Suicide at Sea and captain charged - Page 3 - SailNet Community
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post #21 of 790 Old 12-10-2018
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Re: Suicide at Sea and captain charged

Quote:
Smith said he watched Pontious sink. The water was lit well by a nearly full moon. The wind was at 5 knots, which is calm.

Smith asked Pepper to shine the spotlight down. They saw nothing.

“There is nothing we can do,” Smith said.

Pepper and Morningstar were both shaking with fear.

Smith grabbed the VHF radio to try and contact other vessels. Only static.

Morningstar asked Smith if they should turn the boat around. Smith did not.

Larson, the captain who also charters sailboats out of St. John and has known Smith for 10 years, said he’s not sure he would have done anything different.

“You can’t just turn a boat like that around in the middle of the ocean,” Larson said.
The crux of the story is here, above. In particular the time between each line.

The captian should have turned the boat around and done a propper MOB search; stayed on station; called the USCG; used an EPIRB; fired flares; and used the HF Radio there and then to call for help, not waiting until morning when death was certain.

You cant just sail off because you have had a physical altercation.
That doesn't mean the captain at fear for his life from this 250 pound person needed to just pick him up again... but with 3 crew they could have found the man and used some creative strategy to bond him securely. Perhaps not letting him back onto the boat until he was bound. If he refused to be bound he could be left in the water with a long line and a few fenders to support him, or the dinghy.
The cost of a dinghy, lines, epirb etc is nothing compared to the cost of a persons life.

Further, in this day and age mental health issues should have permeated old idiots brains enough for people to realise you just cant kill people with mental health problems!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! He has the same responsibility to recover a healthy person as a mentally ill person NO MATTER WHAT the person has done. Are we humans??????????????????

The errant stupidity of bringing a crew on board without a reference, with no real knowledge of the person, with just 12 hours before sailing just staggers me.

The hubris to throw a life ring overboard after the Coast Guard flew over later is also staggering and shows, at the very least, a total lack of empathy, but I would suggest a criminal prima facie case of negligence in the acts and omissions of the captain.

Weather or not he should spend time in jail is not for me... but I don't think he should be allowed to have people on his boat ever again.


Imagine if it was a woman left to die...



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post #22 of 790 Old 12-10-2018
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Re: Suicide at Sea and captain charged

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Smith, Morningstar and Pepper would later tell a Coast Guard investigator that Pontious appeared out of shape when he first boarded the boat around 11 p.m. on Oct. 21. His feet were so swollen that they wouldnít fit in his shoes.
How much of an idiot captain do you need to be to go for a 10 day passage with a person whose feet are too swollen to fit in footwear?


Really?????


How does he keep his feet warm in the October north Carolina chill?

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post #23 of 790 Old 12-10-2018
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Re: Suicide at Sea and captain charged

I normally don't like to armchair QB these things but for this one, I'll make an exception.

Quote:
After an hour or so on the water, Pontious became seasick. The other crew members offered him a patch for motion sickness to put behind his ear but he refused.

That day he spent lying down and throwing up. When he did walk around the boat, he was wobbly. Strange for someone with many sailing hours logged.

The next day, Pontious relented and accepted the transdermal patch, but it didnít seem to help. He couldnít keep any food down.

At one point that afternoon, Pontious said to Pepper, ďDo waves ever sound like voices to you?Ē Later in the night, Pontious disclosed to Pepper that he saw ďblack spots in the clouds.Ē
The "captain" has two primary responsibilities; the safety of the crew and the safe operation of the vessel. I can think of no valid reason why after underway for "an hour or so" that they did not either return to the original departure point, or head toward another port.

On day 2 when the guy started asking about waves sounding like voices (now underway for a day), they should have been headed toward port AND on the VHF.

After things had escalated to the point where Pontious was knocked down, he should have been restrained and the captain should have issued a MAYDAY, and activated the EPIRB.

Regarding the question of his medical history; I have a medical questionnaire that I give to all prospective crew. Crew fill it out, or they don't come aboard. I don't read it, or keep it. I only have the crew member show me that it is filled out, and where they will store it. I only look if it becomes necessary (and a situation has never arisen on my boat where it was).

HIPPA, Freedom of speech (no politics other than my own!) and ADA do not apply on my boat. My boat, my rules.


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post #24 of 790 Old 12-10-2018
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Re: Suicide at Sea and captain charged

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Originally Posted by MarkofSeaLife View Post
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How much of an idiot captain do you need to be to go for a 10 day passage with a person whose feet are too swollen to fit in footwear?


