Specializing in boat collision 

accident reconstruction 

   Marine Consulting        Boat Accident Investigation Product Defect Analysis  Standards Compliance is the website of Miles Beam, P.E.

Miles Beam, P.E. is a licensed Professional Engineer, located in North Carolina, USA, that specializes in boating accident investigation and reconstruction.   Miles is especially skilled in the reconstruction of boat collision accidents involving recreational boats.   

This experimental collision was conducted under a grant funded by the US Coast Guard to study boat collisions in greater detail. Miles was the project technical coordinator for this research grant.  Miles has been involved in similar studies in years since.


Miles provides consulting and litigation support services related to many types of recreational boating products and boating accidents.  Miles can help you if you need an expert to conduct an investigation into a boat crash, carbon monoxide poisoning, mechanical failure, or most any type of recreational boating accident.  Small boats colliding with large vessels, even those the size of a ferry, are also within Miles' realm of experience.

If you are trying to determine if a marine related product has a defect or complies with current safety standards, contact Miles for assistance.  

Cases are accepted anywhere in the US, and international cases are considered on a case by case basis.  


Examples of Consulting Services  

  • Boat accident investigation and reconstruction
  • Litigation support
  • Product standards compliance issues
  • Product testing and evaluation
  • Expert witness testimony
  • Teaching seminars, training (law enforcement and private sector)
  • Obtaining product certification (such as UL Listing, UL Classification, etc.)
  • Computer Animations 

If you have a boating related project, and need technical assistance, but you are not sure where to turn, or exactly what  type of expertise you need, Miles can point you in the right direction!  

This experimental collision shows a personal watercraft (PWC) about to collide with a stationary runabout.  The rider is a dummy used to help study the effects of the impact on the operator.

Qualifications Summary

Miles pioneered the research which makes it possible to reconstruct many types of boat collisions based on physical evidence.  While working for the Marine Department of Underwriters Laboratories Inc., in the late 1980s and early 1990s, Miles pioneered a three year research grant, funded by the United States Coast Guard, to research boat collision accidents.  One of the purposes of that research was to develop techniques to reconstruct boat collisions based on an analysis of the damage to the vessels involved.  The resulting 700 page, two volume report remains a cornerstone of accident reconstruction science today in the marine field. 

Miles has also been involved in developing material for, and teaching, accident investigation seminars, primarily for law enforcement seminars.  Miles has been involved as an instructor in these seminars, at various times, since 1988.  In 2006, 2007, and 2008, Miles served as a guest instructor at the Advanced Boating Accident Investigation Seminar, taught at the NTSB Training Center.  Miles taught several topics on advanced techniques of boat collision analysis.  The seminars are currently administered by NASBLA.

Over the last 20 years, Miles has developed a deep background in a variety of marine areas.  He wrote, developed, and refined standards on many marine products for the Marine Department of Underwriters Laboratories Inc.  He has participated in a number of committees that write and develop marine product standards for the American Boat and Yacht Council, as a consultant and as a committee member.  He has also continued to be involved in boat accident collision research at various levels.

Miles also has significant expertise in carbon monoxide related accidents.  Miles  designed and developed a field use, portable data acquisition system, capable of measuring carbon monoxide levels at multiple locations simultaneously.  This instrumentation can be used to study CO levels on boats in a variety of conditions, obtaining real time feedback on CO levels.  The data can be used to help determine possible causes of CO related accidents, or to evaluate new boat designs to determine the CO levels under various operating conditions.

These 3D models were created to help evaluate how two vessels were oriented during an impact.  Damage analysis combined with 3D modeling can be very helpful in reconstructing certain types of collisions.  (The orientation of these vessels is for illustration purposes only, and does not represent an actual case.)


Examples of Accident Types and Cases

  • Boat Collisions
  • Carbon Monoxide Poisonings
  • Product Compliance / Defect Analysis
  • Mechanical Failures or Component Failures
  • Slips and Falls
  • Sailing Craft Rigging Failure
  • Collision with fixed or floating object
  • Sailboat power line strike
  • Many others...

Examples of actual collision cases investigated include:

  • bass boat over-rides bass boat during fishing tournament (criminal case)
  • two bass boats collide resulting in an over-ride 
  • pwc strikes outboard powered motorboat
  • ski boat strikes breakwater and flies (literally) through campsite (criminal case)
  • cabin cruiser strikes channel marker
  • cabin cruiser collides with barge
  • muscle boat over-rides trihull ski boat (criminal case)
  • 27 meter (approx 90 ft) ferry collides with 10m (30 ft) cruiser (Sydney, Australia)
  • ski boat strikes cliff at high speed
  • ski boat strikes pontoon boat
  • pwc collides with pwc
  • cruiser smashes into steel pier at night

Examples of other actual cases include:

  • occupants on houseboat overcome by CO 
  • two fatalities due to CO on cruiser
  • small sailboat strikes power lines
  • mast rigging failure causes mast to fall on high performance sailing craft
  • investigate possible steering failure / defect on inflatable craft
  • slip and fall from boat ladder (determine if ladder was compliant with standards)

Consulting Projects Include:

  • advise manufacturer of applicable safety standards for new boat design
  • investigations for manufacturer to evaluate CO levels on boat designs
  • develop test procedures and equipment for measuring CO
  • update equipment and product standards and prepare drafts for review
  • develop material for accident investigation seminars
  • lead or participate in various research grants on boat collisions


Miles was retained by the Australian Government to reconstruct a collision between a 27m ferry and a 10m cruiser.   He subsequently testified at the Coroner's Inquest in Sydney, Australia. 

Typical Clients  

  • Boat Manufacturers
  • Law Firms
  • Insurance Companies
  • Product Manufacturers
  • Law Enforcement Agencies
  • State Governments
  • Boating Safety Organizations 
  • International Governments

If you need a boating accident analyzed or your company is developing a marine product, then call for a free initial consultation.



Contact Information 

Miles Beam, P.E 

Phone: 919-773-4478

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Marine Consulting, Accident Investigation, and Reconstruction
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