This Better Boater column originally appeared in the August 2016 issue.
We’ve all had those days, those days when you slap yourself on the forehead and groan, “I wish I hadn’t done that…” Maybe you botched an anchoring job, jumped from the boat to the dock and ended up taking a swim instead, or had a run-in with the dock while pulling up to the slip. Even though goofs like these can feel humiliating in the moment, they only help you become a bit saltier of a sailor. Heck, they might even make for some good laughs or riveting tales. The fact of the matter is we’ve all been there. We’ve all worn the metaphorical dunce hat. Sometimes it’s not even a fault of ours, but a twist of fate that no one would have seen coming. Here are some of our favorite tips and misadventures that fellow boaters have found themselves in and how they survived to tell the tale.
Tip #1: Drain Plug Check
Fellow boater Denny Barnett admonishes, “Don't forget to put the plug in before putting your boat in the water. I did it on more than one occasion. I don't have that problem now that I own a ‘toon.”
This classic problem never fails to happen every year at launch ramps across the nation. An easy fix? Make sure you always check your deck boat’s drain plug before you leave your house and once more at the launch ramp just for keeps.
Tip #2: Floating Key Chain
There are so many cheap and effective products out there; you really don’t have a good excuse not to invest in a floating key ring. A couple bucks go a long way when you’re able to fish your car keys out of the water after suddenly being stricken with butterfingers. For one great option, check out the Key Buoy, disguised as a regular key fob but with bright orange inflatable powers that show once your keys hit the water. This product can lift up to 2.8 ounces of weight and will float for over an hour, giving you plenty of time for retrieval. The Key Buoy (www.davisnet.com) is single-use and can be bought from Davis Instruments for just $6.99.
Tip #3: Anchor
Make sure your anchor is connected to both your boat and the rope before you let that bad boy go. And like boater Justin Maynard points out, “Don't forget to pull the anchor when you speed off. Otherwise all you will have when you stop is the shank where the ropes attached. My prop became a guillotine.”
Tip #4: To read the complete story, click here.