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Marine Law Symposium

Navigate the Legal Aspects of Recreational Boating Accidents


FEBRUARY 29,2024


February 29, 2024
Hybrid Event - Annapolis, MD and Virtual Option

ABYC's Marine Law Symposium is a premier training event that will prepare you to navigate the legal aspects of recreational boating accidents.


Expert panelists will analyze critical investigations and case studies that are impacting today’s verdicts. There will be discussions on analysis tools, expert selection strategies, and essential resources that can be the difference between winning and losing.

This event will be conducted in a hybrid format, allowing participants to attend either in person at ABYC headquarters in Annapolis, MD, or virtually. In-person availability will be limited. 


The Speakers



Aaron Carr

CED Technologies

Aaron Carr, M.S.M.E., P.E. is one of CED's Mechanical Engineers who has experience ranging from operation and maintenance of nuclear submarines to shipyard conversion of a multi-billion dollar nuclear engineering plant from warship to training platform. He holds Professional Engineer licenses in multiple states. After graduating from the United States Naval Academy, Mr. Carr served aboard several nuclear submarines within the United States Navy.


Assignments included Electrical Officer, Chemistry & Radiological Controls, Operational Safety Officer, and Diving Officer.  Onboard, his submarine engineering systems and nuclear plant equipment duties included operation and maintenance of: nuclear reactors, steam generators, heat exchangers, hydraulic plants, pneumatic systems, steam turbines, control valves, diesel engineers, pumps, valves, water chemistry control, electrical power generation & distribution, as well as occupational safety and risk management in the industrial environment.


Prior to joining CED, Mr. Carr conducted forensic engineering as a consultant.  In this role, he investigated mechanical equipment and structural system failures.  Projects focused on failure analysis of boilers, furnaces, geothermal systems, gas piping (CSST), HVAC, plumbing, and water intrusion.


Additionally, he investigated material quality of wood and porcelain, as well as galvanic corrosion.

Mr. Carr holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Mechanical Engineering from the United States Naval Academy and a Master’s degree in Mechanical Engineering from the Naval Postgraduate School.  While at the Naval Academy Mr. Carr earned his Navy offshore sailing ‘D’ qualification as he skippered sailing vessels in regattas and offshore training exercises.  Rules of navigation and safety at sea were the foundations of his training.


Raúl J. Chacón

MG+M The Law Firm

Raúl J. Chacón Jr is a partner of the Miami office of Manion Gaynor & Manning LLP.  He graduated from the University of Miami, College of Engineering, with a B.S.E.E. in 1990, and earned his law degree from the University of Miami in 1993.  He is admitted to the Florida Bar, United States District Court for the Southern and Middle Districts of Florida, and the United States Court of Appeals, Eleventh Circuit.


Mr. Chacón concentrates his practice in admiralty and maritime, products liability, commercial litigation, and insurance defense. He is an active member of the Florida Bar. He is a Board Certified Specialist in Admiralty and Maritime law, and is AV® Preeminent Rated.  He is a member of, and served in executive capacities for, the Cuban American Bar Association, League of Prosecutors, The National Marine Manufacturers Association, the American Boat & Yacht Council, the Southeastern Admiralty Law Institute, the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, and the South Florida Maritime Lions Club.

Nick Harken

McCoy Leavitt Laskey

Nick is a partner at McCoy Leavitt Laskey in the firm’s Jacksonville, Florida office. He is licensed in Wisconsin, Illinois, and Florida state courts, as well as several federal courts. His practice involves complex products liability, tort, and negligence cases, with a focus on fire and explosion cases.

Nick has authored numerous successful summary judgment motions and appellate briefs both for his plaintiff and defendant clients. His work in successfully striking an economic expert in a multi-million dollar trade secrets case, which eventually resulted in the dismissal of the claims against his client in addition to prevailing on a counterclaim, has been highlighted in legal blogs including the American Bar Association. His law articles have been published in both legal and industry publications such as the Wisconsin Lawyer and Florida Propane Gas Association.

Nick obtained his J.D., cum laude, from Marquette University in 2010. While in law school, Nick served as the business editor of the Marquette Law Review and as a judicial law clerk intern for the Honorable Diane S. Sykes and Honorable Michael B. Brennan, both of the U.S. Court of Appeals-Seventh Circuit.


