Captain Gets Four Years in Prison After 34 Dead

( – Jerry Boylan, the 70-year-old captain of the Conception dive boat that caught fire in 2019 and killed 34 passengers, has finally been sentenced to four years in prison.

The judge presiding in the case, U.S. District Judge George H. Wu, said that the sentence considered Boylan’s age as well as health issues, and that he had no previous convictions and he displayed a lack of criminal intent. Upon his release from incarceration, Boylan will also be put under three years of supervised release as well as undergo treatment for his mental health. Boylan’s sentence is also greater than the five years of probation and three years of house arrest that his defense team asked for.

Still, the families of the victims of the deadly maritime mishap – which occurred close to the Santa Cruz Island in California – expressed disappointment at the sentence, which many said trivialized the loss of life that day and the trauma still experienced by many of the victims’ families and loved ones. Family members had asked the judge to mete out the maximum 10-year sentence for the charge of misconduct or neglect of ship officer, also known as seaman’s manslaughter, that Boylan was charged with. Judge Wu, however, said that there was no legal precedent for Boylan to receive the maximum sentence.

Boylan was one of the first people to jump overboard when the fire broke out, instead of using fire extinguishers and other equipment to save the passengers, who became trapped in a bunkroom below the deck. Prosecutors also pointed out that the ship captain neglected to organize roving night patrols – a requirement for a vessel of the Conception’s size – which allowed the fire to freely spread. The fire occurred just before daybreak of September 2, 2019, and is considered the worst incident in California’s recent maritime history.

Boylan’s restitution hearing is scheduled for July 11, and he has also been ordered to surrender himself to begin his prison sentence.

Copyright 2024,