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Last week the younger brother of a high school hunting buddy called and got to talking about hunting and the way the season was going. He made a comment about his boat motor had locked up. I offered him my duck boat as I was hunting with another group and we were using their boat. He thanked me and came over with another guy I knew along with his father to get the boat. They called me the next day to tell me that they had had good success on the river hunting sloughs and creek channels, taking seven ducks with four bands and a goose. They wanted to know if they could borrow the boat or rather the motor for another day. Come to find out my registration had expired on my boat and I had yet to receive the renewal notice. Not wanting to be caught and possibly cited in a boat that wasn't their's they decided to take my outboard off and place it on his boat. My boat is a 16' Fisher aluminum with a 25 hp mercury and his is a 14' Alumacraft with a ten horse johnson. I became concerned as I knew this was way too much motor for his boat. Sure enough they got out on the river and had built a blind along the mouth of the creek. They had off loaded the boat of the guns and shells and were returning to the dock to pick up two other hunters as there had been no room in the boat for four hunters and gear. The best I can tell from talking to both is that one had remained on the bank with the gear while the other was returning with the boat, as he placed the boat in reverse and backed off the bank, he was sitting off center of the boat so he could cut the tiller handle to the side to make the turn back into the river. He claims the throttle hung open and the sudden turn threw him out of the boat. When he hit the water the boat began making sharp turns running a circle around him. He was able to grab the side of the boat when it came by him but was unable to pull him self into the boat. This guy's a pretty big fellow and as he was trying to pull himself up into the boat he turned the boat over as it's not very wide. This killed the engine and spilled the boat contents into the water. The other fellow on the bank had to go into the water and pull him with the assistance of a spare parka. Once out of the water they both realized that they were in serious trouble. They both were now soaking wet, the cell phone was water logged and they were several miles from help with the temp in the 20's and snow falling. They walked two and half miles across fields and through woods to get to a nearby town to use the phone. After calling for dry clothes and another boat they were able to and retrieve the boat, motor, and guns. The starter was damaged, a life jacket was lost, the fuel line was broken, along with a 12v battery pack and spot light being lost. I'm not concerned with the items. I'm glad no one was hurt or drowned. Every year I hear of duck hunters loosing their lives on the water and I can honestly see how it happens. I still don't know what they were thinking. The boat was entirely over motored, neither one was wearing a life jacket nor was the kill switch attached. Please be careful out there and wear you life jackets so you can live to hunt another day.


Frog :D
 

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Glad nobody got hurt or killed. Being an avid waterfowler, and having investigated numerous boating accidents, I too can understand how this happened.
Although if the incident had been a reportable accident, and investigated- the owner/operator of the boat could have been cited/charged with operating the boat beyond rated capacity(horse power and weight). However; that only had a minor contributory role in the incident. Most likely cause was the operators unfamiliarity with the controls of the Mercury Engine. I've several thousand hours operating these engines and own a 1984 mod. 18hp Merc. They are wonderful motors but can be a challenge to the un-initiated.
We have a young officer who picked up the nickname of "Flipper" at the academy. During a boat EVOC course, he threw himself out of the boat and managed to get back in the boat with only one instructor witnessing the "falling overboard" Most just noticed that suddenly he came back to the dock -"WET"!
Waterfowling is the most dangerous hunting activity from a casualty standpoint. The combination of Boats, water, and cold temperatures combine to make a potentially lethal combination. I've investigated three capsizings (involving waterfowlers) that were fatal. All fatalities were the result of "hypothermia" resulting in drowings. One was not a drowning as the victim was wearing a life-jacket (PFD)but succombed to hypothermia, and that in Georgia, not a really cold winter weather state.
When boating/waterfowling, it is impossible to be too careful
Good Hunting !!! And be careful out there !!!!
 
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