Fire on dive boat Conception in CA

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MichaelMc

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In terms of wishing for an emergency exit having a ladder on the bunk room wall and extending up the salon wall, covered on the salon floor by a push-off hatch. I personally like this design, I think it makes an easier exit, particularly by extending the ladder up the salon wall. ETA: Setting aside how that affects bunks or salon cabinets on this particular boat.

Yet of those having difficulty getting in the upper bunks, how many would find climbing a vertical ladder easy? Realizing that many climb up the stern dive steps in full gear unassisted. But not all do, and the stern dive steps are not a vertical ladder. I've been on boats with divers who I would not expect able to make such a ladder climb, no matter the size of the hatch.
 

Esprise Me

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There have been a number of posts implying that the bunkroom arrangement on the Conception was dangerous and unprecedented. The vast majority of vessels under 30M/100' around the world have the same basic layout -- bunks and staterooms forward, the sole primary/normal exit through the galley/solon area, and engineering spaces aft. The USCG and most marine certification agencies around the world require at least one small emergency hatch. In practice they are primarily used for ventilation in port. This is true for dive and fishing charter boats, sail boats, commercial fishing boats, crew boats, and leisure boats.

It is understandable that people who are unfamiliar with the marine industry might assume that large watertight egress hatches should be standard, until you weigh the very real possibility of hatch failure in heavy seas and suddenly there is a giant hole on the main deck with green water washing over it. Inevitably, every "safety system" can introduce potentially dangerous failure modes, especially in salt water environments.

Ill-informed knee-jerk solutions by committee are never a good idea. It is probably a good thing that the investigation will take a couple of years so mandated changes are well considered rather than in response to political pressure to "do something" (no matter how stupid).
So, wait...is that a "no" on the battery-powered waterproof chainsaws in each berth?

It sounds like it's not clear whether the accessibility of the emergency exits played any role or if the fire just grew too quickly, but presumably there are situations where it would be at issue. Is there anywhere else on the boat where a few people who can't wriggle out that hatch could sleep? Would that be a reasonable alternative to either disallowing them or putting them at risk of being trapped?
 

infieldg

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Sounds like the entire galley level - the most common source of fires on boats (tho batteries seem likely in this case) yet the only place where smoke is NORMAL - was unoccupied, in which case I don't think the fire needed to be FAST, it may have had all the time in the world to grow because as so many of you pointed out, you don't put smoke detectors in galleys.

I'd like to think anyone on the bridge would have heard a smoke alarm from the next deck down but it's looking likely that they didn't :(

I have suffered claustrophobia before. My claustrophobia tends to be more hyper-sensitivity than irrationality. I would have had a hard time sleeping there.

I wouldn't have even tried and I'm not claustrophic. This isn't the benefit of 20/20 hindsight, I would honestly have refused to sleep in that boat based on watching video tours, and reading the reaction of investigators who toured the sister ship, and imagining 34 people clambering over beds to get out a hatch at the stern that they may not have been aware of and probably couldn't see, into a burning room, just reinforces that :(

Is this 'battery farm' style of boat common in the US? I've never seen anything like it before, up to 46 people sleeping under the galley, with stairs leading to the galley, one hatch leading the front of the galley and another hatch leading to the back of the galley. And darkness :(
 

Ron Lee

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A charging station could just be a cluster of electrical outlets or where people end up charging their electronics. The electrical itself could have been fine. It could be due to the any number of batteries or chargers that any of the guests brought on board so "allowing it to continue" or its "setup being flawed" might not actually be the case. A few years ago, there were many incidents of non-OEM chargers being used on various electronics and how it was a fire hazard in some instances. This could be that.

I did not mean to imply that the charging station was bad. My knowledge of Li-Po or similar batteries and their supposed failure issues is limited. Perhaps Lithium batteries need special charging surfaces/containers etc to protect against said failures.

Or as I noted last night, maybe you end all charging before people go to sleep. Add a buffer if there is a latent failure possibility for some duration after charging has ended.
 

KevinNM

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Wookies boat had a spiralish staircase close to middle of the salon and an escape hatch close to the front of the salon/gallery.
 

Ron Lee

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So, wait...is that a "no" on the battery-powered waterproof chainsaws in each berth?

Did I ever say one chainsaw for each bed? The answer is no.

Reality (even though this was probably never anticipated) is that had one been available and safely usable then dozens of people may not have died.
 

Joneill

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I know you didn’t. Judgment is certainly out there. See the post above this one.

Just explaining the practicalities of the process
Thx - agreed that there is too much rush to judgement going on here!

For the sake of those who lost their lives, I just hope a definitive root cause is found so fixes to prevent this from happening again can be instituted!
 

Bob DBF

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That back deck is also where the second hatch is located?

It is at the aft end of the lounge / galley which is open to the aft deck.

2) Overnight watch that should be one that checked often for fire either was not working or was poorly implemented.

Their major duty is to make sure the anchors don't move, and I know they do rounds checking the boat during the night as I have seen them when I've been up at odd times at night for a head call, and early in the morning before the cook gets up. I learned to make coffee on several different boats because I was up early and needed some, and the cooks liked the idea a hot cup when they got up.



Bob
 
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