Skip to comments.NFL Player Lost at Sea Urged to Buy Life-Saving Device for Boats in Distress -- But Didn't
Posted on 03/07/2009 8:52:19 PM PST by metmom
Two days before NFL player Marquis Cooper took a doomed fishing trip with three friends in Florida Gulf Coast waters, a friend urged him to buy a life-saving device used to locate boats in distress.
Cooper hadn't heard of the gadget, an emergency position indicating radio beacon (EPIRB). And he didn't purchase one before his excursion on Saturday, according to the St. Petersburg Times.
(Excerpt) Read more at foxnews.com ...
They made every mistake you can think of - very sad. The ignored a weather warning where people for days knew a cold front was coming.
They could have bought a cheap SPOT GPS EPIRB for $145. A decent one is about $450. They could have bought an $79 VHF radio with a one button distress. This allows you to hit the button while you deal with the emergency.
A good 6-person survival raft is about $1300 with a top. Open good one $350.
My life is worth $450. The could have had the Coast Guard there in 40 minutes with an EPIRB. They had a small 21’ with a single outboard 30 + miles out?!?! If the engine does not start - Sea Tow “ain’t” coming for you.
The ocean is dangerous and will kill you in seconds and has done so for centuries. If you are too cheap to buy safety equipment then stay out of the ocean.
What’s really pathetic is that being NFL players, it’s not like they couldn’t afford it.....
What’s weird is that they let themselves be carried out to sea. I could NEVER will myself to commit suicide by drowning. Taking off their life jackets and letting themselves be swept out to sea or trying to swim for help? It doesn’t make sense.
The only thing that I can think may have happened was that they had swallowed a bunch of salt water. By all accounts, drinking salt water makes you go crazy. Or maybe the cold clouded their judgment. Maybe that could explain what happened.
121.5mhz was phased out last month. Analog’s gone, too. Just new digital (except for the old land-based receivers that won’t be replaced over time).
Did they capsize at night? I’ve been disoriented in seconds at sea at night, just having my eyes not focused for a moment.
Drink a little booze, you’re fishing with your buds, all of a sudden a wave tips you over into the sea...you get disoriented...you get cold...you start freaking out about not being found (except by the first passing shark)...your mind forgets which direction is which in a hurry.
That was due to the effects of Hypothermia, after awhile you start having delusions, and your body actually feels hot, even though you are cold.
It’s called “paradoxical undressing”, they think they’re hot and start taking off clothes, happens on sea and land. Cooper’s father never believed he would quit, but when the Coast Guard explained this phenomenon to him, he understood his son didn’t “quit”, but was just delusional.
There was a similar story in a similar area 50 years ago that they recounted, a guy lost his best friend and brother. At one point one of the guys who died, took off his vest and said “I’m going to swim to the other side of the pool and get out of the water now”
Hypothermia will make you insane in a short period of time.
The SPOTs would not be my first choice at $100 - I would go for a $475 good SPIRB but a SPOT would have easily saved their lives. $100 + $100 a year + $345 a hour is a lot cheaper than a funeral.
I would have multiple back ups if I went outonly 2 miles let alone 30 + miles. EPIRB, VHF radio with one button distress, cell phone (useless at 30 miles), hand held VHF, life raft, etc etc. Safety is cheap. You only get one chance and if you are not prepared - you are dead.
What I think MAY have happened. First off they failed to heed weather report and a cold front came through with 30 + mph winds plus cold. I think their anchor was caught. The gulf is fairly shallow. Probably 60 feet of water. Three or four strong guys maybe tried to pull the anchor up during rough seas and tipped the boat.
It was a 21 ft with a V hull and a high shade top so the center of gravity was pretty high. Once flipped over there was no way to flip it back over and only one guy could get on top. Nothing on the side to hold onto. 62 deg or colder water and high seas.
Even Monday morning when they found the guy the CG pics showed swells and a rolling sea.
Booze will help cause mitakes and kill you fast. Unless you have a survival raft or EPIRB once it tipped - you are dead. Especially 30+ miles out.
