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SCUBA DIVING :: FORUMS :: EDITORIALS :: WAVE DANCER

 

No Safe Harbor, The Tragedy of the Dive Ship Wave Dancer...

Cynthia W - Divemaster/Writer
May 30, 2005 at 18:32:06

The book, "No Safe Harbor; The Tragedy of the Dive Ship Wave Dancer" by Joe Burnworth will be available at bookstores in mid-June. The following promotional copy comes from the author's web site:

Remembering The Worst Diving Accident in U.S. History:
What Really Happened On the Wave Dancer

On October 8, 2001, as the world continued to reel from the events of 9/11, another tragedy struck a group of vacationing U.S. citizens. Twenty Richmond, Virginia divers were on the yacht Wave Dancer in Belize when Hurricane Iris ripped it from its moorings causing it to capsize. Only three of the divers would make it home alive. It was the worst accident in the history of the sport of scuba diving and a testament to the deadly danger posed by hurricanes.

Last year was a record year for hurricanes with the U.S. experiencing its most costly hurricane season ever, recording over $42 billion in damage. As another hurricane season looms, hurricane precautions are being taken more seriously than ever.  For many, each hurricane season is a painful reminder of the Wave Dancer tragedy.

As an eyewitness to the terrible accident and a survivor of Hurricane Iris, Joe Burnworth watched in horror as twenty people lost their lives to the powerful storm. "As one of the last people to see the Wave Dancer afloat, I felt it was time to set the record straight," says Burnworth, author of No Safe Harbor, The Tragedy of the Dive Ship Wave Dancer.  "I want to tell the story as a living tribute to those whose lives were tragically lost and also in the hopes that lessons learned from the accident will make hurricane safety more important to all of us."

Better precaution could have possibly prevented the tragedy that ultimately befell seventeen members of the Richmond Dive Club and three crewmembers. The novice captain of the Wave Dancer, Captain Philip Martin, disregarded the hurricane warnings and refused to listen to the advice of more knowledgeable people.  "It is never smart to underestimate a hurricane," says Burnworth.  "In a matter of minutes, a dream vacation turned into a horror-filled reality."

Captain Martin, ignoring the advice of a more seasoned boat captain at the dock, insufficiently tied up the Wave Dancer leaving over half of the boat exposed to the fury of the storm. Hurricane Iris violently ripped the yacht from the dock and tossed it 150 yards across a lagoon where it capsized. Injured and disoriented, most of the victims were trapped inside the disabled yacht. With the aid of a small penlight the three survivors of the Richmond Dive Club managed to crawl and swim their way out of the now submerged yacht.

In the tradition of The Perfect Storm and Into Thin Air, No Safe Harbor describes the tragedy aboard the Wave Dancer in great detail, walking you through the terrifying events step-by-step.  Burnworth takes you onboard the final days of the Wave Dancer and on a fascinating journey through the diving world of Belize, culminating in the tragic loss that will forever be remembered by divers all over the world.

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