Safety First

Discussion in 'Boat Safety' started by heavyduty, Jan 3, 2007.

  1. heavyduty

    heavyduty New Member

    Grand Gulf,MS
    George brought up a good topic and I would like to hear some BOC members '' close calls'' stories on the water and how they reacted to a bad situation. Maybe it will help us all out if we wind up in the same situation.
  2. Mark J

    Mark J New Member

    Four Oaks, NC
    Back in my prime the boat trailer rarely came unhitched from the truck. I used to pull the boat to work alot of times and averaged getting on the water 5-6 days a week for a fishing session.

    March of one year put the bass boat in Shearon Harris lake for some fishing.
    As the day progressed the wind got higher and higher so I stuck to the coves. There came a point where I had to make a 3 mile run to get to the ramp and cross the lake in the process. I took waves over the side right into my chest. I took them over the bow and over the stern. The boat literally sank on the trailer. That one was close but not quite the wake up call I needed.

    Same lake within a year I volunteered to fish in a sheriff's department tournament because they didnt have enough boaters. It poured rain all day.
    After sitting on one spot for several hours I got ready to move only to notice water was coming up through the floor drains. I had a bilge full of rain water.
    No problem, hit the bilge pump switch. Problem, the pump didnt work. The shaft was frozen.
    This woke me up and probally later saved me and the boat.
    I went with two bilge pumps of 1500 GPH each and threw that little useless 850GPH sucker in the woods.

    Within a year I was prefishing for a tournament on the Pamlico sound. Extremely rough conditions on the way in to the ramp. I actually cut my fishing time to beat further deteriorating conditions. It took both bilge pumps running to get her in. I estimate that each wave that collapsed on the boat sent 50 gallons of water into the bilge. On arriving to the ramp there were 2 other Ranger bassboats flipped over and being towed. 3 swamped and alot of head scratching going on.
    I didnt fish the tournament the next day. I left the ramp, cleaned out my motel room and headed home. Not worth it.

    2 incidences of night running and close calls with boats not using lights.
    Several incidences of close calls with boats using spotlights or incorrectly displaying lights.

    Running a 26 foot cabin cruiser for the passed out owner of the boat on lake Gaston at night. Anytime I got in any of his boats I was nominated captain. He never drove his own boats. After running about 20 miles from his residence by water he passed out in the berth. Thats when I told my now wife that I'm turning this sucker around and going in. By this time it was after midnight and most of my landmark lighting on docks had been turned off. A fog was moving in rapidly. You get disoriented in fog and begin to question your instruments anf judgement. All of sudden a wall of rip rap popped out of the fog and I was heading directly for it. Turning a 26 foot inboard cabin cruiser into a turn on a dime Ski Natique is possible. (he banged his wittle head on a bulkhead):smile2: I did it. The rest of the trip home wasnt a piece of cake. His house was located a few miles up a narrow winding creek with a couple of right angle turns. By the time I managed to find the creek mouth fog had fully enveloped us. I got it in without further endangerment to life and boat and the next task, docking that behemoth basicly by myself since my remaining crew member was a total greenhorn with big boats.

    Jordan Lake. High winds forced massive beachings of boats to avoid being sunk or capsized. The Deep V cruisers were even beaching them. I again was in a bassboat.

    Lake Gaston night fishing for cats. Off in the distance I saw some lightning so we puled anchor and headed towards the Eaton Ferry bridge to hole up in case it came our way. It did come our way and fast. I threw two anchors off the boat up onto the rip rap under the bridge and piled rocks on them. The storm was tremendous in power with real high winds funneling under the bridge. We climbed all the way up under the bridge to safety out of the wind.
    I noticed the wife was holding onto an I-beam. Less then a minute after me telling her to remove her hand from that beam lightning hit the bridge and ran a big fat phone cable strapped underneath the bridge. The lightning exploded a splice in the line raining sparks down all over the boat.
    600 dollars of damage to the gelcoat on the bottom of the boat where the boat was being picked up and slammed onto the rocks.

