The captain of a California dive boat has been jailed over a fire that killed 34 people

A California dive boat captain has been sentenced to four years in prison after a fire that killed 34 people.

The September 2019 fire was the deadliest recent maritime disaster in U.S. history and led to changes in maritime regulations, congressional reform and multiple lawsuits.

Jerry Boylan, 69, was also sentenced to three years of supervised release by a federal judge in Los Angeles, California, after being found guilty of one count of misconduct or neglect of a ship's officer.

The defense had asked the federal judge to sentence Boylan to five years probation, including three years under house arrest.

“Although the loss of life here is staggering, there can be no doubt that Mr. Boylan did not intend for anyone to die,” his lawyers wrote in a sentencing memorandum.

“In fact, Mr. Boylan lives with great sadness, remorse and trauma due to the deaths of his passengers and crew.”

Family members of the victims stood outside the Los Angeles courthouse on Thursday with photos of their loved ones.



Before dawn on the final day of a three-day voyage, the Conception caught fire while anchored off Santa Cruz Island 25 miles south of Santa Barbara and sank less than 100 feet from shore.

Thirty-three passengers and one crew member who were trapped below deck were killed.

The victims included an environmental scientist, a Singaporean data scientist and a family with three sisters, their father and his wife.

Boylan jumped overboard and four crew members who followed suit also survived.

Boylan was initially charged with 34 counts of involuntary manslaughter of sailors, which could have carried a maximum sentence of 340 years.

His lawyers argued that the deaths resulted from a single incident rather than separate crimes, leading prosecutors to charge him in just a single count.

Although the criminal case has been concluded, several court cases are still ongoing.

Anna Harden

Learn More →

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *