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Old 05-29-2014, 09:23 PM   #41
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Originally Posted by psneeld View Post
Questions aren't confrontational any more than news reports are accurate.

Damage (especially one quick internet photo) doesn't prove speed unless you are a trained boat accident investigator who has done the forensic calculations.

Alcohol may have been involved but not necessarily a contributing factor.

Just hoping that people on my jury aren't so quick to decide...just MY thoughts....
Wifey B: Vote psneeld guilty. Sentence to have to read more posts.....hehe. Not sure what I voted him guilty of. Just guilty, one woman jury. Oh heck, I'll show him mercy. Not guilty by reason of insanity. You're a free man. Hope you know I mean all this completely in jest. Your points are valid but then opinions are part of the forum life. Even wrong ones.

Seriously, we don't know all the facts but we know one boat sitting, one moving. One sitting highly unlikely to have suddenly leaped into path of one moving. I.e., great likelihood wreck was fault of one moving. Enough to cast reasonable suspicion although not enough to convict at this point, but as he said, this isn't a jury. Report said anchored vessel was properly lighted but we don't know for sure.

And we don't know if alcohol was involved. We also know there are many many tragedies on the water and a tremendous percentage of those involve alcohol. While that is not conclusive evidence to know it's involvement in this accident (sure that info will be forthcoming), it is a very real issue and a danger to all who use the waters. And that's a broader subject.

In the late 1980's, Chattanooga TN. Returning from Riverfest via Lake Chickamauga Lock, police gave breathalyzer tests and arrested and/or ticketed something in the area of 400 operators. At one time, one night, one place. Then they found out their was no applicable law for operating a boat under the influence and a breathalyzer application. That has been changed in TN. But still the boating community (and frankly the lakes and rivers are worse than coastal) tends to look too leniently toward those operating boats while under the influence. To many people boating and drinking seem to go together. When it's in the order of boating, then drinking, that's one thing. But it's a serious issue. We have occasional parties. We even occasionally sip champagne onboard, even lots of it. But never do we operate out boat or allow anyone to do so if we've had a drink. In fact, we follow commercial rules with slight modifications. No drinks within the previous 10 hours and less than .01 on a breathalyzer.

I think also even if moving boater was totally at fault, this is warning to all anchoring. There may be speeding or drunk or otherwise bad boaters. Careful where you anchor. And ILLUMINATE. Don't just follow the letter of the law. What if that anchor light went out? Make it obvious. Make it so no one will miss seeing it, even someone drunk. Had the moving boat been bigger then there easily could have been lives lost on the anchored boat and saying, we met the legal requirements, would be no consolation.
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Old 05-29-2014, 09:47 PM   #42
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Elliott Key is a favorite weekend hangout and an easy half-hour to half-day ride (depending on the boat) from Miami where you can spend the day on crystal blue water. There's plenty of anchorage to keep distance and still be part of the party. But when it thins out at night, coming through the anchorage area can be dodging and weaving for a mile or so, not because the boats are so dense, but some anchor near and some hundreds of yards from the beach. In daylight, people hotrod through the thick foolishly, of course (that's Miami), but to be at any kind of speed that time of night around the Key.....well, I dunno, it would take a lot more kahones or a lot less sense than I have to do it. With the bright party lights of one boat, the single mast light of another, etc., it's just damed hard to make-out what is what, and it's not just the boats....the anchor lines are just as hazardous and get struck even more often. We stopped camping out in Elliott Key after the first Memorial Day experience.
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Old 05-29-2014, 11:11 PM   #43
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That was a good trick on the officers part, since ethanol has no odor. As has been pointed out in court in DUI cases time and time again.
You are technically correct. What the officer should have said was that they smelled the odor of intoxicants, not the odor of alcohol.
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Old 05-29-2014, 11:11 PM   #44
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Larry, if you want to get away from the no see'ms and mosquitoes on Elliot Key, you will need to anchor about 1/2 to 3/4 of a mile off the Key. Bugs are attracted to lights. They can get very bad when the wind dies down.
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Old 05-29-2014, 11:19 PM   #45
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Elliott Key is a favorite weekend hangout and an easy half-hour to half-day ride (depending on the boat) from Miami where you can spend the day on crystal blue water. There's plenty of anchorage to keep distance and still be part of the party. But when it thins out at night, coming through the anchorage area can be dodging and weaving for a mile or so, not because the boats are so dense, but some anchor near and some hundreds of yards from the beach. In daylight, people hotrod through the thick foolishly, of course (that's Miami), but to be at any kind of speed that time of night around the Key.....well, I dunno, it would take a lot more kahones or a lot less sense than I have to do it. With the bright party lights of one boat, the single mast light of another, etc., it's just damed hard to make-out what is what, and it's not just the boats....the anchor lines are just as hazardous and get struck even more often. We stopped camping out in Elliott Key after the first Memorial Day experience.
Frankly, it's one of those places no one should be boating at night and if circumstances force you to be then it's an area to proceed at a crawl. We very seldom enter an inlet of any sort at night. The one exception is Port Everglades but then it's lighted better than a city street. Even there though we would be very careful if we were headed to Sylvan Lake or an area like that.

