Myopen letter to Ken Kurtis, in the format used in his posting onthe Diver.net BBS in reply to an inquiry about the potential to sue a boat if it went out in a small craft advisory. Ken posed a series ofquestions as a lawyer would ask, and concluded that the Sand Dollar had made a decision that would be difficult to defend against. So this reply isin that same format; namely that of a fictional lawyer asking questions:
MrKurtis, you had a tripscheduled for the 19th of February, but canceled it on Friday the 18th of February, based on perceived conditions, is that correct?
MrKurtis, the first image below reflects the conditions on the18th when you canceled. Would you state the wave heights for us, please?
Mr Kurtis, now look at the second image below, and tell us the waveconditions on the morning of the 19th of February.
Now is it your opinion that those conditions did not warrant a boatcrossing to Catalina or safe diving conditions?
Mr Kurtis, please look at the third image below, which is from the 20thof February, a day that several boats made the crossing and some favorable "tripreports" were posted on that same BBS. You will note that the conditions were WORSE on the20th, is that true?
Did you suggest that any of those operators on the 20th were unsafe, orshould not have gone out, or that they were in a bad position if they were sued?
Now please look at the fourth image below, which is from the 26th ofFebruary. You will note that the conditions are in fact WORSE than the 19th or 20th, yet thattrip was given a great "trip report" on that same BBS. Do you think that operator wasirresponsible, negligent, or that he should have canceled?
Now, please look at one last image, the fifth one below, which is thewave conditions on the 5th of May, 2004, which I believe was "Chamber Day". Are the conditionscomparable to those shown on the 19th?
Do you believe "Chamber Day" was unsafe, or that the boats should havecanceled due to the Sea conditions?
Did you make any comments about any of the boats that operated on anyof those dates I asked about, other than those you made about the Sand Dollar and theirtrip on the 19th?
Would you explain what made those conditions on the 19th morethreatening than the other dates in question?
Are you aware that some boats were canceled Friday by the charterer, as you did, and some canceled due to insufficient passenger sign ups on an "open boat"?
If you were to post comments now on that BBS, in light of yourknowledge as to when and why some other boats canceled, would they be the same comments that youin fact made?
If you discovered these facts, and had these images shown to you, andhad ample opportunity, would you attempt to correct the opinion you expressed on a public BBSabout my client?
Mr Kurtis, are you aware that there was no "small craft advisory" on the 19th of February?
For the record, Mr Kurtis, would you please read the definition of a"small craft advisory" as published on the official site of NOAA:
Small Craft Advisory
This is issued by the National Weather Service to alert small boatsto sustained (more than 2 hours) hazardous weather or sea conditions.These conditions may be either present or forecasted. The thresholdconditions for it are usually sustained winds of 18 knots (21 mph)(less than 18 knots in some dangerous waters) to 33 knots (38 mph)inclusive or hazardous wave conditions (such as 4 feet or greater). Inthe Great Lakes, this advisory relates to conditions within 5 nauticalmiles of shore. As a result, these will be only issued in the NearshoreForecast. Along the coastl reions of the East Coast, Gulf of Mexico,and West Coast, this advisory relates to conditions out to as much as100 nautical miles of shore (coastal waters). As a result, these willbe only issued in the Coastal Marine Forecast. Mariners learning ofthis advisory are urged to determine immediately the reason by turningtheir radios to the latest marine broadcast. Decisions as to the degreeof the hazard will be left to the boater, based on experience and sizeand type of boat. There is no legal definition for a "small craft."
Would you please read thedefinition of "small craft" and "Hazardous seas" from NOAA:
Generally a vessel under 65 feet in length.
Small Craft Advisory for Seas\/Swell
Issued for combined seas of 7 feet or greater. (locally definedcriteria) 10 feet in Southern California waters
Now look at the imagesbelow: 1st - Feb 18th 2nd - Feb19th 3rd - Feb 20th 4th - Feb26th 5th May 5th, 2005
What is it about Feb 19ththat seems to be dangerous, or different than any of the others?
Thanks for reading, I for one do not understand what point MrKurtis was making.