Not Without Hope | The Consequences of Overlooking Boating Safety

The riveting story of Nick Schuyler’s dramatic time at sea waiting for rescue has recently been released in his new book entitled “Not Without Hope“. Most of you are aware of the story of how Nick Schuyler , a personal trainer, Will Bleakley a former University of South Florida football player, and NFL football players Marquis Cooper & Corey Smith, went out for a deep-sea fishing trip on February 28, 2009.  Their cell phones were not working out in the Gulf.  A cold front was approaching and the waves were getting higher. While preparing to head back to shore, they discovered a problem.  They couldn’t unhook the anchor.

While trying to unhook their anchor, they made the fatal mistake of tying the rope to the transom of the boat, and trying to throttle the boat forward to unhook it.  The anchor stuck, and the boat lifted in front and began taking on water causing the stern to submerge and the boat to ultimately capsize.  This dumped the 4 men into the frigid waters of the Gulf of Mexico, where hypothermia started to take it’s toll on the men.

Nick was in the cold water for over 40 hours, and was the only person to survive the incident.  What a tragic loss.  3 men in the prime of their lives, in fantastic physical condition in their younger 20’s.

But what could be learned from this tragic event that led to “Not Without Hope”?  One obvious thing to recognize is that absolutely no one is invincible when it comes to being safe on the water.  Boating safety is not just for your kids, it is for each and every one of us.

Taking a look at this story, how would things have been different if they had some way of communicating a distress signal.  Whenever you go out on the water, ensure that you have a way of communicating with land if you are going way out.  It is also a good idea to let someone know about where you will be.

Always take into account weather conditions as well.  If you are going out far from your boat dock, know if bad weather is supposed to move in before you leave out.  Always make your way back to shore way ahead of any storm system arriving.  Besides, even if you do make it back safely, do you really want to be taking care of your boat back at the dock in the middle of a storm?

Nick had mentioned in the book “Not Without Hope” that the reason they were intent on getting the anchor back, was that they had lost one earlier.  It is understandable to think that just once it would be okay to tie it to the back of the boat and just pull it out.  How many of us would have been tempted to do the same thing?  I know I would have.  Remember, equipment can always be replaced, you cannot.

It is important to note that Marquis Cooper, the owner of the boat, was no amateur on the water.  Many in the media have reported that everyone aboard was inexperienced boaters, which is not the case.

The men were all able to get their life jackets, which helped keep them alive longer.  Nick would not have survived at all without it.

Although we all know the sad ending, “Not Without Hope” is an excellent read that you will not be able to put down.  It is also a grim reminder to what the consequences of overlooking boating safety can be.