Remember that time you almost drowned????

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by Gofirstclass, Jan 7, 2019.

  1. Gofirstclass

    Gofirstclass Well-Known Member GOLD Sponsor

    Apr 20, 2010
    Tri Cities, WA
    1995 550 Sedan Bridge,
    2010 Boston Whaler 130 Super Sport,
    1981 Boston Whaler 130 Sport,
    CAT 3406C's, 580hp.
    If you have been a mariner/boater/skipper for a long time you certainly have a memory of a time when you pushed your luck and it almost cost you your life. You survived, but only because you kept your wits about you, knew what to do, and survived. So, here's your chance to relate "that one time" to the rest of us.

    For me, it was a time in the 60's when I was about 13 or 14 years old. We had a cottage on Lake Huron and I spent my summers on my Alcort Sailfish. That boat and I were like a part of each other I was so familiar with how it handled.

    I was out one day with my girlfriend just cruising along with a moderate wind of about 10-15kts. Perfect for a Sailfish. We were about 1/2 mile or so offshore when all of a sudden the wind just died.

    I had been around water and sailed enough to know that was not a good sign. As I looked over my shoulder to the north I could see the reason the wind died. There was a storm front that stretched all across the horizon. It was still a ways off but I figured we had zero chance of getting to shore.

    The winds didn't frighten me as I'd sailed in some pretty stout winds. What scared the bejesus out of me was the lightening.

    I dropped the mast and lashed the mast, spar and boom to the hull using the mainsheet. Then we flipped the boat over so the metal parts would be beneath the boat. We tied ourselves off using another line and, wearing only our ski belts (remember those?) we floated about 25' away from the boat. We held onto each other for about 30 minutes in hellatious winds with 3'-4' seas and whitecaps until the storm blew over.

    Afterwards we hoisted the sails and sailed back to shore. Boy did we ever catch hell for being out there in that storm. It had blown down some trees, blew the covers off some boat lifts and just made a mess of things.

    No amount of explaining how "safe" we made ourselves would pacify our parents, but I knew in my heart that what I'd done had made us safer.

    Next?
     
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  2. MonacoMike

    MonacoMike Well-Known Member PLATINUM Sponsor

    Sep 15, 2009
    Indiana lakes and Lake Michigan
    2000 Cruisers 3870
    97 270 Sundancer
    85 Sea Ray Monaco 197
    8.2 Mercs,
    7.4 BII
    260hp Alpha 1
    Tough one to top... Hope we see a good try or two...

    MM
     
  3. sandydlc

    sandydlc Active Member PLATINUM Sponsor

    591
    Feb 24, 2016
    Seattle, WA
    450 Sundancer 2010
    Cummins 480 HP w/Zeus pod drives
    We had just purchased our 2001 30' Chaparral express cruiser and although we had nearly two years of boating experience on the local lakes in a small runabout, this was our first season with a boat capable of cruising in the Puget Sound and San Juan Islands. We had just enjoyed our first weekend in beautiful Roche Harbor and even learned how to Med-tie our boat since the harbormaster had to squeeze us in on a busy summer weekend.

    As we prepared to leave the dock, we untied all of our lines except the port stern line and I stepped from the dock onto our swim platform holding the last stern line. At that moment, the boat was drifting slowly forward, engines in gear when I lost my footing and slipped in between the dock and our boat with the engines engaged. It happened so fast that I only had a moment to react. I realized immediately that I needed to keep my arms and legs close and attempt to just go straight up to the surface to avoid those spinning props. I reached my right arm up and just as I was surfacing, my husband grabbed me like the super-hero that he is and pulled me back onto the swim platform. Miraculously I was uninjured and had only lost my watch which was a wedding gift from my husband but I managed to emerge from the incident unscathed.

    Thankfully everyone involved reacted swiftly and correctly during the incident. My husband immediately turned off the engines and ran to grab be from the water, the captain of the boat next to us saw me go in and grabbed our boat to keep it from continuing to drift into the harbor, and I knew not to flail around after falling into the water with the engines in gear.

    Lessons learned from this very scary and humbling experience? Never wear flip-flops when transitioning from the dock to the boat and never stand on the dock and try to step off onto your boat when leaving a dock. The best practice is to stand on your boat and then reach over to untie your lines which is the process I've followed every time since.

    Lastly it's important to remember that boating accidents happen in an instant and ideally you've already discussed what to do and what everyone's roles are during docking procedures.

    Stay safe out there!

    Sandy
     
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  4. boatman37

    boatman37 Well-Known Member

    Jun 6, 2015
    pittsburgh
    2006 Crownline 250CR
    Previous: 1986 Sea Ray 250 Sundancer
    5.7 Merc
    Our old next door neighbor (she passed away last year) had a son that was somehow killed by a prop. I don't know the details as that is something you don't ask about. He was probably about 40 and it happened about 7-10 years ago. I think it was in Alabama but might have been Florida.
     
  5. CliffA

    CliffA Well-Known Member GOLD Sponsor

    Dec 29, 2009
    Lake Norman, NC
    2001 Sea Ray 340DA
    Name: 'Happy Place'
    4.5kW West. Generator
    Purchased Nov. 2014
    Fresh Water Use
    Twin Merc. 6.2L (MPI)
    Raw Water Cooled
    V-Drive Transmissions
    although i am trying my best to forget this bad experience i suppose it could be healthy to discuss it....but it still bothers me to this day a little....

    about a year ago one evening the Admiral and I were sitting in folding chairs on our swim platform while we were docked....there were several people around talking and laughing and having a good time....there was some drinking going on and i had a couple drinks at the time but was no where near drunk....i needed to go to the restroom so i tried to scoot behind the Admiral's chair so she would not have to get up....as i did i caught my foot on the edge of a rug we have at the transom door on the swim platform....next thing i knew i tripped and went head first into the side of our slip....i hit my head hard on the slip and was knocked out....i fell into the water between our boat and the dock...by the grace of God there were two young men very close and saw what happened....they both dived into the water to save me...the first couple tries they went under they could not find me...finally one of the guys went under my neighbor's boat and felt my leg and pulled me to the surface...it took three guys on the dock to pull me out of the water....that was 215 lbs. of dead weight (no pun intended)....by this time i was conscious and talking....fortunately there was a nurse nearby on the dock and she looked me over and advised she did not think i had a concussion....the next morning i went to the Dr. and got confirmation there was no concussion....but i did have some nasty cuts and scrapes and bruises....there is still a mark on my forehead where i hit the dock when i fell and it reminds me of the incident each time i look in the mirror.....this kind of experience has a way of staying with you for a while....and it makes you VERY thankful and a LOT more cautious around the boat and dock.....

    cliff
     
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  6. Woody

    Woody Well-Known Member PLATINUM Sponsor

    Nov 20, 2007
    N. Wisconsin/Lk Superior
    2005 420DA
    Cummins 6CTA8.3
    I don't recall if I ever 'almost drowned' but I did pull a couple people out of the water over the years...one drowned and the other almost did.

    I was about 17-18yo, a friend and I were at a local beach, nice sand and shallow water that went out quite a ways. We were kinda off on the edge of the crowd in knee deep or so water throwing a football back and forth. As I went retrieve a missed throw something white in the shallow water caught my I. I walked over to see what it was and there was a kid, maybe 1.5-2yo, just laying on the bottom. I reached in the water and grabbed it by the diaper, pulled it out, it was lifeless, I don't know if it was even breathing, I didn't check.

    I had the kid scooped up, sort of like carrying a football. My forearm was under his belly, head and arms dangling to the front, butt and legs dangling over the other way. I took of running toward all the people on the beach, hollering 'who's baby is this' at the same time. For a minute everyone was looking and finally some woman came running up to me and yanked the kid out of my arms, it had started to cry just before she arrived. She didn't ask what happened or why I had the kid, she just yanked him away while screaming 'give me my baby'.

    I should of told the bitch off but instead all I got out was 'you need to watch you kid'. I don't know if she even heard that. I know I helped the kid but it wasn't because I knew what I was doing, at the least it was unconscious when I pulled it out of the water. I think draped over my arm as I ran probably helped more than anything else.
     
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  7. OllieC

    OllieC Active Member

    543
    Mar 11, 2013
    MinniSoCold
    2005 Weekender 215
    Mercruiser 5.0 mpi, Bravo III
    Not really an 'almost drowning' story, however a scary experience none the less.