Pennywise and pound-foolish. Very sad. My sympathies go out to the family. I hope his last moments were tempered by God’s grace and comfort.
Phased out for satellite activation, still a "guard frequency" for commercial aircraft.
That said, the EPIRBS are getting cheaper everyday and if you are going offshore..., damn good to have!
I haven't been doing daily technical work in the marine field since April 1980. I would have to spin up on the current technology before diving back into the field. Unless my current EE/CS work collapses, it's not valuable use of time. Especially sitting in southeast Idaho. If I was still in San Diego with a viable marine electronics market, I would certainly jump on it.
I had hypothermia once, in Seward, Alaska.
I worked for the forest service in Moose Pass and we were building the Resurrection River Pass trail, and we hiked back from the spike camp in a driving sleet storm.
I lost my hearing, I couldn’t see anything clearly...everything was fuzzy, blurry.
People kept talking to me but I couldn’t hear them, and couldn’t concentrate enough on what they were saying to respond, and when I tried to talk it just came out as gibberish.
I kept hiking, finally reached the trailhead and got to the forest service rig assigned to me, and my body was so numb I couldn’t feel the keys when I reached in my pocket.
I finally just pulled the pocket inside out with both hands, and had to grab the keys with my palms, my fingers wouldn’t work.
I sat in the car, breathing on my hands until I could manipulate the key, then started the engine and blasted the heater full bore for an hour ‘til I warmed up.
There was another forest service ranger working on trails that got hypothermia that same day. She was named Katie, 6’ tall, a really nice girl, and the hypothermia turned her into a zombie who couldn’t speak any words, just mumbled...a couple of other female workers stripped down to their undies and got into a sleeping bag with her to warm her up.
One of the female rangers was named Molly...she was from Maine, had an apple farm, and even though she was a short, squat fireplug she was absolutely the best timber faller I knew...she taught all of us at the Kenai Lake Work Center how to fall trees.
Wow. That’s a great and instructional story. Glad you made it.
There are so many EPIRB false alarms that the CG doesn’t automatically scramble when one goes off. Better to have one, but it’s no guarantee of an immediate response.
Re the short survival time of the NFL players. It was discovered in WWII that counter to what one might predict, older sailors were more likely to live through a torpedoing than the younger, fitter ones. It was theorized that the rookies didn’t have much life experience, had never been in a “tight spot,” and gave up too soon. To remedy this, young sailors were put through a two week “confidence course” in Scotland before going to sea. This was the genesis of the Outward Bound program.
Good post! I enjoyed imagining the experience while reading your short tale.
I know exactly where that is. I actually saw a moose in Moose Pass last time I was there.
True EPIRBs are now on the 406 Mhz band. That band is monitored by satellite. You buy the beacon, register the beacon, activate when you need it. Expected detection by satellite within 15-20 minutes. Some have a GPS built in that transmits your location as well.
WATER TEMP (Degrees in Fahrenheit) EXHAUSTION SURVIVAL TIME
32.5 or less Under 15 min Under 15 TO 45 min.
32.5 to 40 15 to 30 min 30 to 90 min.
40 to 50 30 to 60 min 1 to 3 hrs.
50 to 60 1 to 2 hrs. 1 to 6 hrs.
60 to 70 2 to 7 hrs 2 to 40 hrs.
70 to 80 3 to 12 hrs. 3 hrs. to indefinite
Over 80 Indefinite Indefinite
WATER TEMP(Degrees in Fahrenheit)
32.5 or less——Under 15 min——Under 15 TO 45 min.
32.5 to 40———15 to 30 min——30 to 90 min.
40 to 50————30 to 60 min——1 to 3 hrs.
50 to 60————1 to 2 hrs.-——1 to 6 hrs.
60 to 70————2 to 7 hrs———2 to 40 hrs.
70 to 80————3 to 12 hrs.——3 hrs. to indefinite
Last time I went out in a boat in winter some 15 years ago, I almost died. Went across Sardis Lake to the boat ramp in a 12 foot john boat.
