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    incident report
from Ralph Manns  
7/4/2012 1:43:16 PM


 Yesterday afternoon, while fishing inside the local marina with my 8-foot mini-bass boat, I spied a sailboat drifting into the marina breakwater and rocks. Their sails were down and not ready for use, and their small motor had failed.

Despite the rather heavy seas for my small craft (15 mph winds and some white caps) I went outside the breakwater and tried to tow them to relative safety. It wasn't working work very well as my small electrics were under-powered and my boat wasn't set up for towing. My seat kept being pulled back and hitting the motor and I kept losing control. Nevertheless, I kept them off the rocks and made it back to the marina entrance.

Then a red bass boat with big motor arrived and started fishing a few yards away. I asked for help, but was told:
"we are in a tournament" and help was refused.

My reaction was to be pssd-off, to say the least. Do you think their refusal was justified????

Fortunately, in a few more minutes the sail boat crew finally got their motor started and I was able to abort the towing attempt and go back to my own fishing.

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   They Should Have Helped the Disabled Boat from Tbone  7/4/2012 2:20:45 PM
 You could have reported them to Marine Law Enforcement, if you had gotten the numbers off the boat.



   As TBone said from Skipper  7/4/2012 2:26:01 PM
 That's criminal to refuse help to a boat in distress. I'm not saying that figuratively either. Check the boating laws, it's in there in every state I've ever read.

   By Law. from TroyJ/Angling Alabama   7/4/2012 2:57:22 PM
 I'm not certain how it reads anymore, it's been so long but being licensed (USCG) I know in my case I would be bound by law to assist. I believe it is illegal in maritime law to deny assistance by any boater who requests it.

Either way, any tournament angler who denies assistance to a boat adrift is a low-life jerk and should at least be reported to the TD. If your precious "bragging rights" supersede the life or safety of another human being, you suck. It's that simple.

   I am a member of the U.S. Coast Guard Aux. Such from Bill Hunter  7/4/2012 3:01:38 PM
 action is just not acceptable. I would guess that the men in that red boat did not under stand basic seamanship. Help should never be turned down on the water, when asked for. I would gladly report this incident to your local water patrol or Coast Guard.

   Apparently to some from stp357 #17928  7/4/2012 3:12:17 PM
 Being in a tournament supersedes everything else, common courtesy included. We've all heard the stories. This one doesn't surprise me.

   Not only not justified, but... from Funky  7/4/2012 3:21:37 PM
 illegal! Fed law and I'd bet most states require you to "render necessary assistance" ... and failure to offer such carries the penalty of "shall be fined not more than $1,000 or imprisoned for not more than 2 years."

That being said the sail boaters should also be fined. They put you and your craft in jeopardy by not having their sails ready or at least dropping anchor until they got their motor operating, or the arrival of an adequate tow vessel.

   I just hope from DaveT  7/4/2012 5:07:48 PM
 that those guys fishing that tournament didn't catch a fish. Ralph that was a nice thing you did for those folks. I would think like Funky said that these people would have dropped an anchor to keep the boat off of the rocks.

   They absolutely should have helped from Spookchucker #10778 #10778  7/4/2012 5:10:47 PM
 I've lost placement money helping stranded boats. I believe what goes around comes around, as I had one help me when my motor blew.

If it was a tourney of any size, they should have been disqualified for sportsmanship violations.

   the sailboater is a moron and the fisherman is an ass from MikeF  7/4/2012 5:25:28 PM
 The sailboater should have been able to drop his anchor to stop the boat. Common decency and maritime law requires the fishermen to render immediate aid. The only one of the bunch that was right was Ralph.

    well, the guy should be reported - from Lake Fork Tackle Repair  7/4/2012 6:27:22 PM
 law says to always render aid. especially to smaller vessel. That guy should definitely be reported to tournament directors if you can find out what tournament being held and for sure, report to Tx Parks and Wildlife.Rules of the road apply in Texas and probably every other State as well.

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   Report from EdgemanP #12082 #12082  7/4/2012 6:57:08 PM
 The tournament fishermen should have rendered assistance. As most have said it is unlawful in most states not to assist another boater in distress. I, myself have stopped fishing during a couple of tournaments that I was competing in, to help others that needed it. You did the right thing.

   Was fishin an open from GonFishn  7/4/2012 9:32:04 PM
 a couple weeks back with a died in the wool tourney fisherman. We noticed a jet ski, obviously having some troubles as the dude driving it had an oar and was trying to oar his way "somewhere". He also had a passenger, a gal, and the funny part of the whole thing was that a couple pontoon boats passed him by as did a pleasure boater. I looked at my buddy and asked what we should do, he wasn't sure himself, they didn't seem to be trying to flag anyone down and they sure as heck weren't "showing" a distress flag. Finally after watching the dude oaring around in circles we couldn't stand it anymore and decided to get them to shore someplace. As we motored their way though, someone showed up in a pontoon boat, obviously they'd called someone and they came to "save them". Moral of the story I guess is that we decided to help and since we were almost to them when the other boat showed, we just kept on going and fished an area we never would have and managed to cull three fish. Still didn't win anything but we felt better about our finish.

   Bottom Line from john247  7/5/2012 8:27:59 AM
 Bottom line it's the right thing to do. It could be you needing help the next time...

   There is a cross section of society out there from Hoot  7/5/2012 9:25:04 AM
 that won't get involved period doesn't matter and the big feeling guys who were fishing a tournament and couldn't be bothered are just part of that group.

I'd venture to guess if the tournament boat was in an Elite or FLW event they would have been right there to help out.

   Bad Deal from Papafins  7/5/2012 12:01:07 PM
 Wonder why tournament fishermen get a bad name, its becuase of dumbasses such asthe two in the bass boat.

I know most would do the right thing, but its always the jerks that get us the black eye.

   Unfortunately from Spinny  7/5/2012 6:22:16 PM
 Reporting the incidet would be a case of he said-he said.

Feel good that you did what you did and let it go. Anyone who spends as much time on the water as we do is bound to see all kinds.

Good on ya Ralph.



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