I hate that a life was lost and another in peril from what I read. I do hope though that others will at least take more caution in the area now. Unfortunately I'm afraid those who learn from events like this already are cautious and to others this makes no impact.

When we lived on a lake, we never boated at night, only found ourselves out a couple of times and got home at about 6 knots. The second worst scare was fishing boats all around, lights off so as not to attract bugs. Worst was high speed (as in 55 mph +) bass boats zooming by with no lights. They said they could see better without them. Never crossed their mind that the lights were to be seen.
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Old 05-30-2014, 12:31 AM   #46
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The area where the accident happened has anchored boats everywhere on weekends. To travel at any speed through that area at night is just wrong. If the anchor light was the only light lit on the trawler it would have been hard to pick it out of all the other lights.

Dean, I see that was your first post. Welcome to the asylum.
Glad to have another East Coaster.

I have a marine supply store in Miami. If you get down here stop in and say hello. We make great Cuban coffee.

Don, "This was a holiday weekend with probably all the crazies in Miami on the water."
I was not!
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Old 05-30-2014, 02:56 AM   #47
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Hard to beat failure to maintain a proper lookout when you drive into the side of an anchored boat.
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Old 05-30-2014, 09:21 AM   #48
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I wonder how much reliance was placed on electronic navigation?

Set GPS and autopilot.............
In a 23' footer I looked didn't see much in the way of antennas I kinda doubt electronics played any part in this mess. I won't call it an accident because the operator of the 23 foot boat appears to have been intoxicated.
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Old 05-30-2014, 09:24 AM   #49
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Don, "This was a holiday weekend with probably all the crazies in Miami on the water."
I was not!
Well, at least one Miami crazy stayed home.
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Old 08-03-2014, 12:17 PM   #50
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The details: Driver was drunk. Hit Prairie 36 broadside at high speed. Prairie occupants were asleep in the other end of the boat. Outboards still in water maxed out with smaller boat on top of trawler spinning it in a circle. All chain rode did not let go, perhaps saving Trawler occupants. Nasty deal, 1 dead 1 hurt and one going to jail for a long time. I have this from a witness account in person.
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Old 08-03-2014, 01:27 PM   #51
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Any proven facts that can show where it was avoidable so we all can learn????..................... .
Running into a fixed object should be avoidable, especially something as large as a trawler.
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Old 08-03-2014, 01:47 PM   #52
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In an open area like that (off shore from an island 3/4 mile) I have on my spreader lights and side deck lights to light up the boat nicely. Of course the masthead anchor light is on but it seems high speed night boaters need some help in the visibility department.

The lights mentioned are all LED so running the 6 extra lights only uses a bit over 3 Ah from my bank.

Hopefully being seen from a greater distance will give a drunks eyes a chance to miss me.
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Old 08-03-2014, 02:04 PM   #53
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Running into a fixed object should be avoidable, especially something as large as a trawler.
Should be but happens all the time.

There are many factors accident investigators can show where "just seeing" it isn't always the case. Not saying it wasn't avoidable but I relate better to facts than speculation from news reports.
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Old 08-03-2014, 02:25 PM   #54
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As I said, I have this info first hand. An airport beacon likely would not have been enough for the trawler to be visible to someone blind drunk. The trawler was anchored completely legal in all aspects, location and lighting.
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Old 08-03-2014, 02:34 PM   #55
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As I said, I have this info first hand.
Actually you have it second hand. First hand would be if you had seen it yourself.
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Old 08-03-2014, 03:21 PM   #56
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Pretty good at that hair splitting aye...of course you are absolutely correct, absloutely.
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Old 08-03-2014, 04:12 PM   #57
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Thanks for that info, Mule. I suppose one witness (or another), when faced with an incident as obvious as this, might agree on a few basic observations, even if they differ on so many others. The whole accident seems like a sickening, disgusting, eventuality.
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Old 08-03-2014, 05:19 PM   #58
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Hell, it happens in broad daylight! Just the other day:

One dead, one injured in Keys boat collision - Florida Keys - MiamiHerald.com

Here is a post from someone who knew the victims

"The deceased and her husband were my former law partners. I was in a partnership on my first power boat with them. They are very experienced boaters and divers in their mid-60's.

They were at anchor and the husband was diving. The deceased was thrown from the boat upon collision. She died in her husband's arms while in the water waiting for a helicopter.

The boat that killed her was on autopilot."
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Old 08-03-2014, 05:36 PM   #59
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.............. The boat that killed her was on autopilot.
That's something that scares me. We have no control over what numskulls do on the water and it can have a big effect on us.

I would like to sat that autopilots on boats should be illegal but I know I'll get a lot of arguments from those who use one.

I've been in a couple close calls where I suspect the other boat was on autopilot but there was no contact.
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Old 08-03-2014, 08:50 PM   #60
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Not a collision but an allision. When a vessel strikes a stationary object it an allision.
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