Boat Building Industry Accident Folder
Recreational Boat Building Industry
High Profile Accidents
- 28 February 2009 accident - two NFL football players and their friends were boating in the Gulf of
Mexico when their boat capsized. Marquis Cooper, Corey Smith, William Bleakley and Nick Schuyler
left from Clearwater FL to fish offshore. A massive search was mounted from them after they were
declared missing. Nick Schuyler was later found clinging to the capsized boat, the others have not
been found as of 28 March 2009. Mr. Schuyler later reported the boat capsized after they tried to
pry up the anchor. He had earlier told the Coast Guard the anchor got caught on a reef. The accident
received a great deal of publicity as the nation followed the search.
- 15 July 2007 accident - 16 July 2007 Omaha World-Herald (Nebraska) "Sounds Alert Neighbors to
Boating Fatality" reports
about 7pm Sunday 15 July, a boat towing two people on a raft ran into two swimmers on Hanson Lake #2
a private lake near the Platt River in Sarpy County. Kathleen Gillfan, age 57, was dead at the scene.
David Gillfan was flown to Nebraska Medical Center and remains in critical condition. Shortly later,
the boat hit a dock at 17327 Iris Circle, went airborne, struck another boat, and came to rest. The
boat driver was arrested.
Other reports call the raft an "inner tube". And others say the couple hit was sitting in a sailboat
at the dock when struck.
In June 2008 a family member contacted us and related Mr. Gillfan passed away from his injuries as
well. They reported both had died from blunt trauma injuries due to striking the front of the boat.
Propellers were not involved. At that time we moved this accident from our Propeller Accidents Blog to
- Sunday 27 May 2007 Marquise Hill, a defensive end for the New England Patriots, and former player for
LSU was on a PWC with an unidentified woman in Lake Ponchitrain near the Seabrook Bridge in New
Orleans about 9pm when both fell in. Neither was wearing a PFD. The woman was rescued by a nearby
boat, he drowned and his body was found about 1/4 mile away on Monday.
- A Tour boat capsized on Lake George in upstate New York Sunday afternoon, 2 Oct 2005. Initial reports indicate 19 people dead. The accident happened off Cramer's Point on the west side of the lake per early CNN reports. Other reports indicate 21 dead and say the boat was a 40 foot glassed in tour boat called the Ethan Allen and it may have been swamped by the wake of another tour boat.
- 42 year old former NFL player blown overboard by gust of wind and drowned 26 Apr 2005 in Florida. His fishing companion could not operate the 17 foot boat or throw a life vest near enough to him as the boat drifted away per AP news report from Jupiter Florida.
- MN speedboats collide, 5 dead 3 July 1999
- Hot Springs Arkansas "Duck Boat" Tour Accident 13 Dead 1 May 1999
- Fireworks barge accident claims two in New Orleans 31 Dec 1998.
- Long Island / Shelter Island NY 3 die, 5 hurt when boat capsizes 31 Aug 1998
- Riverboat / Barge Accident St Louis 4 April 1998
- A Louisiana hunting boat strikes 110 foot crew boat 14 January 1998 killing 5.
- A Ft. Lauderdale Intracoastal Waterway speed boat sliced a cabin cruiser killing all 6 on board very late Monday 24 November 1997.
- The AMA Journal Released a PWC Injuries Study in its 27 August 1997 issue. The study received a great deal of national press.
- Sunday 24 August 1997 a steamboat, the "Belle" of Louisville KY, partially sank to the mud in about 10 feet of water the Ohio River Sunday morning. The 200 foot long, 46 foot wide boat was a local tourist attraction and was unoccupied at the time of the disaster. The "Belle" could accommodate 800 people and was also well known for taking part in the annual Great Steamboat Race held in conjunction with the Kentucky Derby.
- Tuesday 23 July 1997 Accused Serial Murder Andrew Cunanon was found dead on a houseboat in Miami Beach FL. This was after a very high profile SWAT team exercise to board the boat. The event thrusted the houseboat into the news somewhat like the O.J. Simpson Low Speed Chase did to the white Bronco.
- Thursday 3 July 1997 a Mississippi River barge shooting fireworks in Alton IL exploded killing 3 (two by drowning) and Friday 4 July another fireworks barge exploded in Falmouth MA. We later added coverage of the Charlevoix Michigan 26 July, 1997 explosion as well.
- Tuesday 27 May, 1997 a tornado destroyed Morgan's Point Marina on Lake Belton outside of Temple TX .
- Sunday April 6, 1997 a 25 foot Bayliner rental boat in Fort Lauderdale was sucked under a moored barge with 11 on board. A german couple drowned.
