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USA: Small boat Skipper charged in offshore incident

By Diane Selkirk last modified Feb 18, 2019 02:30 PM
A Maine-based boat owner is facing Federal charges of "misconduct, negligence and inattention to duties" after losing a crew member overboard on passage to the Virgin Islands.

Published: 2019-01-23 00:00:00
Countries: US Virgin Islands , USA

USA: Small boat Skipper charged in offshore incident

Incident occurred offshore

Skipper Rick Smith, from Camden, Maine, owner of a 43-foot yawl named "Cimarron", is on house arrest in the US Virgin Islands awaiting trial, after a crewman he took on board to help deliver his boat from the US three years ago, jumped overboard and was never recovered.

The crew member, David Pontius, was taken on board in Beaufort, N.C when an existing crew member had to depart at short notice. He and Skipper Rick Smith had never met before.

Unfortunately, 300 miles into the passage, 54 year old David started to behave oddly, resulting in him attacking the Skipper and then jumping overboard. His body was not recovered.

Although a report by the Coastguard in 2015 concluded that "Cimarron's" crew handled the situation as best they could, three years later Rick Smith faces a charge of "seaman's manslaughter" with a possible 10 years in prison and his yacht has been impounded.

More information on this case can be found at our two sources:

Press Herald: In 2015, a troubled sailor jumped overboard. Now the boat’s captain is being held responsible (December 9, 2018)

Ocean Navigator: Captain charged in offshore incident (December 12, 2018)

Chip Stratton
Chip Stratton says:
Feb 10, 2019 08:32 PM

He has been cleared of charges by the judge and is free to go.
https://www.boothbayregister.com/article/captain-rick-smith-acquitted-seaman-s-manslaughter-charges/112516

Stephen Gantress
Stephen Gantress says:
Jan 26, 2019 02:44 PM

What is it said about picking up strangers? Background check if you please.

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