Welcome! Need support, you got it. Or share you ideas and experiences.
Hi Thom et al,
On Sunday last I went to spend a couple of days sailing with a live aboard friend.
His yacht was on a swinging mooring about 100 feet outside a marina. I entered the marina and made my way to the low concrete pier nearest to his yacht while he collected his tender from the public slipway.
As he paddled the tender I noticed that it looked unstable and that there was a low, wind backed swell coming in off the sea. My life jacket was in my bag but without its gas cylinder because I had flown. I had intended to get a new cylinder on arrival but the chandlery was shut. My friend paddled to his home to get me a life jacket but returned having forgotten it. He put my bag in the front of the tender and I got in the rear. A yard out from the pier the sea flooded over the stern and the tender sank.
I got to the pier but could not hoist myself up sufficiently to get on the top. I was wearing a shoulder bag across my front that caught the lip of the pier and a thick paperback book in my jacket pocket did the same. I am old and heavy and I could feel the cold water rapidly sapping my strength. The sloping mud shore was only about 80 feet away but I knew that I didn't have the strength to swim to it. My friend, young and lithe, was able to get out and eventually, with great struggle, lifted me by my belt sufficiently that I could roll onto the pier.
I am an inexperienced sailor but I am well read and being a cautious man I have completed RYA practical and theory courses. I am very angry with myself for ignoring the evidence of my own eyes and upset that I trusted my friends seamanship. Although my friend then brought his yacht to the pier I refused to board. I found a Samaritan to dry my clothes and rent me a bed for the night. The next day I flew home.
Always, always, always wear a good life jacket in a tender (my friends jacket failed to inflate. I could have put mine on and inflated it by mouth but I never thought of that until a day later) With an inflated life jacket I could have got to the shore hand over hand down the length of the pier.
Trust your own judgment. Don't assume that somebody with thousands of miles of sailing experience will always make good decisions (if in doubt, don't go out. I saw that there was a swell and I thought the tender to be unstable)
Don't wear anything across your front or in pockets that may stop you lifting yourself up.
Have a change of warm clothing and a towel in a waterproof bag. (everything I had with me was wet through)
Keep electronic goods in a waterproof bag until safely aboard (I have wrecked my sub notebook computer, my digital camera and my mobile phone)
I would appreciate any comments on my experience. I honestly thought that I was going to drown by reason of stupidity.
Jeez man sounds like you had a heck of a time. Glad you made it ok. I absolutely agree that you should trust your own instincts. I had an experience where I thought I was going to drown when I was a kid, I was waters skiing, fell feet first, the life jacket came up over my head and pinned my arms above my head and stuck there. I had to keep my head above the water by only paddling my leads, it was horrible. Finally it came off after a struggle but it has made me a safey advocate to this day.
Dexey, thanks for the contribution to the SBF message board. Now that Spring Small Boating is upon us we thank you for the reminder to be ever diligent on the matter of safety on the water…
Years ago when my daughter was about 5 we were on an excursion in the Marisol Sail Boat (a picture of which is on the upper left hand side of the SBF opening page) and stopped at a sandy beach to frolic in the sun and water. Daughter took off her little PFD and was enjoying the warm water about up to her knees. She went to the boat and got one of those square 2” thick floating cushions with the straps at either end and was using it as a ‘kick board’ swimming the prone position kicking with her feet while she held onto the cushion with her hands -- arms outstretched. Next thing she decided to put her feet through both straps and, again in the prone face down position, swim using only her arms and hands… At this point the floating cushion had leveraged her feet too high and it was all she could do to keep her head above water flailing her arms and hands. In fact she was loosing the battle and was taking on water all in a matter of seconds! We rushed to the rescue, in about ankle deep water. Daughter was frightened but OK.
As the wife exclaimed "Accidents on the water can happen fast – sometimes with no warning – due safety diligence is a must!" Be prepared, be a TO (Trained Observer trusting your observations) and yes, you can still have fun!
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