Men Face $35K Fines for Jumping Ferries in Falmouth, Block Island
Two men may be forced to pay hefty fines for intentionally jumping off passenger ferries in Falmouth and Block Island.
The U.S. Coast Guard Sector Southeastern New England says investigators issued two notices of violation last month with proposed penalties of $2,500 each to the two men for jumping overboard in June and July.
On June 23, 18-year-old Luke Garrity jumped off the Island Queen in Woods Hole. The Island Queen is owned by Island Commuter Corp. Just over a month later, on July 28, 19-year-old Andrew Myers jumped off the Anna C in Block Island, Rhode Island. That ferry is owned by Interstate Navigation Company.
The act of intentionally jumping into the water from a passenger vessel is considered interfering with the safe operation of the vessel, a violation of 46 United States Code, Section 2302. The penalties for this violation can reach up to $35,000.
The fines are the Coast Guard’s response to action taken from investigative reports provided by the Falmouth Police Department, and New Shoreham Police Department who responded to the scene after being contacted by the masters of the ferries.
“Jumping into the water from a certificated passenger vessel, such as a tour boat or charter vessel, is not only dangerous for the person jumping, but it also endangers the lives of others onboard,” said Commander Brian McSorley, the deputy sector commander of Coast Guard Sector Southeastern New England.
“Commercial passenger vessel crews are responsible for the safety of all passengers aboard their vessels and, in this case, their attention was diverted away from the safe operation of the vessel in order to try and retrieve the jumper from the water.”
All Coast Guard certificated small passenger vessels undergo thorough safety inspections that include testing the crew’s competence to recover a man overboard. In both of these cases, the crews performed their man overboard emergency recovery in accordance with their procedures.
Upon receipt of Novice to Violations, recipients have 45-days to appeal the fine.