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Three words: Read the instructions

focus1“I’m a bloke. I just took it out of the box and attached it to my life jacket,” says Andrew Taylor, who nearly died after a wave swept him overboard in rough seas in the North Pacific in the 2013-14 Clipper Round the World Race. “I didn’t read the instructions.”



‘This storm did not just appear out of the blue’

focus1One racer was missing and the bodies of five others had been recovered as Alabama authorities and the Coast Guard began investigating the deaths of six sailors after near-hurricane-force winds pummeled the Dauphin Island Race on Mobile Bay.



Who should foot the bill for poor decisions?

The Coast Guard had to rescue Sedona's crew during a blizzard after the owner embarked despite being warned that his boat wasn't ready.The only thing more uncompromising than the sea may be the judgments heaped upon skippers and crew who call the Coast Guard to rescue them from trouble that seems of their own making. Did skipper or crew mess up? Were they unprepared? Was their vessel up to the voyage’s rigors? Worse yet, were they simply clueless? 

These are worthwhile questions if your objective is lessons learned. In extreme cases of bad decision-making, other questions may be raised, as well:



Notice to Mariners

A Special Notice to Mariners that the First Coast Guard District, based in Boston, issued in 2001 provides a succinct explanation of the circumstances under which the Coast Guard may terminate a voyage or prevent a skipper from leaving the dock.



From triumph to a vast fortune lost

The SS Central America is one of the richest wrecks in U.S. maritime history,Last fall deep-water salvors recovered 15,500 gold and silver coins, 45 gold bars and hundreds of gold nuggets from the wreck of the SS Central America in a treasure hunt that initially struck pay dirt 28 years ago but has been stalled in litigation for decades.

The storied wreck — the ship sank in a hurricane off South Carolina in 1857 with tons of California gold aboard — was still embroiled in a bitter civil court case in Columbus, Ohio, early this year when U.S. marshals flushed out Tommy Thompson, the brains behind the Central America’s discovery, and ended a two-year manhunt for him.



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