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NACO Statement: MIssouri Duck Boat Tragedy

Statement from Capt. Bob Zales, II, President, regarding the tragic Duck boat accident in MO,
Sunday July 22, 2018

By now everyone should be aware of the tragic accident of the sinking of the Duck boat on Table Rock Lake near Branson, MO where 17 passengers lost their lives.  On this day of reflection and prayer on behalf of the NACO membership I wish to offer our heartfelt and sincere concern for all the families and friends of those lost in the accident.  The USCG and NTSB are investigating this accident and reports will follow which we will monitor.  While with the limited information presented so far it appears this accident was preventable I am certain more information will be provided soon.  As sad as this accident is I urge all USCG Licensed Captains to take some time to fully understand the serious responsibility we must ensure the safety on all conditions of all those who we carry on our vessels every day and to revisit their policies and procedures of how they handle informing their passengers of safety issues. 

When we took the oath upon accepting our USCG Captain’s License we pledged to ensure the safety of every passenger and crew member on every trip we take.  When they are on our vessels they are our responsibility and we should always work to be certain they arrive back from their experience with us as they left.  I strongly encourage every Captain to revisit your safety plans and think about what actions you can take when an emergency comes up.  Preplanning is the best experience to be able to be prepared for any situation to protect your passengers and crew.  Those of us who own and operate USCG Certificated Vessels must have an Emergency Checkoff List posted for all to see and must have a placard that describes how to properly wear a life jacket.  Such lists should be available on all passenger carrying vessels whether inspected or not.  Captains of COI vessels must perform man overboard, fire, and abandon ship drills on a routine basis and keep a record of same.  All Captains should follow this practice as it helps to prepare you and your crew for an emergency.                       

Preplanning and preparation should help you to ensure your passengers and crew have a great and safe experience on their trip.  I have included a sample of the emergency checkoff lists for your use.  Should anyone have any questions please contact our office. 

Thank You  

Sample Emergency Checkoff List

Measures to be considered in the event of:
         (a) Rough weather at sea or crossing hazardous bars.

□ All weathertight and watertight doors, hatches and airports closed to prevent taking water aboard.
□ Bilges kept dry to prevent loss of stability.
□ Passengers seated and evenly distributed.
□ All passengers wearing life preservers in conditions of very rough seas or if about to cross a bar under hazardous conditions.
□ An international distress call and a call to the Coast Guard over radiotelephone made if assistance is needed (if radiotelephone equipped).

         (b) Man overboard.

□ Ring buoy thrown overboard as close to the victim as possible.
□ Lookout posted to keep the victim in sight.
□ Crewmember, wearing a life preserver and lifeline, standing by ready to jump into the water to assist the victim back aboard.
□ Coast Guard and all vessels in the vicinity notified by radiotelephone (if radiotelephone equipped).
□ Search continued until after radiotelephone consultation with the Coast Guard, if at all possible.

(c) Fire at Sea.

□ Air supply to the fire cut off by closing hatches, ports, doors, and ventilators, etc.
□ Portable extinguishers discharged at the base of the flames of flammable liquid or grease fires or water applied to fires in combustible solids.
□ If fire is in machinery spaces, fuel supply and ventilation shut off and any installed fixed firefighting system discharged.
□ Vessel maneuvered to minimize the effect of wind on the fire.
□ Coast Guard and all vessels in the vicinity notified by radiotelephone of the fire and vessel location (if radiotelephone equipped).
□ Passengers moved away from fire and wearing life preservers.