Saturday, December 04, 2010

The Tale of the Panicked Mariner

The Panicked Mariner...his boat has been blurred to protect his privacy.  Ha.
After our docking extravaganza yesterday, we were happily on our way (albeit with thumping hearts) when all of a sudden we heard on the radio in a muffled, stressed-out voice, "Sailboat heading south?".  Scott and I looked at each other - then around the boat...there was another boat circling around out there.

"Is he hailing us?" I asked, confused.  It was a pretty strange way to hail another boat.  Then it came through again, "Sailboat in front of me heading South?".  Scott picked up the radio and answered "This is Rasmus, go to 17".  He did not go to 17 and then said, again in a very stressed voice, "Yeah, uh - are you guys heading South on the ICW".  Scott replied we were, and again told the man to go up a channel. Channel 16 is strictly a hailing and monitoring channel - not only is it poor form to carry on a conversation on this channel, if you chat for very long on it the Coast Guard will get on to sternly remind you.  We are constantly shocked at how many boaters don't know this.


He finally switches to 17 and says, "Yeah, uh...I don't know these waters and I...I just don't feel comfortable - would it be okay if I follow you?"  We replied that while we too didn't "know" the waters we had charts and a chart-plotter and would be happy to lead the way for him.  We did, however, think this was pretty strange.  Was he just planning to "follow" other boats all the way South?!

So we are motoring along - enjoying the beautiful day and the company of Scott's wonderful godfather Al, when again we hear on the radio something to the tune of, "Uh, yeah...sailboat I'm following - do you know if I can anchor to your port side over there in that shoal?" He sounded pretty panicked.  We all looked at each other confused.  "Go to 17" Scott replied.  They both did, and Scott continued, "Is everything okay?" Our panicked mariner replied, "No...god, damn engine is smoking and I need to shut her down...I think I ran out the coolant, might need to add some wat....OH SH**!  Oh dammit!  The engine just died.  Oh crap....(more expletives)"

Again, Scott and I look at each other because a) we feel bad for this guy and b) he obviously doesn't know what he is doing.

We tell him we'll circle back around to help him out.  I get on the radio and ask him if he has Boat US towing insurance and he replies that he does.  We had originally thought about towing him ourselves, but quickly realized that doing so was unnecessary as there was no immediate "emergency".  Better to wait for Boat US.

"Oh crap..." he came back, "I don't know what to do... Aren't we in a shipping lane? I don't want to be swept out to sea".  Our charts and chart-plotter indicated we were not in a shipping lane (in fact, zero commercial vessels come through the sound we were in) and the current would be nil for the next 3-4 hours.  He was fine.  I called TowBoat US for him - and they said they'd be to him within the hour.  I felt bad just leaving a panicked person alone - so we told him we'd just sail around for a while (in case of emergency) until Boat US came with a tow.  Sometimes just the presence of another boat in the vicinity can ease one's nerves.  We've been there.

And that is what we did.

We figured we put a little coinage in the Karma bank.

Brittany & Scott


TaylorMad1 said...

you guys are very nice & I am thinking your Karma acct is very full!

Lizz said...

It is great to see people helping each other, if only the rest of the world could learn from the boating community.

Dan N Jaye said...

Ahh, doesn't it make you feel ... experienced ... to be the one offering help instead of needing it? You guys are really learning by leaps and bounds (pardon the mixed metaphor). <*grins*>

Chels-pup said...

you guys are so wonderful! my heart goes out to that poor guy.... i empathize b'cause im often the person going, "oh shit, oh damn....what the hell am i doing?". nice of you to help him out. little angels of the sea :)

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