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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
New admiralty decision for boaters: U.S. v. Turner, decided by 4th Circuit Court of Appeals (includes Federal Districts in Maryland, North Carolina, South Carolina, Virginia, and West Virginia), reaffirmed:

1. U.S. Coast Guard has no duty to rescue a boater.

2. If U.S.C.G. undertakes a rescue, it must exercise reasonable care, as judged according to the “Good Samaritan” principle, which may impose liability if the rescue worsened the position of the victim, by either:

a. Increasing risk of harm to person being rescued; or
b. Inducing reliance on rescue.

The U.S.C.G. was not liable for wrongful death in delaying on-the-scene rescue efforts for more than twelve hours for missing boaters.

http://www.ca4.uscourts.gov/Opinions/Published/121953.P.pdf
 

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islander bahama 24
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That's what happens when people do the dumb stuff its always someone else's fault everyone has to pay the price never heard of families of commercial fishermen lost at sea when the coast guard tried to save them sueing over the loss its a known risk just leaving the dock.
 

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20 foot boat, 3 to 4 ft. seas, not wearing life jackets, multiple guess float-plan..

Yup..must be the coast guards fault.
 

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I skimmed that. Basically the dude's dad tells the Coast Guard that his son isn't answering his cell phone and hasn't returned in the boat and could have been heading to any of four destinations, one of which he doesn't even know the address of.

The Coast Guard was busy with another, confirmed, emergency. What, they're supposed to drop everything to go on that wild goose chase?
 

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I love to see the look on newbie faces, when ocean rescue is discussed at one seminar or another. They talk about the couple hundred mile reach of USCG helo rescues. When on your way to Bermuda, for example, you have 400+more miles to go when leaving Newport.

Then, as they process how much further they need to go, until within reach of the Bermuda Coast Guard, they learn they don't have one. :eek:
 

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Just an anecdote and perhaps not related to the question raised in the thread, but a lot of east coast sailors pass through Elizabeth City:
 

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New admiralty decision for boaters: U.S. v. Turner, decided by 4th Circuit Court of Appeals (includes Federal Districts in Maryland, North Carolina, South Carolina, Virginia, and West Virginia), reaffirmed:

1. U.S. Coast Guard has no duty to rescue a boater.

...
I am a bit confused here. If coast guard has no duty to rescue a boater who has?

I mean I, as a skipper, or any ship captain for that matter, is obliged to respond and if possible to give assistance to a mayday and Coast Guard has no duty responding to a mayday?

Regards

Paulo
 

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Vessels are required to assist others in distress only insofar as it does not endanger themselves or their crews. The Coast Guard is not REQUIRED to set out into conditions that could endanger their equipment or crews. That they do on occasion do go out in conditions that might give pause to the rest of us is commendable - but not required. An officer can determine that conditions are too dangerous to allow for a rescue attempt. The court decision shows that if that happens, the Coast Guard is not responsible for not going to the rescue of the mariner in distress. xxxx happens, and sometimes the cavalry doesn't make it in time.
 

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Kynntana (Freedom 38)
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I think this message needs to be heard by everyone, not just boaters. It always pains me when I hear (often when people go hiking and skiing in remote, avalanche, and poor winter weather areas) of their rescuers perishing in the process. It's a hard thing for a loved one to process someone saying, "no, it's too dangerous, we can't help," but people need to accept this and the risks when they play with Mother Nature.
 

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Right now on Long Island the CG cant respond out of there main south shore station due to shoaling


Even on land at my work for example putting out a fire is voluntary (we have and intense sprinkler system ) as the would be rescuer becoming a victim is REALLY HIGH in all types of rescue
 

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I am a bit confused here. If coast guard has no duty to rescue a boater who has?... Paulo
Read the court decision.

The USCG had no concrete evidense that there was distress. They could have been anchored, sitting on a beach or sitting in a bar. They chose not place men at risk on a bad night, while simultaniously ocupied with a separate confirmed distress call.

However, the court made it clear that they are always free to exersize judgement regarding when to place men at risk.

----

IMHO it was not a very strong case. If they had been seen in the water or the USCG had received a clear call they might argue that resources could have been better divided. Even that would require detailed examination of the information available to managment at the time.

For example, if the husband had imediatly broadcast that his wife was in the water (knowing recovery at night is tough) and a location, then the USCG would have had strong reason to respond and thing might have ended differently. I have called the USCG with a cell phone twice when I had a minor situation (passenger health issues that might have escilated) an they were always glad to have information early, so that response decisions wouldn't be made blindly.
 

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New admiralty decision for boaters: U.S. v. Turner, decided by 4th Circuit Court of Appeals (includes Federal Districts in Maryland, North Carolina, South Carolina, Virginia, and West Virginia), reaffirmed:

1. U.S. Coast Guard has no duty to rescue a boater.

2. If U.S.C.G. undertakes a rescue, it must exercise reasonable care, as judged according to the “Good Samaritan” principle, which may impose liability if the rescue worsened the position of the victim, by either:

a. Increasing risk of harm to person being rescued; or
b. Inducing reliance on rescue.

The U.S.C.G. was not liable for wrongful death in delaying on-the-scene rescue efforts for more than twelve hours for missing boaters.

http://www.ca4.uscourts.gov/Opinions/Published/121953.P.pdf
If you read that opinion, you will see that this is not new case law. This is an application of the existing case law.
 
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snake charmer, cat herder
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too many go out with the EXPECTATION that uscg will save their sorry hides when they befoul selves due to inexperience.
mebbe some should gain the experience BEFORE heading out into unknown.
but then i am known for this kind of novel idea

at least try sailing fro a few months to see if you like it.....then go out into that biiiiig wet thing with or without someone else to count on to help or hinder.....might wanna learn where to stuff the plug when water starts to creep up the floorboards.....
 

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islander bahama 24
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Tharts the reason for the pan pan call to let them know where you are and that you are. Having problems but don't require immediate assist so preperations can be made to render as needed faster
 

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The same principle applies to all the governmental safety services, such as police and fire. The duty of the Coast Guard to respond to an emergency is owed to his or her employer, not to the owner of the boat. A civilian has no right to dictate to the safety services when they must respond to a request for service. The decision to send their employees into harms way is exclusively the province of their commanders.
 

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Within the context of "step 'up' into the liferaft".....

Would this induce a propensity to call the CG even earlier under less precarious situations...?

IE: We're not sinking and the storm isn't here yet....but let's call the CG to get us off this boat "cause they may not come if situation worsens"...
 

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Part of the reason for that decision is to fend off lawsuits that are not well founded. If the court holds that there is a duty to rescue under some circumstances, then every claim will have to be litigated, most will settle, and there will be a cottage industry in "failure to rescue" cases. By holding there is no duty, all of those cases can be dismissed on motion before all of the costly discovery and trial, and plaintiffs are much less likely to bring the case in the first place. Once a duty is created, the costs of the lawsuits, meritorious or not, will end up being a large part of the Coast Guard budget. Also, if a duty is created, then the Congress loses its ability to decide the proper funding level. So courts do not lightly create a duty, even in a case that seems meritorious.
 

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The decision whether to institute a search, based on the available information, is one the CG makes daily. In this case all they had was an overdue boat report. Their decision seems reasonable in this case.

This would all have been so different if they had :

Worn their life jackets
Carried a VHF, preferably with DSC
Carried an EPIRB or PLB
Had some flares

The list goes on. But it begins with exercising some common sense.

BTW, how many of us still haven't hooked the GPS up to the DSC radio, or got an MMSI number? The CG says that 90% of DSC distress calls don't have the MMSI or position data.
 
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