Boating accident at El Capitan?

Discussion in 'Freshwater' started by Kellen, Jul 31, 2014.

  1. Kellen

    Kellen Owner
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    Tough to know how many tickets are given out.

    I do know the lake staff make an effort to keep things safe. For the most part, they concentrate their efforts, or maybe more accurate, their attention is demanded from the "water contact" boats more. Those vessels, and the jet skis are usually the ones creating the problems. So they're out there trying to keep those people from killing themselves. And because El Capitan is a narrow, winding lake, they can't see a lot of the lake from any one position. So they concentrate their eyes around the jet ski arm, around the ramp (where a lot of minor issues that require their attention take place), and in the main basin of the lake.

    A lot of the fishing takes place in this lake's north end, naturally, away from the areas I just mentioned. Fishermen usually are getting away from the jetskis and water skiers.

    So the fisherman are mostly policing themselves. And, accidents involving two fishing boats are so rare. When news broke of a boating accident at El Capitan, I don't think any of us thought it would be two fishing boats that collided. We just assumed it was another issue with the jet skis and pleasure boats.

    But to your other questions, tickets are handled like any other ticket. You can pay the fine and admit your guilt, or you can show up on your court date and fight it.

    Other boaters are definitely able to report reckless driving. I've done it, I'm sure others have as well. Usually though we're reporting these pleasure boats who are driving around like maniacs or are in areas of the lake they're not supposed to be.

    In my opinion, this incident was about someone driving recklessly. I don't blame the system, the low water conditions condense everything. But what these guys did was incredibly stupid. They were driving too close to shore, and not paying attention. No matter how fast they were going, they had time to avoid the other boat if they were paying attention. They simply COULD NOT have been watching. Their boat was not fast enough to even create a scenario where they would have had not enough time to react had they been paying attention.

    But again, worth noting we don't know exactly what happened yet. We might never know. No one saw it happen, @quacker at least knows the position of where it occurred, but sounds like he was pretty far away so no way to know exactly how close to shore it was. The only two guys who know for sure what happened are the ones in the Nitro. And they might not ever say what happened, or admit fault. I don't know who was driving the boat, I know who the boat owner is. He is 68 years old, and a Vietnam Veteran. I would assume he is a man of good character, but I don't know him personally.

    If it happened the way it appears it happened, the runabout boat didn't make the safest decision in how they were navigating toward Conejos either. Its a general rule of thumb to go in a counterclockwise direction around the lake. In a lot of states (not California) it is actually a law that you must go counterclockwise around bodies of water. Its kind of an unwritten rule. But helps avoid situations like this. Don't mistake this as blaming them, but just saying they could have taken a safer course.
     
    #181 Kellen, Aug 3, 2014
    Last edited: Aug 3, 2014
  2. Kellen

    Kellen Owner
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    Also, as an example of what the Rangers have to deal with, check out this thread from a boater out at El Capitan recently.

    http://sdfish.com/forums/threads/knucklehead-boater-at-el-capitan.145287/

    Guess who had to stop what they were doing both times this idiot screwed up? The Ranger. First was dropping his boat off the trailer on the ramp, and second was crashing into the shore.

    Also last September, when the water was much higher than it is now (so a much bigger lake), two boats pulling people on tubes drove so close to the shoreline that they swung the people on the tubes into/onto the shoreline, seriously injuring them. It happened twice in the same week.

    El Capitan is the only lake in the county now that permits water contact activities. San Vicente is closed right now for construction to the dam, and that lake generally handled the majority of the water skiing activities. So with it closed, El Cap has had to handle all of those extra water contact people, as well as being the most popular fishing lake.

    So this incident is a product of a LOT of factors. Difficult to cast blame on any one thing, other than a boat being driven recklessly.
     
  3. fisheromen

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    I am not as regular on the lake as many, but I have never seen what looked like a ticket stop. The lake is more dangerous this year than others because of the low water level. Smaller lake with the same traffic. Fishermen and pleasure boaters and towing of skiers and other towable objects. Bass boats are usually the fastest boats on the lake as wakeboarding and skiing are relatively slower sports. There is the occasional jet boat bombing around the lake.

    Having said that, speed was not the main cause of this accident. Driving too close to shore on a blind corner was the awful mistake. Very poor judgement was the cause.

    Again, I am very sorry for your tragic loss.
     
  4. Kellen

    Kellen Owner
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    I want to add, I don't think traveling even 70 mph on that lake is unsafe to anyone when you're in the right spot. Thats why I won't support the idea that the "high rate of speed" had anything to do with that. I've driven boats 75 mph down that lake and never even remotely had a close call. And I never had anyone raise their hands at me, or saw a float tuber get nervous or anything.

    But I was courteous, if I was headed in the general direction of another vessel, I made it obvious to them that I saw them. I'd immediately (like hundreds of yards before them) make a move away from them to let them know I was aware of their position. And then give them twice as much room as I would like to have gotten if I was them. I don't even want the thought to cross their mind that they were in danger of me.

