Expert Resume/CV

Commander David S. Smith Ph.D.
N. Country Club Dr.
United States


Short Description:
Retired USCG Commander holding Ph.D. in Education with extensive experience in all aquatic accidents including: boating, swimming, diving, boating accident reconstruction, drowning, cervical spine injuries, dams, beaches, pools, lakes, life jackets, hypothermia, jet skis, commercial fishing and passenger vessel operations, barges and tow boats, lifeguarding, search/rescue/recovery. 25 years USCG experience, 30+ years as expert in plaintiff/defense cases.

Experienced- Lecturer; Author; Educator. Sea Captain; Search Nationally and Rescue Instructor; Expert (legal/trial) Witness Recognized as listed in : Lawyers' Desk Reference, National Forensic Directory, Who's Who in Midwest/American Education. Legal specialties: Boat accident reconstruction, drowning, boating, alcohol, diving, pools, hypothermia, low head dams, Flotation Devices, rescue procedures, jet skis (Personal Watercraft), water skiing, rules of the road. Certified: Aquatic Facility Operator (AFO); Risk Evaluator; American Red Cross Lifeguard. Member: National- Water Safety Congress; Recreation and Parks Association; Safe Boating Council, etc.


July 1981 to Present, Expert Witness Experience:

Retained or consulted in over 500 cases with aquatics, boating or Jones Act litigation.  Have assisted defense or plaintiffs’ counsel in cases involving accident reconstruction/analysis including (but not limited to): boat collisions, capsizings and groundings; jet skis/Wave Runners;  murder by drowning; drowning progressions-signs of drowning; drowning in swimming pools, lakes and at beaches; cervical spine injuries on boats, in above ground and in ground pools as well as at beaches, plus diving from boats; pool/beach design and construction: water skiing and tubing; white water rafting; aquatic accidents at, in or below hydro electric plants and low head dams; water and boat rescues; life guarding procedures; alcohol and environmental stressors/factors including hypothermia; signs and warnings; reconstruction of water and boating accidents; personal flotation devices; human factors.  The foregoing includes numerous reports, depositions and courtroom testimonies.

July 1981 to Present, Instructional Experience:

Retired from active duty June 30, 1981.  Completed Ph.D. in Education (emphasis--psychology).  Established consulting service to provide information  and seminars in: water and boating safety; hypothermia and near drowning; practical teaching applications; interpersonal communications and related subjects. Featured as leader/speaker in numerous national seminars.  Professional Development Lecturer, National Safety Council-Congress. Taught throughout North America, initially averaging  100 aquatic safety seminars per year to: Public Safety and Health personnel; Job Corps; Department of Commerce; U.S. Army Corps of Engineers; National Park Service; Armed Forces; State/Regional EMT groups, Pool Operators/Lifeguards.  Served on: National Sea Exploring Advisory Council-BSA; Board of Directors- National Transportation Safety Association.  Published Water Wise and Teaching Tips.  Certified Risk Evaluator, Old Dominion University.


Coast Guard Service:

1976 to July 1981

Chief, Boating Safety Division/State Liaison Officer, Second Coast Guard District, St. Louis.  Interacted with boating safety officials in fifteen primary and six secondary states (Allegheny to Rocky Mountains).  Developed nation's first immersion hypothermia presentations.  Also generated programs to aid volunteer instructors in teaching aquatic safety.  Spoke to/trained thousands of fire and aquatic safety instructors /lifeguards.  Appeared on numerous TV/radio programs.  Featured in national magazines-newspaper articles, including: Family Circle, Boy's Life, New York Times Magazine, The Physician and Sportsmedicine.  Work recognized or awarded by:

