Man expertly directs speedboat into pole

Originally published at:


Is there anything more to this story? Was he hurt? Was it intentional?


To save people some clicks, from the youtube description:

BACKGROUND A German-flagged container ship headed straight towards shore and briefly ran aground in Hong Kong on Sunday afternoon (April 6, 2014). The 192.5-meter-long Hansa Constitution was travelling along the busy East Lamma shipping channel when it suddenly veered off course. The Hong Kong Marine Department said the ship’s main engine broke down. People familiar with the shipping industry say the captain and Hong Kong maritime authorities decided to the best course of action was to beach the vessel to prevent it from colliding with other ships on the busy shipping channel. The crew dropped anchor at the last minute, making loud screeching noises, to slow Hansa Constitution as it headed straight towards the sea wall outside the University of Hong Kong sports grounds in Pok Fu Lam. The ship ground to a halt at around 15.22 local. It then slowly reversed, as Marine, police and fire services rushed to the site. It was eventually towed free. No one was injured.
The ship was travelling from Yokohama in Japan to Chiwan port in Shenzhen, China.

So the ship video looks bad, but was done for good reason.
The motorboat guy though? Pure fail! :smile:


Couldn’t find anything on the motorboat one. But looking at it, i’d say equivalent injuries to what you might expect from a car crash at the same speed, sans seatbealt. Nasty whiplash probably, though the lifejacket would give some padding for the torso at least.


Mr Wisdom, whose Facebook page shows that he is interested in motor sports and avid motorbike rider, was reportedly not injured in the mishap.


“Mr. Wisdom” - heh


The ship looked like a controlled incident and was actually very neatly done - it barely kissed the bank, not easy to do when the main engine has failed.
This is, by the way, the official way of turning round a British steel narrowboat in a canal. There is a suitable dent in the bank with a shallow bottom; the pointy end is gently manoeuvered into the dent, and if you have done it right then a burst of engine on full rudder, or even the wind, will push you round.

The motor boat - from the look of it the guy didn’t realise that his boat had almost no directionality - you just have to look at how much lateral slip it has when turning - and misjudged badly. Poseidon punishes the careless.


Whoever edited that second video should have his YouTube license revoked.

Driver seemed completely unconcerned about the whole pole-in-the-way-I-might-die thing. Remote controlled boat with with dummy perhaps? I think that most rational people would at least try and save themselves with a quick turn of the wheel at the last moment. Didn’t even try and protect himself with hands at the moment of impact. So, I question what I am seeing as possibly staged. Need more info…

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I actually feel bad for the dude in the speed boat. It was probably his first (or nearly) time driving it himself. They can be hard to control once you get the speed up. He looks like he may have been injured rather badly there, and it was clearly an accident on his part.

While it is a fail…I don’t throw this one in the “lets laugh at him” bucket.

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Thats a good way to die. Lucky he didn’t fly out and hit the pole itself.


An acquaintance manages a Jetski rental place…They carefully explain to people that they don’t have brakes, but they spend the winter patching up the holes that people put in them.


On my first time using a powered boat, I collided with the only other object on the lake (a buoy right in the center) despite being well aware of its presence, and actively trying to avoid it. Mostly target fixation, I think, though not being used to the delay when steering didn’t help.


My 2P on this:

From what i understand about motorboats (from what i’ve read mostly, not actual experience though) that the majority of the steering is done via the engine.

For most people, when you’re hurtling towards a large painful to hit object, natural reaction is to steer and slow down. As boats don’t have brakes, no throttle means little steering = crash.
He’d need to accelerate to avoid that, which is a learned response not what an average person would do on instinct.


Jetskis are even harder to control as you have to be giving it power in order for a turn to take effect. That is counter intuative if you need to slow down and avoid something, you still have to give it some gas for your turn to have effect.

Why? If it was a new, inexperienced driver going to fast and crashing you would call them an idiot. Boats are pretty damn easy to “drive”, even a child can do it. (like me). But never full tilt with land and obstructions near by.

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Did anyone else watch the video linked at the end of the crashing speedboat about the 15 year old who expertly navigates out into the harbor? I have mixed feelings about it, having to do with entitled rich kids, and wondering if I’m off base.

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A more detailed account and I stand corrected. :blush: (Damn! that just did not look real!)

P. S. Awesome duct tape repair story.


Well it’s a little complicated. Yes, the engine provides most of the force which pushes the back of the boat and changes the direction that it is POINTED. But once the boat is pointed in different direction than it is traveling, it is the action of the water moving past the HULL that changes the direction that the boat is MOVING. And a boat that is planing, doesn’t change direction as quickly in response to a change in the direction that it is pointing as quickly as, say a displacement hull with a significant keel.

Edited to add. This is the canonical extreme case of a ship where changing the direction that it was pointed in didn’t do much to change the direction it was moving.


The answer to your question is a known foible of human consciousness. Well known among military aircraft pilots and stunt drivers.

Target Fixation

eta: oh hai @Beanolini