Spearboard.com - The World's Largest Spearfishing Diving Boating Social Media Forum

Spearboard.com - The World's Largest Spearfishing Diving Boating Social Media Forum (http://www.spearboard.com/index.php)
-   Florida Gulfcoast Spearfishing (http://www.spearboard.com/forumdisplay.php?f=6)
-   -   Information regarding 3 divers on Saturday, and some lessons to be learned (http://www.spearboard.com/showthread.php?t=199615)

grey2112 11-05-2019 04:40 PM

Information regarding 3 divers on Saturday, and some lessons to be learned
 
Saturday, November 2, 2019 started out as any other planned, leisurely spearfishing trip out in the Gulf of Mexico for Florida Skin Divers Association members Michael Yagmin, Melody Shearin Engle and close friend of theirs.

As it goes with many trips offshore doing what many of us love to do (dive and spear fish), things didn’t go as planned. At one of their spots along the gas pipeline about 25 miles offshore, Mike set the anchor on his 42-foot boat and they all geared up for the dive in calm surface conditions. At the bottom, Mike reset the anchor from the sand to the large boulders that were along the pipeline for added security. During the dive Mike realized that the anchor had slipped, and everybody surfaced together.

Upon surfacing the three immediately knew that they were in big trouble. The surface conditions had changed causing the anchor to come free, and the boat was far on the horizon. Their only hope was for the anchor to grab and for one of them to catch the boat. Melody was the strongest swimmer and there were several times where she wanted to quit, but in her mind, she didn’t have a choice. She could not let Mike and her friend down. Using this determination, Melody battled those conditions for 3 hours, ultimately reaching the drifting boat which according to the boat GPS, had drifted almost 3 miles.

She immediately called the Coast Guard on the VHF radio and relayed to them that she had two divers still in the water, not knowing their condition. The Coast Guard deployed two helicopters, a C-130 aircraft and a 45-foot rescue boat. By this time, surface conditions ranged from 5 to 6-foot waves, and some bigger. By coordinating with and following heading instructions from Melody, a Coast Guard Air Station Clearwater MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter crew spotted Mike and hoisted him into safety after swimming for 4 hours.

A U.S. Coast Guard Sector St Petersburg 45-foot Motor Lifeboat rescued her friend and pulled her to safety after drifting for 5 hours. Mike suffered severe leg cramping and her friend had mild hypothermia from being in the water. Scuba diving and spearfishing are high risk sports and we all can learn from each other and from events like this one.

What counts here is that everyone is safe. As a direct result from Melody’s heroic actions and her physical and mental fortitude, and swift support from the US Coast Guard, all three friends are safe and back home with their family and friends. “We are very grateful for the US Coast Guard and their fast response. With sunset approaching, if Melody had not reached the boat the outcome could have been very different for all of us”, said Mike.



I never anchor anymore after doing something similar (though not as far away, or as bad of conditions, me and my buddy still almost didn't make it back against current). There is now ALWAYS at least two competent boat operators on my boat following bubbles. We always drop a buoy, sometimes two. Everyone has a SMB on their BC. Everyone knows if the engine quits how to go through the steps to get it started again (primer bulb, kill cord, neutral, switch batteries, etc.) - if that doesn't work, they know to immediately drop the anchor. They also know that if they hear the engine revving (can do this in neutral) that something is wrong and they are to ascend.

Pretty basic stuff, but it amazes me how many people still don't do any of these things, and leave boats unattended.

Spear One 11-05-2019 04:47 PM

Re: Information regarding 3 divers on Saturday, and some lessons to be learned
 
Wow, Mike Yagmin and I go back a long way and dove together on his boat the Main Squeeze many times. Glad to hear they all made it back safely.

popgun pete 11-05-2019 06:42 PM

Re: Information regarding 3 divers on Saturday, and some lessons to be learned
 
Great story and a happy ending, swimming three miles in a heaving sea is some feat of endurance and the lives of all three were totally in the balance, a desperate situation if all had gone wrong.

