Capsized Boat in San Francisco Bay May Have Been Overloaded

Boat sellers say sunken vessel that had 30 people aboard is designed to carry 15 people safely

A boat that capsized near Pier 45 in San Francisco over the weekend, dumping 30 people into the bay, was grossly overloaded, according to boating experts Monday.

The Khalessi, a 34-foot Silverton cabin cruiser, sleeps six people and can carry up to 15 passengers safely, boat brokers told NBC Bay Area. On Saturday, it carried double that number.

The boat's owner, Ivan Smilianic, declined to comment when asked about the Khalessi being overloaded.

Everyone aboard the vessel is expected to survive, including a 4-year-old child who was plucked from the water and found to be unconscious. Authorities are still investigating the incident and have said it could have been much worse.

"This could have been really, really catastrophic," Bob Postel from the San Francisco Fire Department said. "For this to have the outcome that it did is really a lot of good fortune and good luck."

Public safety crews and bystanders help rescue 30 passengers after a boat capsized in the San Francisco Bay (Credit: Gary Matthews).

At nearby Pier 39, boat owners said there’s no question the 34-foot vessel was overloaded.

"Thirty? Oh way too many, yeah," said John Tansley, of San Francisco when told the number of passengers on the boat.

Boater Jacob Dale agreed.

"I’m positive," he said. "I’ve heard of that size boat with like 20 people on it having too many people and going over."

Four years ago, a Silverton capized with 27 people aboard in New York. That 2012 accident killed three children and led to a proposal to post carrying capacities on all new boats more than 20 feet in length.

New York Sen. Chuck Schumer's bill has been introduced every year since the 2012 fatal accident, and it has yet to make it out of committee.

The Marine Unit of the San Francisco Police Department confirmed Monday that they located the sunken vessel using sonar, according to police spokesman Sgt. Michael Andraychuk

Within the next 24 hours, a salvage company is expected to assess the boat and develop a plan to raise her. Once raised, the boat will be taken to an area where it can be inspected, Andraychuk said.

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