Five passengers were killed, and a 10-year-old girl was permanently brain-damaged, in the sinking of the Lady D Water Taxi on March 6, 2004. The accident took place in Baltimore Harbor, on its run between Fort McHenry and Fells Point. The National Transportation Safety Board concluded that the pontoon boat was carrying too much weight when it capsized during a storm, while carrying 25 passengers and crew.
The Coast Guard is being faulted for using outdated weighting guidelines to certify the water taxi for 25 passengers. The Coast Guard guidelines use 140 lbs as an average passenger weight, which is a figure they came up with back in 1942. This figure would allow the taxi to carry 3,500 pounds. The average passenger weight on the fated run was determined to be 168 pounds, for a total of 4,210 pounds. With pounding wind and waves, this proved to be too much for the Lady D.
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