OHS Canada Magazine

Nova Scotia lobster boat that sank was modified with tailgate: safety board

Vessel capsized but skipper, 3 crew members were rescued


HALIFAX — The Transportation Safety Board says an investigation into the December 2018 sinking of a lobster boat off Boutiliers Cove, N.S., found the vessel had been modified but did not receive a required stability assessment.

The board says the Charlene A, a 10-metre longliner with 150 lobster traps aboard, sank in St. Margarets Bay when water started pouring onto the deck through an open tailgate at the rear of the vessel.

The hinged tailgate and an extension to the stern had been added to the boat in the summer of 2018.

The boat capsized but the skipper and three crew members were rescued by the crew aboard another lobster boat.

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The board’s report says the skipper was not aware that under new regulations regarding major modifications to small vessels, the Charlene A required a stability assessment.

The report says the extension would have changed the position of the vessel’s centre of gravity, and the open tailgate allowed water to pour over the stern.

“After the vessel was modified, no stability assessment was conducted, nor was a record of stability prepared as required,” the report says.

“If vessels are modified and stability assessments not conducted … crew may be unaware of adverse changes in vessel stability characteristics which may affect the safety of the vessel.”