CuzzA 11-05-2019 07:20 PM

Re: Information regarding 3 divers on Saturday, and some lessons to be learned
 
Yes, Melody certainly was the hero and saved everyone's lives.

Recently I've dove with a few different crews and one leaves the boat unmanned. They at least always clip a PLB off to the jug before the dive. I see the advantage as it's a much more efficient way to dive and allows a small crew to get 6-8 dives each in the same time it take a 2 up 2 down crew to do a total of 4 dives.

As I've evolved in this sport I have become of the mind set that I need to be 100% self reliant and so from very early on I've dove with a PLB in a canister tucked under my wing in a lift bag sleeve.

Shit can go wrong quick, hell the boat you're on can short electronics and sink in a heart beat while you're diving, then what? $350 is dirt cheap insurance to have on you to contact search and rescue anywhere in the world.

If I were diving with them, screw that swim!!! I'm hitting the button and fücking sending it!!! :cool:

SEA_ARCHER 11-06-2019 09:41 PM

Re: Information regarding 3 divers on Saturday, and some lessons to be learned
 
Hey cuzza, i now dive with that same plb and canister that you recommended to me a year or 2 ago. It sure brings me a lot of piece of mind. You never know what can go wrong at the surface when you are down there.

Post up the links again in case others are interested?

Alec 11-06-2019 11:16 PM

Re: Information regarding 3 divers on Saturday, and some lessons to be learned
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by grey2112 (Post 2193010)
They all geared up for the dive in calm surfaces

Mistake #1. It always surprises me how experienced divers still chance it with nobody on the boat, that’s the first thing you learn when getting certified. If I had to guess the marine forecast wasn’t absolutely perfect either, or just bad luck. I’m happy they all made it back without any serious injuries. Sometimes we underestimate just how dangerous the ocean/or gulf can be.

Quote:

Originally Posted by CuzzA (Post 2193021)
Yes, Melody certainly was the hero and saved everyone's lives.

Recently I've dove with a few different crews and one leaves the boat unmanned. They at least always clip a PLB off to the jug before the dive. I see the advantage as it's a much more efficient way to dive and allows a small crew to get 6-8 dives each in the same time it take a 2 up 2 down crew to do a total of 4 dives.

As I've evolved in this sport I have become of the mind set that I need to be 100% self reliant and so from very early on I've dove with a PLB in a canister tucked under my wing in a lift bag sleeve.

Shit can go wrong quick, hell the boat you're on can short electronics and sink in a heart beat while you're diving, then what? $350 is dirt cheap insurance to have on you to contact search and rescue anywhere in the world.

If I were diving with them, screw that swim!!! I'm hitting the button and fücking sending it!!! :cool:

What happens when “that button” doesn’t work? Unfortunately I know a teen that died climbing when his SPOT device, and partners Garmin InReach failed after he fell hundreds of feet down a mountain being left to die. I’ll take a reliable captain, taking a dive off even on a good spot, and getting out earlier over risking my boat drifting off. Stay safe everybody

Eibwen 11-09-2019 07:15 AM

Re: Information regarding 3 divers on Saturday, and some lessons to be learned
 
Thanks for posting. Glad this has a happy ending. Takes some big heavy cahones to go swim after a boat like that. I imagine she left her BC & tank with the other two?

After having a challenging time swimming against current back to an anchored boat I decided, like Cuzza, cheap insurance to have a tool on hand to ensure rescue is on the way.

"that button" is your best chance at rescue when things go sideways. If you don't PMC your equipment to ensure it is in working order (battery not dead) or if you fall a hundred feet off a cliff with your PLB breaking your fall then you might be SOL.

I dive with this canister which is sold on ebay for $100
https://www.ebay.com/itm/CANISTER-fo...0AAOSw7I5TwJD2

No problems with water infiltration. Been down to 100ft with it. Large version is enough to fit a ResQLink PLB, dye marker, and mylar blanket.

https://www.westmarine.com/personal-...r-beacons-plbs
https://www.westmarine.com/buy/orion...arker--5367149
https://www.leisurepro.com/p-blrdbds...uxe-6-183m-smb

CuzzA 11-09-2019 08:10 AM

Re: Information regarding 3 divers on Saturday, and some lessons to be learned
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by SEA_ARCHER (Post 2193046)
Hey cuzza, i now dive with that same plb and canister that you recommended to me a year or 2 ago. It sure brings me a lot of piece of mind. You never know what can go wrong at the surface when you are down there.