    About 4 Summers ago in a marina on Lake Superior, I was coming in to my transient slip. There was plenty of room. "I've done this before (the last three Summers), I know what I'm doing"!!(sarcasm) I understand there is some debate about having someone scoot on their butts up to the bow, but I had my daughter do that and attach the line to a cleat and then wait to handoff a line while docking.

    I don't know what was going through my head, but it wasn't the rule of, "only approach the dock as fast as you want to hit it" . For some stupid reason I thought it better to be Captain Ron, by coming in and then slamming reverse.

    With the dock on my starboard and a sailboat to my port in the slip, I overshot the dock and turned to port, bouncing the bow off of the dock and sending the boat 'hard' to port heading right toward the sail boat.

    My daughter who is on the starboard side of the boat at the bow, is waiting for instructions. My wife yells, 'Isabelle, go to the other side and stick your feet out to push us off the boat". I yelled back; "DO NOT DO THAT".....this is all within a matter of a few seconds.

    Then I panicked!

    So I "left the helm" and slid up onto the non-skid bow, chewing up my knees to push us off the sailboat, as now my anchor roller is putting a nice gouge in the neighbors gelcoat. As I am up on the bow, I realized I "left the boat in gear". I am thinking; "OH NO - we're going to hit the wall"

    I turned around and my wife was at the helm. All I did was motion & she cut the throttle. At the same time my Father-in-law grabbed the dock cleat with the hook. We avoided complete disaster. Of course, we had an audience while this was happening.

    For the rest of the Summer, that nightmare played over and over in my head. Almost to the point of me calling it quits in the boating world. I thought of my daughter getting her legs crushed, or even worse, hitting the wall and her falling overboard while a 5500lb boat is pushing her into the dock. Luckily for me, it was a $200 gel coat repair from the neighboring sailboat I hit, and a loss of pride from the locals. I am friends with the locals because we see them every Summer, and they love giving me a good ribbing every year about it.

    Anyway, that was one of the most scary situations for me besides getting caught in extreme weather on Superior....and as I mentioned earlier, this all happened within a few seconds..

    Lesson learned, never leave the helm while the boat is in motion. Also, my wife never had driven a power boat before. She just guessed on what to do and luckily it worked out. If she pushed the throttle forward, who knows what could have happened. My wife & daughter now understand the basic operations of the boat.

    Ollie
     
    Last edited: Jan 8, 2019
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  8. RollerCoastr

    RollerCoastr Well-Known Member

    Nov 15, 2007
    Cedar Point, OH / Miami, FL / MacRay Harbor, MI
    1997 400DA
    340HP 7.4 Mercruiser Bluewaters
    Garmin 741, 742, 8212, 24HD, Intellian I2
    1999 280BR
    Twin 250HP Merc 350 Alpha Ones
    I got chills reading that story. Glad you made it!
     
  9. CliffA

    CliffA Well-Known Member GOLD Sponsor

    Dec 29, 2009
    Lake Norman, NC
    2001 Sea Ray 340DA
    Name: 'Happy Place'
    4.5kW West. Generator
    Purchased Nov. 2014
    Fresh Water Use
    Twin Merc. 6.2L (MPI)
    Raw Water Cooled
    V-Drive Transmissions
    thanks!...me too....:)....
     
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  10. RollerCoastr

    RollerCoastr Well-Known Member

    Nov 15, 2007
    Cedar Point, OH / Miami, FL / MacRay Harbor, MI
    1997 400DA
    340HP 7.4 Mercruiser Bluewaters
    Garmin 741, 742, 8212, 24HD, Intellian I2
    1999 280BR
    Twin 250HP Merc 350 Alpha Ones
    In hindsight, mine could've been a whole lot worse. I guess the "setup" added drama for me.

    GFC, as you know, the boathouse where you first found your boat is enclosed and heated through the winter. In our first winter inside, my friend and neighbor saw a guy repeatedly pressing the elevator button and taking pictures of the empty car as the doors opened. He asked the guy why, and he said "I'm trying to get an image of the ghost".

