Boat race ends in tragedy after large waves destroy vessel

May 1st, 2012 - by DKRPA

Some Florida residents are accustomed to taking the boat out on a sunny weekend, while many others dream of the day where they have their own vessel to captain. It seems like a fun and carefree endeavor to be out on the sea, but it can be a very dangerous adventure. Between waves and wind, the ocean can cause even the most experienced boat enthusiasts to suffer an unfortunate boating accident.

These types of stormy conditions are typical in Florida, especially during summer and into the fall. Every precaution must be taken to ensure that boat riders are safe during a trip out on the ocean and that no accidents occur.

This goes double for boat racers, who rely on the safety protocols and general organization of the race’s supervisors to keep a boating accident at bay. Unfortunately near San Francisco, this may not have happened, resulting in a boating accident that claimed the lives of five people.

A chain of islands off the San Francisco coast, called the Farrallones, are known for having choppy seas around their coasts. The race route took boats near the Farrallones and one boat (which had started poorly and whose crew members just wanted to finish, said one of the surviving boaters) was struck by multiple waves that capsized the vessel.

Could race organizers have better prepared the racers for the conditions? Did they supply the necessary safety equipment to ensure those on the boat would be protected from rough conditions? Were there emergency boats ready for such a situation?

U.S. Sailing is the national governing body of boat races, and they are looking into the accident. One of the survivors of the boat accident hopes that this wreck will “spark a wider dialogue within the sailing community” regarding safety, and it is rumored that U.S. Sailing may place a no-sailing zone around the Farrallones soon.

Source: Los Angeles Times, “Offshore yacht races in Bay Area suspended after deadly accident,” Lee Romney, April 28, 2012