These were shot by photographer Stuart Browning as the boat was coming into Jupiter Inlet, Florida, last Friday afternoon (September 3rd). The boat is the Waterdog, a 51' Garlington used for charter and run by a charter captain, Tom Henry. The swells were caused by the offshore hurricanes and this inlet can be very difficult in most any situation. Unfortunately, Tom was thrown from the bridge of the boat, broke two vertebrae in his neck and was taken off life support yesterday. This was a seasoned captain who bought this boat down in Venezuela 10 years ago. He had run charters out of this inlet for more than 10 years!! The mate regained control of the boat and returned to the dock with the 5 people from the charter unharmed.
This series of photos shows what happened. In the first photo you see the boat over-taking the breaking swell in the inlet, but he's taking the wave at a slight right angle.
The 2nd photo shows the bow of the boat digging into the trough of the wave and the bow lurching to the right as the boat rolls to the left. In subsequent photos you see the boat "snap-rolling" back to an upright position, and that is the movement that throws the captain off the bridge. A snap-roll is that sharp (extremely fast) righting motion of a boat that has been layed over on it's side, either by wave action or wind action. He struck his face on the gunwhale as he was pitched overboard and broke two neck vertebrae. A very tragic loss of a popular captain on the Jupiter waterfront.