Claire Corlett

Fish Food, Fish Tanks, and More
Fish Tales: Unsinkable

Fish Tales: Unsinkable

(Sad music starts) J.J.: It started out one morning in March
back in about the mid 1980s. Kind of chilli morning but it was calm, like glass on the
ocean, so we went out to the BR. It was about 32 miles out. And, uh, started catching some
fish and did very well catching snapper and grouper and, uh, just a variety of fish. Uh, started seeing the weather get a little
bit nasty a front was supposed to come through but not that early and it came in a little
earlier. So we started heading back. Seas built from about probably from flat seas to
about 4 to 6. We’re in a 19 ft Mako with uh, 85 Hp motor on it. Which for that many people
on that boat that was probably a little underpowered. I had just started coming back. The seas got
rough. The winds were out of the Northwest, which, uh, we were heading to the West, so
we were running into the waves. Pounding pretty good. Got in about, probably, to about 18,
19 miles. Uhm, hit a pretty good wave and it shorted out the electrical system on the
boat. It shut the motor off. The waves were coming
in pretty quick. We tried to get the anchor down to, uh, get the bow turned into the waves.
Didn’t do it in time and took a wave over the, uh, side of the boat. It filled the boat up with water. A lot of
our tackle floated out. Life jackets floated out. Different things. We finally did get the anchor out but by that
point we had got so much water in the boat that when it would go over waves and the back
of the boat would go down it would actually go under the water. The boat was pretty much in distress at that
point. Because it got so nasty, a lot of other boats were having issues too. We made a call to the Coast Guard. Coast Guard
told us they had no vessels available. About that time Capt. George Strate on the Miss
Mayport heard my distress call and asked me where I was at. He punched my numbers in and he turned and
started coming towards me. I could see him from about 4 or 5 miles out but because we
were so low in the water he couldn’t see us. So he told me to light a flare and stand up
as high as I could on the boat. I didn’t have a T-Top. All I had was a center console. I
stood up on the console with the flare and waved it. He could see it from time to time. As he approached my vessel he could tell it
was in pretty rough shape. He instructed the crew members on my boat to go one at a time.
Jump over from my boat with a life jacket and swim up to him and he would hoist them
into their boat. His boat was about an 85 ft. commercial fishing
boat. So as they would get up there he would lift them in. Well when he said to go one at a time it was
like a mass exodus. All four people on my boat exited the boat swimming fairly quickly
toward the rescue boat: the Miss Mayport. As they got to the boat the biggest, heaviest
one was the first one to reach the boat. They began to hoist them guys up into the
boat. I stayed with the, uh, with the ship. Once they were aboard the captain instructed
me to tie a rope off to the bow. I did that. As he started to pull the boat there was so
much water in it it ripped the cleat out of the bow. So we had to rig it up a different
way. And he told me, if this don’t work we’re just going to have to let the boat go and
take you back. Fortunately, it did work. We got the boat
going. Once we got it going the boat naturally drained the water out through the drain plugs
and the bilge was able to catch up and get everything from below deck. Fortunately, we saved all our fish and all our rod
and reels but most of our tackle, tackle boxes, and some of the hatches that were on the boat
that weren’t hinged floated away. All our life jackets floated away. The Coast Guard
met us about 10 miles offshore and, uh, did a boat inspection. And, uh, questioned us
about the life jackets. With the exception of the ones we wore everything else washed
away. We made it back in but, uh, we learned a big lesson that day. And it was one you
don’t overload your boat with 5 people with an 85 hp motor and go thirty something miles
out. And don’t play with those fronts cause if they say it will be an hour or two hours
or twelve hours coming in, it can speed up or slow down. Its just not something to play

72 comments on “Fish Tales: Unsinkable

  1. @Reel Hazardous  Yes, Coming back from Canada to NJ and bad storm moved in.  It was about 34 years ago our 28 foot Luhrs, wooden boat, popped a blank near the bow, and we were taking on water badly.  We did what we could to slow it down.  We hailed a mayday and instructed the coast guard of our condition.  Fortunately they had a gasoline powered pump with them, it helped us keep the boat afloat, and they ran alone side us going into Rockaway Inlet, we made it in Ok and were able to repair the boat enough to make it the rest of the way home.  Then it was hauled and fixed properly.  I was 8 or 9 years old at the time, I am still a boater to this day and I will own a boat until I die.

  2. what? 32 miles out in calm waters yet your boat is already showing brown water inside when you're in the middle of the ocean? [note still pic at 20sec and again at 26 sec of this video ] you boat was already in trouble before the storm came!

  3. Check the weather reports before you venture out. Your life jackets wouldn't have floated away if you were wearing them while you were underway. Learn the lesson or become a statistic.

  4. I tell you what…I'd take that 80's mako over a brand new one. I was checking them out recently and wasn't impressed. Went with Carolina Skiff instead. Cool vid thanks for posting

  5. I have an old 1979, 19 foot Mako. The classics were built strong and won't sink like you said just goes to the water line. Very well made boat. And thank you for sharing that story. We've had close calls with ours but never as bad as yours needing rescue. Everyone can lean alot from this video!!

  6. Im a guide and was taking a gr rod buddy out on my big 25 footer with 2 v8 engines suddenly they both caught on fire

  7. This could never happen to a Boston Whaler. Fill up the cockpit, stand a horse inside it, and it will still rise above the water level and empty itself. That's why you pay more for them. The ONLY small boats I fully trust, and that includes the Grady's.