  • American Red Cross;
  • Canadian Red Cross;
  • National Safety Council;
  • Boy Scouts of America;
  • Girl Scouts of the United States;
  • National EMT Association;
  • National Water Safety Congress;
  • National Association of State Boating Law Administrators;
  • Council for National Cooperation in Aquatics;
  • Aquatic Council, American Alliance for Physical Education, Health, Recreation and Dance
  • National Recreation and Park Association;
  • National Swimming Pool Institute;
  • Royal Air Force:
  • Australian Volunteer Coast Guard;
  • International Life Boat Conference plus other national and international organizations.
  • Awarded: U.S. Coast Guard Achievement Medal and Meritorious Service Medal in recognition of work in Boating and Anti-drowning activities on national and international basis.​


Executive officer (second in command), USCG Base Honolulu.  Primary duty--processing hundreds of men and women suffering from personality dysfunctions, situational anxiety, or disciplinary cases.  Active in drug/alcohol problem identification-counseling.


Commanding Officer, 1000 ton Cutter Buttonwood.  Responsible for aids to navigation-isolated station supply of Leeward Islands, Oahu to Midway.  Served as Scoutmaster, Cub Scout leader, co-commodore for Sea Exploring in State of Hawaii.


Aids to Navigation staff, USCG HQ.  Completed Masters Degree.  Rewrote USCG Aids to Navigation Manual.  Wrote several other USCG publications.  Studied audio/visual-signage techniques. 


Commander, USCG Group Charlevoix, MI.  Responsible for personnel and operations of 14 Coast Guard units on upper Lakes Michigan and Huron.  Held Search and Rescue responsibility for Michigan side of lakes.  Served as Skipper of Sea Explorer Ship.  Expanded on experience as Eagle Scout, Quartermaster Sea Explorer, Boy Scout Life Guard-Merit Badge Counselor, Red Cross Water Safety Instructor.


Graduated from USCG Academy.  Several tours of duty, two as commanding officer.  First afloat command, primarily in search and rescue, aboard USCGC Cape Knox, Norfolk, VA. 

  • B.S. Naval Science (Honors), U.S. Coast Guard Academy.
  • M.Ed. American University, Washington, D.C.
  • Ph.D. Education, Saint Louis University, St. Louis, MO.

Legal Experienced In:

  • Aquatic Accident Reconstruction.
    • Boat Collisions Including Personal Watercraft (Jet Skis).
    • Drowning In Any Environment: Pools, Lakes, Dams, Hot Tubs, Boats, Etc.
    • Alcohol Affected Aquatic Accidents.
    • Diving Injuries In Pools/From Boats, Etc.
    • Hypothermia, Immersion/Terrestrial.
    • Low Head And Elevated Dams.
    • Flotation Devices (PFD’s, Inflated rafts).
    • Rescue Procedures.
    • Lifeguarding At Pools/Beaches.
    • Water Skiing/Tubing.
    • Canoeing/White Water Rafting.
    • Safety Signage.
    • Human Factors Related to Boating/Swimming Accidents.
    • Environmental Factors related to Boating/Swimming Accidents.
  • Merchant Vessels (Inspected/Uninspected).
    • Rules Of The Road, Inland/International.
    • Jones Act.
    • Passenger Vessel Litigation.
    • Barge/Recreational Vessel Collisions.
    • Man Overboard/Crew Member Disappearances.
  • Aquatic Facility Operator (AFO).
  • Risk Evaluator: Old Dominion University.
  • American Red Cross Lifeguard.
  • American Red Cross Water Safety Instructor.
  • Commanding Officer USCG 100 Ton-1000Ton Vessels, Inland/International Waters.
  • Commanding Officer USCG Rescue/Aids to Navigation Facilities.
  • Deck Watch Officer/Navigator/Executive Officer USCG Vessels Inland/International.
Professional Memberships / Associations / Societies:
  • National Water Safety Congress.
  • National Recreation and Parks Association.
  • National Safe Boating Council.
  • National Advisory Council, Sea Exploring Boy Scouts of America.
  • National Transportation Safety Association.
  • Water Rescue: Basic Skills for Emergency Responders. Hanover, MD: Mosby Lifeline, 1993.
  • The Spexcercise Handbook (with M.C. Smith).  St. Louis: SPX, 1989.
  • Water Wise.  (Aquatic Safety, Near Drowning, Hypothermia Manual) (with S.J. Smith).  St. Louis: SASS, 1984 (Rev. 1987).
  • Aquatic Safety, Cold Water Survival, Hypothermia Manual.  St. Louis: SASS, 1982.
  • Hypothermia, Cold Water Survival, Critical Care Supplement.  St. Louis: SASS, 1982.
  • SMITH'S Teaching Tips.  St. Louis: SASS, 1981 (Rev. 1985).
  • Handbook of Cold Water Survival.  St. Louis: Second Coast Guard District, 1978.
  • USCG Aids to Navigation Manual (CG-222).  Vol. I & II. Washington, D.C.: USCG     Headquarters, 1972.


