Conception Dive Boat Tragedy – Summary of What We Know and What We Don’t Know

Below is a summary of what we know and what we don’t know about the Conception dive boat tragedy.


What we know:

  • On September 2, the Conception caught fire and eventually sank.
  • 34 people were killed in the blaze, including 33 passengers and 1 crew member.
  • 5 crew members survived.
  • All of the crew members were asleep when the blaze broke out. This was in violation of federal guidelines which mandated at least one crew member remain awake to keep watch. 
  • One of the surviving crew members has filed a lawsuit against the ship’s owners claiming, among other things, inadequate training.
  • The ship’s owner has filed a lawsuit in an attempt to limit liability.
  • The ship’s owner has indefinitely suspended all operations. 

What we don’t know:

  • How or why the fire started. Federal investigators continue to search for the cause of the blaze. 
  • Why none of the crew members were keeping watch as mandated by federal regulations
  • Why all of the passengers became trapped in the sleeping area
  • What kinds of safety training programs the crew members had participated in and whether these programs were sufficient
  • What kinds of safety equipment crew members had at their disposal and whether it was operational

The Conception tragedy is being called the worst maritime disaster in modern California history. Victims’ families should seek the counsel of an experienced maritime attorney to help navigate them through the complexities of this specialized area of law.