NFL Players Die in Tragic Boat Accident in the Gulf of Mexico | Shapiro, Washburn & Sharp

According to an article in The Associated Press, a tragic boating accident claimed the lives of NFL players, Marquis Cooper, and Corey Smith. The 2 NFL players and their friends, William Bleakley and Nick Schuyler (also football players) left Clearwater Pass, FL on a fishing trip on February 28th, 2009. The group was fishing on Cooper’s 21ft vessel and attempted to weigh anchor and head back to the mainland. However, according to Schuyler, the anchor had gotten stuck. Upon Bleakley’s suggestion the men tied the anchor line to the transom and throttled forward trying to pull the anchor loose. The vessel then became unbalanced and capsized throwing the men into the water. The group of 4 attempted to right the vessel without success, but they were able to salvage 3 life vests, and a cushion floatation device.


On March 2nd, a coast guard boat approached the capsized vessel with Schuyler sitting on the top of the overturned hull. Schuyler was the sole survivor of the boating accident after his friends succumbed to hypothermia, removed their life vests, and drifted away from the vessel. The investigation by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission attributed the accident to improper anchoring and recommended that boaters cut their anchor line if in a similar situation. Pulling the anchor line to the stern is dangerous because it affects the stability of the vessel. The agency acknowledged that anchoring improperly is a common problem for novice boaters, but one that might have been prevented by a boating safety class.


Like Florida, North Carolina (NC) has plenty of tourists and inexperienced boaters. The Outer Banks (OBX) and great waterways, rivers, and sounds of Eastern North Carolina provide great fun. Enjoy them safely!


About the Editors: Shapiro & Appleton personal injury law firm (VA-NC law offices ) edits the injury law blogs Virginia Beach Injuryboard, Norfolk Injuryboard, as well as the Northeast North Carolina Injuryboard as a pro bono service to consumers. Lawyers licensed in: VA, NC, SC, WV, DC, KY, who handle car, truck, railroad, and medical negligence cases and more.