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Discussion Starter #1
This sounds terrifying. A charter scuba boat caught fire at night and it sounds like the only people who escaped were some crew that were up on deck. All the people sleeping below died.
Fire Engulfs Scuba Boat With More Than 30 Aboard

This appears to be the boat:
Conception



It has double and triple bunks. By my count it looks like it could sleep 42. I can't imagine how awful it must have been.
 

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Must have been trapped and looks like one exit only... not a good idea!
 

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My heart goes out to all those who lost friends and families.
As a professional captain I always had a horror of being the surviving captain in a tragedy like this. Perhaps it would be better to go down with the ship, but even that didn't save the Bounty's captain.
 
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This just seems extraordinary for this day and age.

What could spark a fire that fast people could not get out?

I could only think propane/butane cooking gas in the galley.

How could there not be enough emergency exits that no one at all could get out?

Old boat grandfathered laws?

Just shocking.
 

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Commonly, it's not the fire that gets ya. It's the fumes. Pretty much everything on a boat releases stuff that will kill you when it burns. If sleeping, one may not even wake up. :-(
 

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Tragic
 

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Discussion Starter #10
What are the regs for a commercial boat of that size that takes passengers? Does it have to have automatic fire suppression and alarms? How about multiple exits?

I think it was 3am or something, so it probably wasn't cooking.
 

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al brazzi
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There was a second exit over the bunks, although unclear if it was used. Nitrox was available per sales brochure so apparently Oxygen was on board, whatever happened was so quick only persons on deck (apparently) had a chance for escape. Horrible to say the least and though I never ran overnight charters which changes the landscape considerably from a safety standpoint, I know what could go wrong was always in the front of my mind. Whatever happened here was very fast in progression, sounds like an explosion or rapid accelerate Propane or the like. Only speculation at this point.
 

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The two things I want to know are:

Why was there only a single exit from the sleeping quarters, which seems insane; and,

Why was there no one on watch that could have delt with the matter and raised an alarm before it got out of hand? I have never been abouard a ship that did not maintain a night watch when anchored out.

As to the source of the fire, while it might have been cooking fuel, something had to spark the fire and in these days of lith-ion battery devices being ubiquitous; and, the frequency with which they have caused fires when improperly stored or charged, I would not be surprised to learn such a device proved to be the ignition point for the fire.

What a senseless waste of lives...
 
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al brazzi
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The two things I want to know are:

Why was there only a single exit from the sleeping quarters, which seems insane; and,

Why was there no one on watch that could have delt with the matter and raised an alarm before it got out of hand? I have never been abouard a ship that did not maintain a night watch when anchored out.

As to the source of the fire, while it might have been cooking fuel, something had to spark the fire and in these days of lith-ion battery devices being ubiquitous; and, the frequency with which they have caused fires when improperly stored or charged, I would not be surprised to learn such a device proved to be the ignition point for the fire.

What a senseless waste of lives...
I'm reading in LA Times coverage there was a second exit (Hatch) accessible above bunks leading to the mess hall. It was quick whatever the cause, yes absolutely horrible waste. NTSB is at the scene. They were trying to talk to crew this morning (reporters not authorities) and of course there was nothing to say.
 

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I've read a few utter BS lines in my life but this is the most BS ever:

regardless of what sparked and fueled the fire, this much is clear: Once it started, it was too late for most of those on board to safely escape.
Bulltwaddle! Utter total bulldust!
Unless it was a massive explosion there should never be a fire in which no one can escape. No law could allow a floating death trap to be at sea.

The investigation will prove the fire survivable if there was proper emergency exit - and an exit going into the mess that's co-located with a galley is not an emergency exit - proper alarms, proper fire suppression, and as someone smarter than me pointed out, a proper Watch where a crew member is awake to ensure the safety of 35 fare paying passengers and 5 crew.

California seems to have many laws some of which I roll my eyes, but could there really be a loophole so vast 35 people can die like this?

This stinks.
 

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snake charmer, cat herder
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with each hatch chimneying the flames, i can see where there would be no safe exit for anyone below decks..
this accident is a damned shame and will change many requirements for construction of these dive use vessels.
the chimneying from a lightning strike is what destroyed a friends ct41 in clearwater. no escape possible, had he been on board and ct41s have 3 exits. this boat had 2.
 

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''should never be a fire in which no one can escape. No law could allow a floating death trap to be at sea. '' If the emergency exit is into the cabin where the 'to galley' stairs lead ..!! I gave considerable effort to satisfy Canadian DoT rules concerning this when I brought Thane to Passenger certification. And emergency exits onto deck /w/t bulkheads are a big part of vessel design .( passed as built ,even after CG looked at the 6 dead divers aboard the Huntress ,burned/sunk in Vancouver at the fuel dock.Argued successfully in court that all aboard the 115' vessel were not passengers but club charter members so vessel didn't need any passenger related stuff/papers. (helicopter fuel storage tanks leaked down to reefer compressor and boom.
 

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snake charmer, cat herder
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conception is not a new ship--has been successfully working dive charters since 1981 with the rigid coast guard inspections and other hoops thru which to annually crawl. so.. what happened happened. is still under investigation.
we cannot always plan for ALL eventualities as nature and mayhem hold different parameters than do we human beings.
 

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California seems to have many laws some of which I roll my eyes, but could there really be a loophole so vast 35 people can die like this?
This stinks.
California had absolutely nothing to do with this vessel other than collect taxes and possibly provide a liquor license. This is 100% USCG. They are responsible for every aspect of this vessel's licensing, operation and safety certificates.
But don't fool yourself when it comes to fires aboard vessels. A small fire in the brig forward aboard a 600 foot ship I was crew on as a teen, engulfed 1/3 of the ship in 25 minutes against the efforts of a well trained and experienced firefighting team.
We can second guess this thing to death, but sometimes things just stack up so that there is literally no stopping them. Ultimately, it will be the captain's responsibility and after a bunch of legal wrangling I'm sure the company will be included. Perhaps laws and procedures will change. But you can't just jump on, let us say California, at this time and point fingers. The boat will be brought up and a thorough investigation will follow. I will be interested in the outcome of that, not idle speculation or unfounded accusations.
Not to say I'm a fan of California or it's manner of doing business.
 

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This is a horrible tragedy. I’m just reading this thread from the beginning now and find it fascinating that so many were initially convinced there was only one exit. How do basic facts like this get so out of hand, so early.

I suspect the cause of the fire will be the learning point, not the location of the multiple exits. We’ll see.

Horrible, no matter how you slice it. I hope their surviving family and friends can find peace.
 
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