Monday, June 13, 2011

Boat Capsizes, Rescues and Accidents

Coast Guard, fire departments and other rescuers were busy on the water this past weekend...

Boat vs. Breakwater. U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 1st Class Jeff Davis

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

This past weekend, the Coast Guard and other first responders on the water were quite busy...

Boat vs. Breakwater (Pictured)
This first story happened prior to the weekend, but is worth sharing. Two boaters crashed their one-day-old 33-foot express cruiser into the breakwater at Burns Harbor, Indiana, last week, leaving one man critically injured. The Chicago Tribune goes on to report that the boat was going an estimated 30 to 35 mph in an after-dark 10 mph zone (the distress call went out at 3:15 a.m.) Life jackets were found stored on the boat, unused. While the article states at least one of the two onboard was an experienced boater, there is no mention of alcohol in article about the 3 a.m. accident - until you get to the comments section, where people are free to add unfiltered commentary - some of those comments suggested alcohol was involved in this accident.

Lake Erie: Better Safe than Sorry
Two boaters on a 26-foot boat put out a distress call on Saturday from Brest Bay, in the Michigan part of Lake Erie, because they were taking on water. Their boat was able to safely return to shore with an escort by the U.S. Coast Guard, so luckily, no news here, although the headline in the local papers read "Coast Guard rescues distressed boaters". While this may or may not be considered a full-blown "rescue" since it appears the boaters were able to return under their own power, the boaters did the right thing. Call the Coast Guard at the first sign of trouble to give them time to locate you in case your boat actually does fully capsize. You'll see that actually happened in our other stories from the weekend.

Close Call on Falls Lake
According to WTVD, an airboat on North Carolina's Falls Lake caught on fire Saturday afternoon, then it flipped over due to high winds, leaving its passengers scrambling to stay afloat - with no life jackets. Full story.

Niagara River reports that a 22-foot boat capsized at the mouth of the Niagara River near Lewiston, NY, early Saturday. Life Jackets were key to the four boaters' survival, according to the Coast Guard representatives that saved them.

Five Rescued from a 50-footer
ABC2 reports that a 50-foot boat struck a buoy and began taking on water near Fort McHenry (Baltimore) on Friday evening, requiring rescue from a Baltimore fire boat. No other details were provided in the article, but with such a large boat in such a crowded location, this must have been quite a scene.

Rescued after 22 hours. 2nd Five
John Ramsey of the Fayetteville (N.C.) Observer has a compelling article about a 25-foot boat that capsized with five people on board, leaving them clinging to the hull for 22 hours - 10 miles offshore. The article's details of how their boat was capsized show how quickly the unexpected can turn a day of fishing into a near tragedy. And considering that only one of the five was wearing a life jacket, it's a miracle they survived.

And 5 More
Live5News reports that a boat sank in Lake Moultrie on Saturday evening, leaving five boaters in the water - including an 8-year-old. All were wearing life jackets and quickly rescued.

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


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