Fire on dive boat Conception in CA

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Scuba Instructor
Reaction score
Houston, Texas
# of dives
1000 - 2499
Brief story on this morning.

More than 30 people were unaccounted for Monday morning after a deadly boat fire off the coast of Southern California. The Ventura County Fire Department told CBS News that there were fatalities, but officials didn't know the exact number.

The fire department said five people had been rescued and 34 people were unaccounted for.

The U.S. Coast Guard said it launched several boats to help more than 30 people "in distress." Tweets from the Coast Guard in Los Angeles said there were reports the people were on a boat that was on fire near Santa Cruz Island.

A ScubaBoard Staff Message...

see summary next post and final updated Thread summary here There is now a sticky which is being updated as events unfold in this forum CONCEPTION FIRE - RESOURCE PAGE


Reaction score
# of dives
200 - 499
CNN is now reporting it, does not sound good, prayers for all involved.

A ScubaBoard Staff Message...

This summary updated 14 Sept 2019 Updates also posted on page one of this thread. Follow links & read surrounding posts to keep up to date.

It is best to read a thread before commenting. This one is so long & effects so many people we are providing & updating this summary. We believe this information is credible but can not be established as proven facts prior to completion of the investigation.

Please be kind when you post here. There are special rules. Please consider families, friends and survivors who are reading this. Accidents and Incident Threads: Victim Perspective

We can not determine the cause. Discussing possibilities may help to prevent future tragedies.

34 Casualties DNA identified. Coroner/Sheriff Brown states probable COD smoke inhalation

Conception compliant met or exceeded applicable USCG requirements on last inspection implies approved; fire alarms, fire fighting equipment and escape routes
NTSB (National Transportation Safety Board) Preliminary Report
Preliminary Report: Marine DCA19MM047
Discussion points
  • states all crew sleeping
  • Statement in Preliminary Report says it may contain errors
Anchor Watch
Rough time line as reported
  • night dive time? commonly done by passengers; NO night dive by Crew
  • 2:30 crew member finished up in the galley verified heating elements were out and cold etc. Then went upstairs to bed. Not indicated if this was the designated Anchor Watch see
  • Between 3 and 3:14, a crew member awoke hearing a bang. He attempted to go down to investigate but stairs already afire.
  • 5 crew were in the wheelhouse two levels above the berth area. 1 crew member in the berth below did not survive.
  • crew jumped to deck, one broke leg other undisclosed ankle injuries
  • Captain first Mayday from Bridge documented 3:14
  • crew tried to reach the passengers from aft passage into the salon/galley then via forward front windows
  • forced from the boat by the fire some swam aft to the dingy & brought it alongside to rescue injured crew
  • sought help from nearby vessel Grape Escape Another Mayday call.
Most suspected causes of fire discussed
Original location of fire not yet established
  • former owner believes it started in passenger berth area
  • some believe it started in galley/salon area
Conception's layout and facilities
Exits from Dorm
  • main exit - stairs to starboard forward end of the dorm to the galley/salon.
  • emergency hatch above bunks at aft end of dorm exited in aft portion of the salon, just inside the passageway to the after deck.
  • no locked doors to the galley, salon or berth area.

The design of berth area and escape hatches discussed extensively. It meets current USCG standards which many believe may be changed as a result of this tragedy.

Excellent DAN article Mental Health post incident

Out of Darkness comes light and Hope
  • Reef Seekers set out new procedures for their scheduled trips
  • Nautilus Lady is already having changes made
  • Individuals are planning personal changes to stay safe
  • Truth Aquatics declining bookings to focus on changes

Related threads

A personal perspective on California Live-aboards
Discussion of legal aspects here
Battery discussions here
Condolences posted here
Donations here


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Staff member
ScubaBoard Supporter
Scuba Instructor
Reaction score
# of dives
1000 - 2499
Oh!!!!!!! Horrific tragedy if what is being reported is correct. Let's wait for some facts to come out.


Reaction score
San Francisco
# of dives
200 - 499
This is breaking my heart. I love Truth Aquatics and dive the Channel Islands with them. I hope nobody I know has been lost. This is going to be a really long day.

My heart goes out to all of those aboard. :(
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