Marine accident reconstruction is the application of physics and engineering principles to understand the specific causes and events of marine incidents that involve damage to property, injuries to people, or both. These incidents can involve different types of watercraft ranging from small personal watercrafts and ski boats to megayachts and commercial vessels. These incidents can occur on any body of water, including rivers, lakes and oceans.
Marine incidents include collisions with objects or other boats, falls overboard, boat or propeller strikes, capsizing or swamping, fires and explosions, and carbon monoxide exposure, among other incident types.
In order to understand how incidents occurred and if they could have been prevented, marine accident reconstruction requires a thorough understanding of boat design and dynamics, the components of the boat, and the environment in which the boat operates.
Explico has over 15 years of expertise in investigating marine incidents of all types along with the required knowledge of the marine industry as it relates to products, practices and standards. In addition to our company-wide expertise in performing the required site surveys, laser scans and drone footage, Explico has the capability to perform full-scale boat testing, failure analysis of marine systems, comprehensive fire and explosion investigation, and analysis of on-product warnings and collateral product literature.
Unlike traffic collisions on the roadway, marine collisions rarely leave physical evidence at the scene such as skid marks or fluid trails, and the body of water does not generally retain the boats in their post-crash positions. When investigating damage to the boat and determining its pre-collision operating parameters, Explico has the expertise and experience to properly apply equations of motion and energy, analyze the fluid forces acting on the boat, and test the dynamics and maneuverability of the involved boat(s).
What caused an individual to fall overboard? The results of analysis, simulation, and on-water testing can provide insights on boat dynamics and maneuverability in order to determine if the possible movements were sufficient to eject a person overboard.
Propeller and/or boat strikes may occur in situations where people end up in the water too close to a boat under power. Boat dynamics, occupant kinematics, operator behaviors, swimmer strategies, and environmental elements may all be contributing factors to these types of incidents. Explico has the expertise to analyze how these factors may have affected a particular outcome, and evaluate proposed mitigation measures.
Boats are characteristically stable until something causes them to become unstable, and that something is weight. The location and magnitude of that weight determines when a boat will tip over far enough to capsize or fill with water. This weight often takes the form of people or gear on board, or water that makes its way onboard through a leaky fitting or over the gunwale. Explico can perform critical assessments of these factors using analytical and empirical methods to determine how and why a boat may have capsized or swamped.
When an incident involves carbon monoxide exposure, it is important to evaluate the boat’s propulsion engines and generators, the ventilation system design of the vessel, and even the environment around the vessel at the time of the exposure. Explico has performed these investigations for a variety of boat types and in many different environments.
Explosions and fires aboard boats frequently result in catastrophic losses. When investigating a boat or marina fire, it is critical to consider the boat's maintenance history as well as all of the systems aboard the boat to rule out potential causes. Explico’s extensive expertise in fire investigation, coupled with our knowledge of marine systems and marine industry design standards, provides a robust foundation for any marine fire investigation.
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