II. Articles: (Partial listing. Arranged by date. Current contributions primarily in Northern Michigan.)

  • Contributor/Reviewer: American Red Cross, Small Craft Safety Manual, 1997.
  • "Water Safety and the Towing Industry" Waterways Journal, St. Louis, June 22, 1995.
  • "Cold Imperils Workers on Waterways." Waterways Journal, St. Louis, November 22, 1993.
  • "Alcohol and Water Don't Mix. St. Louis Post Dispatch, Friday, August 27, 1993.
  • "Accidental Hypothermia."Postgraduate Medicine, February 1987.
  • "Hypothermia: Ubiquitous Malady or Provident Protector."  Fire Chief Magazine, 11/1986.
  • "Water Safety for Firefighters."  Fire Chief Magazine, November 1985.
  • "Notes on Drowning: The Preventable Tragedy."  The Physician and Sportsmedicine, July 1984.
  • "Hypothermia Tips."  Ducks Unlimited Magazine, September/ October 1983, p. 29.
  • "Cold Water Dangers."  Lakeland Boating, May 1983.
  • "Living Death."  RN, January 1983.
  • "Drowning: The Things We Know That Aren't So."  U.S. Naval Institute Proceedings, 12/1982.
  • "Safety Specialist Discusses Drowning/Maritime Industry."  The Waterways Journal,  8/1982.
  • "CPR-3 --Cold Protective Response."   Response!,  Summer 1982.
  • "Water Safety in the Coast Guard."  USCG Academy Alumni Bulletin, January/February 1982.
  • "Do Alcohol and Water Really Mix?"  Proceedings of the Merchant Marine Safety Council, 38          (May 1981): pp. 75-76.
  • "New Life Saving Facts About Water Safety."  Family Circle, August 1980, p. 50.
  • "Sudden Drowning Syndrome."  The Physician and Sportsmedicine, June 1980.


III. Media Presentations--Contributed to/Featured in:

(Arranged by date.  Partial listing. Current contributions primarily in Northern Michigan.)

  • Various appearances on national/international television news programs such as Al Jazeera re             Costa Concordia capsizing, Spring, 2012.
  • Recognition, Field Management, Transport of the Hypothermia Victim, Fire and Emergency             Television Network (FETN) January, 1994
  • Cold, Wet and Alive. American Canoeing Association/A Nichols Production, January, 1992.
  • Ice Rescue Basics.  Fire Emergency Television Network (FETN), December 1991.
  • Water Rescue for Fire Fighters.  FETN, August 1991.
  • Survival Swimming to Save a Life.  Encyclopedia Britannica Educational Corporation, film.  April      1988.
  • "Water Safety for Fire Fighters."  American Heat (TV news magazine for emergency responders.)      April/May 1987.
  • Waterproof Your Family.  Fort Collins, CO: Dive Rescue International, 1987.  Slide/tape/video          tape presentation.
  • "Dead or Alive?"  A Closer Look. CBS-TV, (EMMY award) September 1985.
  • "A Human Reflex Kept Jimmy Alive."  USA Today, 25 January 1984.
  • "Near Drowning Victims--Beware of the Obvious."  RN, June 1982.
  • Allen, Deborah.  "Cold, Blue, Rigid, Alive."  Family Safety, Spring 1981, pp. 4,5,30.
  • "MDR-Surviving Underwater."  Firehouse Magazine, February 1981.
  • "That's Incredible."  TV program, Alan Landsberg Prod., 1980.
  • "Gift of Nature Helps Drowning Victim Escape Death's Clutches."  St. Louis Globe-Democrat, 3         March 1980.
  • "Life Beyond Death for Drowning Victims."  Toronto Sunday Sun, 13 April 1980.
  • Cold Water Near Drowning: What You Can Do.  Fort Collins, CO: Dive Rescue International,            1980.  Slide/tape presentation.
  • Water--The Timeless Compound.  Minneapolis: Lutheran Brotherhood Insurance Company, Countryman/Clang Films, 1980.
  • Robbins, Eldon.  "The Chill That Kills."  Fishing Facts Magazine, October/November 1979,