    We later did some research and discovered that a dockholder had decided he had one too many at the bar down the road, so he stopped at his boat to sleep it off. His body was later found floating.

    Ridiculous photographers aside, we found that info "haunting". We so often step on and off the boats, usually after a drink or two, or three, and it's not unusual in the winter to be alone in the buildings.

    Sure enough, I eventually took a mid-winter dunk. The water level had dropped significantly. I got to the boat on a Friday night, greeted my friends in the next well and told them I'd be over soon for happy hour, then I took the big step down to the deck, went inside and made a cocktail.

    I came back out, climbed to the side deck, set my drink on the now almost shoulder-level fixed dock. As I had done all season, I palmed the dock to push myself up. This time however, the boat was too far down and away, so I found myself between the boat and the dock, losing strength and unable to get a knee on the dock as I had planned. I took a breath and plunged into 7-8' of 40º water, my shoes planting in the mud. My first panic was being under the boat, but fortunately my lungs lifted me out of the mud and my head barely bumped the chine on the way up. Biceps failed me again as I tried to palm may way up to the swim platform, so I managed to deploy the swim ladder and climb out before my (yelling, panicked) friends got to me.

    It's interesting how quickly they found their camera though. The swim ladder remained deployed from that point forward.
     
  11. CliffA

    CliffA Well-Known Member GOLD Sponsor

    Dec 29, 2009
    Lake Norman, NC
    2001 Sea Ray 340DA
    Name: 'Happy Place'
    4.5kW West. Generator
    Purchased Nov. 2014
    Fresh Water Use
    Twin Merc. 6.2L (MPI)
    Raw Water Cooled
    V-Drive Transmissions
    so you had your 'close call' as well....it amazing how many stories like this are out there....i have always considered the boat and dock very dangerous places with all the trip hazards, slippery surfaces, and constant movement of the boats and floating dock not to mention the possible high winds and all of the 'distractions' especially in warm weather....;).....

    cliff
     
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  12. sandydlc

    sandydlc Active Member PLATINUM Sponsor

    591
    Feb 24, 2016
    Seattle, WA
    450 Sundancer 2010
    Cummins 480 HP w/Zeus pod drives
    What I appreciate about this thread is the opportunity to learn from the experiences of others.

    Last year I fell getting off of a friend's boat. I just barely caught my left foot on their stern line and one second I was standing, the next I was flat as a pancake on the dock. I hit so hard my hat flew off! I injured my right knee and knocked loose some bone spurs which are now floating around in my knee. I'll survive the knee pain but it's scary how fast these accidents can happen. I had not had anything to drink that night and wasn't in danger of going in the water but concrete docks are pretty painful!
     
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  13. CliffA

    CliffA Well-Known Member GOLD Sponsor

    Dec 29, 2009
    Lake Norman, NC
    2001 Sea Ray 340DA
    Name: 'Happy Place'
    4.5kW West. Generator
    Purchased Nov. 2014
    Fresh Water Use
    Twin Merc. 6.2L (MPI)
    Raw Water Cooled
    V-Drive Transmissions
    "ouch"........
     
  14. boatman37

    boatman37 Well-Known Member

    Jun 6, 2015
    pittsburgh
    2006 Crownline 250CR
    Previous: 1986 Sea Ray 250 Sundancer
    5.7 Merc
    A few years ago our dock neighbor pulled in and they were unloading after a day on the water. We were chatting away when we hear a big thud behind our boat. Turn around and the guy had sat on his cooler to put his shoes on. Well his cooler had wheels on one end and the cooler kicked out from under him and went in the water. He landed on the dock but was almost in the water too. He grabbed at the cooler and saved it. It's a funny story today but he could have went in. Not likely he would have got hurt from it as he was always in the water anyway. They go anchor and he jumps in and ties himself off and scrubs the bottom of the boat while she lays in the sun....lol
     
  15. SloBurn

    SloBurn Member

    790
    May 30, 2013
    Greenwood Lake, NY
    1994 270 Sundancer. 7.4L Merc. Tow with a 2006 Dodge RAM Hemi
    340 HP Merc 454 c.i.
    I had pulled into an unfamiliar marina to check out a boat for sale. Stepped out onto to finger dock to tie her off, and the dock broke away and flipped me into the drink. I was in between boat and main dock, and the wind was blowing hard against the boat pushing it into the dock. I thought I was going to be crushed in between boat and dock. Some one on the dock grabbed my hand and helped me up and out of the water, while pushing off boat. No easy feat, as I'm 6'2" and 275 lbs.
     
