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June 2014    Download the Entire Issue (PDF) Vol. 29, No. 6   RSS Feed for Undercurrent Issues
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The Foolishness of Leaving Your Dive Boat Unmanned

from the June, 2014 issue of Undercurrent   Subscribe Now

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Headed back to Key Largo through rough seas on the late afternoon of May 24, Captain Joe Hall on the Sailors Choice didn't believe what he was seeing. A lone diver, frantically waving his arms, bobbed alone among six-foot seas near Pickles Reef off Tavernier, Florida. "Waves were crashing over the bow of our boat," Hall said. "I barely caught a glimpse of him."

They put the ladder down and helped the diver onto the 65-foot fishing boat. "Then [the diver] asked, 'Is everybody else here?' I asked him what he meant." That started an intense rescue effort that found four other divers, scattered from near Molasses Reef to Pickles Reef, about three miles away. The five-diver group from Georgia was diving at Molasses Reef when the anchor line from their unmanned boat snapped....

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