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Police Boats Sinks: Operator Error

NEW YORK — The media reports that a NY/NJ Port Authority Harbor Police boat carrying 10 officers sank in the cold waters off of Breezy Point in New York on Sunday, September 9. Operator error is being sited as the cause.

According to reports, seven of the officers were already in the water training for their water-rescue certification when the 37-foot craft started sinking at 4:30 p.m. The rest were quickly forced to abandon ship. Those in the water swam some 300 feet to shore; the rest were picked up by an FDNY marine unit after transferring themselves and some gear to a life raft.

Moose Boats sent a letter to customers explaining what happened and providing a warning to other operators:

“The cause of the vessel’s sinking was a result of the crew removing the Hamilton Jet impeller inspection hatch in an attempt to cut free a suspected line caught in the impeller. The impeller inspection hatch is below the water line by several inches is only intended for servicing access with the vessel out of the water.

“The crew were unable to replace the impeller inspection hatch cover due to the large volume of the water entering the engine compartment through the open impeller inspection port. The watertight Freeman deck hatch on the swim grid may have remained removed creating a full flood condition of the hull as the buoyancy diminished resulting in the vessel sinking.”

The incident remains under investigation at this time.