Failure Analysis – Many accident cases lead back to the failure of a single part. Root cause analysis builds a logical and defensible theory based on the evidence, not conjecture. Professional training gives you the tools to identify and explain fracture morphology. I've studied and lectured on failure analysis of metals, wood, and fiberglass/carbon composites.
Accident Reconstruction – These cases often involve significant property damage as well as serious personal injury. There are no skidmarks on the water, so it takes specialized talents in assessing trace evidence to determine the angle and speed of impact. Having taught a course on accident reconstruction for ABYC for ten years and handling numerous cases over the years, I'm comfortable working with legal counsel to build a solid case.
Mechanical Failure – Marine engine failures are becoming more prevalent and more expensive. In a pile of broken parts, can you sort out which let go first? The detective process of figuring out what went wrong in what order calls on a number of disciplines including a strong understanding of engine dynamics and metallurgy.
Rig Failure – A dismasting can leave a confusing (and expensive) tangle of parts on the deck. My background as a rigger has helped me understand not only the myriad of specialized parts involved, but also the loads involved to explain the sequence of failure. Was the loss caused by the force of wind- or a part letting go?
Ultrasonic inspection of composites – Carbon fiber masts and rigging can be difficult to inspect and fail in very different ways compared to traditional aluminum rigs. Take for example, a case of an alleged lightning strike to a carbon fiber mast. Was the failure due to lightning, or something else? Ultrasonics can be used as a non destructive method to assess both the integrity of the carbon laminate as well as to determine the potential cause of failure.
Liability – Bailment, comparative negligence, responsible party: the topic of who is to blame can be a circuitous road. This work requires more than simply reconstructing an incident - it's a balancing act of defining reasonable practice. A solid report can provide your client with a credible and logical argument that can either avoid costly litigation or provide the ammunition necessary to prevail in court.
Fire Investigation – Did the fire happen the way you were told? Sifting through a soggy pile of ashes to look for clues often times is the only way to nail down what really happened. A surveyor works in tandem with a Certified Fire Investigator to sort through the history, evidence, and witness statements on the hunt for the truth. The exercise is guaranteed to be dirty, probably frustrating, and possibly triumphant. I've spent years not only taking training, but also assisting in teaching this type of investigation.