One commentator named Rex strongly disagrees with the suggestion that the Ethan Allen capsize on Lake George, New York was anyone's fault. Rex states:
So you want to make a case for negligence? Have at it--tell us what was negligent. The boat complied with all Coast Guard and NYS rules and regulations. The proximate cause evidently was a wake created by a passing boat. The weather was clear and the normal waves on the lake were slight. Wind wasn't a factor. Sometimes accidents just happen with no one to "blame."
I respect Rex's opinion and agree that many things in life happen where there is no 'blame.' Perhaps blame will be too harsh a word for some people to use when examining what what occurred on Lake George. But I disagree that just because bad things happen to people every day means we should avoid the difficult task of assigning levels of responsibility and finding ways to increase awareness and safety. No one intended this accident to happen but several players could have prevented it with a relatively minor amount of effort. Taking people out on the water is a heavy responsibility for any company. When we examine what was done to ensure the safety of Ethan Allen passengers, the answer thus far appears to be nothing. No dockside safety briefing. No life jackets where they can be used by passengers. The attempted compliance with minimal or non-existent New York Department Of Parks and Recreation regulations is hardly where most people would set the safety bar for a commercial enterprise taking people out on the water.
As suggested above, I do not agree with Rex that the Ethan Allen "complied with all Coast Guard and NYS rules and regulations." No Coast Guard Regulations applied to the Ethan Allen since it was on an inland lake governed completely by New York law. The Ethan Allen would have failed the Coast Guard stability test (as it did after the capsize) at about the 11 person mark. Further, the boat was never tested for its capacity after it was modified by its owner/operator Shoreline Cruises. Nothing stopped Shoreline from testing stability using the standard coast guard test after it added so much more weight up high. Any reasonable ship owner would have wondered about this clear safety issue. I know, I taught boating for over 9 years. I understand better than most because I used to be the person responsible for the lives of my passengers, both kids and adults alike.
As to the suggestion that it was the waves fault ... let's just say that if this was the standard we held commercial passenger businesses to, we would not have seat belts in our cars today, let alone air bags. The wave the Ethan Allen encountered was no more unexpected than encountering pavement on the highway. Anyone who wants to blame a boat capsize on a wave is willing to rationalize anything. Many people today simply refuse to make anyone responsible for much of anything. These same people sing a different tune, though when it is one of their family members needless killed in an otherwise easily preventable accident.
You can voice your opinion on this Wiki whether any of the following entities bare a level of responsibility for the Ethan Allen accident: (1) Shoreline Tours (Organized the tour for Michigan victims); (2) Shoreline Cruises (owned and operated Ethan Allen); (3) NY Department of Parks & Recreation (Responsible to certify vessels for safety); (4) US Coast Guard (develops guidelines for safety including capacity); (5) Wake from the Mohican tour boat owned and operated by the Lake George Steamboat Company or another ship; (6) Dyer Boat Company (the manufacturer of the Ethan Allen boat hull).
Who could have best prevented this accident? Voice Your Opinion Here.