Michael Harowski

Wilson Elser Moskowitz Edelman & Dicker LLP

Michael Harowski focuses his practice in the fields of maritime law, environmental law, and marine and pollution casualty response. His practice has focused on cases involving marine casualties, collision, pollution, fire, personal injury, complex maritime products liability, oil spill response, maritime and environmental regulation, cargo claims, insurance coverage and defense, charter parties, commercial litigation, contract disputes, and a wide range of transactional matters. He is a member of the firm’s on-scene Emergency Response Team, participating in responses to major vessel casualties and oil spills and has obtained extensive exposure to federal and international regulatory investigations and pollution liability laws.

Dave Hollaway

Black Swan SRC, LLC

Dave Hollaway is a human factors, system safety engineering, risk management, industrial safety, regulatory compliance, mishap investigator and accident reconstruction professional with 40 years’ experience in the offshore marine, aerospace, nuclear power generation, heavy equipment manufacturing, and insurance industries.  He is a subject matter expert in marine human factors and root cause investigation.  Dave has a master’s degree in aeronautical science with a dual major in human factors and aerospace system safety and is a DOT certified advanced aviation safety investigator and aviation safety officer.  Dave is a graduate of the U.S. Army and U.S. Coast Guard aviation safety officer courses, the U.S. Army aviation accident prevention management program, and has completed multiple courses in risk management, root cause analysis, and systems safety.  He earned both the Associate in Claims and Associate in Risk Management credentials from the Insurance Institute of America.  Dave is the former senior human factors engineering manager at the American Bureau of Shipping (ABS) where he conducted numerous root cause analysis investigations into maritime accidents and system failures.  Dave Hollaway is currently the human-systems integrator for the Gateway lunar space station control system at the NASA Johnson Space Center in Houston, Texas, and is a NASA certified root cause analysis and mishap investigator.  He is a member of the Human Factors and Ergonomics Society, the Society of Naval Architects and Marine Engineers, the American Society of Naval Engineers, and the American Boat and Yacht Council.

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Jason Karasinski

Fire Research & Technology, LLC

Jason Karasinski is the President/Owner of Fire Research and Technology, LLC (FRT) and International Marine Fire & Explosion Consultants (IMFEC).  Jason is a NFPA 1033 Nationally Pro Board-Certified Fire Investigator, IAAI- CFI, NAFI- CFEI.  Jason Currently sits on the NFPA 921 Technical Committee and is a Principal for the NFPA Fire Investigation Units (FIUs) (FIC-AAA).  Jason has held the position of President for the NY State IAAI Chapter 23 for four years.  He continues to hold a seat on the Training Committee, Peer Review Committee, as well as the 921 Committee for the NY State Chapter.  Jason Presently sits on the IAAI Training & Education Committee. 


Jason serves as a subject Matter Expert and instructor at the National Fire Academy (NFA), National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), and Alcohol Tobacco and Firearms (ATF).  He has provided advanced electrical instruction for ATF and the National Center for Explosives and Research Center.  Jason has conducted and participated in hundreds of origin and cause investigations within the United States including major explosion incidents in San Bruno CA, at a West Texas Fertilizer Plant, Allentown PA, Dixon City PA and Springfield MA.  Throughout his time as a fire investigator and firefighter he has organized and conducted hundreds of live burns, demonstrations, testing and training for both the public and private sectors. In 2012-2013, Jason was a key contributor that led the effort to successfully secure a $267,000 grant from the Department of Homeland Security, awarded to the NYS IAAI Chapter 23, for development, delivery and institution of electrical training for fire investigators and for Fire Department Line Officers in New York and regionally. 

Matt Majors

Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency 

Lt. Colonel Majors has served the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency since 2002.  In his 20+ years serving the citizens of Tennessee, Lt. Colonel Majors has worked as a wildlife officer, boating officer, lead wildlife officer, statewide boating investigator, and most recently promoted to Lt. Colonel of the Boating & Law Enforcement Division.

Lt. Colonel Majors also serves as NASBLA’s National Boating Incident Investigation Program Manager and training officers throughout the country and abroad. He is a national Boating under the Influence Detection & Apprehension Instructor, GPS Forensics Instructor and enjoys traveling throughout the world training conservation officers/marine police officers in the newest techniques of boating crash investigation and BUI detection.

