USCG: Jumping Over the Side Comes With a Cost

The Island Queen (Island Commuter Corp.)

Published Aug 21, 2019 9:15 PM by The Maritime Executive

The U.S. Coast Guard has issued a reminder to passengers that intentionally jumping overboard may come at a steep price, even for those who survive.  

Investigators from Coast Guard Sector Southeastern New England have fined two teenage passengers $2,500 each for intentionally jumping over ferry railings in June and July. The notices of violation are still subject to appeal. 

Luke Garrity, 18, is accused of jumping off the ferry Island Queen in Falmouth, Massachusetts on June 23, 2019. The vessel serves the route between Martha's Vineyard and Cape Cod, and she is owned by Island Commuter Corporation. Andrew Myers, 19, is accused of jumping off the ferry Anna C in Block Island, Rhode Island on July 28, 2019. The vessel is owned by Interstate Navigation Company.

In both of these cases, the vessel's crews performed a man overboard emergency recovery in accordance with their training and procedures. the Coast Guard said. 

The USCG considers the act of intentionally jumping into the water from a passenger vessel to be interfering with the safe operation of the vessel, which is a violation of federal law. The penalties for this violation can be up to $35,000.

“Jumping into the water from a certificated passenger vessel such as a tour boat or charter vessel is not only dangerous for the person jumping, but it also endangers the lives of others onboard,” said Commander Brian McSorley, deputy sector commander of Coast Guard Sector Southeastern New England. “Commercial passenger vessel crews are responsible for the safety of all passengers aboard their vessels and, in this case, their attention was diverted away from the safe operation of the vessel in order to try and retrieve the jumper from the water.”