Lawyer: Overloading not the cause of boat sinking

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The 34-foot Silverton convertible that capsized July 4 on Long Island Sound with 27 people aboard, leaving three children dead, was not necessarily overloaded, an attorney for the boat’s owner said.

The lawyer noted in a New York Times story that at least 10 of the passengers were children and that no calculation of the group’s total weight had been made. He suggested that the combined wakes of passing boats could have been big enough to capsize the 28-year-old Silverton.

“They were out there for hours before, during and after the fireworks, and there was no incident, no problem; the vessel handled fine,” attorney James Mercante told the New York Times. “You get two or three big boats when they’re together, you get a wake becoming 6 to 8 feet. Any boat could get rolled over with a trough like that.”

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Mercante also speculated whether something mechanical caused the accident — “if something gave way.” He is quoted in a Washington Post report.

Mercante also was critical of reports saying there was an insufficient number of life jackets on the boat, noting that the three children who died were in the cabin, where no PFDs were required by law.

On Friday, a line was tied from police boats to the Silverton so it won’t drift before investigators can raise it. The boat is reported to be in water around 60 feet deep.