Sail Boater Rescued-Boating Safety When On The Water
“The duty to respond to persons in need of assistance at sea is based on the moral obligation to save human life,”
Fellow Hibiscus friends and neighbors Bob and Doreen Ernst were finally able to take a day and go fishing on the Gulf Of Mexico. Its been a bit of a dry spell for them because Bob has been healing up from getting a hip replaced. The weather and conditions came together for them and they were off…however, something unexpected happened on this trip. Read more about it in Doreen’s words…
Today we had such a blessing!
Going to bed last night we had no idea that we would go fishing today. When I rolled over in the bed today and opened my eye the sun was shinning for the first time in who knows how many days. I told Bob that I wanted to go fishing. So off we went.
The seas were fabulous…nice 3-4′ rollers, 10 sec. apart. Could have not ordered a more perfect day. We motor out about 10 miles to release a message in a bottle for Gayle Hoyt and her grand kids.
Then we found a near shore wreck and dropped our lines…bam, bam…4 amberjack right off the bat…all undersized to keep. So we head to another wreck. 4 passes and not even a nibble. Ok, so we regroup…deciding where to go next…Bob wanted to go to a wreck about 2 miles to our east…I saw a wreck 3.59 miles to our west on the chart that I had never fished…so here we go…THEN.
God jumped up right in front of us. There was a sailboat we thought was on our wreck…nope he wasn’t…but as we approached closer we saw both his sails destroyed! Then we saw he was waving us down with an orange life jacket. To make a long story short. He was in a 32.5′ double sail boat attempting to sail from Key West to Galveston. The storms blew him off course to Panama City.
He had endured 20′ waves and not only lost his sails but all electronics and bayberry…other words…he had no way to communicate. He stayed inside his cabin for 3 days riding out the storm. He had shot off a flair at a passing boat to NO avail. So today God gave us an opportunity to PASS IT FORWARD.
We hailed Sea Tow for him and stayed with him another hour or so till help arrived. We called it a day and headed back to the dock. What blessing brings us in such strange ways. It was our honor and pleasure to assist this stranded sailor. Thank you, Lord for leading us to him today.
I would like to take this opportunity to give some input of some things you might take with you when to go out on the Gulf Of Mexico.
If you are going to go out on the Gulf Of Mexico you should have at a minimum a working VHF radio. Some prudent boaters will carry a handheld VHF as a back up in case all electrical power is lost. You should also check your radio EVERY trip to make sure it can transmit as well as receive calls. You no longer have to hail other boaters to do this. Seatow offers a FREE radio check service as outlined below.
Seatow FREE radio check! Anyone can use it! It’s simple to use:
- Automated Radio Check Service uses one of VHF channels 24, 26, 27, 28. Simply tune your radio to the proper channel for your community.
- Conduct a radio check as you normally would.
- Upon releasing the mic, the system will replay your transmission, letting you hear how you sound.
Our area is channel 27 and the tower is located at Lighthouse Marina.
Another good item to have along is a hand operated pump in case your bilge pump fails or you loose battery power. You would be surprised how valuable and how much water these pumps can move, especially under conditions when you are highly motivated to get the water out! 😉 Been there, done that. See one such handheld pump here.
It is a good idea to develop your own pre- departure checklist customized to your own situation and boat. Some things you may want include are listed below.
There is now online a virtual boating safety check that you can take. See it here. Another good thing to do is to leave a float plan with someone. I do this when I am on the water by myself. I also periodically send my location to Vivian using my BoatUS app on my phone. I can text or email her my location. You can see a USCG float plan here.
Depending on the size of your vessel there is minimum required safety equipment that you must have on-board. Navigate the links noted below.
Minimum Required Safety Equipment For Recreational Vessels
I hope you enjoyed this post. If have anything you’d like to add, have suggestions or questions please comment. In a later post I will be listing the most popular cell phone apps that Hibiscus boaters like to have on their phones.
Light winds, calm seas and safe boating to you all!
Mike and Vivian foate