Capt. Terry Nugent and his fishing crew sidetracked their homebound run about 70 miles southeast of Martha’s Vineyard, Massachusetts, to help tow in a disabled vessel. Their good deed turned into a life-threatening event when nasty thunderstorms caught the two-boat caravan.
“Winds instantly jumped to 35 knots and the seas grew 4 to 5 feet,” said Nugent.
Right in the middle of the storm, the towline snapped. Nearby, lightning connected with the water in a blinding flash and a loud crack. Nugent reattached the tow line, and the storm eventually subsided enough to allow both boats to safe harbor.
Nugent’s harrowing experience is proof that fishermen never want to feel vulnerable in the boat. Had Nugent known he’d be towing a vessel, he might have brought heavier towing rope. From lifesavers to simple fishing “hacks,” I surveyed 10 captains for tips to help prevent injuries on your next fishing trip.
At left: In 2013, a Coast Guard helicopter rescued a Hawaiian fisherman, pulled overboard by a tuna, after he called on his cellphone (in a dry bag).
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