  8. Hmm…Interesting. Am I the only one that noticed that the boat had a 1976 Johnson 85 Javelin on the transom when the boat was at the ramp – then it had a 1978 Evinrude 140 on it when it sunk?

  9. Me and a mate once sailed around from island to island, not very far from shore though (half a mile at most), in an 8 foot dingy with a suzuki 4hp outboard on it, the edge of the boat was at best 3-4 inches from the water. Great times were had! 🙂

  10. One time when I was a kid me and my Dad had been out fishing and on the way back I decided to stomp on an empty Orange Juice Tetra Pack to make it go bang.

    He instantly killed the Engine, ran to the back of the boat and started dismantling the Outboard to see what had caused the explosion as I was standing there sheepishly with a compressed drink container under my foot.

  11. I think its funny that the Coast Guard wouldn't come out and save him, but they were there to screw with him and do a safety inspection when they got in… Figures…

  12. 1. Too far offshore for that little boat. 2. Obviously were not listening to vhf weather reports. Sad how most have to learn the hard way.

  13. are the newer Mako's not as good ? my dad just bought a 2017 204 mainly for inland bays and some freshwater. was wondering about going offshore how far out would yall recommend in that boat if at all ?

  14. I flipped my boat a week ago I stranger flipped it over and towed me back in. would of been a total lost of wasn't for him. I love how boaters take care of one another

  15. scary, this is why I bought my 25 whaler. no fear f sinking. we've been in nasty 12'+ seas, and we'd make it in more than once. I've swamped the boat a couple times , backing down, but it wouldn't sink. almost lost my 22' had a major leak at the shaftlog { the hose came lose}. by the time I figured it out the boat the water had almost got to the engines spark plugs. I pulled the intake hose off the raw water pump, and used it help drain the bilge. scary as f! went shopping for a whaler after that.

  16. When the Boston Whaler was first marketed, one of the marketing points was that the foam filled hull could not sink. They put transom drains in that were several inches in diameter and covered only with an outside flap that kept the water out if you were in reverse. If you were under weigh, any water would all drain out and the deck would be dry. When you stopped to pull in a fish, you would eventually get a couple of inches of water over the deck. As soon as you started forward, it would drain out. In heavy weather, if you got water over the bow or stern, it would run out as fast as it came in. They really were unsinkable. However, people were too nervous about the water on the deck, although it was normal and the model did not sell well until they changed the transom drains to the small ones that could have a plug installed. That made it harder to empty the water out in an emergency and they are just another boat now.

  17. To small of a boat for deep sea fishing.
    You should have turned on your bilge pumps on. For starters and then drive inland slowly

  18. You don't take a boat full of kids offshore when there's a front coming in later. That's just not real bright. You could have taken their lives from them. Be smart. And get an EPIRB!

  19. Back in the early 1980s I was piloting my father's 17 Mako off cape cod when I noticed the boat had sunken a bit. At the boat ramp while pulling the boat onto the trailer I discovered that the lower bilge plug was missing and the double hull was filled inside with water. Couldn't figure how it happened until a slime neighbor spilled his mouth. He loosened the plug and it fell out while under power. I punched that SOB in the face maybe a dozen times in front of neighborhood witnesses. As he was going into his house after he turns to me and says he's going to call the cops. The cops never came though and later that night I flattened all four tires on his car. I didn't slice them though, I just loosened the tire valves.

  20. Wow…great story. Glad y"all survived. Kudos to the Capt of the Miss Mayport and all that helped you at your time of distress.

  21. Makos will never sink as long as you’re running at a decent speed forward especially if you have an open end like on mine

  22. Early Mako's had a very low bow and even lower freeboard. No one makes a boat like that anymore. All boats of the size were required to have positive flotation.

  23. How do you all I have a 1990 Mako 210 cuddy cabin with everything you could ever want for fishing I'll let her go for 25k only cuz I have to

  24. what if you had a detached boat single engine on board with no connection to the boat's circuit could you have managed ?

  25. Glad you and your family and friends got home ok, and thumbs up to Capt. Strate. Good advice on knowing your boat and being sensible about the weather.

  26. open boats just arnt made to go thru a choppy sea the issue comes when the chop is close together you can never get the boat on plane as a result the nose rides high the back of the boat takes water little by little , the motor is always working hard its a no win situation , im in the process of retro fitting a screen and forward wheel house , its a big problem for me , bet that fish didnt taste as sweet

  27. Pleased to hear of the good outcome. I ocean fish, prefer it on my own. If something happens I only have myself to worry about. Attached to my life vest I have a 406 GPS locator, VHF radio, an LED flare that is so bright you can’t look at it even in day light and sea dye marker. Risk is a necessary aspect of having fun but you can stack the odds in your favour.

  28. Although i wouldn't do it i have seen a lot of 10" inflatables make the 35 mile run to Catalina island and back. Swells run 10-20' but they are spaced out so it's like going up a hill then down a hill.

  29. What I'd be interested to find out is the same question people ask when the ponder they Titanic's sinking, "What could they have done differently?" I heard him say, "Don't overload boat", "Don't underestimate storm approach" but almost bet that had they have gotten a sea anchor over sooner to hold the bow into the seas, and did some aggressive bailing, that he may have stayed afloat.

  30. Below is one of our recent offshore trips for Wahoo and bottom fish like Vermilion Snapper!

  31. I am remodeling a 1977 19ft Mako Powercat that looks just like this. It is good to know it is unsinkable. Thanks for posting

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