Power boat skipper fined for collision

13 April 2018

The skipper of a power boat that ran into a recreational fishing vessel, causing it to capsize, has been convicted and fined $5200 in the Auckland District Court.

Tide Rider skipper Jason Frost was on-board his seven metre boat with his nine-year-old-son off the coast of Waiheke Island in the Hauraki Gulf in January last year, when he crashed it into a 5.75 metre recreational vessel. The three crew on the other vessel were drift fishing. The collision caused their boat to capsize, and that skipper was only just able to free himself after his leg was trapped under the overturned boat.

Mr Frost pleaded guilty to a charge under the Maritime Transport Act of operating a ship in a manner that caused unnecessary danger or risk to another person by failing to maintain a proper look out, and failing to proceed at a safe speed.

Judge Treston described the defendant’s behavior as “highly reckless”, and convicted and fined him $5200 and ordered him to pay victim reparations of $1700.

Maritime NZ Northern Maritime Compliance Manager Neil Rowarth says the collision could have easily resulted in loss of life.

“If the crew were not young men able to jump clear or brace themselves for the impact - and then swim out from under their capsized vessel - it could have easily ended in tragedy.

“This skipper was travelling at around 50 km/h on a clear day, and was apparently checking his GPS and did not see the other vessel ahead. His vessel struck the other boat side-on at cabin level, with one crew member jumping off the starboard quarter on impact.

“The skipper’s actions put not only the other crew at risk, but also himself and his young son.

“Skippers are responsible for the safety of all on board, and to operate the vessel safely without putting others on the water in danger.”

The court heard that a crew member of the other boat saw Tide Rider bearing down on them and alerted the skipper, but that there was insufficient time to manoeuvre clear. Mr Frost, along with those on other vessels nearby, came to the aid of the three men after the collision.

Meanwhile the capsized vessel, bought three months before at a cost of $55,000, was a write-off.

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