    Lake Gaston fishing a night bass tournament. Fishing by the Americamp bridge (not really a bridge but large square concrete tiles you can get a bass boat through) the current caused by the Gaston dam generating miles away slammed us into the bridge pinning us there. It took cranking the big motor to pull us off the bridge. So we waited it out. An hour later they quit pumping so we figured we would fish the other side of the bridge. Sitting in the dark tying a knot we slammed into the other side of the bridge pinning the boat again. This time Kerr dam had started pumping reversing the current.
    Total loss of the engine cowling on a 200 horse Johnson outboard.

    Eatons Ferry bridge daytime. Pedal to the metal in a Ranger. The bridge is landlocked. The lake is wide at that point but the land on either side extends out into the lake pretty far to accomadate building a short span of bridge.
    I went under the bridge (at the time it wasnt a no wake zone) and as soon as I cleared the other side a stiff head wind met me standing the boat almost straight up. It tried to take off . Luckily a hand was on the throttle. Cutting power instantly slammed the hull back down on the water. The fix for this problem - The install of a hotfoot and being aware of the Eaton's Ferry bridge dangers to high speed flybys.:big_smile:

    Although some of these werent life threatening they threatened or caused property damage which is a whole lot easier to deal with then loss of life or serious injury.


    BIG GEORGE New Member

    A while back when I was new to boating there were lots of things to learn. My primer bulb for the fuel line took a crap. Could not get fuel to my motor. Paddleing against the current for a bit sure wakes ya up. LOL! Since then spare parts includeing a complete fuel line assembly are standard equipment.
  4. Whistler

    Whistler Well-Known Member

    Mark, I think it's a good thing you're not a pilot! LOL Dang, that's a lot of close calls!
  5. peewee williams

    peewee williams New Member

    These new large heavy duty Zip lock bags with the big zipper for cold,old or stiff hands hold my spare hose assembly with fittings in a clean environment.My little 2 HP 28 lb."Get me back" is checked and run before every trip and then tied down in it's place in my boats with it's and my main motors spare props.It has gotten my large and small boats back several times over the years against the tide,river currents and once out of the center of the Okefenokee Swamp at night.It ain;t fast but it will move even a large craft at rowing speed with considerable less effort.My 2 and 4 hp.are also great motors to carry along when traveling as you can usually rent or even borrow a boat with that size motors.People figure you ain;t going to tear up much with those small motors.I always checked and ran all gas in all cans and all motors as I start out.I love you brothers and sisters.peewee
  6. redfishman

    redfishman New Member

    South Louisiana
    If there is one thing while on the water which will truely humble you, it would have to be lightning. Sudden "pop up" thunderstorms are very common in the coastal marshes of S.La.
    Other than to keep a constant eye for developing and darkening thunderheads-all you can do is observe their movement and speed and take immediate evasive action.When you have no place to run or hide all you can do is take down rods-antennas-turn off all electronics and motor and crouch down in the boat and do alot of praying. If you cannot get to a bank to protect the boat and in open water you can drop a drift sock or anchor .The anchor will slow your drift and keep the boat from broaching with waves or swells.
    From personal experience after a storm has passed and may be clear and no rain. The area may be still be electrically charged. My family was on our boat fishing where we went ashore to let a storm pass. When it had cleared we went out on the water to resume our activities. My Wife made a passing comment that she was feeling "crackles" all over her arms. Looking at her , her hair was standing on end as were my daughter's pony tails.Needless to say they got down flat in the boat and to date that is the fastest I've ever gotten back to the launch.
    More informed people than I said what we experienced were static streamers which is the forerunner of actual lightning. In his case static electricity is "looking" for the easiest path to release energy .
    Anyhow my only suggestion is NEVER rush weather and wait out the storm...
  7. Mark J

    Mark J New Member

    Four Oaks, NC
    Bryan, I passed my ground school and have 32 hours of instruction by some of the best pilots. Those old retired Air Force flyers reduced to senior members of the Civil Air Patrol.:lol:
    I never soloed. No reason to or I could have done that about 12 hours in. My parents probally had the money but it was more useful allocated in a different direction. I didnt have it either. I'd be a pilot with no plane or money to rent and fuel one.:lol:
    You never forget though. I'm confident I could climb right back into a Cessna 172 get it off the ground and back down without a scratch.

    I would like to get a captain rating. I might get my 6-pack in the future.