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Opinion

Letters to the Editor: To prevent future dive boat fires, put safety ahead of profits

Conception
Conception, the boat that caught fire off Santa Cruz Island on Sept. 2.
(Truth Aquatics)

To the editor: According to the L.A. Times, in California there are more than 100 vessels, including 11 boats solely classified for diving, that have been given exemptions from meeting the 1996 safety standards that were adopted because of numerous deaths caused by fires.

I have no great problem with grandfathering in some vessels that did not meet the new standards. However, does it not make sense to give such vessels temporary licenses, giving the owners a period of time, say 12 months, before requiring them to meet the new standards? If such vessels have to display a temporary license, potential passengers have a better chance of being aware of the possible problems.

What justification can we possibly have for letting vessels still operate under old regulations that were superseded 23 years ago? The only reason I can see is that safety is considered less important than profit.

Brian Richardson, Pacific Palisades

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To the editor: My experience with boating has been limited to day trips when traveling in Hawaii or Tahiti.

That said, I can see the crew of the ill-fated Conception seemed not to follow the most basic rule of boating on the ocean: You must have someone on watch 24 hours a day.

If that rule had been followed, lives could have been saved. The crew needs to be held responsible for not having a 24-hour watch.

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Ed Sinderman, Laguna Woods


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