I was thrown for a loop today. I was talking to my Mum, to say bon voyage because she and Dad are going to be out of contact for the next 20 days or so whilst they ride a refurbished fishing trawler around Greenland (!!)
In the most offhand way, my mum says,"Oh you may not have heard yet, but your father and I had...well, we will call it a boating incident." Then she proceeds to tell me how they came to sink their boat the other day. With them aboard. A mile from shore. Apparantly somebody *cough* forgot to replace the cover on a through-hull which is there to get at the impellar (this is a jet boat) and as they were going for "just a short jaunt" they were not totally prepared for emergency, so when the boat started to fill up with water and sink they had no flares or whatnot. They were wearing their lifejackets and the water was warm enough and some kids on shore saw the whole thing and ran for help. Mum managed to swim halfway back to shore (with one dog trying to climb on to her head) and Dad stayed with the boat. (With the other dog trying to climb up on his head.) The guy who came to rescue Mum was alone with no life jacket, but managed to get her aboard, and she felt it wasn't appropos to point out that he was not following proper boating procedures. Long story short, they all made it back to shore, boat included. Luckily there was a
cat there to help haul the waterlogged boat out of the water and there was also a nurse (who was also diabetic!) who had a glucose moniter on hand so Mum could check her blood sugar. (Interestingly, blood sugar spikes with adrenaline, not the other way, which is what I would have expected) So there was the perfect scenario to sink a boat: Witnesses, fair weather,good water temperature, tractors, nurses, everything a man overboard could ask for. But what threw me was expectations. I honestly never expected to hear that my parents, who drilled boating safety into our heads (and general safety as well) Who have decades of boating experience, would ever be found in this situation. It is so wierd. And it is a reminder that in every day, every mundane thing you do, there is the potential for disaster, so be prepared for it. You never know what that drive down the highway could turn into, what could happen during that sunny trip to the lake. Luck favors the prepared. No matter how many times you do something, do it like it is your first time, or last. But it also reminds me that "Happy Disasters" (the ones where nobody gets hurt ) are a really good tool for jolting you into staying alert and never taking things for granted: A boat that claims to be unsinkable can sink. You are really the only thing that is looking out for you. Don't fail yourself. My parents stayed really calm as their boat sank and that is probably the most important thing of all: Keep calm and carry on, as the Brittish said in WWII.