A front-runner for 1930s “it seemed like a good idea at the time” award was 40-year-old Harry Baxter of Syracuse. In early September, he and his wife, Louisa, and one of their sons were camping at Black Lake in western St. Lawrence County. Thirty-six hours later he was in desperate straits, clinging to a small, rocky island and life itself.
Harry’s troubles resulted from a series of questionable choices. The first was fishing from a small boat in conditions that Baxter himself later described as heavy seas. The second was going alone, perhaps not the best idea, and the third was where he chose to fish — after all, alone and in stormy waters, where else to set up but near the center of the lake, which spans more than two miles at its widest point.
Because the water was quite rough, he anchored both ends of the boat, enabling him to stay in one spot to fish. While it seemed like a good idea at the time, it also prevented the boat from moving with the water, thus making capsizing much more likely from wave action and water splashing into the boat. » Continue Reading.