NTSB recommends ferry safety improvements

Washington – The National Transportation Safety Board on April 8 issued a series of recommendations to the U.S. Coast Guard and other ferry industry stakeholders following the investigation of a January 2013 ferry crash in New York City.

On Jan. 9, the Seastreak Wall Street ferry struck a pier in Manhattan while docking, injuring 80 people. During its investigation, NTSB found that the captain was not in control of the ferry during the attempted docking because he was not aware that the propulsion system was in backup mode. The board also found that ferry crewmembers allowed passengers to stand in stairwells, which contributed to the injuries.

Among NTSB’s recommendations to the Coast Guard was to require that ferries install warning systems to alert passengers to avoid restricted areas whenever the ferry performs safety-sensitive maneuvers. The board also recommended that the manufacturers of the ferry’s propulsion equipment design a system that can alert captains of the ferry’s current mode of control.