Incident Report: R/V Carson II Collides with Jetty
This incident report is submitted pursuant to Section 10.01j of the NOAA Small Boat Standards and Procedures Manual that states the affected Program Director (or designee) shall notify the Line Office Small Boat Officer and Safety and Environmental Compliance Office (SECO) Representative of a small boat accident or incident when it involves … (f) failure of gear and equipment and any other damage that may affect or impair a small boat’s seaworthiness.
On 29 April 2015, scientists got underway on the RV Carson II, NOAA R2102 to conduct annual training and drills. The Carson is a 21’ shallow V center console fiberglass boat with a 200 HP outboard motor. Participants included a NMFS contractor (the OIC), a NMFS FTE and 3 NOS FTEs. After successfully completing a man overboard drill in a marked channel they stopped the boat to change operators. During the operator change the boat drifted out of the channel and over a rock jetty. The new operator engaged the propeller and immediately contacted a submerged rock jetty. The impact broke a blade from the propeller, bent the other blades, cracked the lower unit housing, and bent the propeller shaft. No one reported any injuries. They returned to the laboratory without further incident. The damage estimate is $4000 to replace the lower unit and propeller. A narrative from each person onboard follows this report.
- The narratives suggest that when not operating the boat, the scientists acted like passengers rather than crew members.
- Crew members with more recent local knowledge did not speak up and express concern about their location.
- The operator seems to have misinterpreted the can and nun buoys with the diamond shaped information marker.
During the brief, OIC should establish a clear chain of command and responsibilities for each crew member including a proper lookout. During training exercises, the OIC should have each new operator reestablish the chain of command and lookout. When assigning a lookout, consider the recency of local knowledge, present orientation and conditions, and reevaluate risk (using the Green Ambar Red model) as appropriate.
Submitted by Roger Mays on 5 May 2015