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post #561 of 790 Old 01-06-2019
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Re: Suicide at Sea and captain charged

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.....The whole thing is fishy. Too the point that without all the information no definite formulation can be made and no just assignment of the presence of negligence or degree of negligence can be made. I am starting to wonder about a back story thatís yet to be disclosed causing the prosecution to act.
While you and I would both admit this to be speculative, it does seem possible. The summary investigation, which solely recounts crew interviews, just doesn't seem to add up (ie instant assessment of death, comm inop, not turning around, yet hailing on VHF. What's the hail for, if they maintain he was dead and unrecoverable). That's not enough to convict, but it would certainly be enough for a prosecutor to dig deeper. That digging factually lead them to pursue an indictment.

For the greater audience, in the end, this has never been about whether he's guilty of a particular crime. I believe we've all excessively focused on the law. This analysis is, at the very least, what is expected of us to avoid having to sit under house arrest with an ankle bracelet. That answer is abundantly clear. Be more careful of who you take on as crew and insure you either arrive with them or make every effort to retrieve them.


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post #562 of 790 Old 01-06-2019
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Re: Suicide at Sea and captain charged

Didn’t mean to require an AP. In fact against the government requiring anything. My only sentiment is people should be responsible for the consequences of their decisions. That should be enough to incentivize people to appropriately prep their boats and go to sea with decent crew. What decisions they make is on them. I don’t see where I stipulated the need for any requirements for recreational boats.
Have friends who single. Have friends with no AP just ancient Monitors. Still they make safe passages. At this point I would think twice about doing that myself. Vanes don’t work if you’re under power. Boat doesn’t sail if you’re hurt. Don’t think anyone but the person/people on the boat can decide what their comfortable with. I do think,when you have a bunch of idiots like the father/son team who where repetitive bailed out causing tax dollars to be wasted it’s ok to intervene both for their safety and to prevent further wasteful expenditures. But beyond situations like that believe people should be left to their own devices.

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post #563 of 790 Old 01-06-2019
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Re: Suicide at Sea and captain charged

Not much Vetting took place. If you meet each other for the 1st time in your life @ 11 p.m. and you set sail @ 9 a.m. the next morning, how much can you really learn.
I wouldn't get in a car and go for milk and bread with someone I didn't know, let alone go to sea.

Chef, aren't you "assuming" that the guy lied about taking drugs? "assuming" that he intentionally took his own life?

There could be a very simple explanation for the Flyby conversation regarding the drugs. He could have assumed the captain was asking about "illegal" drugs. ( which is what he was reported to explain) I might answer the same way if someone asked me if I took drugs. Words do matter. If someone asked are you taking any " medications" for example, that may have elicited a different answer.
Sure, the guy could have been lying or rather not forthcoming, to cover up his illnesses in order to get a berth, but we'll never know now.

Sure, there's back stories to everything. I wonder, how long the guy was taking some of those medications, particularly the antidepressants, before he arrived. Were they newly prescribed? With not a sufficient time period to evaluate any interactions or side effects? Why were they needed?

I also, wonder why a licensed captain who makes his living from his boat and license would even contemplate allowing marijuana on their vessel? AFAIK your vessel can be seized for mere possession, and you could lose your license.

The Captain is lucky he didn't get caught in N.J. with a firearm onboard, he'd never see the light of day, that's how crazy our laws are.


The Trial starts tomorrow, I guess we'll all find out soon enough what the missing pieces are. Maybe the Judge will just order he be whacked over the head twice with a winch handle and sent on his way.
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post #564 of 790 Old 01-06-2019
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Re: Suicide at Sea and captain charged

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Originally Posted by outbound View Post
Chief what I do is pretty standard. For 35 years Iíve seen what my friends and colleagues do and do just about the same. Most of my friends have no medical background and this business of my possibly having greater insight is heart warming but I think misplaced.

Call for candidates-OPOand other agencies, friends, my own crew list, SDR etc.
Vet resumes
After weeding resumes call likely candidates.
Weed again
Call references
Weed again
Call short list candidates. Depending on above ask for interview/short sail/ further background information/additional references etc.

