Investigators: "Crew not properly trained" on fire boat that cra - WCBD-TV: News, Weather, and Sports for Charleston, SC

Investigators: "Crew not properly trained" on fire boat that crashed

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The damaged fire boat docked in Charleston The damaged fire boat docked in Charleston

In the days following the April 13 boat accident that left the City of Charleston's newly incorporated fire boat extensively damaged, investigators questioned the training of the crew.

Through the Freedom of Information Act, News 2 requested all records, emails and reports regarding the accident. After reading through the stack of information, News 2 has learned there were several red flags raised during the preliminary investigation.

In email dated April 19, a Marine investigator highlighted a few key points about the big issues with the Master (or Captain) of the boat and the crew on board:

1) The April 13 incident was the Master's first time operating the boat at night

2) He admitted to not being proficient in the use of onboard navigation systems

3) The crew is not properly trained on the vessel

4) The Master had limited training/experience with the other crew members on board

Fire Officials tell News 2 that crew members are required to obtain a U.S. Coast Guard Operator Uninspected Passenger License. To receive that license, the crew must take a 40 hour class. The crew is required to train on the vessel by the boat's manufacturer.  There is no set requirement for the number of nighttime training hours.

Earlier this month, the City of Charleston's Fire Chief Karen Brack said she and her team are using this incident as motivation to redevelop how they train their crew. The documents News 2 obtained show that fire officials are meeting beginning on Tuesday to figure out how they can better train the staff.

Throughout the next month, agencies from across the Lowcountry including fire, police, rescue and Coast Guard officials will meet to set up training standards for the crews who operate the rescue vessels. The documents highlight several mid-term and long-term goals that include a common training program that requires annual inspections to make sure all crew members are following proper protocol.

The Planning Team will hold four meetings on May 14, May 21, May 23 and June 11. By the last meeting, officials hope to be able to identify members from each agency that will make up the training team who will coach the crew on the new safety measures. These measures are coming directly from the Coast Guard, which is also the agency leading the investigation.

At this time, there is word on the extent of damage the buoy caused to the $850,000 boat. There is also no timeframe for when the boat will be back in commission.

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