IV. Papers/Presentations: (Arranged by date. Partial Listing. Current presentations primarily in Northern Michigan)        

  • "Water Safety Test" International Boating/Water Safety Seminar, San Diego, CA, 1997.
  • "Cold Water Boating Safety-In Water Workshop", Inland Seas Education Asso., Traverse City,          MI, February, 1997.
  • "H20 Safety IQ Quiz" - American Sail Training Asso., Annual Meeting, Baltimore, MD,         December, 1996.
  • "Water Mishaps - Accident Investigation" National Association of Legal Investigators, Traverse       City, MI, June, 1996.
  • "Drowning Scenarios" Aquatic Injury Safety Group, (AISG)
  • Nashville, TN, April, 1993.    
  • "Aquatic Accident Basics."  National Association of Legal Investigators, St. Louis, June, 1992.
  • "Understanding Aquatic Accidents".  National Recreation and Parks Association, Fort Lauderdale,      March, 1992.
  • "Notes on Drowning."  AISG, Wash, DC, April, 1990.          
  • "Highway Hypothermia."  Trauma and Emergency Seminar, Research Medical Center,            Chillicothe, MO, May 1987.
  • "Facts About Alcohol and Aquatics."  National Swimming Pool
  • and Aquatics Symposium, Indianapolis, March 1987.
  • "Alcohol, Trauma and Hypothermia." Fire Department Instructors' Conference, Cincinnati, March    1984; National Association of EMT's, 1985; Mid American Symposium on Trauma, 1984.         "Drownproofing and the Water Safety Spectrum."  Aquatic
  • Council, AAPHERD, Boston, April 1981.
  • "Safe Swimming Strategies."  Lutheran Brotherhood Ins. Company, Minneapolis, March 1981.
  • "Behavior Modification."  National Boating Safety Education Seminar, Tampa, March 1981.
  • "The Cold Water Connection."  13th International Life Boat Conference, The Hague, April ‘79.


V. Groups Lectured to/Sponsored by: (Partial listing.)   

  • Alaska Governor's Safety Council-Public Health/Safety Depts.
  • American Alliance for Health, Phys. Ed., Recreation & Dance.
  • American Red Cross, National Aquatic Staff and Chapters.
  • Boy Scouts of America.
  • Canadian Red Cross Society/Royal Life Saving Society.
  • Colleges/Universities: Ohio State, Missouri, Oregon State, New Mexico State, Illinois State, etc.
  • Conservation/Water Patrol officers throughout N. America.
  • Council for National Cooperation in Aquatics.
  • Emergency Medical Technician Associations-Nationwide.
  • FDIC/International Society of Fire Fighting Instructors.
  • Fire/Police/Public Safety Organizations and Agencies.
  • Hospital and Medical Center Staff.  (Numerous locations throughout N. America.)
  • Inland Waterways Safety and Health Association.
  • National Association for Search and Rescue.  (NASAR).
  • National Association of State Boating Law Administrators.
  • National Park service.
  •  National Power Squadrons.
  • National Recreation and Parks Association.
  • National Safety Council-Congress.
  • National Swimming Pool Institute.
  • Tennessee Valley Authority.
  • U.S. Air Force, Search-Rescue-Recovery Squadron.
  • U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.
  • U.S. Army 1st Infantry Div.; 75th Ranger Battalion; 1st         Special Forces Group.
  • U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary.
  •  U.S. Coast Guard National Search/Rescue School/EMT School.
  • U.S. Naval and Marine Corps Reserves.

