Boat Fire Investigation: Records Show Conception Has History of Failed Inspections

Most of the violations, which include expired items in a first aid kit and faulty life floats, were resolved within 30 days, U.S. Coast Guard says

Coast Guard inspection records show that Conception, the dive boat involved in Monday’s fatal fire, had a history of minor safety violations but did not have any outstanding deficiencies at the time of the accident.

The NBC Bay Area Investigative Unit reviewed years of “Coast Guard Contacts,” which found problems ranging from expired items in a first aid kit to bad parts in the fire detection system.

Coast Guard officials have inspected Conception at least once a year for the past decade – the most recent of which occurred on Feb. 13 when officials found no violations.

In 2018, the Coast Guard issued citations for expired items in a first aid kit and minor paperwork violations.

In 2017, documents show the owner of the boat failed to document safety drills, which include fire drills and abandon ship drills. The Coast Guard also found an expired fire extinguisher, a lifeboat that needed to be replaced, and electrical issues.

Records from 2016 show a faulty heat detector in the boat’s fire detection system, which was replaced soon after. A month later in March, Conception was involved in a fatal casualty when a passenger with a preexisting heart condition drowned during a diving excursion near Santa Cruz Channel Island. Officials did not find any violations associated with the incident.

Most of the deficiencies found on the boat were resolved within 30 days, and some were resolved immediately, according to Coast Guard records.

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