One Dead, One Missing After Skiff Carrying Tug Crew Capsizes in Louisiana

Very sad. Many towboat companies do crew changes by small boat, and are often overloaded, so not too surprised this happened. The risk is compounded because there is no back up rescue boat on most towboats.

I am guessing we will find out the 14’ flatboat with 4 people (and probably crew change bags) was severely overloaded… and like most in that industry it has been done that way forever.

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Very sad.

Skiffing can be hazardous anywhere we do it. Lately, I’ve thought that what is called the Lifeboatmen’s course in the USA should be slanted more to safe use of skiffs and small boats, rather than the handling of lifeboats. I wonder how many professional mariners die every year from small boat accidents such as the one mentioned in the article, as opposed to dying in accidents in lifeboats (I admit to some holes in that logic, but you get what I mean).

The simple rule about wearing PFDs is often overlooked, and as Schoonerman has said, boats are often overloaded. Ignorance about the care and feeding of outboards is an issue. Many professional mariners don’t have experience operating small boats and they don’t know their capabilities.

We could probably open another thread called “Skiff Accidents You Have Survived (or Not)”.


Wonder if their SMS even mentions the skiff at all much less includes a max capacity. All SMSs probably should if you have a skiff on board.

Based on some brief research online. A 14-ft skiff typically has a manufacturers max capacity of 3 persons and 600ish lbs.

I’ve seen those things running around in Fourchon. Usually full of people. Sometimes running in pretty shitty weather. Probably run by Billy Joe Bumpkin down on da Bayou.

All vessels should have a GOOD skiff with a good way to launch an retrieve it. People should know how to use it.

No real arguments there. But I do know captains who say that if you don’t have a crew who knows how to use a skiff, it’s better not to have one.

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The police said in a press conference that the 4 had gone out to dinner, but couldn’t comment on their “condition” on the way back to the boat.

The article said “collision”… Somebody wasn’t paying attention to their surroundings. I have an opinion which is not proper to discuss at this time. Been there ,done that.