Raglan boat capsize results in conviction
Written by John Grant on June 23, 2023
Recreational boat skipper, Maurice Kyle Johnson, has been convicted of causing ‘unnecessary danger’ under the Maritime Transport Act in the Hamilton District Court this week.
The conviction was in relation to an incident at Raglan on 11 December last year when the boat Mr Johnson was skippering capsized, throwing himself and two crew into the sea. The case was taken by Waikato Regional Council as part of its maritime safety role.
Regional Compliance Manager Patrick Lynch said: “This incident could easily have resulted in three fatalities. Coastguard records indicate Mr Johnson has put in at Manu Bay 154 times previously, so he is clearly very experienced, but this incident shows that complacency can have dire results in a maritime setting.
“At the time of this incident no other vessels had, or were attempting to launch, from Manu Bay, due to the sea conditions.
“A video clip from the Surfline website clearly shows what happens next and is compelling viewing,” Mr Lynch said.
“While attempting to manoeuvre out of the bay the boat entered breaking surf causing the front of the boat to lift to an almost vertical position. One occupant was thrown from the boat at that time. The boat has then taken on a lot of water and lists side-on to the next wave and capsizes. Mr Johnson and one passenger were temporarily trapped within an air bubble in the vessel’s cabin.
“Thankfully, all three occupants managed to inflate their life jackets and get back to shore,” Mr Lynch said. “The vessel ended up on the rocks and was badly damaged.”
Following a guilty plea by Mr Johnson, a fine of $900 was imposed by Judge Paul Geoghegan. The judge also acknowledged that Mr Johnson had made a $1000 donation to the Raglan Coastguard.