Post up the links again in case others are interested?

Good to hear, man. There's no reason a diver should get lost these days with all the tech options we have.

This is ACR's latest and greatest option as it comes with a oled screen. They have another new option that is cheaper without the screen. They also acquired the very small PLB1. The down side to that unit is it does not float without a neoprene pouch.

https://www.acrartex.com/products/resqlink-view

The canister I use is the CustomDivers PLB canister. It's about a $100 shipped from the UK. It is the most streamlined option available. All the others, including the Grenade looking option are rather big.

https://www.customdivers.com/plb-div...ount-744-p.asp

Since it's a smaller canister there's obviously not room for dye markers and such, but I did cut off the hood from a mylar solar poncho I bought off Amazon and squeezed it in the canister. The idea of having my head get fried for hours waiting for pickup just doesn't sound appealing.

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0...?ie=UTF8&psc=1

I clip it all off to an 8' SMB from Piranha Dive Mfg. It appears they are currently out of stock so no link.

I put this whole kit in a lift bag sleeve and mounted it under my wing. You wouldn't ever know it's there.

XS Scuba offers one as well competitively priced.

https://www.divegearexpress.com/dgx-...ift-bag-sleeve


It may also be a good idea to but a fold up snorkel in with the kit. I haven't, but am considering this one.

https://www.piranhadivemfg.com/item/...is-model-12262

CuzzA 11-09-2019 08:14 AM

Re: Information regarding 3 divers on Saturday, and some lessons to be learned
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Alec (Post 2193047)
Mistake #1. It always surprises me how experienced divers still chance it with nobody on the boat, that’s the first thing you learn when getting certified. If I had to guess the marine forecast wasn’t absolutely perfect either, or just bad luck. I’m happy they all made it back without any serious injuries. Sometimes we underestimate just how dangerous the ocean/or gulf can be.



What happens when “that button” doesn’t work? Unfortunately I know a teen that died climbing when his SPOT device, and partners Garmin InReach failed after he fell hundreds of feet down a mountain being left to die. I’ll take a reliable captain, taking a dive off even on a good spot, and getting out earlier over risking my boat drifting off. Stay safe everybody

I run the test on my PLB before every trip. There's always the chance it could fail to work, but probably not a big one.

They certainly made an error in judgement. That front was scheduled to hit at noon and they posted on FB they were just departing around 10am. They should have known better.

Marcus 11-09-2019 12:32 PM

Re: Information regarding 3 divers on Saturday, and some lessons to be learned
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by CuzzA (Post 2193102)
They certainly made an error in judgement. That front was scheduled to hit at noon and they posted on FB they were just departing around 10am. They should have known better.

Sounds like a...communication breakdown, it's always the same..

3 hrs swimming? Geesh...it sounds as if she was somewhat fit for it. Hero move there.
Crazy story. I've done plenty of solo diving myself but it was always in less than 45' with excellent scope on the rope and making sure anchor was set visually. I certainly didn't make a habit of diving during an approaching front though.

grey2112 11-09-2019 05:10 PM

Re: Information regarding 3 divers on Saturday, and some lessons to be learned
 
Despite all the tech, I'll never, EVER leave an empty boat up top. And everyone on my boat knows how to run it, troubleshoot, use the VHF, and knows to throw the anchor if the motor stops and they start to drift.

