Letters to the Editor: Don’t compare Coast Guard ships with Conception’s cramped quarters

A drone photo shows the 75-foot Conception on May 3.
(Don Barthelmess)

To the editor: Chris Barry, chairman of the society of Naval Architects and Engineers, glibly equates the berthing compartment of the ill-fated Conception to that of U.S. Coast Guard vessels. Quite frankly there is no comparison.

The expression “cattle boat” aptly fits vessels like the Conception, but not Coast Guard or Navy ships, where life is anything but “crash and sleep.” These ships have 24-hour rotating watches.

I vividly remember our fire drills. Conducted on land, we had to fight real fires, get up close, feel the heat and negotiate a smoke-filled tower while being hassled by our instructors. When that “general alarm” sounded throughout the ship, no matter where you were or what you were doing, you immediately reported to your assigned station and waited for further orders.


I’m sure the same can’t be said for the Conception.

Lutz Moeckel, Garden Grove


To the editor: Like everyone in the diving community, I am filled with deep sadness over the tragic loss of the 34 souls aboard the Conception. As a longtime diver who has been on that boat, I feel further sorrow knowing that these people perished while pursuing a love of the exquisite beauty of our Channel Islands.

Also, as a former member of the Ventura County Sheriff’s search and rescue dive team, I appreciate the work of those looking for clues to this tragedy, possibly bringing some closure to the friends and families of the victims and survivors. This is physically demanding and emotionally draining work, but it is important.

Hopefully, we will use the knowledge gained to make changes necessary for the continued safe exploration of our incredible ocean environment. We should do our utmost to foster a continued appreciation of our ocean to preserve this vital and wondrous ecosystem.

With this work, we honor the victims.

Walter Hamilton, Santa Barbara