Mexico Navy Tangles with Newport Beach Anglers

An 80-year-old Newport Beach boater who has fished Mexican waters for years recently took his 27-foot Orca sportfisher and former naval officer buddy to search for yellowtail and white seabass near the Los Coronados islands.

What Barry McKay found instead was trouble--with a Mexican Navy vessel he claims rammed his tub.

The Log boating newspaper has the scoop on the June 26 incident.

Barry McKay's daughter shot this picture of damage to his boat.
Barry McKay's daughter shot this picture of damage to his boat.
Photo by Dianne McKay, courtesy of The Log

"We stopped in the Middle Grounds for a short time, and we were scooting down, heading toward the rockpile (south of South Island)," McKay said in fisherman-speak that must make sense to someone. "All of a sudden, this boat comes dashing out pretty fast, and they hit us on the port side--fairly substantially--and then hit us again with a real wallop."

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McKay says he looked up from his captain's chair to find a vessel with uniformed men on the bow. Armed with machine guns. Glaring right back at him.

As McKay radioed the U.S. Coast Guard for assistance, Mexican Navy personnel aboard the vessel motioned for McKay and his angler buddy Barry Stangle to come to the port side of the Orca.

"I thought we were done for," McKay tells The Log's Taylor Hill.

But, after checking their identification and fishing licenses, and having McKay sign a form stating he was the captain, the ship's officers let the pair sail off.

The U.S. Coast Guard later informed McKay there is not much he can do to recover the cost of the $2,000 damage to his boat. But it's more the emotional toll the incident took that has him now talking about fixing and selling the Orca and never fishing in Mexican waters again.


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