Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Coast Guard and fishing the Gulfstream...

Key West






An interesting thing happened when I was working on a Sportfishing charter boat in the Florida Keys a few years back. We were fishing east of Summerland Key and were about 10 miles offshore when we saw a Coast Guard helicopter fly over and headed East. After a short period we saw a Coast Guard cutter headed out from the direction of Key West Coast Guard station and running hard.

A short time later Captain Jim Sharpe of the charter boat SeaBoots, http://www.seaboots.com/, that I worked on received a radio communication from a private boat who we knew fished regularly in the area. This private boat advised us that he had become entangled in a Large crab trap buoy line and was unable to get free. The cable had become entangled around a propeller and was in effect anchoring the boat in about 2,000 feet of water. The problem was with the gulf stream moving along at 4 to 4-½ knotts this was pulling the boat down and almost sinking. Upon arrival of the Coast Guard cutter several people were removed from the private boat thus leaving the captain and mate on the small boat…

It is common for fishing boats to run offshore to known crab pot locations for there are usually 3 to 4 large buoys tied together to the trap line to mark its position and used in retrieving the large crab pot. This pot is about the size of the ones you see on the Discovery Channel special about commercial crab fishing in the Northeast. They are rather large, heavy, and about 2,000 feet down and left for 5 to 7 days to catch crab. The buoys of these traps on the surface tends to attract many fish and fishing boats like to troll baits near these buoys.

This private boat unfortunately got too close to the trap line and got entangled. In the photo it looks as if the private boat is backing up but is actually being pulled down by the current which is running left to right in these photos.

The Coast Guard inflatable hard bottom boat was to small to help with towing the private boat against the current and the Cutter was way to big. The SeaBoots boat that I was on tied off to the front of the private boat and pulled it’s bow around and into the current. This allowed tension to be taken off the trap line and the private boat being cut free…

2 comments:

Robin H said...

That guy was really lucky he did not go down! I saw a guy who once tied off to a buoy so he could fish and a swell swamped the boat and he was swimming for half an hour before they could pull him out.

Dina Dee said...

Had a boat up her in NY that ran between a tug and the barge it was pulling offshore about 10 miles. Idiot thought he had plenty of room between the tug & barge to make it but did not see the tow cable just under the surface, sank in less then 4 minutes...