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Old 04-07-2016, 08:46   #1
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Accident in Great Salt Pond Block Island

A green runabout / small lobster boat hit a sailboat moored near green 11 last night about 11:30pm. The runabout was traveling at 15 knots or so. Full search and rescue / recovery last night for a couple of hours. As far as I know, there is still no sign of the operator of the runabout.

I noted earlier that evening that the sailboat had a strobe for an anchor light. I don't know that the light contributed to the accident.




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Old 04-07-2016, 09:16   #2
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Re: Accident in Great Salt Pond Block Island

That's too bad. It must be crowded there because of the holiday. If the operator was doing 15 knots then speed was certainly a factor. If the strobe was on the masthead the operator of the runabout probably never even saw it. I keep an LED lantern lit in my cockpit just so the small boats will notice it. It's a tragedy if the operator is dead. Hopefully it was a kid and he swam away from the scene of the accident in his "borrowed" boat.
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Old 04-07-2016, 18:49   #3
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Re: Accident in Great Salt Pond Block Island

There is no greater advertisement for golf than Great Salt Pond on a holiday weekend...
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Old 05-07-2016, 04:28   #4
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Re: Accident in Great Salt Pond Block Island

We usually stay away from July 1 until after Labor Day assuming it was a zoo. Never guessed it was this bad.

Here's an update on the accident.

http://www.americanmariners.org/news...e-person-water


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Old 05-07-2016, 10:42   #5
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Re: Accident in Great Salt Pond Block Island

15 mph in Great Salt..... someone was drinking....
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Old 05-07-2016, 11:07   #6
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Re: Accident in Great Salt Pond Block Island

I'm sorry. Now to reduce the chance of a recurrance. First, as I understand it, strobes are not legal anchor lights, or legal anything else except emergency beacons. Second, relying on one little light up there when you hull is concealed against a black shore, or even a lighted shore, has seemed to me all along damned dangerous. I actually came to that conclusion the other way around - I ran a summer program on St. Catherine's Island, Georgia, and often had to make night runs to shore in a 25' boat. I had radar and a spotlight, but the route crosses the ICW and an ideal anchorage, Walburg Creek. It's surprising how small the radar signature of a 30' fiberglass monohull can be, and that one light (or often, none at all) was hard to separate from the stars, and even more difficult to perceive in terms of distance. All of a sudden you're right up on what seemed a distant light. After all, all you have is one spot of light, and its angle above the horizon doesn't notably change until you are very near. We ring our wheelhouse and boat deck with LED lights, so other skippers have a good chance of seeing us, and usable depth perception. Orion Jim has the same idea. Besides, it's pretty.
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Old 06-07-2016, 10:00   #7
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Re: Accident in Great Salt Pond Block Island

Unless you have been to BI at a holiday weekend you really cannot comprehend what it is like...so the chances of yet another similar (and frequent) "accident" in Great Salt Pond is high, and anchor lights won't fix that.

1. speed
Nowhere in Great Salt pond can you legally exceed 5kts. nowhere. the chances of hitting something while doing 10-15kts in the dark is real high, wrong.. its like impossible NOT to hit something, regardless of any other factor.
The safe speed to move through that mooring field and anchorage at night is about 3kts or so, with multiple flashlights. It is JAMMED with boats, both mooring and anchor balls, anchor rode, tethered dinghies, boards and other crap...not to mention drunks in other dinghies.

2. Anchor lights
It is a fact that despite the law stating otherwise, a sizable percentage of boaters do not run anchor lights, particularly in areas designated as safe anchorage areas. Legal lights would not have stopped that "accident".. masthead lights in a crowded anchorage is simply a star field.

3. Alcohol
Its Block Island, its the summer, its late at night. conclusions are simple.

FWIW, while I always run my anchor light, plus a solar lantern at bow, stern and mid-boom, yet despite being highly visible, an inflatable dinghy with several drunk occupants nailed me broadside at 3am.. lucky for me, it (and one occupant) bounced off my hull with a loud thump and no damage (to my boat).. they were gone..dragging the downed occupant before i got on deck.

My prior post in this thread was the droll response, but the impolite version is that truly a holiday weekend at BI is sight to behold.. it is everything you detest about people and their selfish inconsiderate and stupid behavior coupled with the worst displays of moronic seamanship that ably demonstrates a total lack of understanding of both the boating basics and common sense..


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Originally Posted by tkeithlu View Post
I'm sorry. Now to reduce the chance of a recurrance. First, as I understand it, strobes are not legal anchor lights, or legal anything else except emergency beacons. Second, relying on one little light up there when you hull is concealed against a black shore, or even a lighted shore, has seemed to me all along damned dangerous.
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Old 06-07-2016, 17:08   #8
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Re: Accident in Great Salt Pond Block Island

I agree that no amount of auxillary lighting will keep a drunk in a crowded space from hitting you. The Great Salt Pond sounds like a nightmare, and I'm glad I've not experienced it. However, I also do not think that anchoring with a single anchor light is prudent. At the most basic level, it supplies no source of depth perception. It seems to me an out of date standard that assumes that boats move slowly.

We live in Florida, and lots of news articles about boating accidents start with "Florida Man..." In 2013 in Key Largo a 30' sport fisher with three 300HP outboards at full throttle at night missed the channel and flew 250 feet into the mangrove swamp. Amazingly, he was only mildly injured and alcohol was not suspected. Fortunately, no boats were anchored on his route. Having lived here for four years, I'm coming to suspect that some Florida family trees don't branch.
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