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Old 08-11-2009, 07:21 PM   #1
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Default The Trial of Bismarck Dinius - Boat Collision at Night

BoatUS (the insurance company for my boat) wrote an article in one of the publications I receive from them about the story of Bismarck Dinius, a 41 year old man on trial for involuntary manslaughter...

Quote:
At approximately 9:30 p.m. on April 29, 2006, five friends on a 27’ O’Day were sailing toward their marina on California’s Clear Lake. It was an almost moonless night, very dark, with barely a hint of wind. The sailboat was ghosting through the water when a 385 hp, 24’ Baja Outlaw with three people aboard sped through the darkness and struck the sailboat’s starboard stern quarter.
BoatUS published their article last year and the trial started last week. A local paper is covering the trial and it is absolutely fascinating.

I was very disappointed in the prosecution's expert witness, Richard Snyder a retired Mercury Marine (Another Brunswick make along with the make of the engine in the Baja) engineer who testified that navigating at 60mph on the water at night is perfectly within the realm of safe boating. He went on to say they he frequently navigates at that speed in his own boat and if it would hit 70mph, he would do that too. Mr Snyder is also a paid consultant to Mercury Marine as a 'boating safety expert". Thankfully the defense's main expert witness made Snyder's claims look uninformed and ridiculously ludicrous as they are.

The story in a nutshell;

Bismark Dinius was at the helm of a 27’ sail boat, having a relaxing evening with friends when a 24’ Baja speedboat with a 384hp V8 slammed into them doing an estimated 50mph and tragically one of the passengers, the fiancée of the sail boat’s owner was killed. The driver of the speedboat was Deputy Sheriff Russell Perdock. Witness’s claim they observed Perdock drinking at a popular shore side bar and grill for at least 3 hours earlier in the evening.
After a brief investigation Dinius was arrested on manslaughter charges due to his BAC being above the limit and witnesses claiming that the sail boat did not have the required night time lighting. Deputy Perdock was not charged and was driven by a fellow officer to a local hospital for a blood alcohol test but according to the label of the test, it was taken 24 hours after the accident.

The manslaughter charges were eventually dropped by the DA (he took a full page ad out in a local paper to announce his plan and to discuss his views) and replaced with Boating Under the Influence which caused bodily harm, a charge that carries a 3 year jail sentence.

The trial started last week with protesters showing up each day (many believe the wrong man is on trial and that Perdock used his position as an officer to escape charges)


BoatUS Article

Letter to the community by the DA;
http://www.boatus.com/seaworthy/justice.asp

A response to the DA in an online 'letter to the editor' page;
http://www.co.lake.ca.us/Assets/Dist...pen+Letter.pdf

A response to the DA in an online 'letter to the editor' page;
http://lakeconews.com/content/view/9580/770/

The Prosocution rests!
http://lakeconews.com/content/view/9814/764/

The Defense begins their case;
http://lakeconews.com/content/view/9833/764/

Fascinating case which has torn a community in two.
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Old 08-11-2009, 07:55 PM   #2
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Default Re: The Trial of Bismarck Dinius - Boat Collision at Night

Let's take the BUI/BWI off the table for a second........

Q: Which is more irresponsible, running at 50 mph at night, or being underway with no navigation lights?

-> One of these is illegal. While the other is only illegal in SOME places.

Unfortunately, I frequently find that many sailboaters have very little regard for right of way or basic rules, since they have so few to follow. The only right-of-way rules they must follow are when they are under power or in relation to other sailboaters. I frequently find sailboaters under power forgetting that they need to follow a seperate set of rules and they often act with complete disregard to others. It is almost as if they simply acknowledge whether the other vessel is a power or sail. If it is a power, they seem to no longer regard the powerboat expecting the PB to give way. (This could techically be said of many boaters, power and sail alike, however I most frequently encounter this with day boaters and sailboats).
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Old 08-11-2009, 08:29 PM   #3
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Default Re: The Trial of Bismarck Dinius - Boat Collision at Night

Quote:
Originally Posted by shrew
Let's take the BUI/BWI off the table for a second........

