it's 6 am, im on the beach (fort lauderdale).
wind out of the ssw 8-12 knots
2-3 foot swells after the surfzone.
possible rain and thunderstorms predicted.
i decide not to go out.
Group of 14 yakfishers decide its fine.
As i watch them gear up on boats from scupper pros to an incredibly wide hobie mirage pro angler, i overhear one fisherman (sorry, just cant call him a paddler)say "can i borrow a PFD?", to which another replies "you can use mine, i don't wear it".
I ask and find out that this was the first time out together for many in the group.
By the time the last boat got off the beach (sun is now up) i could no longer see the first boat even with binoculars.
must say i was surprised everyone got through the surf without incident, and i made a note to be on the beach when they expected to return 4 hours later.
i'm back at the beach 3 1/2 hours later, parking.
i see wide boat guy dragging it back to his car. he looked spent.
I ask, "how'ld you make out?"
"Not so good dude. Really rough out there,5-6 footers. lost my plug and took on water. Then I flipped and lost a lot of gear."
I find out later that after multiple capsizes and a loosing battle trying to bail out his boat, that he decided to head back and did so alone. Within sight of the beach he capsized one final time and was unable to complete a self rescue. A woman who had been paddling earlier noticed his peril and jumped in her boat to go out and help.
A resort jet ski rental guy saw her actions and responded as well. Fisherman and barge get towed to the beach.
As i watch, i see, with binoculars, 11 boats on the way in. I watch as a 35' sportfisher goes right through the middle of the very loosely formed group.
Wind is now from WSW and bringing dark storm clouds with it.
some time later i see the last two boats racing to beat the storm.
lost sight of them for over an hour due to the storm conditions.
in the end all fisherman safe and telling fish stories....
luck, guardian angel,or a hidden skill set, not sure.
maybe i overthink things and get scared too easily...
post getting way to long but i need to know....is it me?
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Posted by: dc9mm on Apr-15-13 2:02 PM (EST)
Sounds risky for that group of fisherman to go out. Laughed about guy who said, sure use my pfd I don't use it.
Posted by: svenkalmar on Apr-15-13 2:22 PM (EST)
my head hurts|
Posted by: slushpaddler on Apr-15-13 2:24 PM (EST)
because I must have dope-slapped it four or five times reading your story. No, it's not you.
Posted by: jeffers on Apr-15-13 3:16 PM (EST)
they were lucky. glad you had the mind set to go back and check on them. i had a few friends go to school in florida and have never really canoed before. there first trip they decide on an ocean trip and were rescued by one of the big coast guard ships. needless to say since they have been back i have never gotten them to go on a canoe trip with me yet lol.
Posted by: Erwin on Apr-18-13 3:26 PM (EST)
I don't know this area at all, so the main risks, as I see it, are the thunderstorms, the (slightly) western wind, and the lack of time on the water for some of them. With a good weather forecast you should have some idea of the max. bursts. "Possible" thunder sounds not too bad, same for waves.
Posted by: thegoose on Apr-19-13 11:13 AM (EST)
individual vs group risks not exactly the same IMHO.
Posted by: tempest170 on Apr-19-13 10:28 AM (EST)
People just don't use their heads. I was out on a lake here in NJ last weekend and on the way back in watched as the Fire Dept Water rescue team helped out 2 fishermen in a john boat. The wind coming across the lake plus the chop caused by it(not a huge lake mind you) must have caused them to lose balance and fall into the water. Water temps are still 30's/40's? No PFD's. They were lucky they were close to the shore but both went in. John boat capsized and was swamped. Both guys I believe were ok, ambulance took them both away.