Coast Guard: NY kayak group, ferry share blame for collision


(NEW YORK) — A Coast Guard investigation into a collision between a ferry and a group of kayakers on the Hudson River last summer says both parties share blame in the incident, NBC 4 News reported.

The NY Waterway ferry Jersey City was backing out of its slip in the early evening on Aug. 30 as nine kayakers approached on a guided tour organized by Manhattan Kayak Co. After the accident, the ferry captain was recorded saying over the radio, "I just hit a kayaker. So I'm stopped in front of Pier 79. I need the Coast Guard here as soon as possible." Four of the nine kayakers suffered injuries; the kayak tour guide's arm was nearly severed. "Once I realized (the ferry) wasn't going to turn, that's when I kind of tried to signal toward it. … But it all happened in seconds, really," the guide told investigators.

Manhattan Kayak Co. acted negligently by not taking action early in the trip to avoid the collision and not notifying ferry operators they would be traveling in the area, according to the Coast Guard report. But investigators also found that the captain of the ferry, who said he was blinded by the sun, shared some of the blame. 

According to report, "the vessel captain did not maintain a safe speed or a lookout once the sun glare existed and was also at fault in the incident." When asked by the investigator how fast he was going at the time of the collision, the ferry captain said, "I don't know," according to the Coast Guard report.

Click here to read the story.

By Professional Mariner Staff