Q: Which is more irresponsible, running at 50 mph at night, or being underway with no navigation lights?

-> One of these is illegal. While the other is only illegal in SOME places.

Unfortunately, I frequently find that many sailboaters have very little regard for right of way or basic rules, since they have so few to follow. The only right-of-way rules they must follow are when they are under power or in relation to other sailboaters. I frequently find sailboaters under power forgetting that they need to follow a seperate set of rules and they often act with complete disregard to others. It is almost as if they simply acknowledge whether the other vessel is a power or sail. If it is a power, they seem to no longer regard the powerboat expecting the PB to give way. (This could techically be said of many boaters, power and sail alike, however I most frequently encounter this with day boaters and sailboats).
USCG RULE 19: CONDUCT OF VESSELS IN RESTRICTED VISIBILITY
(b) Every vessel shall proceed at a safe speed adapted to the prevailing circumstances and conditions of restricted visibility. A power-driven vessel shall have her engines ready for immediate maneuver.

But let's not let 'rules' get in the way of a good opinion. I've encountered a few arrogant rag baggers over the years on land and water, but since you stated your opinion, here's mine...most rag baggers I've known know more about maritime navigation and law than all of the stink potters combined. If I had a dollar for every stink potter I've known that doesn't even know what safety equipment they are supposed to have on board. Buy a boat...dump it in the water...turn the key and GO man GO!
Now to qualify that statement, the sail boaters I know are oceanic sailors who navigate to the Bermudas, Bahamas and all over the Caribbean.

I sincerely hope Mercury Marine and it's parent company Brunswick do not share the irresponsible opinion of their consultant, Richard Snyder and I'm communicating that to them.
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Old 08-13-2009, 01:26 PM   #4
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Default Re: The Trial of Bismarck Dinius - Boat Collision at Night

LOL, You bring up an interesting point. I'm not sure how rules are actually getting in the way of opinion, in fact, i think you proved my point.

Quote:
USCG RULE 19: CONDUCT OF VESSELS IN RESTRICTED VISIBILITY
(b) Every vessel shall proceed at a safe speed adapted to the prevailing circumstances and conditions of restricted visibility. A power-driven vessel shall have her engines ready for immediate maneuver.
Nowhere in that rule does it specify a partucular speed in relationship to specific conditions. "Safe Speed" is subject to individual interpretation. It is vaguely worded on purpose and statisfies the need to make a common sense rule without actually imposing restrictions. I had stated that running at certain speeds at night is illegal in some places. (Freshwater lakes in New Hampshire, for example specify max. speed at night). Now, I will fully admit that I only run at headway speeds during limited visibility, but that is me.
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Old 08-14-2009, 02:15 AM   #5
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Default Re: The Trial of Bismarck Dinius - Boat Collision at Night

Quote:
Originally Posted by shrew
LOL, You bring up an interesting point. I'm not sure how rules are actually getting in the way of opinion, in fact, i think you proved my point.

Quote:
USCG RULE 19: CONDUCT OF VESSELS IN RESTRICTED VISIBILITY
(b) Every vessel shall proceed at a safe speed adapted to the prevailing circumstances and conditions of restricted visibility. A power-driven vessel shall have her engines ready for immediate maneuver.
Nowhere in that rule does it specify a partucular speed in relationship to specific conditions. "Safe Speed" is subject to individual interpretation. It is vaguely worded on purpose and statisfies the need to make a common sense rule without actually imposing restrictions. I had stated that running at certain speeds at night is illegal in some places. (Freshwater lakes in New Hampshire, for example specify max. speed at night). Now, I will fully admit that I only run at headway speeds during limited visibility, but that is me.
Safe speed is subject to specific individual interpretation until you plow into another boat at 50mph in the dark and kill someone. Unless you're a cop, you'll think about it for a long time in a prison cell. This particular cop lost the civil case at least and will hopefully be indicted after this trial.
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