Dead Men Tapping by Kate Yeomans
The End of the Heather Lynn II

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The gripping true story of a failed rescue and a tragedy at sea

In the predawn darkness of September 5, 1996, the Heather Lynne II was struck by a barge and overturned in calm seas 10 miles off Cape Ann, Massachusetts. Trapped inside, three fishermen were alive in the diesel-choked air pocket that kept the boat afloat.

Onlookers waited for the Coast Guard, but when a Coast Guard cutter arrived, it carried no divers. Two hours after the collision, rescue divers finally pulled the three men from the capsized vessel scant minutes too late. Rescuers worked frantically to restore life during the airlift to a Boston hospital, but on arrival, the men were declared dead, their shredded knuckles and fingertips mute evidence of the horror of their last hours.

Dead Men Tapping opens four years later in a federal courtroom, where the victims' families are suing the U.S. Coast Guard. As the story unfolds, we come to know the trapped fishermen, their community, their would-be rescuers, the Coast Guardsmen, and the crew of the tug and barge that ran down the Heather Lynne II. These ordinary people, doing what they think is their best, propel Dead Men Tapping to its heartbreaking conclusion.

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About Kate Yeomans

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Kate Yeomans grew up on the northeast coast of Massachusetts where she lives with her husband and young son on the banks of the Merrimack River. She holds a Coast Guard 100-ton captain's license and works with her family's deep-sea charter fishing and children's marine education program aboard their two boats. Her award-winning writing has appeared in Boston Magazine, Chesapeake Bay Magazine, Commercial Fisheries News, the literary journal Creative Nonfiction, Cruising World, SAIL, and others. A former daily news reporter, she has been a contributing editor at Offshore magazine for eight years and was the senior editor of National Fisherman. A member of the Newburyport fishing community by work and by marriage, she has pursued this story for more than six years.
Published September 24, 2003 by International Marine / McGraw-Hill. 403 pages
Genres: History, Political & Social Sciences, Education & Reference, Nature & Wildlife, Sports & Outdoors, Professional & Technical, Science & Math. Non-fiction

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Connecting the testimony of each participant—the tugboat captain, the salvager, local fishermen and Coast Guard personnel—and a recap of their day with her clean prose and knowledgeable insight, Yeomans brings the tragic day to life on the page.

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