diy-safe_mistakes-largeThe best thing that can result from an accident: we (hopefully) learn from our mistake. Perhaps even better is when someone else has the accident and we learn from his or her mistake! I have spent many years on the water and in as many different roles – like everyone, a recreational boater, like many, a sailing instructor and, like a few, in charge of a Search and Rescue unit.

Regardless of the role, I have seen a few good screw-ups on the water, was the cause of a couple and have been able to help out in many. In the end, if everyone comes out of the incident in one piece, it is sometimes hard not to chuckle about the boneheaded move that got them there in the first place and even better to have a belly achin' laugh at yourself if it was self inflicted. Ultimately, incident analysis is always interesting, usually educational and sometimes entertaining.

Breakdowns

It turns out the reason for the majority of calls for assistance is breakdowns – electrical, mechanical or other. "Other" sometimes means fuel starvation which really shouldn't happen if you practice the "thirds" rule when it comes to consumption –1/3 to get there, 1/3 to get back and 1/3 for reserve if the trip doesn't go as planned. As for preventing breakdowns, don't assume everything under the cowling or beneath the deck boards is tickity-boo. Carry out regular inspections and maintenance and have spare parts onboard.

Once our SAR unit was tasked to assist a couple of commercial fishermen in a 25' Cape Islander located a few miles offshore. Their mechanical failure was an overheating engine due to a broken drive-belt on the water pump and although they had a well stocked tool box, they had no spare belts. They had been sitting for a while when we arrived and were just putting the finishing touches on the nicest long-splice I have seen in a piece of poly-prop. It was the exact size of the broken fan belt and once installed, worked soundly. Although a spare belt would have been easier, their ingenuity and skills solved their problems and turned a slow tow into a quick trip back to port.

Operator Error

Being a responsible boat operator and aware of your surroundings is especially important – other vessels, tides, currents, shoals, wind. Boats are often launched without the stern plug and many a wayward boat has been hauled off a sandbar, shoal or a beach. I have searched for overdue vessels, boaters who had filed sail plans and whose itineraries were involuntarily changed on them. Telling someone where they were going ultimately allowed us to find them and help them out. Then there are the guys who need more than SAR help, the ones who figured a little tomfoolery makes boating that much more entertaining. Have you ever fit into this category? Amazingly, I did many years ago...

It was after dark. We were making our way back from a beach party. A 12' Boston Whaler with a 40 on the back, me at the helm and a nice girl along for the ride – perfect. It was warm, flat water and no one around – straight and fast was no fun so why not throw in a few surprising whoopee turns? First turn was hair raising, second was fuel-tank shifting and the third was passenger ejecting! Holy crap. I throttled back and searched not knowing what to think. As the engine quieted down, I heard a sound from the dark that changed my life. "Peter! You get back here right now and pick me up!" I am sure she is still mad at me today but was I (and she) ever lucky. Be sure you are a responsible boat operator at all times and influence others to be as well. There is simply no place for horseplay on board boats, but unfortunately it's the cause of many injuries and getting worse every year.

Medical

Having someone onboard who is certified in first aid is a smart plan. I have been certified since I was 16 when I first started teaching and have always been around people who have had training due to the nature of their jobs. I can't imagine going boating without a good first-aid kit and with the knowledge to use it. Winter is a perfect time to spend getting trained – sign up now and be that much more prepared come spring launch. You won't become a surgeon but you will certainly be able to provide help to someone or maybe yourself, so you can get back to shore and in touch with EMS or a doctor.

One afternoon. patrolling the water in our Fast Rescue Craft (FRC) we were hailed to an isolated beach by a group of very excited youngsters. As we came ashore we were told that a young fellow had stepped on a nail that was sticking out of some driftwood. This seemed basic enough until we determined that the nail had entered the bottom of his foot, was almost protruding out of the top of his foot AND was attached to a 15' plank! This terrified young fellow was letting no one touch his foot and transporting the victim with nail and plank attached was not feasible. We made the call for higher medical assistance and treated the young fellow for shock. Before long, wailing sirens announced the arrival of the volunteer fire department, followed by the town doctor.

Things then took an ironic turn for the worse. As the fire truck slowed from racing speed, a fireman riding on the back of the truck leaped from the rear platform, misgauged his first step, rolled an ankle and embedded his body into the road. The doctor, driving his car just behind the fire truck, veered quickly, missed the sprawled responder and came to a skidding stop. Seeing that the firefighter's colleagues were focused on their buddy, he bounded down the beach towards us with his black bag. As I rose to explain the situation, the doctor tripped over the far end of a 15' plank, the one that was attached to the nail that was embedded in the young man's foot. A howl of a thousand banshees exploded from of the victim's mouth and there was no longer any need for further elaboration on the situation. As the medical master examined the foot, the sound of a revving chain saw made the horrified young man turn to see the firefighters coming towards him ready to cut things down to size.

With that distraction, the doctor wrapped his hand around the foot and yanked! The air was filled with screams – screams from the youngsters gathered expecting to see precision not meatball surgery; screams from a fireman having gravel picked from his buttocks; screams of joy as the young fellow was freed from his plank, hopped on his bicycle and sped away from the craziness; and a scream for the doctor, "Drop by my office for a tetanus shot!"

So, when you are planning your next season of boating this winter, think about what you have seen this past year, what you have read, or what you did to yourself last summer. Make changes to your boating preparedness or operations for next year. Don't be the statistic, the media report or the person they are talking about back at the marina. Yes, there will always be those who unexpectedly are helping others learn what not to do as they learn from their own mistakes. Be prepared to help them out. Be the "experienced" one who has a great day on the water.