Lt. Colonel Majors has a passion for removing impaired boat operators and was the recipient of MADD’s 2023 Director’s Choice Award, NASBLA’s Garner Leadership Award in 2021, Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) Outstanding Service Award in 2017, TN boating officer of the year in 2006, and was the SEAFWA Wildlife Officer of the Year in 2005.  


Ray Perez

Wilson Elser Moskowitz Edelman & Dicker LLP

Raymond Perez defends and represents manufacturers of various products, both domestically and internationally, and as national counsel and counsel of record in state and federal courts across the United States. His practice also involves handling regulatory compliance, class actions, appeals and insurance-related matters as well as defending marine product liability cases. In addition, Raymond counsels clients on potential product liability and recall-related issues. As a member of the firm’s Latin America and Europe practices, Raymond is often called on to assist with cases involving significant commercial losses and product liability matters throughout Latin America as well Europe, including Spain, France, Sweden and Finland.

Raymond brings to his cases a rare combination of international awareness and legal acuity that allows him to cut through tangled priorities and find the most direct route to success for his clients. His fluency in Spanish and his cosmopolitan background give him authority and credibility in most venues.

Wendy Sanders


Dr. Wendy Sanders is a licensed Professional Mechanical Engineer and consultant with forensic engineering expertise in marine and automotive accident reconstruction, fire and explosion investigation, thermal-fluid sciences, human factors, warnings, and general mechanical engineering fields.


Dr. Sanders has specific expertise in accident analysis and reconstruction for recreational boating accidents, including propeller-related incidents, carbon monoxide exposures, and collisions. Her work includes the analysis of operator, occupant, and pedestrian behaviors and human factors related to accident analysis, guardings, and warnings. Her automotive expertise includes accident analysis and reconstruction for passenger vehicles, including single- and multiple-vehicle collisions, vehicle-pedestrian incidents, and specialty vehicles.



Bob Taylor

Design Research Engineering

Mr. Robert Taylor is a principal engineer at Design Research Engineering, where he performs accident reconstruction, design, design analysis, failure analysis, and testing.  His primary field of interest is investigations related to maritime matters involving recreational boats, yachts, commercial vessels and ships.  These investigations include accident causation and seamanship, stability analysis, ship motions, structural analysis, progressive flooding analysis, fire cause and origin.  He also is involved with accident reconstruction of industrial equipment, mechanical systems, and human factors.  His human factors expertise is related to warnings, occupant kinematics, and human performance.    


Mr. Taylor received engineering degrees from the University of Michigan in Naval Architecture and Marine Engineering and from the University of California, Berkeley, in Mechanical Engineering.  He has professional engineering licenses in California and Michigan.  He has worked for the Naval Ship Engineering Center, Failure Analysis Associates, and currently is principal engineer and one of the founders of Design Research Engineering.


Please join us for a cocktail reception the evening of Wednesday, February 28th from

5:30pm-7:00pm at the Hilton Garden Inn  

Thursday, February 29 (All times are EST)

8:00 - 8:45

Breakfast and Networking (for in-person attendees)

8:45 - 9:00

Introduction/Industry Report

9:00 - 10:00

Session #1 - Boat explosion resulting from faulty electrical system



10:15 - 11:30

Session #2 - Root Cause Analysis (RCA) for the Investigation of Small Vessel Mishaps

11:30 - 12:15

Lunch (Lunch provided for in-person attendees)

12:15 - 1:30

Session #3 - "Boat Cops Talk Shop"



1:45 - 2:45

Session #4 - Marine Fire & Explosion



3:00 - 4:00

Session #5: Setting your expert up for success



4:15 - 5:15

Session #6: Hydraulic steering system malfunction creating multivessal collision - Parts 1 and 2



Thank You Sponsors

The Venue

Venue & Hotel

Hornor Maritime Center

613 Third Street, Annapolis MD 21403

The 2024 Marine Law Symposium will take place at ABYC headquarters in Annapolis, Maryland. 

A hotel block has been arranged for our attendees at the Hilton Garden in Annapolis. Reserve your hotel room for $109/night plus taxes. Hotel block covers days prior and day of event. Guests must identify their affiliation with ABYC when making reservations. 

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