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The Sinking of the Ethan Allen: A Fresh Look at the Investigation and Cause

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On October 2, 2005, the New York State Certified Passenger vessel Ethan Allen heeled to port, capsized, and later sank as it rounded Cramer Point on Lake George. Tragically, 20 passengers died and several others were injured. A National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) investigation ensued which focused on aspects of the intact stability and seakeeping characteristics of the vessel. This article includes a new examination of the NTSB’s lightship determination and an interestingly fundamental analysis of the turn-induced heel and its impact on the resulting capsize. The accident has resulted in a renewed focus on how the stability of small passenger vessels is regulated. As a result, this paper specifically addresses two major findings, the increase in the weight of the average passenger and the lesser reported management of vessel modifications.
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Keywords: Coast Guard; capsize; collision/accident; expert witness; ship forensics

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 2012-11-01

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  • The Marine Technology Society Journal is the flagship publication of the Marine Technology Society. It publishes the highest caliber, peer-reviewed papers on subjects of interest to the society: marine technology, ocean science, marine policy and education. The Journal is dedicated to publishing timely special issues on emerging ocean community concerns while also showcasing general interest and student-authored works.
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