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  16. sandydlc

    sandydlc Active Member PLATINUM Sponsor

    591
    Feb 24, 2016
    Seattle, WA
    450 Sundancer 2010
    Cummins 480 HP w/Zeus pod drives
    You're so lucky that someone was there to get you out of the water!
     
  17. bobeast

    bobeast Dance the Tide SILVER Sponsor

    653
    Oct 22, 2017
    Isleton, CA
    2002 310DA
    350 MPI w/V-drives
    About the only story that comes to mind is that time I caught a falling down drunk idiot on his way into the water, at our marina. What is it that makes some idiots buy a boat just for another place to party?
     
  18. spikedaddy99

    spikedaddy99 Active Member GOLD Sponsor

    710
    Jun 11, 2008
    Prentice, Wi
    2005 500 DB
    QSM-11
    I've always been a strong swimmer (barring any accidents to the head like some of you above) In college, we'd hang out on the rocks of the river. Most afternoons, the dam up river would open and release water, raising the level 6-12 inches for a short period of time. You either waited for things to calm down, or get off the water early. Some "newbies" were out there one day, and tried to get off the water in the quicker, roiling water. They got swept downstream and began screaming. My buddy and I were on shore and started to go after the 2 girls. The closer one had a cooler she was hanging onto. She was thanking me as I went right by her after her friend. I could only see 2nd girl's eyes. Got her, brought her to shore. She was had gone under a couple times before I got her. I'f you've witnessed near drowning...Anyway, both safe. 1st girl was a little peeved I passed her until she realized her friend was almost gone. We were just in the right place at the right time. Mike
     
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  19. atrick

    atrick Active Member

    190
    Mar 4, 2017
    Penna
    1995 searay 290 Sundancer
    1990 21 maxum
    Twin 4.3 mercrusers with alpha one genII drives
    305 chevy with a alpha one drive
    When I was in high school we would swim off the peers that they tie the barges to to unload coal for the power plant, they're 20' high above the water and there was was catwalk between two of them and of course we had a rope tie to that that we would hold on to and jump off the peers which was where we spent the summer swimming. Just up river about 100 yards from there a creek ran into the river and there was a large sand bar where families and younger kids would swim. You always needed to be careful because the river bottom was always changing due to the current from the creek and river. On this day a family had been swimming all day as we were and they were in and out of the water all day and they stopped to eat for about and hour ( back then you had to wait and hour before you could go swimming again ) and the 7 year girl decided to go back in the water ( again back then 70's no one wore life vest ) and as she was walking thru the water she stepped in a hole that had not been there before and went under and never came up. By the time the parents got to the spot she was gone. everyone tried to find her but she was gone. They did find her 2 days later tangled up in the tie off cables to the barges. Even after 40 years still remember that day and on a bright note will not let my grand kids on my docks without a life jacket unless a adult is present even tho they can swim, just can't trust the currents plus my kids get tired of me telling them how dangerous the river is even tho they grew up on it too and should know better. I grew up on the river and on a number of times in my life been caught by under tow but we knew what to do and how to get away from it. I've been lucky myself as had a number of close calls thru the years but guess it wasn't my time yet!
     
  20. boatman37

    boatman37 Well-Known Member

    Jun 6, 2015
    pittsburgh
    2006 Crownline 250CR
    Previous: 1986 Sea Ray 250 Sundancer
    5.7 Merc
    My step-son was fishing in a small river near us that usually claims at least 1 life every summer. This was about 2 years ago and 2 kids walked by him that were also going to fish but further down river. They stopped and chatted to him for a few minutes then went to their spot. A short time later my step-son heard screaming and saw the one kid in the water. He drowned. Nothing anyone could do. He said he was about 100 yards away from him.
    Back in the mid 80's my friends sisters boyfriend drowned in that same river not far from there. I had met him a few times but didn't know him that well. It's a shallow river with some big dropoffs with a lot of current. Very dangerous.
     

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