Overcrowding ruled the cause of pleasure-boat capsize


A 34-foot boat that capsized last summer off Oyster Bay, N.Y., on Long Island Sound while leaving a Fourth of July fireworks show, killing three children, tipped over because it was overcrowded, a New York prosecutor said in a report released last week.

No criminal charges will be filed against the owner of the Silverton motoryacht Kandi Won, but the report again raises the issue of capacity limits for boats 20 feet and larger.

“The Kandi Won capsized and sank as a result of being overloaded and apparently encountering a 90-degree wave,” the 52-page report states. “Operation of the boat, including the number of people on board, is ultimately the responsibility of the boat operator and, in this case, the boat owner since he was also on-board. However, there was no capacity plate required by federal regulation indicating maximum occupancy weight and distribution.

“Witnesses recalled that the Kandi Won had previously been operated with a large number of people without incident. The combination of the weight, its distribution and the angle of the incoming wave each contributed to making the capsizing of the Kandi Won inevitable,” the report said.

The report cited the findings of Neil Gallagher, a professor of marine engineering and naval architecture at Webb Institute in Glen Cove, N.Y.

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Click here for the full report on the accident, which was investigated by the Nassau County Police Department.