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South River Boat Collision Sends 2 To Shock Trauma

| July 31, 2011, 06:02 AM | 24 Comments

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UPDATE 10:21am 07/31/2011: Eye On Annapolis spoke with Sergeant Brian Albert of the Maryland Department of Natural Resources for more information. According to their preliminary investigation, it appears that the sailboat cut in front of the power boat and the power boat struck the sailboat. There were citations issued on the scene. Alcohols does not appear to have been a factor in this accident. Please see our other post on two other serious accidents in Anne Arundel County waters yesterday.

UPDATE 09:51am 07/31/2011: From Division Chief Michael Cox of the Anne Arundel County Fire Department, there were three (not two as previously reported here) victims. Two males in their 20s were transported by Maryland State Police Helicopter to Shock Trauma with serious but not life threatening conditions. A female in her 30s was transported to Anne Arundel Medical Center by ground with minor injuries. The time of the call was 12:12am. We have a call into DNR who is leading the investigation for further details.

Just after midnight last night, a  speed boat and a sailboat collided in Selby Bay (South River) near 3478 South River Terrace.

When Department of Natural Resources Police and Anne Arundel County Fireboats arrived they pulled at least two from the water and requested additional medics to the scene to be transported tot he scene for additional rescues.

Two patients were flown to Shock Trauma by Maryland State Police in serious condition and two were one was transported to Anne Arundel Medical Center.

 

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Category: Breaking News, NEWS, OPINION

About the Author - John Frenaye

John is the publisher and editor of Eye On Annapolis. As a resident and business owner in Anne Arundel County for nearly 25 years, he realized that there was something missing in terms of community news–and Eye On Annapolis was born in late spring 2009.

John’s background is in the travel industry as a business owner, industry speaker, and travel writer. In terms of blogging and social media, he cut his teeth with MSNBC.com.

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Comments (24)

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  1. Harry K says:

    I love the terminology — “sailboat cut in front of…” — I’d like to see that done. A sailboat moves, what, 6 kts tops? That works out to about 600 feet a minute. A powerboat (who is required by law to keep clear) moves at what, 30 kts? That’s 3,000 feet a minute. How does a sailboat “cut in front of” a power boat, unless the power boat was pass too close for safety?

    Of course, doing 30 kts at midnight is kind of like driving on the freeway with your eyes closed — not a very smart thing to do! But somehow, I doubt that the accident occured between two boats doing 10kts or less.

  2. John Frenaye says:

    Unconfirmed reports are that they were headed toward each other and the sailboat changed course and indeed cut in front of the power boat.

  3. bmz says:

    Frenaye: Your report is so unlikely you owe it to readers to expand on the whether the “unconfirmed reports” came from the power boat; and who was issued the citation and for what reason.

  4. John Frenaye says:

    bmz–

    I do not know what the citations were as Sgt. Albert said the investigation was still underway. The Capital reported that the sailboat cut in front of the power boat’s path. When they first published it, they did not attribute it to DNR, but in a subsequent revision, they did apparently confirm it.

    “Just after midnight yesterday, a sailboat and powerboat collided in the South River near Harness Creek.

    NRP spokesman Sgt. Brian Albert said preliminary investigation found that the sailboat and powerboat were approaching each other when the sailboat cut across the powerboat’s path and the two collided.”

    Will this work?

  5. bmz says:

    “Unconfirmed reports are that they were headed toward each other and the sailboat changed course and indeed cut in front of the power boat.” That statement is unattributed. The Capital is a low rent operation; you should know better. Your use of the word “indeed,” in that context, suggests that you have independent evidence confirming the allegation. If you do, please present it.

  6. Harry K says:

    A critical fact has not been addressed. Was this a collision between a power boat and a sailboat, as stated, or given the complete lack of wind (2-4 kts at the time), was it a collision between a power boat and a “power boat with a mast pole’ — ie, two powering boats. There is VERY little a sailboat under sail can do to be culpable. Unless your name happens to be “Bismarck Dinius” (Google it).

    Of course, any boat at night doing speeds high enough to cause serious harm should be locked up for life. But our jails aren’t big enough for that….

    Harry

  7. John Frenaye says:

    This is true Harry K. Although I might take exception to your boating at night comment. If you are in an open body of water, utilizing the proper running lights and know the laws of seamanship, you should be able to go at safe speeds. It does not take a lot of speed to cause damage and serious harm, especially when no one is expecting it.

