Monday, May 23, 2011

Unsafe Start to Safe Boating Week

Weekend marred with multiple boating accidents and capsizes...

Nordic Mistress sinks in the Gulf of Alaska. U.S.C.G photo by Petty Officer 3rd Class Devin Lloyd.

Each Monday in the spring and summer we take a look at all the boating incidents from the weekend and share the ones that are unique and interesting, or that can provide a reminder about boating safety.

It is both ironic and unfortunate that this particular weekend, which coincided with the start of National Safe Boating Week, had so many boating accidents.

Alaska
On Sunday, the "Nordic Mistress", which is being described as a 60-foot pleasure craft, reportedly began to sink about 85 miles north of Kodiak. From the above photo, it looks like it finished the job. Alaska's KTVA reported that the five crewmembers all survived because they were able to:
  • Call for help on their VHF radio
  • Put on survival suits
  • Deploy and get into a life raft

California
In Tomales Bay on Sunday, pressdemocrat.com reported that seven people were trying to fit in a 12-foot aluminum boat, causing it to capsize. Did we mention that there was a small craft advisory at the time (30 mph winds), and none of the people were wearing life jackets? All were rescued and returned to shore via the Sonoma County sheriff's helicopter.

Minnesota
On Saturday, a boating accident on Lake Victoria resulted in two fatalities and sent four people to the hospital. According to valleynewslive.com, investigators believe that the boat was traveling at a high rate of speed before it lost control and struck several docks and trees.

Bahamas
NBC Miami is reporting that three boaters left Boynton Beach, Florida, and were anchored near West End in the Bahamas when their 35-foot boat sank Sunday morning. Luckily they were able to activate their personal locator beacon and put on life vests. They were found clinging to a cooler by the Coast Guard and rescued. It sounds like the PLB played a huge role in this rescue - it's hard to imagine that they would have been spotted so quickly without it, and there is no mention that they were able to get off a mayday signal.

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