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the dumb man and the sea

After our massive disappointment in the Robert Redford stupid-fest ‘All Is Lost‘, our ears pricked up when the New York Times Sunday Mag printed a long and brilliantly written piece on a NY fisherman’s near-death experience last Sunday.  Like Redford, the NYTMAG has millions of fans, and the story has been the most clicked-on thing over at NYT.com for 8 days now.  So what’s the problem?

Author Paul Tough, recent author of a book touting how ‘Grit’ helps children succeed, romanticized moron fisherman John Aldridge so heavily in an effort to make a good story that he gave millions of fisherman – most of whom still haven’t heard of personal EPIRBs or sleep deprivation – hope that somehow, their ‘grit’ and a good pair of sea boots are enough to get them past working practices that make their job one of the most dangerous in the entire world of employment.  We understand how an author might want to leave this out of his story; just like in the Redford moronopic (or any one of ten thousand hack-n-slash movies), if a tragedy is easily avoided but for ignorance or hubris, it’s hard to cheer for the protagonist.

The Anarchists are already on it, but so was outspoken safety consultant (and ex USCG SAR-dude) Mario Vittone, who published a snarky response to the piece on Thursday called ‘Trying Very Hard To Die”.  It ain’t the first time Mario and SA have agreed on something, and we consider his piece on kids and drowning from 2010 to be required reading for every parent on the planet.  Here are his ‘five responses’ to the ‘inescapable danger’ that, according to the Times, today’s commercial fishermen face.  Hit GCaptain for the full article.

1. Never work alone on the deck of an open boat while 40 miles offshore when the boat is on autopilot.

2. If you are going to work alone on the open deck of a boat while 40 miles offshore in the dark, consider wearing a life jacket.

3. If you go offshore for a living, consider spending about $275 on a Personal EPIRB.

4. Try to sleep more than zero hours every 24.

5. If you work on a boat where one person is awake while the rest of the crew sleeps, then 1. Reconsider that arrangement, and 2. Spend five dollars on an alarm clock

January 6th, 2014

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