Boat enters 'circle of death' after men thrown from vessel near popular Massachusetts beach
Popular Massachusetts beach closed while boat remained in a 'circle of death'
MARSHFIELD, Mass. – Two men were safely pulled from the waters off the coast of Massachusetts on Tuesday after they were somehow thrown from a boat they were riding in.
The ordeal began around 10 a.m. Tuesday when police said the Marshfield Harbormaster's office received an emergency call from a fishing vessel stating that they had pulled the men from the water and spotted their vessel circling at a high rate of speed.
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Marshfield police said neither of the two men was wearing life jackets, and they were not connected to a vessel kill switch, which would have shut down the boat's engine when they were thrown overboard.
The boat remained in a tight circular pattern known as the "circle of death" and was heading on a westerly track at a high rate of speed toward Green Harbor and Brant Rock along the Massachusetts coastline.
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Because of the dangerous situation that was unfolding, emergency officials closed down the beach and implemented a 1-mile security zone in case the boat's direction rapidly changed.
After about 90 minutes, a boat towing service was able to foul the prop, which is when a rope is used to get tangled into the boat's propeller in order for it to shut down.
"This is a stark reminder of how fast incidents can occur on the water without notice," Marshfield police said in a statement. "We urge the use of life jackets and tethering of the vessel safety kill switch. These incidents can happen to the most experienced mariners."
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With the busy summer season upon us, the U.S. Coast Guard reminds all boaters to take a safety course before hitting the water.
It's also a good reminder for boaters to check and make sure all equipment is in good working order and to have life jackets for everyone on board.
Boating experts say Memorial Day, Fourth of July and Labor Day, account for more than 30 percent of all boating-related incidents and in many cases, victims were not wearing a life jacket.
"A life jacket is one of the most important safety items on your boat," said Capt. Troy Glendye, chief of the Coast Guard's Office of Auxiliary and Boating Safety. "It is critical to wear one when underway as it may be difficult to don in an emergency."
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The U.S. Coast Guard says boating deaths in the U.S. are dropping despite an increase in the popularity of the recreational activity.
Data released by the agency shows that there were 658 boating fatalities nationwide in 2021, down from the 767 deaths in 2020.
A spokesperson attributed 75 percent of the deaths to boats where operators had not received boating safety instructions.