Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Held to a "Higher Standard"

Have you seen this story about a pleasure boat that was run over by a tug & barge? Once again, I have to begin with a disclaimer that I don't know any more about this situation than what I have read in the media.

There are a few things here that I think are worthy of comment. The first is that the CG has decided that they will not "take any action against" the owner of the pleasure boat, who was anchored within a marked navigation channel. According to the story, the tug & barge had enough room to avoid hitting the pleasure boat. Okay, I buy that. The tug & barge crew will have trouble defending their actions.

Here is the part that bothers me: by not taking action against the pleasure boat, isn't the CG sending a message that its okay for pleasure boats to anchor in marked channels? Keeping the big guys and little guys separated should be a huge concern for the CG, and in my opinion, the CG should expect the little guys to do their part.

I have to assume that this case will result in some huge wrongful death lawsuit against the tug company. If the CG officially takes a stand and says the pleasure boat was partially at fault, will that diminish the chances of a huge settlement to the family of the deceased? That would paint the CG with a very un-flattering brush, making them seem cruel and un-sympathetic.

Which brings me to the second point.

"They're not professional mariners," he added. "We hold the licensed mariner to a higher standard; they are operating a commercial vessel."

Suppose the opposite was true? Would the CG be taking action against the pleasure boater if they found out he holds a 100T license? Not a chance. The reason they are not taking action is that somebody died, and the CG feels its their job to find a guilty party. So don't tell me this is about holding people to higher standards.