Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Don’t Do What I Did

May 1, 2017 by · Leave a Comment 

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new ddwid

Did you hear the one about three guys getting stuck and possibly struck after engine failure? Actually, it’s no joke — our cluelessness caused us to drift into a busy channel, exposing us to quick moving boats. We were in trouble.

My friends Brandon and Steve were with me on the family boat. We were anchored in a calm harbor, and we grew a bit bored. So we climbed aboard an eight-foot inflatable and used the engine to bring us to a nearby beach. We chilled for a while, but decided not to go swimming in the designated area once we saw the seagull poop covering the roped-off area.

We left the beach but still didn’t want to return to the big boat. We decided it would be fun to swing around the nearby lighthouse before starting back on what would become our precarious journey home.

Everything was going just fine. We were having fun, laughing, and checking out some really big boats, all while listening to the comfortable hum of our running motor. Then Brandon pointed out something. I paid attention to him and neglected to watch where we were heading.

The sound was unmistakable — I’d run the inflatable’s engine across the rocks and busted the motor. We immediately started drifting from the tranquil area by the rocks into the waters traversed by passing boats. We radioed my dad back at the boat, and he responded that he’d bring our larger boat by, but we (foolishly) told him we didn’t need a rescue, as we were going to row back.

We tried different rowing combinations: Steve and me, Brandon and me, and then Steve and Brandon. None of the combos resulted in progress — we looked like some slapstick comedy where we’d go one foot forward and then three feet back before going around and around in circles. We were lucky we didn’t get in the way of a passing boat or become swamped by a resulting wake.

It was glaringly obvious that only one of us actually knew how to row, so we let Brandon take a solo turn. He didn’t disappoint us with his skills; he maneuvered our inflatable away from the edge of the channel and rowed it mightily back towards the family boat. As we rowed closer, almost everyone aboard the big boat cheered for us (not my sister, who apparently wanted to start the engines and leave us behind).

In the end, Brandon was not only able to get us back to the boat successfully, but we didn’t even miss lunch! I was grateful someone with his rowing prowess was along, but I should never have taken out the boat without knowing the right way to use the oars. I was also wrong for not paying attention. A good time on the water can never take precedent over paying attention to your surroundings. Failing to be a knowledgeable and aware boater, no matter the size of your vessel, can make you the punch-line of a really bad joke. Or worse.



is a graduate of Buffalo State College and a sports blogger for and He’s actively seeking a career in sports media and welcomes any opportunity. He also aspires to acquire a huge boat.

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