Join Date: Feb 2010
Location: georgian bay, ontario
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On a cellphone while docking?
ok I need to settle an argument... I will present a scenario and ask everyone to give their opinion of the situation.
I was out sailing with a close friend who is typically very responsible and reliable. He is a proffesional engineer and usually very practically minded and rational. We had sailed my 29 mirage together at least a dozen times and he proved to be a valuable and capable mate on all counts. He often handled the boat and proved to have a firm grasp of helmsmanship, however he had never docked the boat. On many occasions, he pointed out potential safety hazards that I, as captain had not even noticed...
So on a beautiful day after a great sail together, I offered to let him dock the boat, as I knew he could perform this task and wanted to give him a shot at it; I knew he had wanted to try this for some time. He has a 16 ft powerboat and has lots of experience docking it but never in a crowded harbour with slips and finger docks.
So I offer him the helm which he gladly accepts and I reiterate our SOP for docking. As we pass the breakwall and enter the harbour, his cell phone rings. He answers it and proceeds to enter into a rather involved conversation. I immeadiately told him to get off the phone and pay attention to the task at hand. He nods slightly but continues on the phone, pausing to tell me it's all good. By this time we are in the fairway and we are, in my opinion, on a course that will cut the turn starboard into my slip far too sharply, too quickly. I immeadiately relieve him from the helm and compensate course by widening the turn and slowing down.
Now he is back at his old job of linesman- and despite my protests continues on his phone. As we pull in, a fellow boater approaches to assist with the lines, as is the seamanly way. After a safe docking, the other boater proclaims aloud " what the heck is the linesman doing on a cellphone !??!... That's not safe!". Whereupon my linesman replies that " all you sailors are so uptight!". Now my companion has done plenty of sailing but does not own a sailboat but nonetheless has a great love of the sport and is a skilled crew member.
After several conversations he refused to accept that is unacceptable and contrary to all rational behaviour to use a cellphone while docking a sailboat in a busy harbour ( even for the first time)!
To this day he still argues that there's nothing wrong with talking on a cell while docking and that I'm just being anal- he says that any moron should be able to do two things at once.