“Semester At Sea” Student Dies During Boat Accident In Dominica

The sea can be a great source of fun and excitement, but it can also be a dangerous place where serious accidents take place. The boating accident attorneys at Lipcon, Margulies, Alsina & Winkleman, P.A. have seen our fair share of maritime incidents, and know that some precautions can be taken to avoid certain mishaps out at sea.

Recently, a University of Virginia student was killed in a boating accident in Dominica while taking part in the school’s Semester at Sea program. The victim, Casey Schulman, a fourth-year foreign affairs major, was fatally injured Saturday while on a snorkeling trip that was organized independently of the Semester at Sea activities.

Schulman had spent the past 14 weeks sailing across the world with the school’s Semester at Sea program. The 22-year-old Falls Church native had visited London, Portugal, Africa and the Amazon, and this week, was scheduled to return home.

The boating accident took place on Saturday, while the vessel had made its final stop in Roseau, Dominica. Schulman and some of her fellow students decided to go snorkeling. As she was snorkeling, the boat backed into her and killed her.

Schulman’s aunt, Karen Hess, spoke on behalf of the family Sunday night, addressing the tragic accident.

“It was her last day,” said Hess. “Dominica was the last stop. Supposedly, the captain of the boat got off to get food. When he came back, he backed right up over her.”

University of Virginia officials also released a statement regarding the tragedy.

“Casey was a participant in the Semester at Sea program. The trip during which the incident occurred was organized independently of the SAS activities. Leadership at the Institute for Shipboard Education and senior voyage administrators have also been in contact with Casey’s family, the U.S. Embassy of the Eastern Caribbean and University leadership,” read the statement.

The school has organized grief counseling services for members of the Semester at Sea program, and held a commemorative service on the ship Sunday evening. The Semester at Sea ship is scheduled to return to Fort Lauderdale, Florida on Friday, Dec. 7.

There is no word on whether the boater responsible for Schulman’s death was – or will be – charged with the incident. Despite the accident happening in Dominica and the University of Virginia’s statements that the incident occurred during an activity organized independently of the SAS program, Schulman’s family can still seek legal help with a boating accident attorney and may be eligible for compensation for their pain and suffering.

When a boating accident occurs because of someone’s negligence, as in this particular case, victims or surviving loved ones may be entitled to recoveries. Those at fault for the incident may be held liable and victims may qualify for benefits such as money damages and medical care. Seeking legal counsel with an experienced attorney can help victims obtain justice for their injuries or losses.

PHOTO CREDIT: wikitravel.org