It was a tragic 4th of July for four pleasure boat fishermen in a 21′ aluminum boat south of Newport’s south Jetty.
Deceased boater 81 year old Salem man. See below.
Reports say that the four were just outside the surfline, deep in fog, when a big set of waves rolled in over the top of them and capsized their boat.
Three of the four managed to get to the beach and were transported to PCH. One did not survive the ordeal. Eventually the boat and the body came ashore.
Obviously this is a sad, sad lesson about the Oregon Coast’s fickle thick marine layer of clouds that are always playing tag with the coast. Experienced fishermen know that when they see that wall of clouds and fog moving in, they head for port immediately, or head out to sea, well beyond the surfline and wait it out. Or, call the Coast Guard to help arrange a safe tow in.
As you can see from the picture of the overturned boat, the marine layer had quickly retreated. Had the four simply headed back out to sea, they probably would have made it just fine. Even in pea soup fog you can usually see the angle of the waves or swells going by, so all you have to do is head back out straight into them. Best to have a compass on board as well as a two-way marine radio on board.
Update from OSP, Friday
On July 4, 2015 at 10:40am the Oregon State Police-Newport Office was dispatched to a capsized boat just south of the Newport South Jetty.
The 21 foot Hewes boat was being operated by Robert BAKER, age 58, of Salem. BAKER and his three passengers had been crabbing in Yaquina Bay and left the bay to fish in the ocean. Not far into the ocean, the boat was struck by a “sneaker wave” and it capsized. Two passengers were able to put life jackets on after it capsized.
Upon the US Coast Guard arriving on scene, Lowell LEATHER, age 81, of Salem, was pronounced deceased. The US Coast Guard rescued Robert BAKER, Allen BAKER, age 55, of Salem, and Donita FREE, age 50, of Salem. The three survivors were transported to Samaritan Pacific Communities Hospital in Newport with minor injuries.