I see this quite a lot on the Bay. On any SCA day in the summer, you'll hear a lot of Maydays. A lot of these guys go out in these open boats not realizing the chop that can build. Oftentimes, you hear that they can't even swim.
I was coming up the Bay on my buddies trawler one time. USCG broadcast a weather alert calling for 60kt winds, hail, and a possible tornado. We saw some people out in a Jon boat fishing. 2 adults and 1 or two kids. We told them of the alert, pointed to the black/purple cloud building over land, and offered to take them aboard. They said "no thanks, we're fine". I don't know if anything ever happened to them, but I would not want to be in a flat-bottomed aluminum lake boat in a Bay storm.
Going out in a boat that size, probably overloaded, with water temps in the mid 40s, and during an SCA... basically is asking to get a Darwin. Surviving a dunk in 46˚ water is a good way to get a heart attack or at the least a good case of hypothermia.
I checked with my contacts in the Norfolk area about what the weather was at the time. They confirmed winds 20 - 25 knots, waves about 3 - 5 feet. So it wasn't nice for a boat like that. According to the Norfolk local news, the men on the boat were vacationing from Arizona (if I recall correctly)--they visit every year for a week or two of fishing.
It's possible (and this is me hypothesizing) that they were feeling a certain amount of self-imposed pressure to head out to "make the most of it". Not an excuse, just a contributing factor to a bad decision. Either way, it's unfortunate.
69 and 89? lets call it 70 and 90 year old men. Tragic loss that makes no sense. They couldn't rent a boat? These guys trailering a Very inexpensive boat from AZ, flying back and forth over the holidays(read expensive tickets), and then trailering it back? Seems like they had the dough to fly a lot and pay for a hotel for the trailering guy, gas for his truck, etc. Why not just charter a boat made for 6 people? Not a single one had a life jacket on. There are so many things wrong with this I don't know where to start.
There is so much wrong with this situation. I live approx. a mile from the lesner bridge and have been out on power boats fishing through there many times. It is a treacherous area even on a calm day. There are numerous wrecks that have created shoals all around that area. The channel out is approx. half mile before entering seas and its narrow with heavy boat traffic. Any deviation from the channel is likely going to result in grounding. (I know from unfortunate experience) You can probably imagine the wake as this is not a wake zone and boats fly through there. Can be vary unsafe at times in good weather. The currents can average 6 plus knots around the bridge and entering the water there is not allowed. This specific area is like a bite where the Bay meets the Ocean. For a boat this size to go out on a good day would have it's dangers. And although it is vary sad hat has happened to these boaters, it was just plain stupidity to even attempt what they did in an over loaded boat on a day with those type of weather conditions.
VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (AP) — An 18-foot aluminum boat capsized Wednesday in cold, choppy Chesapeake Bay off Virginia Beach, killing two people aboard and sending four others to hospitals, police said.
Virginia Beach police spokesman Adam Bernstein said the six boaters, whom authorities have not identified, departed from the Lynnhaven Boat Ramp and Beach House and phoned in a distress call to the Coast Guard shortly before 9 a.m.
A Coast Guard helicopter crew rescued two of them and the others were recovered by boat, Coast Guard spokesman Kip Wadlow said.
The National Weather Service said the water temperature was 46 degrees at the Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel. It also had issued a small-craft advisory, with waves up to 5 feet high and strong winds.
Two boaters taken to Sentara Norfolk General Hospital were listed in good condition Wednesday afternoon, said spokeswoman Emma Inman.
The two people who died were among the four taken to Sentara Virginia Beach General Hospital. One survivor was in critical condition, the other in fair condition, Inman said.
Authorities have recovered the boat and are investigating.
Six guys, all adults, you're probably looking at close to 1200 lbs. or so of people. Most of the 18' fishing boats I've seen are designed for three people in general. Six would be a tight fit on most of them, and seriously overload most of them.