Thatcher v. Schell

In Collisions and Ships on (Updated )

This case involved a collision on Okanagan Lake between a 26′ sailboat operating under power and a 19′ motorboat. The collision occurred at dusk. Both vessels were destroyed and the occupants of each were injured. The owner of the sailboat alleged that the collision was caused by the negligence of the other vessel in proceeding at an excessive speed and failing to maintain a proper lookout. The owner of the motorboat argued that the collision was caused by the negligence of the sailboat in failing to have the proper running lights and in turning to port immediately before the collision instead of to starboard as required by the collision regulations. It was uncontested that the driver of the motorboat did not see the sailboat until immediately before the collision and took no steps to avoid the collision. After reviewing all of the evidence the Judge found as a fact that the sailboat was not properly lit and that this was the cause of the collision. The owner/operator of the sailboat was therefore held to be completely at fault.