  8. bmz says:

    Sailors, navigating at night, tend to be both cautious and knowledgeable. We have to be; our keels make us very vulnerable to running aground, and our speed makes us vulnerable to being run over. Sailors must know how to read nighttime navigation markers and be capable of determining speed and direction of oncoming vessels by their navigation lights. Power boaters often know little more than how to turn a key. Absent convincing evidence to the contrary, the presumption must be, in a situation such as the one under discussion, that the power boater was at fault. I have just been trying to find out what evidence to the contrary exists.
    Like most sailboat skippers, I have great confidence in my helmsmanship abilities; however, the thought of a joyriding power boater closing in on me at 30 kn at night, scares the sh*t out of me.

  9. John Frenaye says:

    So I guess it is impossible that the sailor and sailboat were at fault?

  10. bmz says:

    ” Absent convincing evidence to the contrary, the presumption must be, in a situation such as the one under discussion, that the power boater was at fault.”

  11. John Frenaye says:

    So the statement made by the DNR that that it appears the sailboat cut in front of the powerboat is not valid? Why MUST the presumption be that the power boater was at fault? Because you are a sail boater?

  12. bmz says:

    “ ‘Unconfirmed reports are that they were headed toward each other and the sailboat changed course and indeed cut in front of the power boat.’ That statement is unattributed…. Your use of the word “indeed,” in that context, suggests that you have independent evidence confirming the allegation. If you do, please present it.”

    What do you not understand about my statement: “Sailors, navigating at night, tend to be both cautious and knowledgeable. We have to be; our keels make us very vulnerable to running aground, and our speed makes us vulnerable to being run over. Sailors must know how to read nighttime navigation markers and be capable of determining speed and direction of oncoming vessels by their navigation lights. Power boaters often know little more than how to turn a key. Absent convincing evidence to the contrary, the presumption must be, in a situation such as the one under discussion, that the power boater was at fault.”

  13. Harry K says:

    BMZ,

    I agree with you 100%. Two thoughts:
    1) There is a good chance the “sailboat” was in fact a power boat, because there was little wind. However, given the hour, there is a good chance he was sailing anyway, because if he was able/willing to motor, he’d probaly be home!
    2) Regardless of sail/motor, a sailboat goes so slow he cannot get out of the way.

    John,
    I agree that you “should be able to go at safe speeds.” Just last month, I was surfing up the Bay at a personal record for my boat, 9.2kts, in broad daylight, when I passed within 20 feet of a 5-foot chunk of piling in the water. In that case, at night, what is a safe speed for a power boat on open water in calm conditions? I’d suggest something under 10 knots for the most competent skipper. Also, while running lights are helpful, running lights against a well-lit shoreline are of marginal value — especially at significant speeds.

    Harry

  14. John Frenaye says:

    I understand the statement. I think you are working off a false premise. You are making the assumptions that the sailboat skipper was competent and knowledgeable. You are making the assumption that the powerboat skipper was not. I personally know many competent captains of both power and sail boats. I also know many clowns.

    But when the DNR spokesperson says that their investigation leads them to believe that the sailboat cut in front of the power boat causing the collision, I think a prudent person can assume that the sail boater likely was at fault.

    On land, pedestrians have the right of way over cars. Pedestrians are supposed to walk opposite the flow of traffic. Is it a driver’s fault if he is driving in his lane and a walking pedestrian (coming toward him) steps out in front of his car? Certainly not. It is a tragic accident caused by pedestrian error.

    Why is it so hard to comprehend that a sailboat captain might be in error?

  15. bmz says:

    “Why is it so hard to comprehend that a sailboat captain might be in error?” It isn’t. Everything that I have said fully contemplates the possibility that the sailboat captain might be an error.

    At law, a “presumption” is just that. It may be overcome with the preponderance of evidence. The effect of a presumption is to place the burden of proof” on the party against whom the presumption operates. There are two aspects to “burden of proof:” 1) the burden of going forward with the evidence; and, 2) the risk of non-persuasion. This means that the power boater must first present evidence sufficient to make prima facie case that the sailboater was at fault; and, also persuade the trier of fact, with a preponderance of the evidence, that the sailboat or was at fault.

  16. John Frenaye says:

    Sailors must know how to read nighttime navigation markers and be capable of determining speed and direction of oncoming vessels by their navigation lights. Power boaters often know little more than how to turn a key. Absent convincing evidence to the contrary, the presumption must be, in a situation such as the one under discussion, that the power boater was at fault.

    Based on your comment (above) you have made the presumption that the power boater was at fault because sail boaters “must” know how to read….. and “be capable of determining….”. That is all conjecture on your part. Do you know any incompetent sailors? Power boaters?

