NTSB determines dive boat operator to blame for horrific fire and deaths

My friends and I spent a lot of time diving with Truth Aquatics. More often we dove the Vision, but I spent many weeks on the Conception as well.


The National Transportation Safety Board has placed the blame for the dive boat fire that killed 34 people on the vessel's owners.

The five-member board ruled unanimously on Tuesday that it was a lack of oversight by the owners, Truth Aquatics Inc., that led to the 2019 fire — one of California's deadliest maritime disasters.

Investigators said that the burning and sinking of the Conception had made it impossible to pinpoint the exact cause of the fire. But they noted that the blaze started near the back of the deck in the boat's salon, where divers had plugged in smartphones and other devices containing lithium-ion batteries.

A sister vessel of the Conception, the Vision, had earlier experienced a fire caused by cellphone chargers, The Washington Post reports – but that fire was detected early and quickly put out.

I used to look forward to sleeping in those tiny bunks below deck and found them to be strangely comfortable — tucked in a small box being gently rocked as I listened to music on headphones. I really longed for that week or two.