WATCH: Shocking video of boat’s ‘circle of death’

Shocking footage released by Marshfield Police Department shows an unmanned boat, travelling at high speed, in what’s commonly known as a ‘circle of death’.

The captain of fishing vessel, Finest Kind, Dana Blackman reported the incident to the Marshfield Harbourmaster on the morning of 5July22.

Blackman reported the vessel spinning and that Finest Kind had pulled two males from the water. Seemingly, one of the males was waving a white T-shirt to attract attention.

The police say that the men were somehow ejected from the vessel and not wearing lifejackets, nor tethered to a vessel kill switch, but luckily were not injured.

The vessel remained in a tight circle pattern on a westerly track towards Green Harbor & Brant Rock. This prompted a temporary beach closure and a one-mile security zone provided by Marshfield Police in case the vessel’s direction rapidly changed. After 90 minutes, Sea Tow was able to foul the prop using a nylon tow line.

This is a stark reminder of how fast incidents can occur on the water.

“When you get ejected from a boat it’s very likely that the boat would come back around and hit you or injure you with the propeller of the engine,” says Ethan Maass who owns Sea Tow South Shore.

“In this case we fouled the engine, slowed the boat down, got alongside close enough that we could reach the kill switch on the ignition and turn the boat off that way.”

They did that with a boat hook. Neither men on board, reported as 19 and 20 by NBC Boston, wore a life vest. And by law, the operator should have been tethered to the kill switch so the engine would shut down the moment he was thrown out.

The two men were not hurt. They say they hit something in the water.

An investigation is underway but the harbour master says neither drugs nor alcohol were involved.

“The ‘circle of death’ is virtually unavoidable once there is no one to control an outboard driven boat and this story illustrates the importance of using a kill cord if you are helming a vessel like this,” says Alistair Hackett​, MD of Ocean Safety. “People must take responsibility to ensure they are using a kill cord – it is not an onerous thing to use, it is simple to transfer from one person to another if a different helm takes over. It stops the engine instantly if you fall overboard. Had a kill cord been used in this instance it is likely the people in the water would have been able to get back onboard themselves and put no one else at risk.”

“We commend the captain and crew of the F/V Finest Kind for their bravery, due diligence and keen situational awareness of locating two persons in the water,” says the Marshfield Police. “We also want to thank Sea Tow and other civilians for their assistance with this incident. We urge the use of life jackets and tethering of the vessel safety kill switch. These incidents can happen to the most experienced mariners.”

One commentator on social media says he visited a public exhibition about stopping runaway craft. “They throw a floated line in the runaway vessels path, which grabs the prop and stalls the motor out,” says the comment. “Happens a lot in Florida, they make it look easy.”

Spotlight Job

OEM business development manager UK

Southampton (hybrid)

Vetus is seeking a dynamic and highly motivated OEM business development manager to join its team in the UK. In this pivotal role, you will be responsible for preparing and implementing a comprehensive account plan, aimed at achieving ambitious sales and marketing objectives.

Full job description »

One response to “WATCH: Shocking video of boat’s ‘circle of death’”

  1. Vedran says:

    my friend was killed the same way several years ago at Cannes boat show, huge tragedy! :-(

This article was written and/or edited by the UK-based MIN team.

Skip to content