Lobster Boat Skipper Sentenced for Manslaughter
United States Attorney Halsey B. Frank announced that Christopher A. Hutchinson, 30, of Cushing, Maine was sentenced in U.S. District Court by Judge D. Brock Hornby to four years in prison and three years of supervised release for Seaman’s Manslaughter for causing the death of two crewmen who were then 26 and 15 years old. Hutchinson pleaded guilty on September 25, 2018.
According to court records, on November 1, 2014, after smoking marijuana and drinking alcohol, Hutchinson took his lobster boat, the No Limits, out into a predicted storm with two crewmen aboard. After he had ingested oxycodone, the boat capsized. The two crewmen were not wearing personal floatation devices or survival suits. The No Limits’ Emergency Position Indicating Radio Beacon alerted at about 1:20 p.m. The Coast Guard rescued Hutchinson at about 4 p.m. At the time, he was wearing shorts and a t-shirt. The Coast Guard located the bow of the No Limits at about 5 p.m., with no signs of life. The bodies of the two crewmen have never been found and are presumed dead.
In pronouncing sentence, Judge Hornby said: “The case was a heartbreaking tragedy. Two young men lost their lives. One of those leaves a young son who is now fatherless. Many parents are grieving.”
“This case is a terrible tragedy,” said U.S. Attorney Frank. “In the cases of the victim’s families, there is nothing worse for parents than the death of their child. The defendant was the captain of the boat and was responsible for the safety of his crew. Rather than live up to his responsibility, he engaged in risky, reckless behavior that cost the lives of two young men. While nothing can replace those young men, hopefully, this case will send a clear message that captains will be held accountable for such losses.”
The investigation was conducted by the U.S. Coast Guard.