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BY Bob Humphrey on Apr. 01, 2017
 

Boating Safety

One way to beat the summer heat is to think cold thoughts. If I close my eyes and concentrate, my mind drifts back to a bone-chilling January day hunting sea ducks along the Maine coast. It was windy too, but not too windy to head out on the bay. Several layers of warm clothes and steady action kept us reasonably comfortable against the elements. We had a good hunt and all was well until we loaded up the boat and headed for shore.

First the motor quit, and repeated efforts to revive it failed. That meant the back-breaking task of rowing against both, wind and tide, which also proved to be oar breaking. Mild panic set in when one split in half, leaving us only one good oar. We’d have to do some quick thinking if we wanted to make it safely to shore.

With a single oar I paddled as hard and as fast as I could, alternating sides from time to time. Meanwhile, my partner would throw the anchor forward and pulled us along as best as he could. Working together, we slowly but surely made gradual headway and by the time we hit the beach we were both completely exhausted.

There was little we could have done to prevent the motor  or the oar from breaking, which only emphasizes that even under the best of circumstances, things can go wrong. And you have to be prepared when they do.

Humans are inexorably drawn to the water for recreation, and boats provide access to hunting and fishing locations and opportunities the land-bound hunter or angler can’t reach. But there’s also an increased risk that goes along with that, which is why safety must always be stressed. What follows are some general guidelines and advice to help you enjoy your time on the water and ensure you‘ll make it back safe and sound.

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