    What makes boating so safe when common sense is applied is that there is no such thing as blind corners, there are no obstacles to obstruct your view.

    And what I mean by that is that if you're approaching a corner or turn, you take it wide, and even at 75+ MPH there is no danger to having something surprise you. You're hundreds of yards away from things when you first see them.

    In areas where it is unsafe to boat that fast, you have no-wake zones (like the narrows at Hodges for example).

    I guess I was lucky, I grew up fishing those lakes. Spent 15 years on them every weekend, driving boats of all sizes and speeds, and never had a close call. Not at El Capitan, not at the river, not at Havasu, nowhere. Probably the safest thing I ever did in my life. Only time I was in danger on a fishing trip was heading down the freeway on the way to the lake, or the way home.

    So thats why I will not get behind the idea of speed being to blame. Its being a complete idiot that is to blame.

    They either cut that corner SO EXTREMELY CLOSE, or something distracted the driver and he was not watching. But that just seems so unfathomable to me. If you're doing something stupid and cutting a corner, you would think your awareness would be heightened when you're taking a risk like that.

    They had to have been drunk. It just doesn't make any sense any other way.
     
  5. Joefish

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    Here is the memorial video that has been put together in honor of Jeff Ingram and Russel Mendez's families and friends to keep their spirit alive and remembered by us all. Rest in Peace guys. I know you are going to like this video Jeff because you always wanted me to make you your own, and Russel I hope you like the first video you are in with your best buddy Jeff. Enjoy guys!
     
  6. Rude Baits

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    Tragic. R.I.P...
     
  7. gatorfan

    gatorfan USN BMC (ret)
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    I made the one I'm using now for the same purpose.

    Also, as primarily a tube fisherman, I always have this scenario in my mind every time I'm on the water. I keep my head on a swivel and try to think what I would do if I saw a boat head towards me and didn't see me. I fished at Lower Otay yesterday morning and it could have just been me, but it seemed like everyone was going much slower than normal. I fished all around the point between Otay and Harvey arms and everyone that came by took a much wider berth than usual also.
     
  8. SD_Fish_Law

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    That's what discovery and depositions are for...to discover the truth rather than speculate. This is a senseless tragedy that may have been brought about by senseless actions. But I do agree with you Kellen that the most sensible explanation is impaired judgement of some sort.
     
  9. Joefish

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    Had to make a post so it doesn't stall at post # 187
     
  10. otay michael

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    Yeah Kellen, the speed thing had nothing to do with it, it was the lack of common sense for boating. It was most likely for not going around that curve with such a wide birth as to give yourself hundreds of yards of vision for oncoming boats, like we ALL do 99.999 % of the time. (We probably know what happened that .001% now!).
    Thanks for explaining the obvious, sometimes it's needed. I never heard of any speed limit, and I'm always maxing out there at full speed, which in my old Skeeter is 45 mph. I keep plenty of space between me and everyone else, like you do, as these machines have no brakes what so ever, and can obviously be very lethal.
    I too believe they must have been impaired somehow, and with time I'm getting more upset with them, as happens as reality sets in about this 'accident'? No, it's a tragedy.
     
  11. sherpa

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  12. sherpa

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    I remember back in the day there was a motor size limit on the lakes,the speed limit should be posted and the slow zone in the north end of the lake should be posted better instead of a sign half way through the area.
     
  13. toolbox

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    Awesome Tribute Video Joe.. very classy! My 19 year old was out on our boat that day, thank God he had to work in.the afternoon. Too close to home!
     
  14. Rocketship

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    By no means do I intend to sound as if I'm defending the guy at fault here or trying to minimize the loss that has been so deeply felt by the family and friends and has so greatly impacted the fishing and boating communities here. The loss is the most important part of this hands down. Supporting the family and friends of those two young fellows should be the focus at this point, no doubt about it.

    I do, however, wonder if maybe, given the Nitro guy's age, wonder if maybe he could have been having some kind of accute medical "situation". Like a "mini" stroke or heart palpitations. I hear folks saying he was intoxicated which is what my first thought was and what I believe is probably the case. Kellen's post that ended by saying: "They had to have been drunk. It just doesn't make any sense any other way." just got me thinking if there were any other ways it made sense and some type of medical emergency happening to the driver of the Nitro was all I could imagine...

    Btw, you guys are awesome to come together like this. Maybe the one piece of good to come of this horrible tragedy will be that all of us fishermen behave the way we have been since this incident...permanently.
     
  15. gatorfan

    gatorfan USN BMC (ret)
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    Did I post something wrong or disrespectful? If so, I will delete it.
     
  16. fisheromen

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    Can't see that you did, Gatorfan. I did not understand that post either.
    BTW, anybody know how to PM now?
     
  17. gatorfan

    gatorfan USN BMC (ret)
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    I didn't think so either but Joe's post confused me. I was just saying that it seemed like this tragic event slowed people down IMO (on Saturday at least).

