Monday, August 11, 2008

When Boats go Sideways

One of the interesting differences between boating on the river and boating in open ocean is when you lose control of your vessel.In the ocean you are bobbing around and likely to get turned sideways so your broadsiding waves. Not too scary if they are small, much more worrisome if they are big.

The river ,however, is a much more dangerous place to lose control. Depending on the tides, currents can be running very fast or if its low tide the danger is running aground. The river is narrow in places, there is all manner of boats, logbooms, pilings, other river traffic ect. to crash into and bridge spans all along the way to be avoided.

We have witnessed a few hairy situations down here in the last little while. The most impressive one, unfortunately I didnt get any pictures of, but got to see it. Mt. Kleeman ( the huge white boathouse that was parked here) was getting towed up river to its new location.I saw what I thought was the tow line pulling tight but it was actually snapping in half.There was a good size motor boat pulling it and Grieg in his skiff guiding it from the back. I dont think he realized for the first few seconds that the line had broke and was continuing to motor towards it. Mt Kleeman slowly got caught in the current and started to drift back downstream with the front end slowly swinging towards the far shore.By the time everyone realized what was happening it was picking up speed and getting pretty horizontal in the river and heading towards our marina.The boys scrambled their boats and managed to catch it and get the ropes retied.Disaster adverted just in time, phew!!

A few weeks later, the Lightship was preparing to get towed out of here to its new location. I wasn't here, so a little unclear as to the exact details but somehow the bow line to the Bowie snapped and the whole front end went swinging out into the river where it stayed all day until the tide changed. The tugboat that had come for the Lightship spent a few hours pushed up into the front of the Bowie to hold it against the current so it wouldnt swing into the other boats down here. It was a sight to see for sure. Luckily no-one was hurt and the marina wasnt squashed like a bug, but anxiety was high that day for sure.

The Bowie out in the middle of the river

Some concern from our neighbors as the Bowie gets too close

The tugboat vrs Goliath

A broadside view of things

The Lightship finally underway

The Lightship safely gone to her new home and our new and improved view up the river

The tide finally came in later that night and pushed the Bowie back into place where she was tied up once again.

A few days ago we noticed some activity aroind Andrews boat. He had been tied up on the Bowies bow line waiting for someone to come and tow him upstream. I guess those plans had fallen through and he had decided to untie himself from there and push his boat around the front of the Bowie and drift downstream until he could tuck himself back into the lagoon behind the Bowie. Im not sure how much thought had gone into the process but he had no motor and seemingly no help. He untied his boat, pulled it around the front of the Bowie and jumped on it as it drifted downstream. As the current caught it ,it started swinging sideways and seemed headed to crash into some boats. I couldnt believe my eyes when he pulled out a plastic paddle and started to try and paddle his way in. He was no match for the current and the situation soon got out of hand. Steve jumped onto one of the boats down here and went out to throw him a line.After almost getting pulled over-board trying to hang onto the line( Note to self, always tie the rope to the boat before throwing the other end), Steve got Andrew to throw the line to people on the dock who then pulled him in to safety.

Adrift in the river

The boat starts to slide sideways

Now competely out of control the paddle comes into play, too little, too late

The day is saved with a thrown rope

Not to be outdone here is a tugboat out of control doing the sideways dance down our river, have I mentioned there is never a dull day around here?

Im thinking of building a shark cage around my boat to protect it from
out-of- control floating missiles :)

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