19' open boat capsizes off the coast of Florida

Discussion in 'All Things Boats & Boating' started by Chickadee, May 16, 2016.

  1. Chickadee
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    Chickadee Junior Member

    Can't find any thread discussing this accident here, what's your take on this ? Some quotes from the medias, not sure they are all accurate :


    This makes it sounds like they were caught offshore with an out of order engine ?

    1. Could a second engine have helped to keep the boat against the waves, even a smaller one, useful for trolling and to be used here as a backup ? How much power needed in 40 miles/hour winds, but wind with the current (?) ?
    2. VHF radio, limited range, how helpful would it be, somewhere between Florida and the Bahamas ? Same question for cellphones to call 911, coastguards ?
    3. Setting some kind of sea anchor with lines, ropes, anchor, may have helped to keep the bow facing the waves ?
    4. Darwin award, boat too small, do not let 14 yo boys play with their boat, on the river or offshore, especially when bad weather is expected (apparently their parents didn't mind about their age or about weather) ?

    Could something happen inshore, and the boat drifts offshore ?

    Foulplay ?
     
  2. Mr Efficiency
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    Mr Efficiency Senior Member

    Presumably there would be an inquest into the deaths, and the known facts ventilated there. Otherwise it is just conjecture, as to what befell them.
     
  3. Chickadee
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    Chickadee Junior Member

    Still expecting Florida's authorities to find what happened to them, 11 months later... well, there is that iPhone they found, but I'm not sure it's going to talk much now ? And as this forum is about boats, other people may feel free to express themselves about this drama ?
     
  4. Mr Efficiency
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    Mr Efficiency Senior Member

    Plenty of things could have gone wrong. But storms in the area seems ominous. A local squall could have flipped the boat. Or could have come to grief on a bar. Hard to make an intelligent guess without knowing the area, the timelines, for example between when the phone connection was lost, and the upturned boat found, and wind, tide, and current info etc.
     
  5. Chickadee
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    Chickadee Junior Member

    Yes, that's exactly what I was trying to discuss here, only in a bit more detailed fashion... :)
     
  6. Mr Efficiency
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    Mr Efficiency Senior Member

    It's a grievous happening, if it makes others a little more cautious, that's about the only good likely to arise.
     
  7. sdowney717
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    sdowney717 Senior Member

    Boat too small for the prevailing weather.

    Boat gets swamped, flipped, no phones or radios will work anymore. Other engine be no help then.
    Stormy winds, cold rain, eventual hypothermia, the body shuts down, no clear thinking. And they could have been pummeled by that boat wearing them out or injuring themselves. Life vests on or off, the overturned boat all possessions would scatter away in the storm.

    In storms, other boats head to port, and visibility can be nil, so none would see a little overturned boat and it is hard to see someone in the water, and few eyes there would be looking..
     
  8. Chickadee
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    Chickadee Junior Member

    You maybe right about them heading out while the storm was announced, I think I heard about some witness talking about that, but the engine's battery was switched off, when they found the boat, meaning they had the engine off, probably out of order. If your boat capsizes while cruising, you certainly won't take the time to shut it off.

    I suspect they have been trapped offshore in the storm, without power. Usually summer storms don't last for long, if they could keep the boat aligned with the wind and waves, they should have survived. That's why I was talking about a second engine, or even using some form of sea anchor.

    I don't know from which direction do the storms come between Florida and the Bahamas, apparently there is some current, too. Someone knows this area ?
     

  9. PAR
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    PAR Yacht Designer/Builder

    This is a classic example and unfortunately we (Floridians) see it all too commonly. Interviews with the parents suggested these 14 year olds were very experienced, but really, how much deep sea experience does a 14 year old have. I'm sure they were very experienced at pulling their friends around in a tube and making wakes along the shore, but knowing what to do, when condisions go down the dumper . . .

    They got caught in the Gulf Stream and the boat was found hundreds of miles from the search areas. Who knows what happened, but adolescent immortality syndrome likely had a lot to do with their experience.
     
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