Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Safety First

On Monday evening and yesterday we saw much activity on the bay in front of our house. Helicopters and boats from the Coast Guard and other agencies were searching the waters of Mount Hope Bay. Apparently a 65-year-old man was sailing his 32-foot boat with his wife, and he was hit by the boom and fell into the water. He was not wearing a lifejacket. As of now, he has not been found and the search has been scaled back.

We're not talking about an accident on the open ocean. This is a relatively sheltered bay, a dozen miles or so from the coast of Rhode Island Sound.

Just a couple of weeks ago there was another tragedy on the bay. A man was fishing from the rocks on the other side of the bay and was struck by lightning.

It's a dangerous world out there kiddies. Play safe on the water. Check the weather forecast. Wear your lifejacket.


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bonnie said...


EVK4 said...

and tether too...I'm starting to really think more about tethering. it would have helped that man more than the pfd would.

Carol Anne said...

Staying attached to the boat is a good thing, especially in open waters. Staying afloat is also a good thing, especially if the PFD keeps a person afloat with head above water even if the person is unconscious.

In the first few months of the year, the New Mexico State Parks has seen nearly twice as many drowning deaths as occurred during all of last year. One striking fact is that every single one of the drowning victims was NOT wearing a PFD.

In one of the more tragic cases, the winds came up suddenly, the way they do on desert lakes, and capsized a fishing boat before the people on it even knew what was happening. A teenage girl was wearing a PFD and was later rescued by park rangers. Her father and grandfather were not wearing PFDs, and their bodies were later recovered by divers.

Pat said...

Fortunately, Heron Lake had a close call this summer that didn't turn into a tragedy. A windsurfer was teaching his twentyone-year-old son to windsurf. The son was out when the winds came up and was in trouble.

So, the father borrowed a four-foot mini-catamaran pontoon float -- the kind some anglers use for fishing in quiet waters -- and paddled out to help his son. However, the father wasn't wearing a life vest, and the fishing float was wholly unsuited for white capping conditions in brisk winds.

So, both father and son were now in trouble.

Family members and spectators on shore then did the right thing and contacted park rangers.

The park superintendent came down to the Heron Lake Marina and the duty dock master and I helped him get the ranger patrol boat started and on the way to make the rescue, which was fortunately successful.

One other New Mexico tragedy on another lake this year was a jetskier ejected from his jetski. Jetskiers are required by law in our state to wear a life vest, but this one of course wasn't bothering to do so. He died.

tillerman said...

Update: A man's body was found floating in the water on Thursday about half a mile from where the sailor fell off his boat on Monday. The body has since been identified as 65-year-old Bernard Mochan the missing sailor.

Tim said...

Advice from Arthur Ransome from his book 'Swallows and Amazons'

Better drowned if duffers
If not duffers won't drown

Bit harsh but there is some truth in it.

Pat said...

Then there's Carol Anne's story about the gal wearing high heels on foredeck ... but she didn't fall off the boat, at least.

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