CG: Operator Falling Asleep Caused Yacht Club Allision

A Coast Guard investigation has determined a “mate on-watch” falling asleep at the controls caused a tow to hit a Cincinnati-area floating restaurant and marina.

The allision between the towing vessel mv. Dale Artigue, pushing 15 loaded barges, and the Ludlow Bromley Yacht Club caused major damage just after 6 a.m. October 2 to the restaurant and marina, located on the Kentucky side of the Ohio River in Ludlow, Ky.

In a statement, Lt. Jim Brendel, supervisor of U.S. Coast Guard Marine Safety Detachment Cincinnati, said, “The Coast Guard concluded the marine casualty investigation into the allision of the towing vessel Dale Artigue pushing 15 loaded barges with the Ludlow Bromley Yacht Club restaurant and marina on October 2, 2019. The causal factors included the mate on-watch falling asleep while at the controls thereby failing to maintain a proper watch as the vessel was underway up-bound on the Ohio River at mile marker 474. There were two deckhands on-watch at the time of the incident; however, neither deckhand was assigned navigation watch duties. The Coast Guard has initiated administrative enforcement action against the mate’s Coast Guard Merchant Mariner Credential; however the Coast Guard is unable to comment any further on specifics until such time as the enforcement case is adjudicated.”

The club’s floating restaurant was pushed upriver some distance by the tow’s bow. Several pleasure boats were also torn loose from the marina. No one was injured, and no river contamination occurred, according to the Coast Guard.

The Coast Guard’s investigation activity report says the mv. Dale Artigue, owned by Florida Marine LLC, of Mandeville, La., caused an estimated $450,000 in damage. It classified the allision as a serious marine incident. The publicly available report removed the names of crew members on board the mv. Dale Artigue, citing their privacy. The Dale Artigue is a twin-screw, 4,720 hp. boat built in 2012 by Horizon Shipbuilding.

Steve and Andrea Gott own the Ludlow Bromley Yacht Club. In a message posted to social media October 6, they expressed thanks to those involved in the aftermath of the incident, including multiple first responders and investigators, adding, “LBYC has been our paradise sanctuary for 23 great seasons, and we are so sad to watch it be destroyed in five minutes. However, with the support of our family, friends, and loyal customers we are keeping our heads up while we continue to make progress in the cleanup process.”

The Gotts opened their Lagoon Saloon, just across the street from the restaurant, within days, but added the yacht club’s future remained unclear and that challenges remained. Neither the Gotts nor Florida Marine immediately responded to a request for comment by The Waterways Journal.