- Saturday December 14, 1996 Bright Field freightliner hits Riverwalk shopping mall in New Orleans LA. This Polson Enterprises web site provides very extensive coverage of the disaster.
- Saturday August 17, 1996 Sea World boat goes into grandstand in Aurora Ohio.
- Tuesday December 19, 1995 Disney stunt went bad at Big Cyprus Swamp near Naples Florida.
- Wednesday November 8, 1995 World Championship Powerboat Race in Key West Florida.
- Sunday September 24, 1995 Gloria Estefan's boat collided with a PWC off Miami Beach.
- March 22, 1993 Three Cleveland Indian Baseball players go under a wooden pier at high speed at night while fishing on Little Lake Nellie in Florida.
Recent Local Accidents have been:
- Saturday 2 Sept 2006 collision of two jet boats on Lake Texoma killed five people about 2:30 pm near Willis on the Oklahoma - Texas border. Nashville Catz, a high perf Nor-Tech boat and a 2001, 36 foot Eliminator named Flash Gordon (ran by two helicopter engines and capable of 165 mph per flashgordonproductions.com web site. The accident occurred during the during the "Highroller Poker Run".
- Sunday 6 Sept. 1998 PWC Collision with 47 Footer leaves 18 year old woman dead on Lake Texoma. Woman was riding double on a jet ski when the craft struck a 47-foot boat, she was thrown under the boat and struck by the propellers. Coverage has been archived.
- Saturday 6 June 1998 William L. Keith, 50, of Stigler OK drowned on Lake Eufaula. He was boating with his wife and another couple in the Snug Harbor area Saturday evening when the two men decided to swim to shore. He went under and surfaced once before disappearing. His body was found 50 feet from shore in 10 feet of water. Report from AP in Stillwater Newspress June 8, 1998.
- Friday 15 May, 1998. Two Separate Drownings on Oologah Lake and Lake Konowa.
- Thursday 23 April 1998. Broken Arrow Fisherman Drowns on Lake Fort Gibson.
- Thursday 14 August 1997. Off-Duty OKC Fireman drowns while skiing in Lake Stanley Draper in Oklahoma City.
- Saturday 5 July, 1997 Teresa L. Biby, 39, of Kremlin OK died at Washunga Bay Recreation area on Kaw Lake in Kay County about 8:15 p.m., troopers reported. Biby tried to get in a boat her husband was pulling onto a trailer, OHP said. She fell out and was run over by the trailer. This report is from the Tulsa World 6 July issue article, "Water-related accidents led to the deaths of three Oklahomans this weekend."
- Thursday 24 October, 1996 Three men from Texas and New Mexico drowned in Lake Altus-Lugert in southwestern Oklahoma when their boat capsized in rough water.
- Wednesday 4 September, 1996 Cindy Jenkins from Wagner OK in Fort Gibson Lake. Husband was driving boat, she fell in as boot took off and was hit by propeller.
Boating Accident Links
The U.S. Coast Guard Maritime Navigation Central web page has links to boat recalls and boating accident statistics. A link to it is provided on our Boating Safety segment of the Other Useful Links page.
The U.S. Coast Guard now has an online Boating Accident Report Database.
Boating Safety Data
Four studies that provide a lot of boating safety data are:
- The annual report on the boating industry in the January issue of Boating Industry magazine. The January 1996 issue reported that boating fatalities dropped 2% in 1994 to 784. Pointing out the need to wear PFD's, 613 of those deaths were from drownings, with capsizings and "falls overboard" as leading causes.
Accidents increased 9% to 6,916 and injuries were up 14.7% in 1994. Collisions and "falls overboard" were also the leading causes of accidents and injuries. Personal Water Craft accounted for 1,338 injuries, open boats for 1,672 injuries, and cabin boats for 612 injuries.
Below is a scan of the graphic used in the Boating Industry report. It is based on Coast Guard data.
- "RECREATIONAL BOATING SAFETY" HEARING before the Subcommittee on Coast Guard and Navigation of the Committee on Merchant Marine and Fisheries. House of Representatives. 103rd Congress, 1st Session. On "The Study of Recreational Boating Safety by the National Transportation Safety Board and to Review the Coast Guard's Boating Safety Programs. June 24, 1993. Serial No. 103-31. ISBN# 0-16-041455-5. This source provides a great number of statistics about boating accidents in tabular and graphical formats.
- National Transportation Safety Board Safety Study Recreational Boating. NTIS (National Technical Information Service) #PB93-917001. NTSB/SS-93/01 U.S. Dept of Transportation number for ordering from the Superintendent of Documents or the GPO.
- "Boating Accidents in Ohio". 1993. U.S. Dept of Health & Human Services.