About 2013 on January 12, 2002, the 24-foot Coast Guard patrol boat CG242513, with two crewmembers on board, was on a routine recreational boating safety and manatee-zone patrol in Biscayne Bay, Florida, when it collided with the small passenger vessel Bayside Blaster, carrying 2 crewmembers and 53 passengers. Both Coast Guard crewmembers were ejected from their boat. The patrol boat continued running, circled to port, and struck the Bayside Blaster again. The unmanned Coast Guard patrol boat continued to circle for 10 to 15 minutes, striking a moored recreational boat two times and pilings near the shore. Police officers responding to the scene pinned the Coast Guard patrol boat to the pilings and shut off the engines. Five passengers who reported being injured were taken to the Coast Guard Station, where they were triaged. After triage, two passengers were transported to a hospital, and the others did not request further medical treatment. The two Coast Guard crewmembers were triaged by paramedics on Palm Island, taken to a nearby hospital for further examination, and released the morning of January 13. As a result of the accident, the Coast Guard patrol boat, valued at $80,000, was declared a total loss. The damage to the Bayside Blaster was estimated at $80,000, and the damage to the moored recreational boat was $24,722. Damages from the accident were estimated at $184,722.
The Safety Board's investigation of the accident identified the adequacy of the following as major safety issues:
- Operation of the Coast Guard patrol boat;
- Operation of the Bayside Blaster;
- Coast Guard oversight of routine patrols;
- Boatrides International, Inc., management oversight;
- Kill switch operation on Coast Guard nonstandard patrol boats;
- Lifejacket stowage on the Bayside Blaster; and
- Coast Guard safety oversight of small passenger vessels in Miami.
The National Transportation Safety Board determines that the probable cause of the collision between the Coast Guard patrol boat CG242513 and the small passenger vessel Bayside Blaster was the failure of the coxswain of the Coast Guard patrol boat to operate his vessel at a safe speed in a restricted-speed area frequented by small passenger vessels and in conditions of limited visibility due to darkness and background lighting. Contributing to the cause of the accident was the lack of adequate Coast Guard oversight of nonstandard boat operations.
As a result of the investigation, the Safety Board makes recommendations to the U.S. Coast Guard, to Boatrides International, Inc. (owner of the Bayside Blaster), and to the Passenger Vessel Association.
As a result of its investigation, the National Transportation Safety Board makes the following safety recommendations:
To the U.S. Coast Guard:
Establish oversight procedures for use by the commanding officers or officers-incharge of Coast Guard stations to improve the safety of Coast Guard routine small boat operations, including the institution of in-depth predeparture briefings, thorough predeparture checks of boats, monitoring of coxswain performance, and thorough postpatrol debriefings. (M-02-25)
Evaluate on an annual basis your program for reducing nonstandard boat accidents and for ensuring compliance with Coast Guard policies and procedures related to those vessels; publish the results annually for use by Coast Guard stations. (M-02-26)
Evaluate the adequacy of the design of present or future kill switch systems on Coast Guard small boats, giving full consideration to ergonomic/human engineering factors. (M-02-27)
Evaluate the adequacy of the marine safety inspection program in the Miami area to ensure that small passenger vessels are in compliance with applicable regulations, including the requirements for lifejacket stowage, navigation lights, and manning. (M-02-28)
To Boatrides International, Inc.:
Establish procedures to prohibit your small passenger vessel from leaving the pier with passengers on board unless the vessel has the crew required by the vessel's certificate of inspection. (M-02-29)
Revise the stowage of lifejackets on board your vessel so they are located throughout the passenger areas for immediate use in case of emergency. (M-02-30)
To the Passenger Vessel Association:
Include in your Risk Management Manual the information that lifejackets on small passenger vessels should be evenly distributed throughout passenger areas for immediate use in an emergency, as prescribed by 46 CFR 117.78 or 180.78. (M-02-31)