Marina Owner Drowned in Six-foot Deep Water in Marina Slip, Michigan

Michigan Case Report: 17MI208
Report Date: 03/09/2020


In Summer 2017, a male marina owner in his 80s drowned after falling into six-foot deep water at a boat slip located in a marina on a river. The decedent was working at the marina, perhaps on a boat, and when he did not return home at his normal time, his spouse tried to contact him. Unable to reach him, she called a family member who went to the marina. Unable to find him, emergency response was contacted. The responding sheriff department found him floating upright in the water, under a boat slip walkway. The bottom was described as mucky. The decedent was not wearing a personal flotation device.


  • Personal flotation device (PFD) and non-slip shoes not worn
  • Emergency escape ladders or life rings not installed escape
  • Cluttered, narrow boat slip walkways
  • Medical condition may have caused him to lose balance
  • Working alone

MIFACE investigators concluded that, to help prevent similar occurrences, employers should:

  • Wear a PFD and non-slip shoes while working on docks and boats.
  • Place safety ladders and life rings throughout the marina.
  • Boat slip walkways should have a non-slip surface.
  • When working alone, establish a check-in procedure with another individual to help assure prompt emergency assistance.

Marina Owner Drowned in Six-foot Deep Water in Marina Slip, Michiganpdf icon [PDF 765 KB]

Page last reviewed: April 28, 2020