Wednesday, October 28, 2015

The Vasa Test

Green Cove Springs, FL

I was shocked to read the news this morning.  It said that the recent incident where a whale watching boat, Leviathan II, sunk near Vancouver Island, BC was caused by a wave coming when the 25 passengers were all on the port side.  What!  WTF! I thought, "Have we not learned the lesson of the Vasa Test after 400 years?"   I'll explain.

In Stockholm, Sweden on 10 August 1628, the new ship Vasa was subjected to the normal stability test before casting off for her maiden voyage.  They ordered the crew to run back and forth, port to starboard.  Well, the Vasa flunked the test.  She nearly capsized, and the test was hastily cancelled.  She then cast off, and a few minutes later, the first gust of wind caused her to capsize and sink. (She was salvaged in 1961, and you can see her in the Vasa Museum today.)

I'm sure that any experienced boater would question the story of Leviathan II,   We have all seen motor vessels that size, and it sounds unbelievable that 25 passengers on the port side could make her unstable.  The Leviathan II was licences for 46 people, but many similar sized day cruise boats carry hundreds of people,  By definition, no captain could act fast enough to prevent all passengers from rushing to one side.

It must be that the Leviathan II would not pass the Vasa test.  How can it be that such a thing could be allowed to happen in this modern world?  Aren't all of today's licensed vessels required to pass a modernized Vasa test?  I am shocked.

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