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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Was fishing for bait outside Little Creek Saturday at about 6 am when I heard a MayDay. Captain of a 48 foot Hatteras said he was taking on water and that the bilge appeared not to be working. The Coast Guard answered him (and I had no idea where he was) and switched him to a cell phone. About 15 minutes later I hear a more frantic call and see a flare off in the distance. Rushed to the boat which was filling up. Wanted to put all four on my boat, but three of them tried to save the boat (the grandfather got on my boat). The coast guard showed up about 5 minutes later, forced the three off of the boat. My question is why not run to the closest beach? Once I started taking on water at the HRBT and immediately beached the boat (it was a 17 foot CC). It was a rental and realized that there were TWO plugs not just one. Even if the boat sinks at least your swim wouldn't be very far. These guys were lucky, but didn't seem to be too sea savvy although they had come up from Florida.
 

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I recall last year or year before there was a boat off Lynnhaven that was taking on water. The Captain was talking to the USCG and requested permission to beach the boat and was denied that request. I'm only guessing the thought process of the USCG but a boat running into a crowded beach with families and children swimming could be risky. It is amazing how fast a boat can go down. Hope everyone is OK.
 

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That may be an option in a smaller boat, but the Coast Guard probably does not want to run the risk of putting several hundred gallons of fuel in the water on the beach. Pollution regs are getting extremely tight these days and any fuel/oil in the water at all is a big no no.
 

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If I recall correctly the boat off Lynnhaven wanted permission to stay on plane through the no wake zone and under the bridge into the basin. Request was denied due to safety. I taken on water one time and it was during the winter. I beached the boat first then called the coast guard and let them know where I was, my situation and the all souls on-board were safe. Ever happens again, I'm land bound if possible.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
It definitely wasn't insurance fraud...they appeared genuinely distraught...everyone was okay...good point about the fuel etc...at 6 am not many beachgoers in the water...I am with sprintigde...in aviation they teach you that when encountering an emergency you should aviate, navigate, then communicate, in other words, take care of the plane and don't crash (in this case attend to the safety of the boat and the crew), then figure out where you need to go, then finally call someone...this is a good order of priorities and kept me safe for 15 years...
 

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better to ask for forgiveness than permission.

I guess if USCG authorizes you to beach and someone/something was hurt (including your crew on impact--boats aren't cars--it would come back on them.

I once watched a sinking boat haul butt through Rudy, huge wake, stern dragging, and he ran it up on the shore, maybe a private ramp, right far up the creek.
 

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Beaching the boat is absolutely a reasonable thing to do it you are taking on water, can't get it under control and are losing the battle.

Obviously the beach has to be close enough to get to before you sink, it needs to be "safe" i.e. not rocky, filled with people/bathers etc... and it can't be too rough... you don't want to take it to the beach in big rollers...

You are likely going own a salvage bill regardless of where you lose your boat... deep water or beach...

Beaching when sinking is often a recommended action:

https://www.esurance.com/info/boat/sinking-boats-7-things-you-should-do

http://www.boatingmag.com/how-to/what-to-do-when-your-boat-sinking

http://threesheetsnw.com/blog/2012/02/my-boat-is-sinking-and-were-not-at-the-dock/

http://www.atlanticmaritimeacademy.com/images/1bt-101129-sinking.pdf
 

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Look at it this way... you have two choices if you are sinking and you can't stop it:

(1) End up on the bottom with LOTS of water over the boat
-- or --
(2) End up on the bottom with some of the boat still above water...

Option 2 is obvious if you can do it safely.
 
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