My standard questions include
Sailing experience
Formal training if any
Mechanical,electrical, communication, weather, navigation, electronic or computer skills
Work history
Some sense of educational level and intelligence
Past medical history and current medical history ,med list, vital statistics, age, level of fitness , habits (alcohol/tobacco/drugs) and how prone to seasickness
Allergies both food and drug
Food preferences
What they will bring to the boat(comm/nav/safety/harness/tether etc.)
Allowable time window and constraints

All this is pretty standard stuff. Run through a lot of crew. Due to weather windows timing out crew availability ran through one set (RI to VA) a second (VA to NC) and a third (NC to Antigua) just this year getting down to the islands. The good ones tend to buy their own boat and go cruising themselves or be in high demand or having ticked off the box on their bucket list are no longer available. Still, repeats, referrals from friends and pros needing days at sea tend to be the best.
Inspite of due diligence have been successfully lied to resulting in true winners. Most of these were apparent upon arrival so thrown off the boat then. Give crew at least a day to settle in, be educated to the boat, go through drills etc. Have thrown a few off then. By thrown I mean I take them aside and point out to them how dangerous it is for them to do the trip. On only one occasion did I have to be insistent. All the rest of times the rejected crew realized they werenít suitable and expressed thanks that this was pointed out to them.

I continue to suspect this captain didnít do his due diligence. But totally agree this is a suspicion not based on demonstrated facts. Iím a fat old man but with decent skills and fitness. I take other fat old men on passage. I usually get them to do a bit of labor and a task requiring some balance, time on the nav and sailing equipment. In short before we leave I want a sense of how each crew will function on passage and their personality. Passage can be great fun or miserable. My life is on the line as well. Think any decent captain gets to this place in their own idiosyncratic fashion before leaving.
Sounds good and standard to what I've been asked.
Curious as to why you don't do a criminal background check?


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post #565 of 790 Old 01-06-2019
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Re: Suicide at Sea and captain charged

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I also, wonder why a licensed captain who makes his living from his boat and license would even contemplate allowing marijuana on their vessel?
A pretty high percentage of all professions are regular pot smokers these days.

They usually are aware of and accept the risks.
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post #566 of 790 Old 01-06-2019
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Re: Suicide at Sea and captain charged

Yeah, never mind the facts and the law. Let's vilify this guy with a fictional narrative.

I certainly don't fault anyone for meticulously vetting crew, but this captain satisfied himself that this person, with his experience and skills, would contribute to the sailing of the boat. He might also have been misled, probably unintentionally, by the crew who Pontius was replacing. She couldn't sail with him all the way to the islands, so she lined up Pontius to replace her, and likely assured the Captain that Pontius was skilled, experienced crew, which was apparently true, but she probably didn't know about his mood altering meds. Ordinarily, the best information would come from a person who knows and has sailed with him.

The captain was misled by Pontius, who lied about his meds, and also, perhaps unintentionally, by the woman who assured him that Pontius was a sufficiently skilled, experienced sailor to do the job.

Some of you take on elderly crew with reduced physical abilities, and you use them within the scope of their abilities. If Pontius had swollen feet, he could steer while sitting. He taught sailing. His seamanship skills would be useful.

Hell, I'm old, and when I crew on a different boat I usually get plunked on the windward rail at first. If I want to move on to more involvement with the sailing of the boat I have to demonstrate that I can perform at least as well as the guy who is currently working in the cockpit. An old guy with tons of experience, seamanship skills and knowledge is worth at least as much as one young, heavily muscled crew who lacks all that. I don't have to be told what to do and how to do it, like some younger guys. People with limited physical abilities can still be competent, useful crew. You use them within their limitations.
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Re: Suicide at Sea and captain charged

But doing so will increase the chances your duty of care will be required to override your self interest.
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Re: Suicide at Sea and captain charged

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A pretty high percentage of all professions are regular pot smokers these days.

They usually are aware of and accept the risks.

Yeah, I know some of them too. I guess I'm just a pretty stodgy old guy when it comes to that. I don't care what you do on land. but it's not worth the risk to me to have it on my boat.
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Re: Suicide at Sea and captain charged

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A pretty high percentage of all professions are regular pot smokers these days.

They usually are aware of and accept the risks.
For the record, if you have a license you need to have some type of drug testing protocol. I am part of a drug testing consortium.

I would be curious how the owner, who had an OUPV, com0lied with this requirement. As I posted in CF, really confused why the USCG did not require a drug test after taking his report.
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post #570 of 790 Old 01-06-2019
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Re: Suicide at Sea and captain charged

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A pretty high percentage of all professions are regular pot smokers these days.

They usually are aware of and accept the risks.
Not sure what you mean by high percentage. It varies greatly by both age and profession. The highest adoption rate I've seen is only around 30% and that was for males under 30. I know 50 somethings that are returning to the game, but they are still single digits.

A fascinating aside that I hope doesn't start a pot/alcohol drift, is that men out-consume women with both pot and alcohol.

Bottom line to this thread, however, is the character aspect. When the prosecutor was deciding whether their recount of the incident made sense, I doubt having illegal substances aboard lent itself to their credibility. Another take away for the rest of us.


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