Book Review Lost At Sea
Lost At Sea was written by Patrick Dillon and published by Simon and Shuster in 1998. Lost at Sea is an exacting tale of two fishing boats thought unsinkable that were lost at sea without warning. The Americus and Altair two of the most modern fishing vessels in the ocean, manned by local men from the town of Anacortes disappear and comprise one of the worst disasters in fishing history. The A boats were built in Anacortes, Washington, by local shipbuilders, for Jeff Hendricks an entrepreneurial fleet-owner.
The book goes on to tell the story of the travels on the workers and captains of his vessels. After the Americus and the Altair disappears the book shifts gears and follows the investigation of the accident by Captain John De Carteret of the U.S. Coast Guard. After interviewing everybody involved with the A-boats and investigating thoroughly Captain Carteret enlisted the help of Bruce Adee, who specialized in Marine Architecture and was a professor at the University of Washington in Seattle. The investigation stagnates; they simply can’t find any reason for the boats to sink. Until Adee is sent a photograph showing that the boats boot stripe had been repainted higher on the boat. This shed
Brian Melvin, a deckhand on the Altair recalled "seeing eighteen year olds peeling of hundred-dollar bills to pay two-thousand-dollar bar tabs and leaving hundred dollar tips. " If you were Captain of one of the A-boats you could expect to be paid about three times the deckhands. The first thought of the environment that comes to mind is the vastness of the ocean and the cruelties of the weather, but the environment has its hand in every pocket of the fisherman. One of the main reasons for not passing safety legislation was because of the money that is involved in the fishing industry. He did an excellent job of explaining terms that are industry specific and making sure the reader comes away with an understanding of the nature of the work. He moved the story along at a good pace, keeping the reader interested without compromising the tale with brevity. I thoroughly enjoyed this book and when I finished this book feel that I have walked away with a good understanding. The separation of the disappearance, the investigation, and the campaign for legislative change was a good method of changing topics and perspective. Lost At Sea portrays the commercial fishing industry from three different views, the actual account, from the view of actual characters, a description of the investigation of the tragedy. From testing and licensing of boats and captains and finally summing up the entire story with the authors actual experience in the fishing industry. Freezing temperatures, snow and rain, blinding wind, encroaching ice, all this while rocking violently on the ocean and on top of the weather you actually have to work. The notion that these are the absolute worst conditions to work under crossed my mind many times. The times when you can go fishing are set by the weather because many times it is just to dangerous to be out there. A-boat crews could expect to earn between fifty and a hundred thousand dollars every three month season. For the most part the representatives that were backed by the fishing industry had enough sway that they were able to kill all the initiatives before they were sent to the floor for a vote.