Destinations

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At the 2019 Vancouver International Boat Show I had the pleasure of meeting up with Allyson and ...
Following the harsh impact of Hurricanes Irma and Maria, The British Virgin Islands is making an ...
For the adventurous boater Bunsby Marine Provincial Park is a special place, situated due south of ...
There is good anchoring in Cowichan Bay and nearby, and salt water enough to make any boater happy. ...
We’re gliding through green-blue waters, colours so vivid and bright they hurt your eyes. We’re set ...
The Halifax waterfront has been attracting more and more large yachts in recent years. However, a ...
Ah Canadian simplicity at its finest; small town, big marina. Little Hilton Beach (population ...
Vancouver-based Big Blue Yacht Charters Worldwide owner Emma Murdoch explains that luxury crewed ...
In the 1920s, a small cove in Canoe Bay was used as a shipping point and safe-haven for rum runners ...
Here’s an update from Caroline Swann with some news for the adventurous types who may be heading to ...


The Marina at Blind ChannelOne of my favourite places

By Marianne Scott

Sailing north of Desolation Sound, the Discovery Islands and the Broughton Archipelago offer cruisers a bevy islands with ample anchorages. Tides cause swift currents to run through the islands’ waterways. Few marinas are found in this large, sparsely populated region but one that provides all the services boaters need and especially enjoy is Blind Channel, a marina and resort operated by the Richter family located on Mayne Passage on the east side of West Thurlow Island (50 24. 82N, 125 30. 00).

Read more about the Blind Channel Resort...

 

Lifestyle

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At the end of last month, Canadian sailors gathered on the Palma Beach in Palma de Mallorca, Spain ...
In 2019, C-TOW celebrates its 35th anniversary of providing 24/7 “Peace of Mind Boating” for ...
West Vancouver Yacht Club reports that following an independent certification process the Georgia ...
It has been hot in the Abacos this winter. Whoever said this area was cool this time of year must ...
Unfortunately this is not a picture from a boat but was taken on the evening of February 27, 2019 ...
On March 1, Tom Ramshaw of Stoney Lake Yacht Club was honoured with the most prestigious National ...
Vero Beach, aka Velcro Beach, lived up to its reputation again. Our original plan was to be there ...
My husband and I were visiting the Bra d'Or Lake from Newfoundland in our 39 foot Sea Ray ...
After an autumn in Canada, we arrived back in northern Florida at Adamant 1 on January 3rd and with ...
This issue, to kick off 2019, we have an unofficial Photo of the week and this, the unofficial ...

Boat Reviews

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ILCA is seeking new builders to complement its existing network of manufacturers, the International ...
Nelson Gilbert (1854-1921) began building canoes in Brockville in the 1890s, a time when the sport ...
I have heard a lot of talk lately about trends in yacht clubs where senior membership is getting ...
To get you in the mood for cruising the Boat Show then launching in spring, here’s a boat that ...
Quite simply, the styles of boats have changed. Where in past years a buyer might have been looking ...
At the boat shows, the Ranger Tugs’ classic tugboat lines always grab the crowds, with the wives ...
Sometimes a great idea requires an encore, and French yacht builder Jeanneau got that with the ...
Tactical Custom Boats announces the sale to a North American client of a custom Tactical 77’ – Fast ...
Bruce Elliott is an inventor. And when he sold the technology he developed to build utility poles ...
One often asks of a winning achievement or a fabulous design, could it have possibly been done ...

Swift Trawler 47By Andy Adams

You might look at the pictures of the new Beneteau Swift Trawler 47 and think that this is not a “performance boat”, but I think it certainly is, and here is why; it can top out at 30 mph to get you from A to B quickly or to beat the weather in, so it’s pretty fast, but it can also loaf along doing 1,250 rpm making 9.3 mph and at that pace, it travels 2.4 miles on a gallon of fuel. That’s great performance in my books!

With a light displacement of almost 28,000 lbs, this is a big boat. In fact, it looks and feels more like a small ship than a big boat.

Read more about the Swift Trawler 47......

 

Beneteau Oceanis 46.1By Andy Adams and John Armstrong

Beneteau Oceanis 46.1When Beneteau introduced their new Oceanis 46.1, they were inspired by the fact that their previous Oceanis 45 was one of Beneteau’s best sellers and the new 46.1 had to be a clearly superior boat. The Oceanis range is about space and comfort for cruising while still delivering strong performance.

The yachting world has now recognized the Oceanis 46.1 as being just such a worthy successor. On January 19th, 2019, the Oceanis 46.1 won the highly regarded title of European Yacht of the Year in the “Family Cruiser” category.

Read More about the Oceanis 46.1......

Marine Products

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The Walker Bay Venture 14 claims to be the world’s first luxury Explorer Sport Tender. It is ...
Mercury Marine is pleased to announce the launch of the new MerCruiser V8 6.2L 370hp Jet Ready ...
My history with the Cayenne goes back many years, as I was at the launch of the original vehicle ...
Last month, Mercury Marine has announced the launch of the 400hp Verado outboard engine, the ...
Featuring advanced, intuitive 3D controls, Zipwake Dynamic Trim Control Systems deliver a more ...
Gina de Vere approached me at the Canadian Yachting booth at this year’s Vancouver International ...
A revolutionary “assisted docking” system that provides a glimpse into the future of boating ...
After developing the Figaro Beneteau 3, the first production foiling sailing yacht, Groupe Beneteau ...
You most likely operate your vessel with batteries that are rechargeable. Rechargeable batteries ...
This past decade has been a real up-and-down ride for the companies who make boating equipment. ...