gcracker89 01-13-2020 12:19 AM

Re: Information regarding 3 divers on Saturday, and some lessons to be learned
 
I was on the edge of my seat reading this For all those that read this head the warning, as several said Always leave someone on the boat....not just warm body but someone that can run the electronics and the boat. I have 2 stories First many years ago my wife ran out to the R.J. about 30 miles off shore on a Sunday afternoon. We went down and the anchor line ran across the barge so we swam around it when we returned to our start point the anchor was not there. Doing a free assent from 65' and all the while all the bad things you can dream up run thru your mind. at the surface we did not see the boat...….as we rotated 360 degrees it was behind us so as all dumb divers do we went back down the line cause we had air left. The tide or wind had change causing the boat to move to the North and move the anchor line away from the barge so we did not see it. I tied it to the barge we finished our dive. After that we always had someone on the boat.
The second time we were on a charter when we cam up from the dive the captain informed us of a search for a lost diver near us we had the option of cancelling the 2nd dive and joining the search or making the dive as planned. 6 - 0 we joined the search. a 30' +boat with 3 divers on board. A squall had gone thru while we were down and it pulled the anchor on there boar when they surfaced just as the story that started the thread there boat was not there and they separated the first diver that got to the boat call a MAYDAY again as the story went they to had encountered large seas and had become separated a sad day they found the 3rd diver unresponsive despite the efforts by the CG he passed away. Years later I had the opportunity to dive with friends I stayed on the boat while the 2 couples dove shortly after the last diver went under a squall popped up and dropped a water spout a couple hundred yards behind the boat. I watched it for 30 minutes trying to make a plan in case it came closer thankfully it disappeared as the first diver surfaced.
My only regret that day is I did was not better at running the GPS equipment. I would never never never leave a boat empty again

grey2112 01-13-2020 11:54 AM

Re: Information regarding 3 divers on Saturday, and some lessons to be learned
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by gcracker89 (Post 2194557)
I was on the edge of my seat reading this For all those that read this head the warning, as several said Always leave someone on the boat....not just warm body but someone that can run the electronics and the boat. I have 2 stories First many years ago my wife ran out to the R.J. about 30 miles off shore on a Sunday afternoon. We went down and the anchor line ran across the barge so we swam around it when we returned to our start point the anchor was not there. Doing a free assent from 65' and all the while all the bad things you can dream up run thru your mind. at the surface we did not see the boat...….as we rotated 360 degrees it was behind us so as all dumb divers do we went back down the line cause we had air left. The tide or wind had change causing the boat to move to the North and move the anchor line away from the barge so we did not see it. I tied it to the barge we finished our dive. After that we always had someone on the boat.
The second time we were on a charter when we cam up from the dive the captain informed us of a search for a lost diver near us we had the option of cancelling the 2nd dive and joining the search or making the dive as planned. 6 - 0 we joined the search. a 30' +boat with 3 divers on board. A squall had gone thru while we were down and it pulled the anchor on there boar when they surfaced just as the story that started the thread there boat was not there and they separated the first diver that got to the boat call a MAYDAY again as the story went they to had encountered large seas and had become separated a sad day they found the 3rd diver unresponsive despite the efforts by the CG he passed away. Years later I had the opportunity to dive with friends I stayed on the boat while the 2 couples dove shortly after the last diver went under a squall popped up and dropped a water spout a couple hundred yards behind the boat. I watched it for 30 minutes trying to make a plan in case it came closer thankfully it disappeared as the first diver surfaced.
My only regret that day is I did was not better at running the GPS equipment. I would never never never leave a boat empty again

Yup. Good points made and thanks for sharing your stories. All the technology in the world won't amount to a hill of beans if it doesn't work, someone forgot to change batteries, it got compromised, forgotten, etc. What WILL make a difference is having someone competent on the boat.

SEATUX 01-13-2020 04:57 PM

Re: Information regarding 3 divers on Saturday, and some lessons to be learned
 
It would probably be Very Enlightening to know;
What kind/type of anchor
what size/weight of anchor
how much chain
how much scope

Because if all those were right, ( Really...4 things?) the boat would have not drug anchor very far, if at all, certainly not in those seas !


All times are GMT -5. The time now is 05:12 AM.

The World's Largest Spearfishing Diving Social Media Forum Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.1
Copyright ©2000 - 2020, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.
Copyright ©2002 - 2014 Spearboard.com