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Slower Than You
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557 Posts
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Sad details about the NFL player's boating accident
TAMPA, Fla. (AP)—An agency investigating a deadly boating accident involving two NFL players and their friends in the Gulf of Mexico has concluded it was caused when the vessel was improperly anchored and the boat capsized after one of them tried to throttle forward to pry loose the anchor.

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission’s investigation also cited carelessness and operator inexperience as contributing factors. The combination of errors came at the time a storm front was moving in, making conditions on the water very rough.

Oakland Raiders linebacker Marquis Cooper, free-agent NFL defensive lineman Corey Smith, and former University of South Florida players William Bleakley and Nick Schuyler departed from Clearwater Pass, Fla., early Feb. 28 to go offshore fishing for amberjack.

Schuyler, found clinging to the boat two days later, was the lone survivor. The other three men have not been found.
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In an in-depth interview with the agency, Schuyler gave this account of the accident:

Early that morning, the men went more than 50 miles offshore in Cooper’s 21-foot vessel. It was loaded with two large coolers filled with ice, drinks, food and beer. All of the friends were dressed in warm clothes, sweat suits and jackets.

Around 5:30 p.m., they went to pull up the anchor and head back to port, but the anchor was stuck. Bleakley suggested they tie it to the transom and use the boat’s motor to pull it loose.

When Cooper tried to thrust the boat forward, the vessel became submerged and capsized, tossing the men overboard. All four tried uprighting the boat by standing on one side of the overturned vessel. When that didn’t work, Bleakley swam underneath and was able to retrieve three life vests, a large cooler and a portable, cushion-type flotation device.

Bleakley, who Schuyler has credited with saving his life, used the makeshift flotation device, which has been described previously as a cushion. The other three wore the vests.

The men appear to have tried everything in their power to rescue themselves: Schuyler told the agency they tried retrieving and using flares, but they were wet, agency Investigator Jim Manson said. They got their cell phones, which were in plastic baggies, but there was no signal.

They knew how many hours were passing because Schuyler had a watch with a light on and was able to keep track of the time. He said that around 5:30 a.m. the next day, Cooper became unresponsive. Schuyler and Bleakley tried to revive him without success.

Cooper’s flotation device was removed and Bleakley put it on. The Oakland Raiders linebacker then became separated from the boat.

About an hour later, Smith started to show “possible extreme symptoms of hypothermia.” He removed his flotation device and also became separated from the boat.

The two college teammates were the only ones left. They hung on together for about 24 hours, until Bleakley grew weak and removed his life vest as well.

Schuyler said that his friend appeared to die as he was holding onto him. He let his friend go and Bleakley drifted away.

Manson said moving the anchor line to the stern, or back of the boat, contributed to the vessel’s instability and flooding when they tried to free it. He described it as a mistake that probably happens every day, but one that a more experienced boater would be aware of and could handle.

Cooper, the boat’s owner, had more than 100 hours of boating experience but no formal education, and had been drinking, according to the report.

“Overall, it’s just a mistake in anchoring,” Manson said.

The Coast Guard released its records on the accident last week. According to the agency, Schuyler told them the boat capsized after their anchor got caught in a reef.

The accuracy of that account was somewhat unclear because Schuyler was suffering from hypothermia and spoke to them shortly after he was pulled from the boat. His doctor said he probably could have only lived another five to 10 hours.

The Coast Guard called off its search after three days of scouring 24,000 miles of ocean.
 

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Still Boatless :-(
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552 Posts
Very sad.....lots of boaters don't know how to anchor (or properly retrieve an anchor).

If they tried to pull against the anchor (which is what is sounds like) you just dig the anchor in deeper.

Anchors do get stuck....I've had to scuba down 40 feet in the Virgin Islands to free an anchor. But if it doesn't come free, you leave it. I $50 anchor costs them thier lives. Sad!
 

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Registered
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When I read the first reports I assumed it was a sea anchor....not a holding anchor.

Very sad. I think I would have just cut the line.
 

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8anned
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Wow. That is a very sad account of what happened and the way that tehy untimately drifted away in the end. :(
 

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Premium Member
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Cooper, the boat’s owner, had more than 100 hours of boating experience but no formal education......

They make it sound like he was a well seasoned pro at this. Seems like many just start learning after a 100 hours. Takes them that long it figure out they don't know what they're doing wrong.
 

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Up in Alaska, they will put bouy's above the anchor and circle it at low speeds to pull it up. I've done the same thing only no bouy in the past. Never had this happen.
 

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Islander Moho Trash
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Dang, how sad is that.
 

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Re-member
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....I've always droped the anchor and chain straight down,....waited until the anchor is on the bottom............checked the compass heading, and backed the boat down until the anchor hooks,...pulled forward until all the chain is laying on the bottom, (anchor line will be straight up and down)...tied the line...............When pulling anchor,....same compass heading,......eased forward until the anchor pulled loose.......pulled the line chain and anchor in,.......done deal.........

....I've been out with guys who didn't back down hard enough and broke loose loose in middle of the night......Not good:)bulb
 

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Don't judge me monkey...
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Often times it's a simple mistake or decision that's the difference between life and death. 4 men in the same position, only one lives...what was the difference for the lone survivor...amazing really. Had they simply abandoned the anchor and left ASAP they mignt all be alive...maybe if they recognized just a little sooner the conditions and got the hell outa dodge...they probably make it back to port. What a tragedy...what a shame...may they rest in peace.
 

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"Try it Now!"
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Often times it's a simple mistake or decision that's the difference between life and death. 4 men in the same position, only one lives...what was the difference for the lone survivor...amazing really. Had they simply abandoned the anchor and left ASAP they mignt all be alive...maybe if they recognized just a little sooner the conditions and got the hell outa dodge...they probably make it back to port. What a tragedy...what a shame...may they rest in peace.

It is very sad, and you gotta believe these guys were probably in better shape physically than any of us....I would probably have not lasted one day out there. Very sad.
 

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Willie B, not to be a smart ass, but how else do you drop an anchor but straight down? Other than that, you may get away with your system in a calm, flat lake, but I wouldn't go out with you in the ocean...
 

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E-7 Sheepdog (ret)
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My anchors have a slip-loop on the anchor frame. Flukes hold great once set, to free, you pull past the anchor (with loose anchor-line) and pull 180* from the set direction. Slided the flukes out like they were never in anything, and pulls the anchor up up-side-down.
 

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Punk in Drublic
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Damn! What do you suppose the reason for taking off the life preservers were? To die? :)sphss
 

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Living in a cage of fear
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Up in Alaska, they will put bouy's above the anchor and circle it at low speeds to pull it up. I've done the same thing only no bouy in the past. Never had this happen.
That is the first thing I thought of. Been out Halibut fishing dozens of times in Kachemak Bay and that is how they do it every time.

(Snap the buoy on the line with a carabiner when ready to pull and just back up or circle)
 

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Living in a cage of fear
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16,464 Posts
Damn! What do you suppose the reason for taking off the life preservers were? To die? :)sphss
My cousins' wife in Ohio lost her father in Lake Eerie in a similar fashion.
There were several fatalities and one or two survivors. Boat capsized in flash storm, out fishing.
They did the same thing, taking off their vests at the end.
It is the delirium brought on by extreme hypothermia and exhaustion.
The survivor told her that her fathers last words were "I'm tired, I'm going home now". Removed his vest and floated away.
 
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