    And as others have pointed out, it is likely a moot point as it is likely that both boats were under power at the time.

  17. Harry K says:

    John,

    There is a wide perception that marine police are marginally competent mariners. A broad statement, for sure, but supported by anecdotal evidence. A more specific generalization is that marine police (that may be competent police boat operators) are very rarely sailors. They tend not to undertand the operation of sailboats, the way the wind and waves cause sailboats to respond, the challenges that sailboats deal with when in close proximity to other boats, the inablity of sailboats to go in any direction they want by simply turning the wheel, etc. It leads to the idiotic request to “stop, we’re boarding you” when sailboats can’t “just stop.” It’s an unfortunate shift in perception, from my youth when they were considered “the good guys” to today’s perception where they are held in contempt. The Bismarck Dinius case is a classic example.

  18. Harry K says:

    This is so typical of the American news system. A story that has some real value, opportunity to teach some important lessons, is released with essentially no details. We don’t know:
    * The lengths of the boats
    * The speeds of the boats
    * If the sail boat was sailing (critical piece of information)
    * The names of the parties
    * Who was cited, and for what
    * How the victims fared
    * Any pictures
    * Rumor has it that the sailboat was around 25′, completely dismasted, with prop marks over the cabin top. But that is just rumor.
    And this is just for staters. But after releasing this one short story with no facts (understandable at T+12 hours), there has been absolutely NO follow up. The media has completely dropped the story (why talk about something that happened last week?), and the DNR has refused to so much as acknowledge my emails asking for any more information. Google turns up a big goose egg.

    Frustrating!

    Harry

  19. John Frenaye says:

    Harry—I share your frustration. I have been in contact with the occupants of the sail boat and am trying to get info from DNR who is not releasing anything citing an “active” investigation. I can tell you that the power boat was driven from the scene, the sailboat was anchored for the night (2 occupants in Shock Trauma) and then towed the following day. The dismasting and the prop marks is indeed rumor. From what I am hearing both were under power (not sail) and both were well under 10 knots in speed. This is one sided at this point, but it seems that that the sailboat was making an evasive manuever to avoid a broadside collision–which ultimately led them to change course in front of the power boat. The sailboat captain was issued a citation for changing course. Without DNR releasing any of the other information, I cannot say if there were other citations issued.

    We are followin up on this and there is a twist I believe.

  20. bmz says:

    John– it appears that you are reciting nothing but hearsay from the power boaters. Did the sailors give you any information? Who told you that the “demasting and the prop marks” was untrue? It appears to me that the sailors were too injured to discuss the incident with DNR; and hence DNR got all their information from the power boaters. So please, share with us what the sailors told you; or any information not given to you by DNR or the power boaters. As I suggested before, what you are saying is unlikely because “Sailors, navigating at night, tend to be both cautious and knowledgeable. We have to be; our keels make us very vulnerable to running aground, and our speed makes us vulnerable to being run over. Sailors must know how to read nighttime navigation markers and be capable of determining speed and direction of oncoming vessels by their navigation lights.”

  21. bmz says:

    BTW, while on the subject of hearsay: ” A friend of mine was riding in an ambulance from the Edgewater area to AAMC with an ill friend early Sunday morning and overheard a great deal of radio chatter regarding this incident. There was mention that the powerboat had been operated by an intoxicated police officer. Later in the emergency room, there was further confirmation of this and mention that during questioning, the powerboat’s occupants gave false information about which individual in the boat was actually operating it at the time of the collision so as to protect the intoxicated police officer.”

  22. Harry K says:

    John,

    BMZ’s comments are understandable and indicative of the problem with the “cone of silence” that has come down over this story. If you are hearing that “no further information will be released on an active investigation, your “BS Alarm” should be sounding off. Lots of accidents, even fatal ones, have SOME information released — names, who was northbound, type of car, who crossed the median, injuries, etc. If there is so much silence, it actually lends credibility to BMZ’s rumors.

    The source of my rumors was an email on another group I’m on, with these words from Harness Creek:

    “the residents of the creek presume that the sailboat involved is tied up at a private dock across from the Quiet Waters rental dock. They presume this because the 25+ footer had a mast last Friday but doesn’t now – it is lashed alongside and the boat shows deep collision marks amidships and across the cabin top. The pulpit is mangled as well. It looks as though the powerboat “mounted” the sailboat crosswise. The sailboat is floating of its own accord. From appearances in daylight, if the powerboat had struck further aft, the occupants in the cockpit might not have survived at all.”

    The sooner DNR can actually provide solid facts (and pictures?), the better it will be for all concerned.

    Harry

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