING 100 PERCENT OF THE PERSONS PERMITTED ON BOARD OUT OF THE WATER.
Original recommendation transmittal letter: PDF
Overall Status: Closed - Unacceptable Action
Mode: Marine
Location: Pacific Ocean, PO, United States
Is Reiterated: No
Is Hazmat: No
Is NPRM: No
Accident #: DCA88MM061
Accident Reports:
Sinking of the Passenger vessel Cougar
Report #: MAR-90-02
Accident Date: 9/15/1988
Issue Date: 2/22/1990
Date Closed: 3/12/1997
Addressee(s) and Addressee Status: USCG (Closed - Unacceptable Action)
Keyword(s):

Safety Recommendation History
From: USCG
To: NTSB
Date: 6/26/1997
Response: REQUIRE THAT ALL UNINSPECTED PASSENGER VESSELS BE REQUIRED TO CARRY SURVIVAL CRAFT CAPABLE OF SUPPORTING 100 PERCENT OF THE PERSONS PERMITTED ON BOARD OUT OF THE WATER.

From: NTSB
To: USCG
Date: 3/12/1997
Response: THE BOARD IS DISAPPOINTED THAT THE USCG HAS NOT ACTED ON THIS RECOMMENDATION. THE NEW REGULATIONS AT 46 CFR 117.200 & 180.200 FOR SUBCHAPTERS K & T, RESPECTIVELY, DO NOT APPLY TO UNINSPECTED VESSELS & ONLY REQUIRE 100 PERCENT OF OUT-OF-THE-WATER SURVIVAL CRAFT ON OCEAN OR COASTWISE (MORE THAN 50 MILES FROM SHORE) ROUTES WHEN THE WATER IS LESS THAN 59 DEGREES F. THE BOARD HOLDS FIRM IN ITS BELIEF, AS IT HAS STATED IN MANY ACCIDENT INVESTIGATION REPORTS INVOLVING LOSS OF LIFE, THAT THERE MUST BE 100 PERCENT OUT-OF-THE-WATER SURVIVAL CRAFT CAPACITY FOR ALL PASSENGERS ON ALL ROUTES REGARDLESS OF THE TEMPERATURE. CONSEQUENTLY, M-90-13 HAS BEEN CLASSIFIED "CLOSED--UNACCEPTABLE ACTION. WE WILL CONTINUE TO HIGHLIGHT THIS ISSUE IN FUTURE INVESTIGATION WHERE APPROPRIATE.

From: NTSB
To: USCG
Date: 11/24/1995
Response: (GREENSHEET) SINCE 1977, THE BOARD HAS ISSUED TO THE UCSG 55 BOARD RECOMMENDATIONS THAT WERE CLASSIFIED "OPEN--ACCEPTABLE ACTION" BECAUSE THE USCG RESPONDED THAT IT WOULD TAKE THESE RECOMMENDATIONS INTO CONSIDERATION WHEN THE REGULATIONS WERE REVISED. BASED ON A LACK OF TIMELY ACTION, THE BOARD HAS RECLASSIFIED THESE RECOMMENDATIONS "OPEN--UNACCEPTABLE RESPONSE."

From: NTSB
To: USCG
Date: 11/28/1994
Response: REMINDER TO USCG OF PENDING ACTION.

From: NTSB
To: USCG
Date: 11/15/1993
Response: THE BOARD IS PLEASED THAT A PENDING RULEMAKING WILL REQUIRE EACH PASSENGER VESSEL TO HAVE LIFESAVING GEAR EVEN WHEN IT IS OPERATING AS AN UNINSPECTED VESSEL. HOWEVER, THE BOARD RESTATES ITS BELIEF THAT THE ONLY SATISFACTORY LIFERAFT, WHETHER THE WATER IS WARM OR COLD, IS A LIFERAFT THAT CAN KEEP ITS PASSENGERS OUT OT THE WATER. FLOATS PROVIDE NO PROTECTION AGAINST HYPOTEHERMIA. PENDING PUBLICATION OF THE FINAL RULES, RECOMMENDATION M-90-13 HAS BEEN CLASSIFIED "OPEN--ACCEPTABLE ALTERNATE RESPONSE."

From: USCG
To: NTSB
Date: 8/19/1993
Response: WE DO NOT CONCUR WITH THIS RECOMMENDATION. MOST UNINSPECTED PASSENGER VESSELS ARE RECREATIONAL BOATS WHICH CARRY A MAXIMUM OF 6 PASSENGERS. SOME ARE USED PRIMARILY AS RECREATIONAL BOATS, AND CHARTERED ONLY ON OCCASION. MANY ARE NOT OF SUFFICIENT SIZE TO CARRY SURVIVAL CRAFT. FURTHER, CASUALTY EXPERIENCE DOES NOT INDICATE THAT A REQUIREMENT FOR SURVIVAL CRAFT WOULD BE JUSTIFIED. NEW REGULATIONS FOR INSPECTED SMALL PASSENGER VESSELS SUCH AS THE COURGAR, ARE UNDER CONSIDERATION AND WERE PROPOSED UNDER A NOTICE OF PROPOSED RULEMAKING (NPRM) DATED JANUARY 30, 1989, TO REVISE 46 CFR, SUBCHAPTER T (CGD85-080). THE NPRM PROPOSED ADEQUATE SURVIVAL CRAFT FOR VESSELS OPERATING IN COLD WATERS. THE BOARD WILL BE PROVIDED A COPY OF THE FINAL RULE WHEN PUBLISHED. WE ANTICIPATE NO FURTHER USCG ACTION ON THIS RECOMMENDATION AND WE REQUEST THAT IT BE CLOSED.