Really?????


How does he keep his feet warm in the October north Carolina chill?
Why would you accept someone in that poor condition to help crew a boat on a week long passage where physically taxing activity is likely to be demanded of them? A lot of really bad things happened here starting with the captain fostering a bad atmosphere near the start of the trip and keeping it going.

Most of us here would have put to port at the first sign of trouble and left him off at the dock calling for assistance from the Police, Coast Guard, etc if need be. Perhaps there was some other relationship going on there (pusher who provided their weed perhaps) that made them want to keep him aboard.

This was discussed at some length before quite some time ago (its come up now and then in the past 3 years) and the story is a bit more complex than a 250 lb gorilla suddenly going loony on a boat and jumping overboard. The skipper had days to react to this situation not just moments so no snap decision was required here.
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post #25 of 790 Old 12-10-2018
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Re: Suicide at Sea and captain charged

HIPPA wouldn't apply to private boats, it's for medical providers and insurance companies.


I organize a charter trip with about 50 people. I have them fill out a medical form and seal it in an envelope. The envelopes stay in the nav station unless there's a medical emergency (this has never happened), then after the trip they are returned or destroyed. I'm not sure if this is the best solution to medical disclosure, but it's what I came up with.
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post #26 of 790 Old 12-10-2018
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Re: Suicide at Sea and captain charged

We dont have the facts needed....but lets not let that stop us from accusing and convicting.
Throw in some good outrage too
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post #27 of 790 Old 12-10-2018
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Re: Suicide at Sea and captain charged

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We dont have the facts needed....but lets not let that stop us from accusing and convicting.
Throw in some good outrage too
Yes, I know that. However, forums can be good for this sort of stuff. We rely on the resources we have. This article looks pretty well researched and written.
No doubt everyone is making their honest reactions on the story we have and what they would do, or think they would do, in the same situation.
We *think* we would perform much better than everyone else... but we dont know any of the pressures. Yes, youre right we only know a small percentage of what may have happened. But we would be remiss for safety if we did not discuss it until the time for the last appear has expired.

Unlike with US Judges, we don't presume guilt.

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post #28 of 790 Old 12-10-2018
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Re: Suicide at Sea and captain charged

I think the mistake was allowing this guy on the boat, and once it was apparent he was a problem, not turning around and/or heading back ashore to get him off.

But far was the sea recovery, the guy attacked the captain was hard for the crew to contain, and then jumped overboard not of his right mind. For those that argue that more should have been done to recover him (and probably there should have been) don't you feel this would have been putting the boat and rest of crew at danger?

I guess if it had been me I would have turned around and tried to recover him, but I would have been hard pressed to decide to bring him back aboard if he had display any aggression at that point.
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post #29 of 790 Old 12-10-2018
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Re: Suicide at Sea and captain charged

Turning around to locate the MOB and successfully getting one back aboard are totally different. There is absolutely no scenario where a professional Captain can fail to even turn around and look, let alone immediately inform SAR. Reportedly, heís admitted he didnít. Unless sea state was life threatening, I see no argument that it would put the current crew in any danger to search. Thatís going to cost him his license, Iím sure. It should.

If the MOB is located, the terms of his reboarding are a different matter. Odds are slim he would have been found anyway. Could be unconscious, delusional, etc. Lots of scenarios. The MOB remaining delusional, refusing assistance and drowning would not be dereliction of duty.

The potential they caused the delusions with the scope patch, then left him to die, is another threat to this Captain.

I donít get the gun thing, but what was the pot for, if they were tossing it before arrival? Was it to be consumed underway? Thatís another reason heíll lose his license. Was the victim impacted by second hand smoke, on top of the meds cocktail he was on? Perhaps their intent was to sneak the gun and pot into the Caribbean, but the potential USCG search concerned them.
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Re: Suicide at Sea and captain charged

The pot was put in his meals.
The gun belonged to the victim.
The vic had robbed a pawn shop just minutes before he boarded the boat.
He left the pawn shop thru the plate glass front window, losing his flip flops.
On tender feet, he ran to the marina.
While under the influence of really good killer weed, the cap and crew learned he had stolen 2 Super Bowl rings, 2 sets of drill bits and a rare porcelain doll.

The problem ocurred when the pawn shop assist manager in St John recognised one of the rings as originally his.

Lets enter Pretend Land, thinking truth and justice prevails......
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