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No Distress Beacon = Tragedy

[sigh!] Here we go again. I am referring, of course, to the latest senseless tragedy involving four fishing buddies, including two NFL players, whose small boat capsized off-shore. Only one survived, clinging to the overturned boat, the other three are presumed dead and as of this evening, the Coast Guard has called off the search. Mind you, we probably wouldn’t even be reading about this at all if it hadn’t involved the NFL players. It would otherwise just be another senseless and mostly non-headline grabbing tragedy, one repeated time and time again. Check latest on the search here.

In this case, it hits a bit closer to home since one of the players, Marquis Cooper, is the son of a local TV sportscaster here where I live, one we often watch. The news reports to this point suggests that they were less than well-prepared to venture off-shore. While they had PFDs (personal floatation devices or life vests) they didn’t wear them and had to dive under the boat after it capsized to get them. Why more boaters and fishermen don’t wear a comfortable inflatable PFD is beyond me, but more do not than do. Why they wouldn’t have at least donned the PFDs they had when the weather was bad is beyond my comprehension, but at least that didn’t result in a tragedy this time. It also doesn’t appear that they carried a life raft.

Most critically, it also doesn’t look like they had any sort of distress beacon. It’s a pretty sure bet that if they had a 406 MHz EPIRB or PLB, they’d all be safe home by now and the headlines would just be about their quick rescue. I find it difficult to believe that they were totally ignorant of their existence. You can’t open a boating magazine, walk into a chandlery or visit a boat show or dealer without seeing them offered for sale. So, at some point my assumption is that they, or at least the supposedly experienced boat owners involved, decided their life wasn’t worth the $600 that a PLB cost (prior to the very recent introduction of the new McMurdo Fast Find for $300). I wonder if their family would agree with that penny wise, pound foolish decision?

What’s your life worth?