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Press Release

Luxury Yacht Captain Indicted in Death of Boater off Westerly, Rhode Island

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, District of Rhode Island

PROVIDENCE, RI – A federal grand jury in Providence, R.I., on Wednesday returned an indictment charging the operator of 60-foot luxury yacht with seaman’s manslaughter in the death in September 2015 of the 81-year-old operator of a 23-foot powerboat.


It is alleged that on September 22, 2015, Cooper “Chick” Bacon, 78, of Cape May, N.J., failed to take precautions required of the ordinary practice of a seaman when he was at the helm of a yacht as it made its way from a boat show in Newport, R.I., to boat show in Stamford, Conn. The Princess 60 yacht collided with a 23-foot powerboat, the Peggy K, in waters off Westerly, R.I., killing its sole occupant, Walter S. Krupinski, of Stonington, Conn.  The collision occurred in Fishers Island Sound, on the waters off Naptree Point in the town of Westerly. 


The indictment of Cooper Bacon is announced by Acting United States Attorney Stephen G. Dambruch; Admiral Steven Poulin, Commander of the First Coast Guard District, United States Coast Guard, and Richard Cox, Special Agent in Charge, Coast Guard Investigative Service, New England Region.


According to the indictment, it is alleged that, among other things, Bacon failed to take precautions required by the ordinary practice of seamen; adequately assess the risk of collision; proceed at a safe speed; post his First Mate to look-out; and properly overtake, give-way and steer well clear of the Peggy K.


An indictment is merely an allegation and is not evidence of guilt. A defendant is entitled to a fair trial in which it will be the government’s burden to prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.


Bacon is scheduled to be arraigned on December 19, 2017, before U.S. District Court Magistrate Judge Patricia A. Sullivan.


Seaman’s manslaughter is punishable by statutory penalties of up to 10 years imprisonment; 3 years supervised release; and a fine of up to $250,000.


The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Gerard B. Sullivan.


The matter was investigated by the Coast Guard Investigative Service.


Acting United States Attorney Stephen G. Dambruch thanks the many local and state agencies in Rhode Island and Connecticut that provided assistance and information to the United States Attorney’s Office in Rhode Island and to the Coast Guard Investigative Service during the investigation of this matter.




Jim Martin
(401) 490-1092

Updated December 8, 2017

Press Release Number: 17-146