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Letters: Lessons in boat tragedy?

A 1984 Silverton Convertible 34 cabin cruiser, similar

A 1984 Silverton Convertible 34 cabin cruiser, similar to the one involved in a fatal boating accident off Lloyd Neck on July 4. Credit:

Concerning the tragic Oyster Bay boating accident on the Fourth of July, there is one other possible cause I haven't seen mentioned ["Day of mourning for girls in boating tragedy," News, July 9].

There is a reef of boulders along the shoreline near where the vessel capsized. With the deepened draft of the vessel, due to the heavy passenger load, with the tide being down and the darkness of the night, the vessel may have struck a glancing blow to a submerged boulder.

This could have caused the boat to tip and swing, as if being broadsided by a large wave. Being from Huntington Harbor, the operator of the vessel might not have been aware of the reef off the Bayville shore.

George R. Brown, Syosset

Editor's note: The writer used to operate a small boat in Oyster Bay, Cold Spring Harbor and Long Island Sound.

I wonder how many boaters have checked their owner's manual to see what the maximum capacity is on their boats?

This incident reminds me of the 2005 Ethan Allen capsizing on Lake George, which resulted in 20 people dead. Barring mechanical failure, the causes determined in this case most likely will be overloading, excessive wakes in the area and uneven weight distribution.

This is a tragic accident that, hopefully, all boaters can learn from.

Alan Alterman, East Meadow

I grew up boating in Baldwin and bought my first boat with my own money at age 13. Thanks to my boating parents, I had already completed two "Make Sure, Make Shore" boating classes at the local library. I went on over the years to complete two more years of classes offered by the Power Squadrons, a nonprofit educational organization.

I suggest that a mandatory boat safety course be passed into law for all new boaters or those with less than five years' boat ownership.

Just last week, a new boater pulled up, holding his anchor in his hand, and asked, "How do I use this?"

Ken Krol, Oceanside

Most people do not realize that boating can be dangerous without the proper training and preparation. Too many feel that boating is the same as driving a car: Turn the key and the engine starts. The Coast Guard and Power Squadrons offer many free courses to teach the proper boating safety.

It is a shame that it takes a tragedy like this to bring to our attention that, when operating a boat, vigilance is the key. You must be always watching out for the other guy!

John Plump, Huntington

Editor's note: The writer has been sailing out of Huntington and Northport for 40 years.

I was so sad to hear about the events that occurred on the night of July Fourth in Oyster Bay. It's troubling that the authorities won't comment on the cause until they complete their investigation.

Rather than waiting to come up with hard proof of the cause, the authorities should be using this as an opportunity to promote boating safety and common sense.

Kevin Broshek, Huntington

Anyone who has been to that spectacular fireworks show will know that, at the end, horns sound, engines start, anchors come up, and you would think all participants would turn into pumpkins if they did not get home by midnight.

Yes, the boat was crowded and short of life jackets. But I'm sure we have all done that. Can't one more kid come along?

He probably had people on the bridge and the bow, which made the boat top-heavy and bow down. It appears that an overtaking wake caused him to capsize.

Norman Northgard, Sea Cliff

I am the son of a Great South Bay charter and open boat captain. I would make a guess that too many people were on one side, thus tilting the boat, and a wake got under the waterline, and the boat capsized.

I believe that boats today are built for comfort, and they don't have ample keels. Plus, they do not have deep "V" hulls, thus making them more readily capsized.

I am reminded of the party boat out of Montauk named the Pelican, which hit a squall. Everyone went below. The boat was overloaded, hit a huge wave and just submarined to the bottom.

My heart goes out to those who lost their children, as this should never have happened. Boat companies should be required to permanently etch on the hull the maximum number of persons each boat should carry.

Richard E. Kurdt, East Islip