Parasail captain to serve 12-month suspension for role in boating fatality

HONOLULU – The master of a parasail vessel turned over his Merchant Mariner’s license to the U.S. Coast Guard last week for his failure to ensure the safety of his crewmember and passengers during a boating fatality last April.

Captain Scott Ng and a crewmember were underway April 28, 2009, with passengers on a parasail vessel in Maunalua Bay. Near the end of the excursion, Ng allowed his deckhand to ride the parasail without wearing the required harness and safety gear. Once aloft, his crewmember attempted an improvised zip-line activity that resulted in a fatal fall. No other passengers were injured.

Ng’s crewmember zip-lined approximately five feet before the rope he was using parted, causing him to free-fall more than 40 feet to the surface of the water. The crewmember did not resurface after the fall and his body was recovered from about 20-minutes after the incident.

Ng signed a settlement agreement with the Coast Guard that requires him to serve a 12 month suspension followed by 24 months of probation. During the suspension, Ng is required to complete twenty hours of maritime safety training and ten hours of industry training.

As part of the agreement, Ng admitted to the Coast Guard’s factual allegations described in two charges of misconduct. The specifications detailed that Ng allowed his deckhand to zip-line down the parasail’s towline and failed to ensure that his crewmember used proper parasailing safety equipment, including harness leg straps and a Coast Guard-approved life jacket.

“One of the most important missions of the U.S. Coast Guard is to make the maritime environment as safe as we possibly can. We respond to marine accidents and emergencies and investigate their causes,” said Capt. Barry Compagnoni, the U.S. Coast Guard Captain of the Port, Honolulu. “We hope that this case involving poor judgment and risky behavior is a wake-up call to all mariners, whether commercial or recreational. We enforce our regulations to safeguard the lives and well being of mariners and the public. It is our hope that an incident like this never happens again.”

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