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Old 08-15-2005, 07:35 AM
Mark Cahill's Avatar
Mark Cahill Mark Cahill is offline
Join Date: Feb 1996
Location: Manchaug, MA
Posts: 4,055
Sinking and Survival - Our Story...

For probably the last decade, I have written at least 2-3 columns a year on boating safety in my Fishwire reports. Even with that, you truly never believe it will happen to you. Yesterday, it did.

I went out yesterday with Jacob Kasper on my boat in search of bluefin. We spent much of the morning looking, and went back into the harbor around 11 to refuel, having charged around most of the morning. Then we decided to head back out, to a spot fairly near the harbor to have a look. We found them.

We were working a pod, having moved off from another boat that was on a separate pod about a half hour before. As Jacob cast the the pod, I turned around to see a wave break into the back of the boat. The engine stalled, and immediately, I could tell the boat was going to roll. I yelled to Jacob that we were going down and he was able to open the life preserver cabinet and get one perserver our before the boat rolled over. I got off with only the floating cushion I was sitting on.

5 seconds. That's it.

We had 2 vhf radios, at least 6 hand held flares, and a flare gun with around 12 rounds, and couldn't get to any of them. The seas were probably 2-4, visibility was around a mile and we were very low in the water. There were no other boats in sight.

Jacob stayed calm and immediately suggested we think about what we could salvage. After a couple minutes, he said "my cellphone is in a dry box, and it's gotta be floating under the hull." He dove under and was able to grab it.

Climbing up on the bow of the boat, which was sticking up, he called 911 and was put over to the Coast Guard in about 20 seconds. They were able to get our exact latitude and longitude from the cell phone. He put the cell back in the box and we settled back to calmly float around until help arrived.

47 minutes after the cell phone call, Paul and Carla from the Perseverance, a 47 Searay out of Portsmouth cruised right up to us and fished us out. You cannot imagine just how beautiful a sight it was to see them pull up. A 47 Coast Guard cutter arrived shortly after, as well as TowUS and a CG Helo.

Were it not for Jacob's cell phone in his dry box, I fear they wouldn't even of started looking for us until this morning. Jacoib's quick thinking and cool demeanor were crucial.

Lesson's learned? The shear weight of what happened is just sinking in. I'll admit to being both embarassed and humiliated for having this happen, but it is important that people know what happened and understand the dangers. Because the situtation on the water can change that fast. Take a couple minutes and review your safety gear and know this: Jacob wouldn't have found a life preserver if I hadn't taken the time to give him a run down on the equipment and it's locations before we left the boat ramp.

I thank God we are both alive and unharmed.
Mark Cahill
Read my blog at
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Old 08-15-2005, 07:45 AM
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averagejoe averagejoe is offline
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Join Date: Jun 2004
Location: Danvers
Posts: 980
More than happy to see you're okay. I'm sending this to my father. He takes safety too lightly on the 32 foot GW he has.
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Old 08-15-2005, 07:50 AM
Telliedog Telliedog is offline
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Join Date: Jul 2003
Location: Hamilton, MA
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Wow! We all think "that'll never happen to me". So we can all learn more, can you share with us some of the facts such as size and type of boat and how much water was in the boat when it rolled? I am definitely making all my emergency gear more accessible on the boat. Thanks.
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Old 08-15-2005, 07:52 AM
Todd Benedict Todd Benedict is offline
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Join Date: Jun 2004
Location: Connecticut/Ma.
Posts: 165

Glad all turned out as well as can be expected. Thank you for the post, a reminder to not take safety lightly is the message we can all benefit by.

No need to be embarassed about this. Anybody who spends time OTW can share experiences that are if not similar, equally dangerous. Just be thankful you are here to share the adventure and possibly help the next boater/fisherman.

Thanks for sharing.

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Old 08-15-2005, 08:02 AM
Uncle Matt Uncle Matt is offline
Life long Yankee hater!!!
Join Date: Aug 2003
Location: in my own prison
Posts: 144
Mark -

I'm sorry to hear about your boat and experience. But more importantly, I'm glad you and Jacob kept your wits and are okay. After reading your story, I realize I probably should move some of my safety gear around. What I once considered "readily available" probably isn't at all in an emergency.

Thanks again for sharing this information.

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Old 08-15-2005, 08:15 AM
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Howie Howie is offline
Beware Uber Scup
Join Date: Dec 2004
Location: Falmouth
Posts: 448
I second some of the above. Good that you saw it coming at the last second, and most importantly you guys did what so many others don't. You stayed with the boat. About 13-14 yrs ago, there was a situation in Vineyard sound with some classmates of mine. They tried to swim for it. 2 of the 3 didn't make it.

