Tuesday, March 03, 2009

All This Attention Because of Football Fame

200 boats have capsized in past five months, Coast Guard says - CNN.com Do you think that these 4 football players are the only ones to run into problems at sea? Or is it just that we are too interested in fame to see that this kind of thing happens all the time.
Capsizing is one of the leading boating accidents, according to the Coast Guard's most recent report on recreational boating in 2007. Officials report there were 398 accidents from capsizing, causing 204 deaths and 284 injuries in 2007. Capsized boats cost nearly $1.8 million a year in property damages, officials say.
That doesn't include things like collisions with fixed objects (bridges for example) or just plain falling overboard.

Safety does require some action on the part of the captain.
The NFL players' boat capsized off Florida in waves up to 10 feet high while being buffeted by winds up to 45 miles per hour, Coast Guard officials said. They reported 110 cases since this fall where a boat has been beset by weather.
10 foot seas at anchor would be rough. In an open boat, I would be tempted to abandon the anchor, or put a buoy on the anchor rode* and note the position on GPS. Actually I probably would have not stuck around for 40 knot winds. (And I think I would have had life-vests on in those conditions.)

Even though I live in Greater Tampa Bay, and sail the Gulf of Mexico, I am still surprised that you can be 30 miles off-shore and still be in water shallow enough to anchor. Heading for deeper water usually makes a difference.

* Nautical Vocabulary Lesson: The line that connects an anchor to the boat is called an anchor rode, or just a rode. It can be all chain or chain and line. There are no ropes on a powerboat, and only one (or one type) on a sailboat. They are lines. Docklines, mooring lines, etc. On a sailboat you also have halyards (raise the sails) and sheets (control the sails). The only rope is a bolt-rope, which is actually sewn into a sail.

All this is made even more confusing when you buy your lines from a company called New England Rope.

Just don't call them ropes.

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