CNN: "Missing boater is found clinging to his capsized boat off Florida's east coast"

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GoldenDaze
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CNN: "Missing boater is found clinging to his capsized boat off Florida's east coast"

Postby GoldenDaze » Sun Nov 29, 2020 11:01 pm

I don't know what kind of boat it was. But I know what kind of boat it wasn't.

https://www.cnn.com/2020/11/29/us/missing-boater-found-alive-off-florida-coast-trnd/index.html

If this picture isn't frightening I don't know what is. All that's missing are the oceanic whitetip dorsal fins.

Image
Fig. 1. Boater clings to bow pulpit of submerged boat.
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Re: CNN: "Missing boater is found clinging to his capsized boat off Florida's east coast"

Postby jimh » Mon Nov 30, 2020 8:30 am

I think the technical term for that boat's present condition is totally submerged. Capsize just means "overturned." That boat is a whisker away from going straight down. There must have been an air pocket in the bow keeping the bow afloat.

The account (linked above) say he departed Port Canaveral (Florida Atlantic coast) at 4 p.m. on Friday and was rescued at 11 a.m. on Sunday--in a position 86-miles offshore! Forty-three hours after departure he was rescued--that is a long time to hang on to the bow railing in that position.

The 62-year-old boater then had enough strength left to swim unassisted from his sunken boat to the rescue boat, which was apparently not a Coast Guard boat. The account just describes the rescuers as "the crew of a motor vessel."

In the CNN account of the incident, exactly what type of boat rescued him is not made clear. From the perspective seen in the photo of the boater swimming to a floating life ring, the rescue vessel has a rather tall deck height above the water. And the guy apparently had enough strength left to climb up a boarding ladder. That 62-year-old is in darn good physical shape.

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Re: CNN: "Missing boater is found clinging to his capsized boat off Florida's east coast"

Postby jimh » Mon Nov 30, 2020 9:07 am

From the USCG Group Jacksonville website:

JACKSONVILLE, Fla.— Stuart Bee, 62, was located approximately 86 miles east of Port Canaveral, Florida, Sunday.

The 225-foot motor vessel Angeles located the man alive on the hull of his 32-foot Sea Ray and took him aboard at approximately 11 a.m., after he was reported missing November 28.

Bee departed Cape Marina in Port Canaveral on November 27 and did not return.

Watchstanders at Coast Guard Sector Jacksonville received initial report of the missing man at 11:40 a.m., Saturday from a member at Cape Marina stating Bee typically does not stay out overnight on his boat.

Watchstanders dispatched a C-130 Hercules aircrew from Coast Guard Air Station Clearwater to respond and directed Coast Guard Station Port Canaveral watchstanders to concern preliminary and extended communications in an effort to locate the missing man.

The 7th District Coast Guard command center watchstanders issued an Enhanced Group Calling to mariners located in the vicinity of the search area to keep a lookout for the vessel and report any findings to the Coast Guard.

A U.S. Customs and Border Patrol air marine asset also assisted in the search.

"Saving lives at sea is our highest calling. This is a truly incredible outcome that demonstrates the bond among all mariners and our community," said Capt. Mark Vlaun, commanding officer of Sector Jacksonville. "Thank you to our mission partners that launch into action and to all who got the word out to find and rescue Mr. Bee"
Source: https://content.govdelivery.com/account ... ns/2aecc2f

Note that the USCG announcement does not indicate that the USCG air search found the missing boater. The "225-foot motor vessel Angeles located the man" seems to imply he was found by a ship passing near to his location. That is a lucky 62-year-old Sea Ray owner. However, the notation on the image included above in Figure 1 does have an imprimatur "U.S. COAST GUARD". However, on the USCG SOUTHEAST TWITTER feed, the Coast Guard gives a photo credit to the crew of the ANGELES for the image. Better resolution images with a captions are available at

https://twitter.com/USCGSoutheast/status/1333206549196660737/photo/3

stuartBeeRescue_.jpg
Fig. 2. Boater Stuart Bee swimming from his sinking 32-foot SeaRay boat to the M/V ANGELES ship. Note floating cooler apparently tied on with a bow line. Photo credit: crew of M/V ANGELES
stuartBeeRescue_.jpg (143.66 KiB) Viewed 873 times


Although many TWITTER followers are giving the USCG all the credit, I think a careful lookout on M/V ANGELES and some amazingly good fortune made the sighting and the rescue possible.

