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Litigation forces boat/ RV manufacturers to produce safer products.

John E Davies

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This is a very interesting article.... It starts out discussing lawsuits concerning death and injury from fundamentally dangerous and unsafe “bow rider” sport boats, and then gets into the RV industry.




“They had no naval architects and they didn’t do any engineering,” says attorney Roger A. Dreyer of the California firm of Dreyer Babich Buccola Wood Campora, LLP, who represented the Bell family. The design criteria was what looks good -- not what was safe. The design was completely contrary -- boats don’t have bows that go to the water. There’s no efficiency. But one [Mastercraft manager] testified that it looked ‘sexy.’" 




In July 2009, two members of the Shreveport, La. First Baptist Church youth group died and 21 passengers aboard a 42-passenger 2007 Starcraft XLT International 3200 bus manufactured by Forest River were injured. The group was enroute to Macon, Georgia to attend a youth ministry camp, when the left rear tire of the Starcraft bus suffered a catastrophic tread separation, prompting a loss of control that caused the bus to roll over one and a half times.


The company had built the bus on a Navistar chassis certified to a certain fully loaded weight. But in outfitting the bus with extra seats and a cargo room for customers such as churches, Forest River had cut the chassis in half and extended it to make it longer. Frame rails were also added to the rear of the bus to extend it even further for the cargo area. As re-configured by Forest River, the bus was no longer safe to carry a full load of passengers and their luggage. Nonetheless, as a second-stage manufacturer, Starcraft used the original manufacturer’s compliance certifications to assert that the vehicle met government safety standards.


The victims sued Forest River. John Davidson, a Jackson, Mississippi lawyer who represented some of the plaintiffs discovered this loaded weight discrepancy in the First Baptist’s bus, and other, similar medium-sized buses. He also discovered, in deposition testimony, that none of Forest River’s engineers actually had engineering degrees, and the company had no industrial scales to weigh their products.


Woah! Full story: .... http://www.safetyresearch.net/blog/articles/litigation-pushes-ski-boat-manufacturers-safer-designs


John Davies


Spokane WA

SOLD 07/23 "Mouse":  2017 Legacy Elite II Two Beds, Hull Number 218, See my HOW TO threads: 

Tow Vehicle: 2013 Land Cruiser 200, 32” LT tires, airbags, Safari snorkel, Maggiolina Grand Tour 360 Carbon RTT.

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Interesting read. The accidents referenced are gut-wrenching and it sure sounds like another case of caveat emptor. Are government regulations the best response? I hope that if we do go down that route that the regulations are narrowly tailored and effective in achieving the intended results.


I have committed numerous acts of dubious wisdom in boats, mostly during my college years, but I can't imagine goosing the throttle in a man-overboard situation whether the boat was swamping or not. Let the boat sink; that's what insurance is for. Although, are the passengers too drunk to swim, and are (of course) not wearing lifejackets? What a miserable calculus to run in a situation like that.

2018 OLEII #344   |   2018 Ford Expedition




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Yup, you either think government is too big and everything is too regulated or it isn't.


In a less regulated world, where corporate litigation liability is moving to being very limited, so causing less need for self correction.


These situations are always so devastating for those involved.


Caveat Emptor and welcome to the world of Darwinism where you are required to arm yourself with the knowledge that you have no idea you don't even possess.


One Life Live It Enjoyably

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2015 Oliver Elite II Hull #69

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I've often had Oliver tell me that they needed to pass an idea by 'engineering', which I've always considered to be a euphemism for "someone with the last name of Oliver". At least I've never met this team of engineers on any of my visits. I do think that maybe their frame has been designed by a consultant engineer (maybe not the original one), but I suspect that for the most part they rely on experience, trial and error, and of course their suppliers' recommendations. And I've been told before about why things were the way they were, that company X got sued for not doing whatever, so now they do it too. I think that's just largely the way it is in markets like these, though before reading that article I would have thought that the larger companies would have true engineering departments.

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