Join Date: Oct 2009
Location: Swarthmore, PA
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Re: Another tragedy on the water
Grossly overloaded, that's obvious. If they were there to watch fireworks, I would bet that most of them were sitting on the foredeck, which makes the load even more topheavy. And then a small wake makes it start to tip over, and all that weight shifts to the low side of the boat and it's game over. This is purely speculation on my part.
Fortunately there were only a couple dozen boats out on the Delaware last night. There was no single huge fireworks show in the area - just a bunch of shows sprinkled in different towns along the river's edge, so the boats were well dispersed instead of clustered tightly.
We sailed after dark, but kept the deck light on, which illuminated our headsail to make us more visible to the other boaters. As usual, there were powerboats that were going WAY too fast for the conditions.
I always keep an airhorn right at the binnicle - day and night, it goes there every time we go out. We keep it in the same bag with our winch handle, RAM mic, outboard lanyard, etc., so it comes out every time without fail. I'm not sure it would be loud enough for a powerboater to hear, but it's there to try if necessary, and I will not hesitate to use it aggressively if anyone comes too close.
Rick S., Swarthmore, PA
USCG Certified Captain, 50 Ton Master and OUPV
ASA Certified 101/103/104/105/106
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2001 Catalina 34MkII Tall Rig Breakin' Away, Universal Diesel M35B, Mantus 35 lb. anchor, sailing out of Rock Hall Landing Marina