NTSB: Inadequate Lookouts Led to Collision Between US Coast Guard Cutter and Small Boat Off Puerto Rico
NTSB) has determined that the fatal collision between the U.S. Coast Guard cutter Winslow Griesser and a small boat off the coast of Puerto Rico last year was due to the failure of either vessel to maintain a proper lookout. On August 8, 2022, the USCGC Winslow Griesser and the center-console boat Desakata, with two people on board, collided off the northern coast of Puerto Rico, resulting in one death and a serious injury aboard the boat and its total loss valued at $58,800.
Leading up to the collision, neither crew saw the other despite having the opportunity to do so.
The investigation found that none of the Winslow Griesser’s 21 crew members was designated solely as a lookout. The NTSB noted that Coast Guard practice is that all members of the bridge watch are responsible for shared lookout duties, however investigators determined no one was maintaining a lookout at the time of the collision.
Investigators also found that no one the Desakata was maintaining a proper lookout at the time of the collision, as they were too focussed on fishing.
Maintaining a proper lookout is a fundamental rule for vessels to prevent collisions at sea. NTSB investigators found that the bridge crew on the Winslow Griesser was not aware of hitting anything until they saw the wreckage of the center-console boat floating down the side of the cutter.