Coast Guard Investigating Key West Offshore Race Accidents

An investigation of the accidents that produced three fatalities during the Super Boat International Key West Offshore World Championships in November is being conducted by the Key West (Fla.) sector of the United States Coast Guard.

“There is an investigation going on right now into the three deaths that occurred,” said Gary Tomasulo, the USCG deputy commander of the  Key West sector. “Because the investigation is ongoing, I am not at liberty to talk about it. But if there are lessons learned, we will implement them into the permit process for next year.”

Tomasulo said that such investigations by the Coast Guard in his sector are standard—the Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission also investigates such incidents but the Coast is “taking the lead” in this instance—when the accident includes a fatality. For example, he said, the Coast Guard routinely investigates fatalities of divers in the area.

“Every year after the races, we do an ‘after-action’ report that we share with the organizer,” said Tomasulo. “This investigation is a little more formal because there were three fatalities involved. The results will be shared with the event coordinator, as well as be used in the permit process for next year.

“Our number one goal is to promote safety in the events we permit, and we work closely with the event coordinator, who is responsible for that,” he continued. “We take this very seriously and we are going to work with the event coordinator to improve safety. The onus is really on the event coordinator on how the race itself is conducted.”