Mapping the Conception’s final voyage

By Thomas Suh Lauder and Ben Welsh

A 75-foot diving boat called the Conception caught fire off the coast of Ventura County early Monday with 39 people aboard.

Five crew members managed to escape the ship, which was largely destroyed. The rest were either found deceased or are presumed dead.

Here's what we know about the Conception's final voyage.

Mapping the Conception’s final voyage
Time Description
Sat. 4 a.m.
Left Santa Barbara headed south
Sat. 2 p.m.
Toured south side of Santa Cruz Island
Sat. 11 p.m.
Stopped for the night
Toured the island’s north side
Mon. 3 a.m.
Fire broke out
Mon. 3:15 a.m.
Distress call to Coast Guard

1 Leaving port

The Conception
Truth Aquatics

The Conception is a 75-foot vessel that took scuba divers to the nearby Channel Islands. The ship’s operator, Truth Aquatics, advertises gourmet meals, extensive diving opportunities and discussions about the marine ecosystem with a naturalist on board.

On Friday night, passengers and crew boarded in Santa Barbara. The ship departed south before dawn on Saturday morning.

2 3 4 Touring the island

Mapping the Conception’s final voyage
Google imagery

The Conception spent the weekend touring Santa Cruz Island, according to ship tracking data from MarineTraffic. The group roamed down to the southern shore on Saturday, then cruised back to the north side on Sunday.

The ship then settled down for the night near the shoreline at Platts Harbor.

5 The blaze

The fire
Santa Barbara County Fire Department

Many aboard the boat are thought to have been sleeping below deck when a fire broke out in the pre-dawn hours. The Conception was quickly consumed by flames.

5 A call for help


Around 3:15 a.m. Monday, the U.S. Coast Guard picked up a distress call. Rescue crews were dispatched.

The five crew members were rescued by a good Samaritan boat, the Grape Escape. The bodies of 20 deceased passengers have been found so far. The Coast Guard has called off its search and the rest are presumed dead.

The ship sank around 7:20 a.m.

The remains
Ventura County Fire Department

Sources: MarineTraffic, OpenStreetMap