    Click on the user name of the person you want to PM and select "Start a conversation"
     
  18. Paul the Great

    Paul the Great Well-Known Member

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    Unfortunate.

    We don't know what caused the accident, so I wont speculate that the drivers or either boat were drunk or anything, I don't know.

    Excessive speed was not the reason for the accident. I would consider myself an expert in seeing deaths and survivals of accidents of all speeds, from walking and falling and dying, to doing wheelies at 100mph on motorcycles, crashing, and walking away. Simply falling out of a boat and then drowning doesn't take any speed or force to kill someone.

    Low water or high water has nothing to do with this accident. The incident could have occurred in either condition.

    As far as alcohol being a factor? Unknown. I have seen more alcohol involved crashes than most, but I have also seen as many cell phone/texting accidents, and unlicensed drivers, young drivers, old drivers, reckless drivers cause just as many accidents. And like someone mentioned in an above post, I have seen medical caused accidents. Guys have heart attacks or strokes or seizures and go unconscious while behind the wheel. Alcohol is common, but in this case, I don't have any facts to support that theory, as in, there was no mention of floating beer cans on scene or a DUI check at the ramp that had a positive result.

    I have drank beer while driving my boat, and I will never do it again. I quit drinking beer and boating when I realized I could lose my license and my career over it, so I was over it. Now if I get a ride on a buddies boat, Im drinking a beer, but even on my last 3 opportunities to drink as a passenger, I haven't because I have kids around. Even with no kids, I want to focus 100% on fishing and get big fish, so my drinking days while fishing have been over for many years.

    Drinking beer while driving a boat is legal so long as you are not over .08 BAC.

    Another recent boating accident in San Diego was a few years back during the Christmas Lights on the Bay. A Coast Guard boat was flying on the water and T-bones and ran over and KILLED a 8 year old boy. The innocent boat had all safety lights on, the boy had a life jacket on, the boat was just sitting in the water, not under power, and the COAST GUARD, who was sober, caused a death.

    I have witnessed a 40' yacht, driving about 15 knots, run over a guy in a inflatable Zodiac. We went to the scene, pulled the guy on our boat, and radioed the Harbor Police, who pulled over the yacht, who apparently had no clue he ran someone over. The raft was destroyed and we had to take the guy to the ramp and meet the FD so he could go to the ER in the ambulance for broken ribs and difficulty breathing. You would think that a yacht captain would be able to see miles in front of him, but not paying attention or simply being a complete idiot, caused a near death.

    Of all the dangerous boaters on the water, the Navy Security and the Harbor Police and Coast Guard, and Homeland Security, bar none, drive the fastest and the closest to other boaters. In the Coast Guard case, too close, and he killed someone. For the life of me, I have never understood why the Navy has to drive by at 40 knots and swamp boats not under power, mere yards away. A day of fishing never goes by when the Navy doesn't fly by me at over 40 knots while in spitting distance. What the hell is their problem? they have the entire bay to go around safely. Ultra dangerous.

    Out of all the boaters on all the lakes in all of California, Id say its super safe and extremely unlikely that a death will happen.

    Years ago I would fish the Delta. On day we fished until evening, then drove 50 miles up river to Sacramento to see a George Straight concert. After the concert, we drove back, in the dark, going super fast, and never had an issue. So long as you can see far in front of you, any speed isn't an issue. Ive spent countless night fishing and driving my boat in the dark, at high speeds, and never had an incident, nor even had anything close to an accident.

    Printing rules on a permit will not reduce accidents. Giving tickets wont help, having one Ranger per angler wont help. Paying attention all the time will help. A speed limit is not the answer. Self control is the solution.

    I would like to donate to the cause. I will also offer anyone who wants to fish with me, to instead of offering me a trade, for you to donate to the cause instead. This will be your end of the bargain. A fishing trip with me provided you donate to the young men's cause.

    An unfortunate event. I will pay better attention in the future in honor of those who died in this accident. Life is over in a flash.
     
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  19. Joefish

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    No Gator fan, you dod not say anything wrong. Sorry of the confusion guys. This thread is behind count vs what it showed on the main freshwater thread page. It shows how many replies have been made. To a lot of us younger generation the # 187 represents a police term for "murder death kill" I am highly superstitious and seeing that number on the total replies freaked me out for a minute so I had to change it out of respect for the situation. 187 is just a bad number all together, nothing said wrong on here guys.
     
  20. Kellen

    Kellen Owner
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    The post previous to his was post #187 in the thread. 187 is the police code for a murder or death. So I think he just didn't want the thread to sit on that # for too long.

    As for PMs, they're simply called conversations now. Conversations can be between 2-5 people, and you can invite others into conversations after they've started, and also leave conversations if you're no longer interested in being involved in one.

    You can do as @gatorfan said, or you can also just click the little envelope icon in the top right (while logged in), select start a new conversation, and then type in the username of the person you want to send a message to. Separate usernames by comma to send to more than one.
     
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