So many folks try to "fix" that sort of situation by taking action. I think most will agree that you did the right thing, and stayed with the boat. It is just too hard to see a person swimming in those sort of conditions.

Glad to hear that you are both ok.
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Old 08-15-2005, 08:24 AM
Linedancer Linedancer is offline
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Join Date: Oct 2002
Location: Brookline New Hampshire
Posts: 65
Sobering and helpful

Thanks for posting this -- It sure makes me plan to get right outside and walk through our emergency gear and make a new safety checklist for the boat. I wonder how many people would be reluctant to report this kind of an incident (even one likie this that certainly could happen to many of us)---thank you again-- so sorry about the boat damage.
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Old 08-15-2005, 08:28 AM
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constant_menace constant_menace is offline
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Location: Hingham
Posts: 137
Kudos to you!

Cool heads in situations like that ALWAYS prevail, and never, never leave the boat. Embarased/humiliated? **NO WAY** you walked home through the same door you left from. Monster win no matter what the price.

Excuse me while I run out right now to purchase a dry box.....
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Old 08-15-2005, 07:55 AM
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Jim Miller Jim Miller is offline
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Join Date: Mar 2003
Location: Adirondacks
Posts: 1,388
Glad to hear you both were OK. At least the water is warm this time of year. Were you able to get your motor out of the water ASAP....hopefully it will be salvagable. Good luck to you and your boat...
Jim Miller
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Old 08-15-2005, 07:57 AM
Mark Cahill's Avatar
Mark Cahill Mark Cahill is offline
Join Date: Feb 1996
Location: Manchaug, MA
Posts: 4,055
Thanks guys...

The boat is a total loss. The tow eye pulled out and there was no way for TowUS to get it. Apparently, Wellcraft may have forgotten the backer plate and nuts.
Mark Cahill
Read my blog at
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Old 08-15-2005, 07:54 AM
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Bob Parsons Bob Parsons is offline
Join Date: Mar 1996
Location: Barnstable
Posts: 7,465

That's scary stuff. glad your alright. not a good way to start your vacation. What happens with the boat? Did the tow boat get it in? Makes you think twice about where/how you store your safty gear. I keep my cell in a waterproof box but it is black which would make it hard to find. Think I'll change that. If my boat were turtle, gravity would open the access to ditch bag storage area which would be an easy reach from the stern corner.
If at first you do not succeed-sky diving is not the sport for you.

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Old 08-15-2005, 08:19 AM
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mendy mendy is offline
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Join Date: Before Nov. 1999
Location: Boston, MA
Posts: 895
Wow! Very glad to hear everything turned out ok.

We were out in some rough stuff on Saturday with limited visibility. Had one wave break into the engine well while fighting a fish. What angle did the wave come into the boat? Were you beam to the seas?

Thanks for sharing. I think many of us will check and re-check our safety gear...

Capt. John Mendelson
Boston Fishstix Guides
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Old 08-15-2005, 08:52 AM
TimSt TimSt is offline
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Join Date: Before Nov. 1999
Posts: 181
Glad to hear you're both ok; really appreciate you taking the time to post your experience. I'd like to think I'm safe, but your post is making me re-think a couple of things. I wear a manual inflatable PFD all the time; I've been meaning to upgrade to an auto--that's going to happen ASAP. Also, I've been meaning to add a second BIG bilge pump; not so much to avoid what happened to you, but I had my engine access open the other day to get to my seacock (always closed except to washdown tuna blood), and I noticed that just a couple of smaller waves could fill my bilge up in a heartbeat.

The cellphone in a dry box never crossed my mind. I might do that, but I've been thinking about a personal epirb. I thought it might be overkill only a couple miles off the beach, but would certainly get someone out looking for me if I ended up in the drink by myself (or heaven forbid, with my kids) with no comms.

Thanks for the reminder that it can happen to any of us, and at any time. I've met you and fished with Jacob--you guys have some cool heads, and I think that really paid off for you. Lessons learned for all of us.
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Old 08-15-2005, 09:06 AM
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e-sea-e e-sea-e is offline
fish at all costs
Join Date: Jun 2004
Location: Danvers/Arlington
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holy crap mark, glad to hear you both made it out ok. Just goes to show the importance of keeping your wits when something like that happens. I am going to by a dry box today for my cellphone and a small hand held VHF: if that had happened to us this weekend, the cell would have been useless, as we got no signal out where we were.

again, glad to hear you guys made it back. This is good wake up call for all of us up here who have to run 15-20 miles out for the bluefin.
you'll have to speak up, I'm wearing a towel.
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Old 08-15-2005, 09:15 AM
Tightloops2 Tightloops2 is offline
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Join Date: May 2002
Location: Guilford, CT
Posts: 21
Glad to see the two of you safe. It can happen to anyone of us. The fact that the two of you made it, says alot.
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