Monday, May 02, 2011

Capsizes and Rescues

May Day, May Day! Several capsizes and groundings this weekend resulted in dramatic rescues...

Lifeboat launched to assist in a rescue. Photo: RNLI/Mike Lang

The first day of May this past weekend marked the start of boating season across much of the US and the UK. As always, a new boating season means boats being tested for the first time after a long winter, water filled with debris from storms, channel markers that may not yet be righted for the season, and perhaps even a little rusty seamanship. Throw two or three of these things together and you're going to see articles like these involving capsizes, boats running aground, dramatic rescues or worse.

This past weekend was no exception.

Sunk in Salem
In Massachusetts, an experienced captain's 38 foot cabin cruiser sank in two minutes for no apparent reason, according to The Salem News, while the boat was exiting Salem Harbor under optimal conditions. Fortunately, he had taken the precaution of putting life jackets all over, including on the bridge. "I never would have gotten to a life jacket if they'd been in the cabin," stated the captain who was alone on his boat.

Dumb, Stupid.
Those were the words used by an 18 year old to describe his own actions after he hopped on a block of ice and rode it down a river in Alaska, according to the AP. Rescuers reached him after about a quarter-mile trip on top of the ice floe and brought him to shore, and then arrested him. Luckily no one was hurt trying to save the young man.We realize this wasn't a story about a boat, but since the kid thought his knowledge of boating could keep him safe on the frozen ice block, perhaps he should have demonstrated his competency by at least wearing a life jacket.

All Well in Iowa
Four folks, including two children, boating on Lake Manawa had to be rescued on Sunday when their boat sank. Luckily, all four were wearing life jackets, but the boat may have been overloaded, according to wowt.com. (You can see a brief video of the rescue after a long commercial on the source website.)

Twice in 4 Days? Really?
Across the pond, rescuers helped out the same boater on the same boat after it got into trouble for the second time in four days. The first incident, on Thursday, occured when the vessel ran out of fuel. On Sunday, the same boat apparent "broke down" and had to be attended to by a local RNLI lifeboat. The article describes the boat as "brand new", and our guess is that would also describe the experience level of the boat's operator. We recommend boating education for all boaters.

On the Rocks
RLNI crews were busy Sunday. In another incident in the UK, hundreds of people on the beaches of the English Riviera witnessed a couple being dramatically rescued from their 32 foot sailboat after it ran aground off Corbyn Head in Devon, England. The Herald Express reports that the skipper was an experienced sailor, but a combination of engine trouble and strong easterly winds resulted in the call for assistance and eventual loss of the vessel.

Check out FirstBoat.com's tips on boating safety, and stay tuned to the Daily Boater for more boating safety and seamanship articles.