Anglers love fishing in Venice, Louisiana because it is one of the few places in the world where you can catch a red fish, a large-mouth bass, and a speckled trout all in one place. On November 16, 2016, three Oklahoma fishermen traveled to Venice to experience some of the best inshore fishing in the world. However, when the three men ventured away from the interior marshes and into the Gulf of Mexico in their 21 foot Triton bass boat, they learned a memorable lesson on boating in the Gulf.
The seas in the Gulf of Mexico can kick up from calm or “flat” into rough seas very quickly, and many Louisiana fishermen will tell you that getting stuck in one storm offshore in a small boat is all that it takes to never make the same mistake again.
According to Nola.com, on November 16th, the fishermen began fishing inshore and then decided to test the waters in the Gulf. The Gulf seas began to build, resulting in the small bass boat’s motor giving way and the boat taking on water nine miles out of Southwest Pass at a platform in West Delta block 86. The fishermen looped ski rope over a piece of a platform to hold the boat and crawled on the platform, which is located in 190 feet of water. Luckily, a United States Coast Guard (USCG) helicopter spotted the fishermen, rescued them, and flew them to Belle Chasse.
USCG contacted Captain Rob Buck, owner of Sea Tow Westbank, to salvage the Oklahoma fishermen’s boat. On the morning of November 17th, Captain Buck and another captain took a 29-foot catamaran with dual Tohatsu 250-horsepower outboards out to the platform to attempt to salvage the Triton bass boat. When they arrived, the bass boat was still tied to the platform but was almost fully submerged.
The two captains began the dewatering process which involves towing the bow of the submerged vessel into an oncoming sea to kick it up and force water to the back of the boat. While one captain steered the tow vessel, the other jumped into the sunken craft with batteries and pumps to slowly rid it of water. The two captains were able to get the totaled boat back to the marina where the Oklahoma fishermen retrieved it.
Captain Buck reported that after the incident, the men were shaken, cold and tired but grateful to be alive.
“We get transient fishermen at Venice, and it’s the most dangerous fishing spot in the world, as far as I’m concerned,” Buck said. “When you’re in a single-engine boat, it’s not a good idea to be offshore. They’re fortunate to be alive.”
No matter how much boating experience you have, it’s always a good idea to follow boat safety rules. Boaters should always check local weather conditions before departing for a trip. Proper boating safety includes being prepared for any possibility on the water and using common sense. Boaters should operate at a safe speed, stay alert, wear safety jackets, and avoid boating under the influence, among other things. To view a list of boater safety courses and boater safety tips visit uscgboating.com.
If you have been injured on the water, contact Lambert Zainey, PLC, today to discuss your legal rights. The personal injury attorneys at Lambert Zainey have more than 40 years of experience handling boating accident claims.