January 2001      Florida

The marine engineering company I worked for had sent a crane barge down to the gulf coast of Florida last spring to dredge an old shipping channel. While down there, an incident occurred where we ended up in the salvage/recovery business.

Down in this area, there is a big bar/restaurant/family entertainment joint called Lloyd’s, which oddly enough is owned by a guy named Lloyd, who had spawned a 23 yr old good ol’ boy named Lloyd Jr. Well one day young Lloyd Jr took ol’ Lloyd Sr’s 50′ beautiful custom sportfishing boat out for a spin. He had stocked it well with a few good friends, a passel of lovelies, and much frosty cold beverage. What else do you need, really? Mmmmmmmaybe a little attention to detail?

They went out cruising for the afternoon, fishing, hooting and hollering, and there were plenty of shenanigans going on down belowdecks, too. Poor Lloyd was mostly at the wheel, though, and had not had much opportunity to go and sample the wares of the frisky female who had been pestering him for attention all day. Poor Lloyd. Eventually, need overcame reason and the boy succumbed to the vixen’s charms. As the story goes, he switched the boat to autopilot, programmed a course and speed, and ducked below for some quick relief. However. During the previous winter, the harbor authorities had constructed a rock jetty 1/4 mile long and 15′ above sea level on both sides of the harbor channel entrance, but nobody had bothered to inform the onboard autopilot. So even though the boat had dutifully slowed to 10 knots to make the approach, nobody the rocks coming. Not Lloyd Jr, not Lloyd Sr, not Lloyd of Llondon (the insurer.)
Everybody and everything went flying, people got messed up, and the boat was a total loss. They didn’t sink it, though – it was high and dry on the rock pile.
When my people were called in to help, they delicately snatched up this $1,000,000 piece of wreckage using a 4-ton toothed clamshell bucket. The deckhands said they could look up at the bottom of the hull and see the sky above.




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