Take this as a series of examples of what not to do when boating, consider it an ego-boost to know that you’re surely smarter than these folks, or consider that the stupidity displayed by humankind can sometimes go clear off the charts (even beyond what we saw in Seamanship Disasters: 3 Stupid Ways to Sink Your boat). Whatever. The bottom line? Be thankful that this isn’t you.

temporary insanity

Here’s a classic case of brainless boating onboard Temporary Insanity.


1. Running into channel marker

We don’t know if the insanity was temporary, but this well-known photo is a great example of what happens when you mix stupidity with liquor and hundreds of waterborne horsepower. It even spawned an episode on “Mythbusters,” where they tried, unsuccessfully, to split a powerboat in two by hitting a floating channel marker. The somewhat-slightly-smarter Mythbusters guys then figured out that when striking a stationary object (they used a tree), fiberglass does, in fact, give way.

2. Running ferry into house

Everyone makes mistakes sometimes, even the pros. But we’re guessing that after he crashed his ferry into a house in Mantanuska, Alaska, Captain Collision made a career change.

3. Brainless boaters

brainless boaters

Barbie! Put your top on!

All five of these gals have plastic between their ears, as well as in the areas it’s more commonly found in bikini babes. In case you’re having trouble figuring out what’s going on, the Barbi Boat is being remote-controlled by an actual human, who does have a brain. And evidently, waaaay too much time on his hands.

4. Styrofoam ocean adventuring


Sure, this looks safe to take five miles out into the ocean. Photo courtesy of USCG.

Just how dumb do you have to be to build a makeshift boat out of Styrofoam, then paddle it five miles out into the ocean? Evidently, at least six guys made the grade. And no, they weren’t trying to escape from Cuba—they were found floating off of Key West, where they reported they had “disembarked the rustic vessel to float on inner-tubes.” Darwin, do your thing.

5. Seven person crash

Here’s another brainless boater caught on film. You’ve got to feel sorry for the guy – he doesn’t appear to be inebriated and the boat doesn’t appear to be out of control. But obviously, he took leave of his senses when he careened off of the waves at high speed, and gave his passengers the pinball-machine treatment.

6. Police boat crash

Let’s get one thing straight: we love the watercops and the coasties. We respect their commitment, we laud their bravery, and we know they’re on the water to keep us safe. Usually. In this case, however, it seems Captain Cop lost his marbles for a moment. It doesn’t help that after ramming a Sea Ray in front of the Watergate hotel in Washington, DC, the same officer can be heard yelling at the owner to “relax” as her boat sinks.

drug boat

You can run, but… they’ll still catch you. Photo courtesy of the USCG.

7. Running away

Criminals present some of the most extreme examples of dumbness, and here’s a prime case: even though the Coast Guard, Customs and Boarder Protection, DEA, and Royal Bahamas Police were all after these guys, they still tried running. Forty bales of marijuana later, they got what they deserved.

us nave

Firing at the US Navy? Really???

8. Somali Pirate

He’s a bit tough to make out in this US Navy file footage, but the blob in the box is a Somali pirate. We’re not calling him an idiot for being a pirate; desperation is more likely the case. But to point a rifle at a US Navy SH-60B Sea Hawk helicopter, and pull the trigger? That takes a rare kind of stupid.


Yup, more trigger-happy pirates who encountered the US Navy.

9. Another Pirate

Just in case there was any doubt, here's an example of the "after" picture, taken of a pirate who pointed his pop-gun in the wrong direction. Go Navy!

10. Meanwhile, in Russia

What happens when you give a couple Russian guys an inflatable boat, a megaphone, and some hand grenades? This sounds like a perfectly safe scenario, doesn't it? Nyet!

Again, dear readers, we implore you: take solace in knowing that you're smarter than all of these people. Hold them up as examples of what not to do, when boating. And most importantly, stand back and watch as Darwin has the last laugh.