Joel Taylor has passed away

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Jul 5, 2009
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Newtown, Pennsylvania
I didn’t know Joel personally and was not even aware of his name - believe it or not I was not a viewer of the Discovery Channel Storm Chasers show - but I am sad to hear of the loss of anyone from our little community, especially someone so young. Anyway I wanted to share this link, People Magazine did a short piece that was picked up on my Apple News Feed this morning:


Joel Taylor of Discovery Channel's Storm Chasers Dead at Age 38 -
https://apple.news/AuqMGCjjPT9-GG4jQHb6KdQ



Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk
 

Mark Blue

Staff member
Supporter
Feb 19, 2007
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He was the only one out of that group who would occasionally swing by and comment on a post and seemed like a genuinely nice guy. This is bad news and I wish for his family nothing but the best and peaceful thoughts. Speaking from experience, it’s never easy to lose someone before their time. When we lose grandma or grandpa we kind of knew it was eventually coming, but not our friend who was in his 30s.
 

JeremyS

EF2
Mar 12, 2014
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Omaha, NE
It’s always surprising in a way on how hard news like this hits me. I never knew Joel personally, only through watching him on Stormchasers. Maybe it’s because he was another chaser and part of our community, or maybe just simply because he was too young. I’m only a year older than Joel myself. Whatever the reason, very sad indeed. RIP Joel and thoughts for all his family and friends.


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I have frequently visited the forum but have done more reading than writing, but I saw Reed Timmer's post on Twitter and could not believe what I was seeing so I had to come on here and leave this. I got to meet Joel last Spring on May 16th, 2017. I actually got to talk to both him and Reed and that made my year. I was so disheartened and shocked to hear of his passing. He was very humble and talked to me and my father for a bit about the weather. It was so cool that he actually took the time to talk to two complete strangers under the anvil of a brewing storm.
 
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Aug 22, 2015
134
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Hastings, Nebraska
I never knew Joel personally but this news hit me very hard. Ever since I was younger I followed Reed and Joel. They excited my passion for weather and chasing. Rest in peace Joel!
 

Todd Lemery

Supporter
Jun 2, 2014
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Menominee, MI
As a follow up for reports attributing his death, we all have our faults and weaknesses, but never let that that override the true goodness in people. Most of us only remember him as a storm chaser, but to the family he left behind, he leaves a huge void that will never replaced. There’s no reason to throw stones or disparage a man unable to defend himself. I’m not saying anyone has done that, but we are all part of a bigger storm chasing family and share in his immediate family’s sadness.
 
My condolences go out to Joel's family and closest friends. I've known Joel since the early 2000s, and while most of our meetings were limited to meeting in passing somewhere during or after a chase, I always thought of him as a stand-up guy who was responsible and someone who cared for others. He and I had a conversation in a restaurant once about a tornado victim and I could tell that Joel genuinely cared about people - he was a storm chaser for the right reasons - a deep interest in meteorology and compassionate about the welfare of victims.

That being said, some of the reports that are coming out bother me at a professional level. Aside from running our storm chasing tours, during the "storm chasing off season" I'm a USCG licensed Master that operates sea going charters that caters to divers. I'm deeply bothered by the reports of widespread illegal drugs on this vessel. If the coasties boarded a vessel that I was in control of and found such substances belonging to a passenger, I might not be the person who gets arrested (although I could be), but I would without a doubt be the guy losing his license! Not to even mention that the vessel itself could be seized.

Being a captain comes with a lot of tremendous responsibilities! A captain is responsible for EVERYTHING that happens aboard a vessel under their control and they are responsible for EVERY crew action. Therefore the captain has ultimate control of everything onboard. Before any luggage or gear bag is loaded onto a vessel under my control, it's checked for anything that is against company/boat policy (and that includes anything that is against any law, of any country that we plan to make port, or even cruise through their EEZ). Thus, I fail to understand how so many people were able to get illegal substances onboard this vessel.

The passenger vessels (liveaboards) I operate are around 100 gross tons, the Harmony of the Seas is 227,000 GT. But, the same principles apply and I have the exact same license. I'm pretty sure that the vessel master in this situation isn't licensed by the USCG since the vessel is registered in the Bahamas (my "guess" is that he has a Norwegian or Liberian license). But, the ship made port in Puerto Rico where to my understanding it was met by the USCG, and if so, they would have conducted an investigation leading to an incident report, since this incident involves an American citizen (and was at an American port). If there were illegal substances suspected, the USCG very well might have conducted a search of the vessel as well. A copy of that report would be sent to the captain's licensing authority and it's my hope they're as strict about this matter as the USCG would be if this happened under a USCG licensed Master's watch.

It is ultimately the captain's responsibility to secure the vessel. If someone can sneak illegal substances such as drugs onboard, then someone else could just as easily bring explosives or weapons onboard a vessel. In my professional opinion, this captain should be "relieved of duty". If not fined, or more heavily punished and Royal Caribbean needs to tighten up their security protocols because it doesn't sound to me like these ships are all that safe. Yes, I am very angry over Joel's death. But, aside from that, I'm speaking purely from a professional viewpoint and trying to keep my emotions over this incident in-check while doing so. Vessel security is not a "lax matter"; and this vessel obviously wasn't very secure.
 
Jun 1, 2008
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Chattanooga, TN
www.linkedin.com
If you knew Joel personally, I am very sorry for your loss. Way too young. I did not have the pleasure of meeting him. We all feel the loss in the community, but for Taylor's family and close friends the grief of an out-of-order (too young) passing is intense. Taylor's parents are heartbroken now. Perhaps some of the loving memories here or on social media bring a sliver of comfort. I hope they have seen them. Ignore the news. See the love from his friends and fellow storm chasers. RIP Joel Taylor.
 

Mark Blue

Staff member
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Feb 19, 2007
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