National Transportation Safety Board saya that the probable cause of a 2009 collision in San Diego Bay between a United States Coast Guard patrol boat and a recreational motorboat was due to the excessive speed of the Coast Guard boat in nighttime conditions in an area of high vessel density, and the Coast Guard’s ineffective oversight of its small boat operations nationally and at Coast Guard Station San Diego.
On December 20, 2009, at about 5:44 p.m. PST in San Diego Harbor, a 33-foot-long Special Purpose Craft-Law Enforcement, SPC-LE, Coast Guard vessel with five crewmembers aboard collided with a 24-foot-long Sea Ray recreational boat carrying 13 people. The collision occurred during an annual holiday boating event, the Parade of Lights. The Coast Guard boat, which was responding to a reported grounding which was considered a non-emergency, struck the Sea Ray from behind. As a result, an 8-year-old boy was killed and four other people were seriously injured. None of the crewmembers in the Coast Guard boat were injured.
The Coast Guard boat, when it struck the Sea Ray, was being operated at planing speed, which was at least 19 knots and possibly as high as 42 knots.