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Current news about what's going on with the Whalers
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  • Thursday, April 29, 2021 12:35 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Using experimental "cloud brightening" technology and introducing heat-tolerant corals could help slow the Great Barrier Reef's climate change-fuelled decline by up to 20 years, Australian scientists said Thursday.

    Full article here

  • Friday, February 12, 2021 8:31 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    This is very sad to read. 

    Conception NTSB Report.pdf

  • Wednesday, January 27, 2021 11:30 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Extinction: 'Time is running out' to save sharks and rays

    Scientists say sharks and rays are disappearing from the world's oceans at an "alarming" rate.

    Read full article here

  • Thursday, October 22, 2020 2:42 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Original article from Undercurrent Magazine:

    Full NTSB report can be found here

    ____________________

    October 22, 2020

    Trapped in a Tinderbox

    The Conception Final Inquiry

    The MY Conception on fire

    Dear Fellow Diver

        The National Transportation Safety Board members met October 20 to report on the tragic 2019 Labor Day fire aboard the California liveaboard dive boat MY Conception, which claimed 34 lives. While it is highly possible that the fire started among the passenger’s equipment batteries that were being charged in the vessel’s salon area, they could not confirm that. They could not discount the unsafe disposal of cigarettes, matches, etc., in a nearby garbage receptacle. NTSB Chairman Robert Sumwalt said, regardless of the fire source, the 33 passengers and one crew member below decks probably could have escaped if there had the blaze been detected early.

        They confirmed that the fire had begun in the salon area of the fast burning fiberglass-over-plywood vessel (a common construction material for many sport craft). It went undiscovered for too long because, contrary to U.S. Coast Guard regulations, no crew member was awake and performing roving patrol duties, so there was no one to stem the fire before it got out of hand. Tourist vessels such as the Conception are required to have a permanently roving crew member at night while passengers are aboard, whether at sea or at the dock. Before departing, the Conception’s operator allowed passengers to overnight aboard while the vessel was still dockside. Neither night was there a roving crew patrol. The NTSB cited both the boat’s captain, Jerry Boylan, and Truth Aquatics Inc. for failing to provide a roving watch.

        Thirty-two passengers and one crew member slept below decks in a crowded bunk room, arranged to include as many people as possible. Their exit was via a curved stairwell or an emergency hatch that was far from accessible; it was positioned over a top bunk and led into the same area as the stairs. NTSB member Jennifer Homendy described how she had encountered extreme difficulty when she tried to exit the bunkroom of Conception’s sister vessel Vision)via this emergency hatch exit; she suggested a lifejacket would have further impeded her.

        The night of the fire, four of the crew of five were asleep in quarters on the top deck. They were awakened only by the crackling noise of the fire, which had already engulfed critical areas of the boat, so it was both impossible for them to either fight the fire or rescue the passengers and the fifth crew member below.

        There were no smoke detectors in the salon where the fire took hold. Smoke rises, so the smoke detectors in the bunkroom would not have been triggered until it was too late. Some divers, trapped by the fire engulfing the salon, had put on their shoes before being overcome by smoke, indicating they were aware of the fire and were unable to escape, contrary to earlier speculation that they had died in their sleep. Furthermore, the PA system to the bunkroom in both the Conception and the Vision had been disconnected, so even if the fire had been caught earlier, the sleeping divers could not have been notified.

        “It is amazing we have an unattended room (the salon) with batteries charging in it, a griddle, two burners as well as a refrigerator, and we have no regulation that requires smoke detectors,” NTSB Vice Chairman Bruce Landsberg said. An NTSB member recommended that all passenger areas in such craft should be fitted with interconnected smoke detectors, including, in this case, the salon.

        The NTSB agreed that the perceived 30-year “safety record” of the boat’s owner, Truth Aquatics Inc., was, in fact, nothing more than a record of good luck. The NTSB censured the owner of the MY Conception noting that the crew had no proper safety management system; they had failed to provide a safety briefing before the vessel left port; and the crew had neither regularly practiced safety training nor held fire drills. Despite the company’s vessels being moored within feet of the company office, the owner, Glen Fritzler, had claimed that he had not been on board for a long time.

        While admitting that fires do happen aboard vessels from time to time, the NTSB said it was the duty of the captain and the owner to mitigate the risk. A board member noted that since there was no escape from a vessel at sea, a fire aboard always needed to be discovered early if the passengers and vessel were to survive. It was clear that Truth Aquatics Inc. had ignored required safe practices for some time with all its vessels.

        Years back, on the Conception’s sister vessel, the MY Vision, a battery recharging issue had caused a fire. It was apparently reported to Fritzler by both the passengers who tossed the offending battery over the side and the captain of Vision. A fire extinguisher had then been deployed to fight fires, but when asked about it, the owner denied knowledge, despite the damaged area of that boat being repaired.

        The NTSB was also critical of both Truth Aquatics Inc. for its failure to keep proper records and the U.S. Coast Guard for its lack of oversight regarding the use of roving night patrols. It called on the Coast Guard to develop and implement an inspection program to verify that roving patrols are conducted as required.

        This reporter was surprised that no one mentioned the FSS Code or International Code for Fire Safety Systems, a set of international treaties organized by the International Maritime Organization under the SOLAS Convention that are designed to reduce the risk of fire and aid in emergency response aboard commercial vessels.

        NTSB Chairman Robert Sumwalt said, “The Conception may have passed all Coast Guard inspections, but that did not make it safe.”

        Safety comes at a price. You may conclude that people lost their lives through negligence of the highest order by the U.S. Coast Guard, the Conception’s owner, and its captain.

        You can read the NTSB report here.

     



  • Thursday, May 28, 2020 12:00 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    The Peace Dive Boat will continue under new ownership and management.

    We are happy to announce that effective June 1, 2020 the Peace Dive Boat will change hands to new owners and management. Please join us in welcoming Bill Zhang as the new management of the Peace Dive Boat. Bill will take over all operations of the Peace. If you are interesting in chartering the Peace for full or half charter, please contact Bill directly.

    Bill's contact info is:

    Phone: 949-247-1106

    Email: peacediveboat@gmail.com


  • Thursday, February 27, 2020 5:11 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    The following letter was received from Eric, owner of The Peace:

    To our Valued Customers and Dear Friends:

    It is with great sadness, much thought and after many months of conversations with my wife Angie, close friends and family that I am announcing that we are retiring and no longer operating the Peace Dive Boat effective June 1st of this year. The main reason for this decision is that in the last year I have been struggling with some health issues that I can no longer ignore, if I want to continue to live a normal, healthy and happy life. For me having my own business is a 365/24/7 consuming commitment that I can no longer do effectively while concentrating on my health. This decision was not made easily and I will be personally reaching out to all of our charter groups personally, in the upcoming weeks. I do ask that you reach out to your customers directly. We will also make a post to our Facebook page and update our website with this information by the end of the week. All of our trips that are booked through May 31, 2020 will still operate as usual unless there are any unforeseen circumstances such as Coast Guard changes.

    I did not make this decision lightly and I weighed whether or not to continuing to operate during this difficult and emotional time for California Diving. I love diving California, it is for me one of the best places to dive in the world. I know that if I do not find someone that wants to purchase and continue to operate the Peace as a dive boat that it will drastically effect the accessibility to local diving. I truly hope that I find someone that will continue the legacy of the Peace Dive Boat and that it will remain one of the premier dive operations in Southern California. For now we are open to considering any and all offers of the Peace and/or the business. Rest assured that If any of you have charter deposits with us we will be refunding them to you directly or we can take it off of the balance due on your final charter, if it falls before June 1st. I realize that rescheduling charters with other companies is a huge burden and for that I apologize. I strongly encourage everyone to do their best to continue to support the Southern California charter boat fleet as we truly are lucky to have the Channel Islands in our own backyard.

    The charter dive boat industry has been a part of my life since I was 16 when I received my first opportunity to work as a deckhand on the Sea Venture and continued to work through school on the Liberty. After graduating college my life and work on the Peace have been completely intertwined. I first joined the boat’s crew 25 years ago and took over the business in 1998. The Peace is where I met my wife Angie, have many made life- long friends , travelled the world and witnessed amazing things out on the water that most people can only dream about. I also realize that the Peace is a lot more to many people than just a dive boat that it has been a major part of many people’s lives for a long time. I can only hope that we added amazing memories and wonderful experiences to your California diving.

    I cannot express how much your support has meant to me through the years. It has truly been a honor and a privilege to have shared the best of California diving and met to have all of you.

    If you have any questions please let me know.

    Sincerely,

    Eric & Angie

    Peace Dive Boat

    805-650-DIVE


  • Wednesday, April 10, 2019 12:25 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Ocean Reef Recalls 1,000 Diving Masks Due to Injury Hazard

    Ocean Reef has issued a recall for its Neptune Space Integrated diving masks that will affect approximately 1,000 units that were sold at diving stores nationwide and online from March 2018 through November 2018.


    According to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, the diving mask has a potential hazard that can cause restricted airflow, which poses an injury hazard to divers.

    Ocean Reef is directing consumers to immediately stop using the recalled masks and to contact them for instructions on returning the mask for a free replacement or refund.

    If you think you may own an affected mask, you can look up the Ocean Reef mask’s serial number to see if it is affected by this recall at oceanreefgroup.com

    The masks serial numbers are engraved on the mask housing.


  • Friday, January 04, 2019 4:40 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Congrats to the 2019 board. Details here

  • Tuesday, December 04, 2018 2:20 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Great interview with one of the divers involved in the great rescue.

    http://alertdiver.com/Up-to-the-Challenge

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Winnetka, CA 91396
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