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Re: CNN: "Missing boater is found clinging to his capsized boat off Florida's east coast"

Postby jimh » Mon Nov 30, 2020 12:20 pm

A corollary topic for this incident came immediately to mind: how far offshore was the boater when he first realized he was in trouble?

And, did the boater make a MAYDAY call using a VHF Marine Band radio or make a DISTRESS ALERT broadcast using a VHF Marine Band radio with Digital Selective Calling (DSC) that was getting position updates from a global navigation satellite system (GNSS) receiver as soon as he realized he was in trouble?

And, if the boater was intending to get more than 20-miles offshore (and thus likely to be beyond the range of VHF Marine Band radio reception for USCG RESCUE 21 facilities), did he have an EPIRB or PLB aboard?

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Re: CNN: "Missing boater is found clinging to his capsized boat off Florida's east coast"

Postby biggiefl » Mon Nov 30, 2020 12:57 pm

Since he was not considered missing until the following day, I would assume none of the above would be an answer to your questions [about MAYDAY calls, DSC radio use, and EPIRB PLB use].
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Re: CNN: "Missing boater is found clinging to his capsized boat off Florida's east coast"

Postby jimh » Tue Dec 01, 2020 8:21 am

The New York Times has much more detail about this incident. They report more information obtained from an interview with a US Coast Guard Petty Officer First Class David Micallef:

The New York Times wrote:Florida Man Rescued After Hours Clinging to Capsized Boat

By Concepción de León
Nov. 30, 2020

A Florida man who had been reported missing at sea was found clinging to his capsized boat on Sunday morning about 86 miles off the coast of Port Canaveral, officials said.

Sometime after midnight on Sunday, the man, Stuart Bee, was asleep on his 32-foot Sea Ray, called the Sting Ray, when he was abruptly awakened by water rushing into the front cabin of the boat, said Petty Officer First Class David Micallef, a spokesman for the U.S. Coast Guard.

The boat “filled up with water almost immediately,” Petty Officer Micallef said, adding that the vessel quickly capsized and that the force of the water “pushed him out of the front hatch.”

For hours, Mr. Bee, 62, clung to four feet of the boat’s bow that was above water. Then, after sunrise, Mr. Bee noticed a ship in the distance, so he took his shirt off and started waving it to get the crew’s attention. He lost his glasses in the process.

Crew members on Angeles, a 225-meter Liberian container ship en route to Wilmington, Del., saw Mr. Bee around 11 a.m. and got close enough to throw him a life ring used to pull him to a ladder to bring him aboard the ship.

Rather than have the Coast Guard pick him up, Mr. Bee decided to stay on board the Angeles, which is scheduled to arrive in Wilmington on Tuesday.

“He’s just excited to be alive,” Petty Officer Micallef said. “I think he’s in good spirits.”

Mr. Bee left Cape Marina in Port Canaveral on Friday for what was meant to be a short cruise on the water. He apparently decided to sleep overnight on the boat, which was not typical, according to a marina employee. He was reported missing by the marina and his brother the next day, Petty Officer Micallef said.

The Coast Guard and the U.S. Customs and Border patrol both dispatched aircraft and asked boats in the area to keep an eye out for Mr. Bee.

After his first night on the water, Mr. Bee told the Coast Guard, his boat became disabled after a mechanical failure on Saturday, which he tried and failed to fix himself, Petty Officer Micallef said. The Coast Guard did not receive any radio transmissions from him seeking help.

“This case, honestly, it’s an incredible outcome,” Petty Officer Micallef said. “I think it demonstrates the strong ties that the maritime community has with one another. We’re thankful that he’s going to be able to be on dry land soon.”

https://www.nytimes.com/2020/11/30/us/Stuart-bee-missing-boat-Florida-port-canaveral.html

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Re: CNN: "Missing boater is found clinging to his capsized boat off Florida's east coast"

Postby jimh » Tue Dec 01, 2020 8:25 am

In the above account, the boater was sleeping below deck on his boat while adrift in the open ocean at night without maintaining any lookout, when he was awakened by a rush of water coming aboard. The water pushes him out the forward hatch onto the foredeck, the boat submerges, and he is left clinging to the bow railing.

Reading between the lines, I think a reasonable inference is perhaps a large ship must have passed rather close to the 32-foot SeaRay in the darkness and created the wave or motion on the boat that led to all the water coming aboard. Or, the boat was slowly settling down by the stern due to a leak, and water finally poured in over the transom.

The sudden awakening from sleep explains why no MAYDAY or DSC Distress Alert calls were made.

