The events of July 4, 2014, off Coconut Grove, Fla., are by now as talked about as they are horrific. The short and tragic story is that at least three center console boats—none of the high-performance variety—were involved in a collision after an evening fireworks display. Four people died and several more were hospitalized with minor to serious injuries. By all accounts, and you can get the latest from the Miami-Herald by clicking here, the scene was confused and terrifying. First responders in the area deserve serious credit for keeping the death toll from rising even higher.
No one, least of all the surviving friends and families of the departed, needs a lecture or scolding right now. But the news of the tragedy reminded me of a great article by Brad Schoenwald in Sportboat, a short-lived magazine I edited in 2012 and 2013. A former member of the United States Coast Guard and current instructor of Tres Martin’s Performance Boat School, Schoenwald wrote an article called “Operation Darkness” for his quarterly safety column in the magazine’s winter 2012 issue.
Last Friday night, I recalled a portion of Schoenwald’s article as if I’d just edited it that morning.
Photo courtesy/copyright Tim Sharkey/Sharkey Images