Vermont man enlarged holes on vessel prior to her sinking, says court filing

Nathan Carman of Vermont, USA, used a power tool to enlarge holes in his boat before setting out on the vessel, which sank with his mother on board, insurance lawyers have alleged.

The information appeared in papers filed last week with a federal court in Rhode Island by lawyers for the company that insured Carman’s boat, according to a report oin the Hartford Courant.

The vessel sank in September 2016 about 100 miles offshore. The body of Carman’s mother Linda Carman, was never found. Carman himself was rescued a week later on a life raft about 115 miles off Martha’s Vineyard.

National Liability & Fire Insurance Co and another group that sold the policy are suing Carman in Rhode Island, asking a judge to declare his insurance claim on the boat invalid.

Nathan Carman told investigators that the boat took on water quickly, so he ran and grabbed the emergency kit before it sank and got on the life raft. He told them he couldn’t find his mother after the boat sank.

The filings allege that by removing his boat’s trim tabs hours before departing on its final voyage, Carman failed to seal properly four through-hull holes he thereby opened at the transom’s waterline, but two recent depositions claim that Carman enlarged those four holes.

The man who refurbished and sold the vessel to Carman testified during a deposition on Wednesday that the four transom through-hull holes he drilled when installing the trim tabs were half an inch in diameter, in accordance with manufacturer directions, the lawyers wrote.

The insurer’s attorneys wrote that another witness said during an October deposition that he saw Carman “bending over the transom using an electric power drill with a 1½ [inch] to 2 [inch] diameter hole saw hours before the final voyage”.