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Re: CNN: "Missing boater is found clinging to his capsized boat off Florida's east coast"

Postby Jefecinco » Tue Dec 01, 2020 9:37 am

He was indeed a very lucky man. The photograph shows the bow rail and anchor pulpit above the water in a way that provides a ladder-like arrangement so he could hold himself out of the water by standing on a stanchion. It also appears the weather conditions were favorable which was also a major contributor to his survival.

Radar does not appear to have contributed to the ship locating Mr Bee, but I wonder if the pulpit being a few feet above the water with the boat's anchor at its top would have presented a target on a modern ships radar.

I believe the ship was a "Chiquita" vessel, if so, perhaps bananas may not be unlucky at sea as some old mariner's tales claim.
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Re: CNN: "Missing boater is found clinging to his capsized boat off Florida's east coast"

Postby Phil T » Tue Dec 01, 2020 9:48 am

Sorry to say I call his story BS.

If you look at the photo, his anchor is NOT deployed.

Where was he anchored, in the open ocean? Why not close to shore, protected waters? Swim to shore?
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Re: CNN: "Missing boater is found clinging to his capsized boat off Florida's east coast"

Postby Jefecinco » Tue Dec 01, 2020 2:46 pm

He may have been sleeping while drifting unless he had deployed a "lunch hook" intending to take a nap and resume his cruise. If we know the water depth where his boat sank we can determine if the water was not too deep for anchoring. Off hand I did not see his position when rescued.

In fair weather many boaters choose to temporarily anchor with a smaller lighter anchor to avoid having to haul in the heavier storm anchor. Some tie off the lighter rode to an aft cleat for convenience as the lunch hook and rode may be stowed in an aft compartment. I believe I saw an anchor winch aft of the bow pulpit but it may have been unserviceable.
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Re: CNN: "Missing boater is found clinging to his capsized boat off Florida's east coast"

Postby fno » Tue Dec 01, 2020 10:25 pm

If he was 86 miles off the coast of Port Canaveral he was not going to be anchored up. Waters way too deep there most likely 500-750 feet deep. I tend to agree with Phil. The story line smells fishy but then again it is Florida and the lucky guy may qualify as another "Florida Man"

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Re: CNN: "Missing boater is found clinging to his capsized boat off Florida's east coast"

Postby Jefecinco » Wed Dec 02, 2020 10:37 am

There is no shortage of stories of boaters doing incredibly stupid things. I'm certainly a member of that club. I was lucky enough to survive all the stupid things and learned from them. The stupidest was walking around the tops of gunnels in socks when applying wax one day. The boat was in it's slip and I was using the bimini top for a handhold. When I woke up I was lying in the cockpit with a headache. If I had fallen into the water the story would have been different.
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Re: CNN: "Missing boater is found clinging to his capsized boat off Florida's east coast"

Postby biggiefl » Wed Dec 02, 2020 10:58 am

I agree with Frank and Phil. He had mechanical problems that he could not fix but did not try and hail the USCG? Decides to sleep to find out he needs to escape through a hatch. That is like Titanic flooding at that point. Then decides to hitch a ride to Delaware?
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Re: CNN: "Missing boater is found clinging to his capsized boat off Florida's east coast"

Postby fno » Thu Dec 03, 2020 11:24 pm

People can make some really stupid decisions and or choices when they find their life is in some form of danger. Having been an active cave diver for many years I have heard many tales of what appears to be complete stupidity on the part of the deceased or if lucky, rescued. The risky events and or problems usually develop in threes. The second risky event is usually the time to call it and head for a safety (the surface). This is with cave divers with an extraordinary amount of training on what and what not to do in most situations. Not that boating is anywhere similar in terms of danger as cave diving in reasonably good conditions and with a well maintained vessel. The fact remains that with a seemingly minor mechanical or electrical concern on the vessel, combined with a time based need to be somewhere, catch a fish, and or escape a problem on shore can and will develop into a major life threatening situation for that person in what would otherwise be comfortable circumstances. Private aircraft carry the same problems with their owners/pilots. The need to be somewhere on a schedule that conflicts with weather, aircraft maintenance, and otherwise good judgement have been the demise of many a pilot. Just ask Kobe Bryant or his helicopter pilot.

In my cave diving career I have lost a number of friends and acquaintances to accidents while diving in caves. Other than an isolated cave in every fatality or rescue involved there were at least one or two episodes of "human error". Not always the fatal blow, but many times those mistakes made a difference between a grand story of survival and the sorrow of loss for family and friends. Something we all should consider when we feel the "need" to go out when the conditions or vessel are compromised.