Expert Details

Expert in Aquatic Safety: Swimming, Drowning, Cervical Spine/Diving, Boating, Hypothermia, Alcohol, and PFD's

Expert ID: 727613 Michigan, USA

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Expert retired as a U.S. Coast Guard Commander. His last tour of duty was as Chief of the Boating Safety Division, Second Coast Guard District. As such, he was responsible for overseeing federal boating safety efforts in education, engineering and law enforcement in the mid United States.

Expert also completed his Ph.D. in education during this period with his dissertation focusing on improving all phases of aquatic safety including boating and swimming activities, through research, including accident investigation, and behavioral ploys based on analysis to modify the behavior of potential aquatic accident participants. He was one of a small number of Coast Guard personnel who initiated nationwide improvements in aquatic safety, resulting in an approximate reduction of water fatalities by 50% since 1980.

During his active service, Expert was responsible for investigating boating accidents as well as determining culpability for infractions of federal boating laws. After retiring, Expert toured North America providing boat and water safety seminars for thousands of fire, police, EMS, nursing, park ranger, lifeguarding and related personnel. His work as an author and lecturer in this field received international recognition.

During the last 35+ years, Expert has concentrated on providing expert witness support in aquatic litigation. His academic background in studying the causes of water related accidents as well as methodology needed to reduce accident potentials has aided his investigation, reconstruction and analysis of causes underlying mishaps occurring to boaters, swimmers, water skiiers, tubers, rafters, etc. This expertise has extended to pool and beach settings including lifeguard/supervision factors as well as swift water/dam situations. Of primary interest in his research have been how, why, where and when humans die in the water; the effects of ethanol and drugs on swimmers and boaters; hypothermia and cold related debilitation; plus, proper use and testing of protective flotation devices.

Expert has also served as an expert in Jones act cases and in litigation involving swift water rafting. In his expert work relating to cervical spine injuries, he has examined pool construction and applicable standards as well as the maintenance of water clarity and sanitation in pools and spas. His experience in boating cases has involved all forms of recreational vessels including sailboards and surf boards employed by beach lifeguards. Many of his cases have centered on personal watercraft. He has also been involved with offshore and Great Lakes shipping cases. He has constructed models for court room presentation ranging from the hold of a container ship to an interacting display of a high-speed collision of a runabout with a moored river barge.

He has worked with approximately 500 law firms as an expert in plantiff or defense litigation. His expert witness work began in 1981. He has provided expert testimony/assistance in every aspect of drowning and boating cases save SCUBA. His cases have ranges from seamen falling in the hold of a container ship to a diver killed in a hydroelectric dam turbine inspection mishap.He toured North America as a USCG point man/presenter involved with teaching both the public and law enforcement personnel about the dangers of drinking and boating under the influence. Conversely, he has also been engaged in a number of defense cases regarding impaired operators caught up in a "rush to judgment" by overly zealous police officers and prosecuters. Most of these cases have been resolved for the defense.He has served as an expert in cases involving low head dams, frequently called "drowning machines" as well as litigation for plaintiffs in white water rafting and canoeing mishaps. He has also testified regarding the proper use and limitations of personal flotation devices in inland and off shore waters.He has investigated and reconstructed a large number of boating accidents, building models to illustrate the forces involved for jury edification. Much of this testimony has encompassed the effects of ethanol and environmental factors, such as "boater's hypnosis" on boat operators. He has also worked in cases involving death through hypothermia. Personal watercraft accidents, maritime rules of the road and reguirements of federal marine laws have been frequent mainstays of his litigation services. Similarly he has testified in Jones Act case on inland rivers, the Great Lakes and at sea.He has testified regarding supervised and unsupervised swimming pool incidents, in public, motel/hotel and home pools and spas. These cases involved lifeguarding, parental supervision, the following of national and state pool regulations/guidelines, American Red Cross/YMCA/scouting safety certification.


