Tour Boat Sinking Highlights the Need for Safety

Boat Captain Tony Susuico
Boat Captain Tony Susuico
Kewalo Basin Boater Dorothy Suchar
Kewalo Basin Boater Dorothy Suchar

(KHNL) - The sinking of the Kai Anela raises safety issues. When the boat sank, the 15 passengers aboard were tossed into the ocean without life jackets. Now the Coast Guard is reminding boaters to practice safety plans.

Some boaters tell us they find it hard to believe there was not enough time for the passengers to put on life jackets.

The crew of the Hi Flier doesn't leave Kewalo Basin without a safety briefing. Boat Captain Tony Susuico says, "Before we get started we have lifejackets for everybody. It's ok if you want life jackets, let me know. It's not required to wear them all the time on the boat but we do have them available for you."

Some find it shocking the 15 people from the Kai Anela were bobbing in the water without life vests.

Kewalo Basin Boater Dorothy Suchar fears, "Those people had no time. I can just imagine the panic as all of them were going in the water. The boat going down. You are playing with people's lives, children's lives. The pregnant woman. Anything could have happened, they could have all drowned. Luckily that other boat was there to save them."

Under state law, boaters are not required to wear life jackets. But Suchar says the law should be changed, "They should have had life vests when they went out. You do not know what is going to happen in the ocean. I have been out in the ocean. I've been out 50 miles and back. You don't know when things are gonna turn when things will change and they should have been prepared for anything."

Coast Guard Petty Officer Luke Clayton says this incident should spark safety awareness, "It's always good to have a safety plan on any boat. If your boat sinks what you would do? That way if everyone was used to it, they can get off the boat right away. If there are safety rafts, know how to use them and proper equipment like life jacket."

Susuico adds, "The number one important thing for us is safety."

Susuico says his crew practices, "Every month we have a man-overboard drill. We go through equipment and it's inspected by the Coast Guard and we re-inspect it."

Those on the Hi Flier take off, confident they'll have a safe trip.