Took 20-30 minutes in reality, but seemed like forever. Temperature in the 20’s and I really thought I was gonna die. Never been so cold in my life. Brother was driving the boat and I realized if it flipped, we were as good as dead.
Finally got the the boat ramp and as he drove the boat up the trailor, I couldn’t get my hands to work to clip to the boat and we kept falling off the side. He finally pulled around and made another run, then ran forward and clipped it, so we could be pulled out.
Didn’t have hypothermia, but it took many minutes in the car with the heater blowing before I felt warm again. I also remember the pain as my fingers warmed up. I know God was looking out for me that night and I swore I would never do anything like that again and I haven’t.
There was not much for 3 guys to hang onto.
Problem was in the planning. Most young guys think they are bulletproof. Add NFL to the equation and realistic planning is out the window. Nothing else mattered once they set foot on that boat, ill prepared for what lay ahead. RIP.
On our family vacation to the Grand Canyon my daughter and I chatted for a few minutes with one of the rangers who patrol the trail. She informed us that the vast majority of people who get in serious trouble there and end up needing assistance to get out are young men in the something-like 17-34 age range (Don't quote me, it's been a few years). They think they're tough, they can do it, this'll be enough water, etc.
Mmmm. I wonder. Did they take turns on top of the boat or were three of them always in the water? Might explain some things.
I have learned that one cannot carry too much water. I carried two canteens and some electrolite pouches in my butt pack. plus I drank as much water as I could before hitting the sector.
Water, socks and toilet paper.....
I thank God you made it out of that lake okay!
I have an even better close call...me and a friend were sitting on the cliffs at Hope, Alaska, looking at the sea ice.
There was a small island out in the Sound and we were debating whether to cross the sea ice and have lunch on the small island.
We decided not to, and just ate our lunches on the cliff.
Well, an hour after our conversation Breakup started happening, and the sea ice began violently breaking up.
That little island was completely awash with ice floes and raging water...if we had been either walking across the sea ice, or had made it to the island, we would have both gotten killed by the sea ice breaking up.
That was soooo scary!
I lived in a little cabin on the banks of the Kenai. My address was Milepost 36.5, Seward Highway...a few miles up the road from a knife maker named IRBI.
Stood for I’d Rather Be Independent.
That trail we built down in Seward stands out as one of the most enjoyable times of my life, seconded only by the times I was assigned to Trail Patrol when I didn’t have to build ‘em, I just patrolled them.
Do you live in Alaska still?
Thanks, Catbert...it was fun bringing that memory back...scary as it was!
I figured it probably had to do with hypothermia. I wasn’t all the familiar with the symptoms, but that would explain their actions.
I’ve never lived there. For a while I was going up there almost every summer though. I’d move to Alaska if I thought I could stand the cold and dark in the winter.
And I’ve bought a knife from that knifemaker. Small world indeed.
Yeah, winters were hard to live through...the Northern Lights made it palatable, though!
But man...getting up in pitch darkness, seeing the sun barely creep above the hortizon around noon, only to set again in a few scant hours, it was hard.
But summers were great, you’d walk outside at 11 pm and it was still bright outside!
You actually bought a knife from IRBI!!
I went in there many times but could rarely afford to buy anything.
Neat guy, though...typical Alaskan.
If they haven't already stopped they will soon no longer monitor 121.5 as the emergency frequency. Don't recall the details, but it's not the freq of choice, or at least won't be in the future. Times they are a changin’!
The sad story parallels the situation we are now in, nationally and globally. The sea can be unforgiving even to the best prepared. Yet as a nation, we are like the boat owner, and as the whole of humanity they are like ones going along for the ride.
Hang tough, all.
Schulyer said that initially there was other flotsam that the others held onto and,as time went on, they floated further apart. But I think Schulyer was the only one hanging onto the motor.
I think he was not suffering from hypothermia like the others as he was mostly sitting out of the water.
I wonder if they played “King of the Hill” and Schuyler won.
Prayers for the families....
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