Year Degree Subject Institution
Year: 1981 Degree: Ph.D. Subject: Education, focusing on educational psychology Institution: St. Louis University, St Louis, MO
Year: 1970 Degree: M.Ed. Subject: Student Personnel Services in Higher Education Institution: American University, washington, DC
Year: 1960 Degree: BS Subject: Naval Science Institution: US Coast Guard Academy, New London, CT

Work History

Years Employer Title Department Responsibilities
Years: 1981 to Present Employer: Undisclosed Title: President Department: Responsibilities: He started the company after retiring from the US Coast Guard, initially providing water and boating safety training to fire, police and EMS providers. The services later focused on support for plaintiffs and defense in aquatic litigation.
Years: 1956 to 1981 Employer: United States Coast Guard Title: Department: Numerous Responsibilities: He served as a cadet at the United States Coast Guard Academy from 1956 until graduating in 1960. Commissioned as an ensign, served in numerous command and staff functions in 21 years commissioned service. Commanding officer or second in command of three aflot and three shore units. Retired as a Commander in 1981

Government Experience

Years Agency Role Description
Years: 1956 to 1960 Agency: US Coast Guard academy Role: Cadet Description: He enterd the Academy as a fourth classman and graduated with honors four years later.
Years: 1960 to 1981 Agency: US Coast Guard Role: Commissioned Officer Description: He retired as a commander after 21 years' commissioned service, primarily in aids to navigation and search and rescue. He was commanding officer or second in command of 3 afloat units and three shore commands. He also served as a staff officer in USCG Headquarters, Washington, DC and the 2nd Coast Guard district headquarters in St. Louis, MO

Career Accomplishments

Associations / Societies
Defense Research Institute, National Safe Boating Council, National Recreation and Parks Association

-National Water Safety Congress.
-National Recreation and Parks Association.
-National Safe Boating Council.
-National Advisory Council, Sea Exploring Boy Scouts of America.
-National Transportation Safety Association.
Licenses / Certifications
-Aquatic Facility Operator (AFO).
- Risk Evaluator: Old Dominion University.
- American Red Cross Lifeguard.
-American Red Cross Water Safety Instructor.
-Commanding Officer USCG 100 Ton-1000Ton Vessels, Inland/International Waters.
-Commanding Officer USCG Rescue/Aids to Navigation Facilities.
-Deck Watch Officer/Navigator/Executive Officer USCG Vessels Inland/International.
Awards / Recognition
George Washington Honor Medal, Freedom's Foundation; Cokesbury Scholarship, United Methodist Church; USCG Achievement Medal; USCG Commendation Medal; Australian Volunteer Coast Guard Honor Recognition; National Safety Council Marine Industry Award; National Association of State Boating Law Administrators, National/Regional Awards; National Water Safety Council, National/Regional Awards; International Lifeboat Conference.
Publications and Patents Summary
Expert has authored over 25 articles in journals/magazines/newspapers ranging from Family Circle to The Physician and Sports Medicine, as well as Waterways Journal, Fire Chief Magazine, St Louis Post Dispatch, Lakeland Boating, Ducks Unlimited Magazine, and RN Magazine. He has written or edited three books and has produced a number of smaller publications for use in his various seminars.

Expert's latest book has been used as a text in emergency response courses. Chapter Four of this book contains one of the most concise descriptions of the interaction of ethanol with water accidents yet published.

Additional Experience

Expert Witness Experience
He has acted as an expert witness in over 600 cases for either plaintiff or defense. He has testified in state, municipal and federal court cases. He has been involved in approximately 250 depositions and approximately 50 court appearances throughout North America. He has assisted defense or plaintiffs’ counsel in cases involving accident reconstruction/analysis, including (but not limited to): boat collisions, capsizings and groundings; jet skis/Wave Runners; murder by drowning; drowning progressions-signs of drowning; drowning in swimming pools, lakes and at beaches; cervical spine injuries on boats, in above ground and in ground pools as well as at beaches, plus diving from boats; pool/beach design and construction: water skiing and tubing; white water rafting; aquatic accidents at, in or below hydro electric plants and low head dams; water and boat rescues; life guarding procedures; alcohol and environmental stressors/factors including hypothermia; signs and warnings; reconstruction of water and boating accidents; personal flotation devices; human factors. The foregoing includes numerous reports, depositions and courtroom testimonies.
Training / Seminars
He was required during his Coast Guard service to develop and present seminars to numerous state boating safety personnel. In combination with his Ph.D. work, he refined his training skills to employ a number of teaching and behavior modification ploys to assits participants in modfying client safety perceptions and resulting actions. He has presented seminars on boating and water safety, hypothermia, stress management, teaching techniques and leadership to thousands of safety and industrial professionals throughout North America. He has been frequently featured as a keynote/motivational speaker. The courses and presentations he developed have received a large number of national and international recognitions.

Fields of Expertise

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