ALWAYS CHECK TO SEE IF THE BILGE PLUG IS IN PLACE AND TIGHT
SCENARIO: While launching his boat at Lake DeGray, AR, a SPS member proceeded to back his boat down the ramp and into the water. Soon he began to crank the engine and it started; however, he just sat there. Finally he stopped the motor, got back into his vehicle, and pulled the boat and trailer out about ten 10 feet onto the ramp. He had failed to put in the bilge plug.
STAY CLEAR OF THE WINCH HANDLE
SCENARIO: At a launch ramp in south LA, a SPS member was loading his boat. His motor would die as he was driving the boat onto his trailer. In an effort to help, another SPS member was standing at the winch. As the captain would start the motor and move the boat onto the trailer, the other member would crank in the slack line. Finally the boat was within about 1ft. of its destination when the motor died again. The winch lock failed and as the boat slid back, the winch handle spun at a very rapid speed. The handle clipped the member’s front tooth which cracked.
ALWAYS PAY ATTENTION TO WHAT IS IN FRONT OF YOUR BOAT
SCENARIO: Several SPS members were traveling at cruising speed in single file in the boat lane on Toledo Bend. The armada was joined by several non-squadron jet skis who were jumping the boat wakes. A jet ski was traveling between two boats about 200 yards apart and had stopped jumping the wakes. The captain of the second boat glanced down to check his speed (27 MPH), RPM’s, gas gauge, volt meter or GPS and then looked up to see that the jet ski had stopped dead in the water about 50ft. in front of him. The captain had to cut first hard to starboard then hard to port, barely missing the jet skier.
KNOW THE RIVER, CHARTS, AND BUOY SYSTEM AND ALWAYS PAY ATTENTION.
SCENARIO: On a Red River trip, an SPS member ran over (at cruising speed) a newly placed rock revetment, which did not have a navigation buoy to mark its location. The reason this happened is unclear. The captain claims that he saw a couple of fishermen who were madly waving at him, but he didn’t understand what they were indicating. Another possibility could have been a slight inattention to the river, causing him to have drifted too far out of the channel. Which ever occurred, the captain then proceeded to reverse his direction and ran over the revetment a second time almost sheering off the outdrive. He was towed 2 miles to the launch.
ALWAYS CHECK STATUS OF LOCKS AND BRIDGES
SCENARIO: Three SPS boats were making a passage from Baton Rouge to Morgan City down the intercoastal waterway and would return to Baton Rouge via the alternate intercoastal waterway. They were within 15 miles of the destination, when they requested permission to go through the Sorrel Lock and Dam back into the intercoastal waterway. This was the VHS transmission. “This is the pleasure boat WHATEVER requesting passage through the lock. (over). “Capt’n, the lock is closed for repairs.”(over). Lock master, how long will the locks be closed?” (over). “Capt’n, about three months.” (over). …long pause… “Lock master, how can we get across to the intercoastal waterway?”(over). “Well Capt’n, you can go back to Morgan City and come up the other side.”(over).
ALWAYS STAY CLEAR OF THE PROP
SCENARIO: A SPS member was on the Red River for a day of skiing with his family. They anchored with a Danforth for a swim in some mild current. Everyone was in the water. The motor was off and in neutral, the anchor was holding and everyone was around the stern of the boat. One of the boys got his foot close to the prop which was spinning due to the current’s action on the prop (wind milling). This resulted in a 6 inch laceration of his foot requiring many stitches.
SCENARIO: On Sunday of a holiday weekend, several SPS families trailored to Fort Lauderdale for an adventure to Bimini in the Bahamas. After the boats got on plane, one of the boats stopped and radioed to the fleet that his engine was overheating. He checked the engine and the oil and radioed that he would need a mechanic. The mechanic arrived on Tuesday, verified that it overheated, and directed the captain to pull the boat out slowly. When the stern was out of the water, the mechanic handed the captain the “ear muffs” or outdrive flusher that had been left on since his pre-trip check.
ALWAYS KNOW WHERE YOUR ANCHOR IS LOCATED
SCENARIO: Five SPS boats went to Bimini. They were anchored in a beautiful cove with about 20 or 30 other sailboats and motorboats. On the morning of departure, they intended to slip out very early. Everyone had looked at their charts and were ready to depart from the cove at a dead-slow idle so as not to disturb the other boats in the harbor. There was not much light and as one of the fleet began to inch out of the anchorage, several sailboats began to follow and then gently bump into each other. This SPS boat was dragging an anchor that had caught on other anchors.
ALCOHOL AND BOATING CAN BE DANGEROUS
SCENARIO: On a launch ramp on the Ouachita River, this boat fell on the ramp when drunken boater pulled the boat from water too fast without attaching the boat to the trailer. The drunken friends picked the boat up and put it back on trailer.
SCENARIO: While boating in south LA, a SPS member encountered a drunken person traveling at high speeds in a flat bottom boat at dusk. Despite evasive maneuvers by our member, the little boat impaled itself into the cruiser.
Lessons: Review • Always check the bilge plug • Beware of the Winch handle • Always stay alert when motoring • Check status of Locks and Bridges • Always stay clear of the prop • Have a check list before launching • Alcohol and boating can be dangerous