Vessels Collide in Puget Sound

On Friday, October 5, 2012, Donald Hatch, an Edmonds resident, was killed when a yacht collided with his small boat during a fishing outing off Seattle’s Shilshole Bay.

The United States Coast Guard confirmed Hatch died after a 44-foot cabin cruiser, the SHELMAR, collided with his 16-foot aluminum skiff.

Family members received confirmation of the loss by calling the King County Medical Examiner’s Office, and also speaking with Hatch’s companion on the boat, John Johnson, of Mountlake Terrace.

Hatch reportedly was an avid fisherman who loved his family. Hatch and Johnson had taken Hatch’s skiff about a mile off Shilshole on Friday.

At about 4:10 p.m., the cabin cruiser SHELMAR collided with the skiff. Hatch and Johnson were thrown into the water, according to Eric Cookson, Coast Guard command duty officer. The two occupants of the SHELMAR pulled the men from the water, Cookson said.

Suquamish Tribal police were refueling their boat nearby and responded to the emergency call. When they arrived on the scene Hatch wasn’t breathing and had no pulse, Cookson said.

Police performed CPR, but couldn’t revive Hatch.

Johnson was taken to Seattle’s Harborview Medical Center, and later released. His injuries were not immediately known.

The SHELMAR is owned by Robert Wood, who was on the boat at the time of the accident, but it’s unclear if he was operating it, Cookson said.

The Coast Guard and Seattle Harbor Patrol responded to the collision.

Seattle police spokeswoman Renee Witt wouldn’t release any further information Saturday, saying the accident is under investigation.

The vessels have been impounded.

Source: Christine Willmsen, Seattle Times

Collisions involving recreational vessels or pleasure crafts, like commercial vessels, can provide the basis for the courts’ admiralty jurisdiction when the collisions occur on the navigable waters of the United States. Navigable waters not only include the high seas, but inland waterways as well if they connect with the ocean. Accordingly, litigating personal injury and wrongful death claims arising from accidents on the Puget Sound requires the expertise of experienced maritime lawyers.

Anderson Carey Alexander welcomes inquiries from the families of those injured in boating accidents. Attorneys in the firm gladly provide initial consultation without charge. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to call toll-free: 1-800-BOATLAW.

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