VI. Honors/Recognition: (Partial Listing.  Arranged by date.)

  • Emergency Services Instructor of the Year, 1998. Illinois E.M.T. Assoc., Springfield, IL.
  • Australian Volunteer Coast Guard Honor Recognition, 1985.
  • AAPHERD, Aquatic Council Honor Award, 1983.
  • National Association of State Boating Law Administrators National Award, 1981.
  • National water Safety Congress, National Award 1981; Regional Award, 1980.
  • U.S. Coast Guard Achievement Medal, 1981.
  • National Safety Council, Marine Section, Chairman's Award, 1980.
  • North Central States Boating Law Administrators, 1979.
  • U.S. Coast Guard Commendation Medal, 1979.
  • Rhode Island Boating Council/International Hypothermia Conference-U of Rhode Island, 1979.
  • George Washington Honor Medal, Freedoms Foundation, Valley Forge, 1970.
  • Cokesbury Scholarship, American University, 1968.
  • U.S. Coast Guard/Treasury Department Award for Improving Informational Services to the Public,     1968.

VII. Thesis/Dissertation:

  • "Improving Aquatic Safety Through Research and An Educationally Based Model for Behavioral Change."  Ph.D. Dissertation, Saint Louis University, St. Louis, MO, 1981.
  • "Comparing the Educational and Military Dropout."  Master's Thesis, American University, Washington, D.C., 1970.

VIII. Affiliated with/Certified as Associate Instructor:

(Partial listing. Past/present.)

  • Alaska:
    • Sitka Community College.
  • Arkansas:
    • State Department Education, Division of  Vocational, Technical and Adult Education.
  •  Illinois:
    • ​Frontier Community College, Fairfield. 
    • Lake Land College, Mattoon.
  • Iowa:
    • Eastern Iowa Community College, Bettendorf.
    • North Iowa Community College, Mason City.
    • Northeastern Iowa Technical Institute, Calmar.
    • Southeastern Community College, West Burlington.
  • Missouri:
    • Forest Park Community College, St. Louis.
    • St. Louis County Fire Academy, St. Louis.
  • Michigan:
    • North Central Michigan College, Petoskey.
  • Nebraska:
    • Central Community College, Columbus.

IX. Additional Affiliated Accrediting Institutions:

  • National Registry of Emergency Medical Technicians.
  • National Safety Council,
  • Safety Training Institute.
  • Various State Nursing Boards.
  • Various State Departments of Health.

X. Past Certifications/Responsibilities:

  • American Red Cross:
    • Lifeguard,
    • Water Safety Instructor;
  • Boy  Scouts of America:
    • Life Guard,
    • Eagle Scout,
    • Quartermaster Sea Explorer,
    • Scoutmaster,
  • Sea Explorer Skipper.
  • President, Charlevoix Area Community Pool Board.
Fee Schedule:
  • Retainer Fee: 3500.00 retainer to be drawn aganist:required to commence work in case.


  • Hourly Rate: $300.00 per hour for research,consultation,site visit, reconstruction, written report, etc.


  • Deposition: $300.00 per hour: four hour minimum.


  • Testimoney: $300.00 per hour: Four hour minimum--court appearance and while waiting to appear.


  • Travel: $150.00 per hour


  • Miscellaneous: Lodgings,meals,car rental, car insurance,gasoline tips, etc. to be paid by client at cost.