Most boat folks love the water. The two sort of go hand in hand. Our friend, Mario, is no exception and everywhere he and his beautiful partner, Karine, sail they take to the water to either spearfish, swim or snorkel. They also happen to be supremely awesome and kind people so when mutual friends of ours anchored nearby, Mario offered to dive their anchor for them (a good habit to get into each time you drop the hook to make sure your anchor is properly set and dug in, we do this every time we anchor). As he was swimming over to the boat, another cruiser's dinghy came zooming through the anchorage at top speed, oblivious to the fact that Mario was in the water. Our friend, Eugene, who was on the bow of boat who's anchor was being checked screamed at the dinghy to tell them there was a swimmer in the water - but it was too late. They never saw Mario and ran over him with their boat. Luckily, Mario was able to dive down far enough to ensure the hit was not lethal (this sort of accident can absolutely be deadly) but he still suffered lacerations on his back from the propeller, and recieved several severe bruises on his head and shoulder as a result. It is truly a miracle it was not worse and we are so happy he will be fine.
There are two very important lessons to take away from this near tragedy:
- Be a cautious and watchful dinghy driver at ALL times: but especially when you are driving through an anchorage. When you are motoring through a crowded anchorage, do not go at top speed and be very mindful that there might be swimmers in the water. Proceed with caution and keep a watchful eye. Same goes for driving your big boat (though they rarely hit the speeds that dinghies do).
- As a swimmer, do NOT assume you can be seen. If you are swimming in a busy/crowded anchorage do not assume other boaters can see you, it is surprisingly difficult to see a lone swimmer or snorkeler in the water, especially during certain light. Take precaution and use some sort of personal safety buoy (no affiliation) to alert dinghies and local boats to your whereabouts. You do not need to buy anything fancy, a simple white milk jug or an old (brightly colored) life jacket attached to a tether could do the trick as well.
|The swim buoy Mario and Karine will tow from now on to help ensure they are seen in the water.|
Photos courtesy of Mario and Karine of The Good Life catamaran.