SailNet Community banner

1 - 20 of 49 Posts

·
Administrator
Farr 11.6 (Farr 38)
Joined
·
9,833 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Like most of my Fridays, Friday was a tough day with a 9 hour day in my office, and almost 5 hours at West Marine. Like most Fridays it was a high speed, high pressure day getting out work for clients to review on the weekends. Given the four day week, and the added start of the month chores, I had gone into the office earlier than usual.

By the time I left work at West Marine. I was really tired and hungry. But the plan had been to stop at the store to pick up ice and groceries on the way home so I could load the boat and head out for the weekend on Saturday morning. So off to the store I went.

Which left me a half hour later sitting in my driveway completely spent. But with a car full of ice and groceries, I decided to make one last push and get everything onboard before going in the house. With a 20 lb bag of ice hung from each shoulder and a bag of groceries in each hand I walked down to the dock.

My mind was on work, so I hardly noticed it was a very low tide and a bigger than usual step down to the deck, and it didn't cross my mind that I was wearing an old pair of boat shoes that had been consigned to being street shoes since they had become too hard and slippery for the boat. Nor, as I stepped aboard, had I thought about the fact that my feet were wet from crossing the wet lawn, and the wet dock soaked in a passing thunderstorm.
But suddenly as my foot hit the wet deck, and slid below the lower lifeline which in turn flipped me backward, and the weight of the large ice bags took over, there was a momentary recognition that all of that should have been considered. That recognition was short lived as I now realized that I was under water between the boat and the pier.

I am a notoriously bad swimmer, and I was fully dressed, and tangled in bags of ice and groceries. But I made it to the surface pretty easily.

I think most of us have contemplated whether we could make it back aboard our boat from the water. I certainly had.
So much so that when I was planning the logistics of painting my decks and rebedding the hardware. I had considered leaving the lifelines and stanchions in place, or wearing a pfd while I was working aboard.

That contemplation proved helpful since I mentally had thought through a few scenarios that I toggled in my mind as I tred water in the dark..The first possibility was to grab the toerail, hand over hand to a stanchion and pull myself up onto the deck. I actually managed to snag a dockline and use it to reach the toerail, with my other hand. But as soon as I tried to pull myself up, the weight of the ice bags stopped me in my tracks.

Time for plan B....so I half dog paddled and half side stroked over to the stern. I always wondered whether I could pull down the swim ladder from the water. I found out that I could. Putting one foot on the bottom rung I was able to put the first bag of ice on the first projecting rung above the waterline. Pulling myself upright, I was able to place the second bag aboard.

As I stood vertically and placed the second bag of Ice on the deck, I was surprised to realize that the bag with the drinks and groceries was tangled around my upper arm and had not been lost.

In hindsight it is crazy that it never occurred to me to lose the bags, or my boat shoes.

I was very lucky that I didn't hit my head, or otherwise succumb on that late night swim on a dark deserted creek. There are a bunch of lessons here. But they can all be boiled down to one....be careful out there.

Jeff
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,149 Posts
Like most of my Fridays, Friday was a tough day with a 9 hour day in my office, and almost 5 hours at West Marine. Like most Fridays it was a high speed, high pressure day getting out work for clients to review on the weekends. Given the four day week, and the added start of the month chores, I had gone into the office earlier than usual.

By the time I left work at West Marine. I was really tired and hungry. But the plan had been to pick up ice and groceries so I could load the boat and head out for the weekend on Saturday morning. So off to the store I went.

Which left me sitting in my driveway completely spent. But with a car full of ice and groceries, I decided to make one last push and get everything onboard before going in the house. With a 20 lb bag of ice hung from each shoulder and a bag of groceries in each hand I walked down to the dock.

My mind was on work, so I hardly noticed it was a very low tide and a big step down to the deck, and it didn't cross my mind that I was wearing an old pair of boat shoes that had been consigned to being street shoes since they had become too hard and slippery for the boat. As I stepped aboard, nor had I thought about the fact that my feet were wet from crossing the wet lawn, and the wet dock soaked in a passing thunderstorm.
But suddenly as my foot hit the wet deck, and slid below the lower lifeline which in turn flipped me backward, and the weight of the large ice bags took over, there was a momentary recognition that all of that should have been considered. That recognition was short lived as I now realized that I was under water between the boat and the pier.

I am a notoriously bad swimmer, and I was fully dressed, and tangled in bags of ice and groceries. But I made it to the surface pretty easily.
I think most of us have contemplated whether we could make it back aboard our boat from the water. I certainly had.
So much so that when I was planning the logistics of painting my decks and rebedding the hardware. I had considered leaving the lifelines and stanchions in place, or wearing a pfd while I was working aboard.

That contemplation was helpful since I mentally had thought through a few scenarios that I toggled in my mind The first was to grab the toerail, hand over hand to a stanchion and pull myself up onto the deck. I actually managed to snag a dockline and use it to reach the toerail, with my other hand. But as soon as I tried to pull myself up, the weight of the ice bags stopped me in my tracks.

Time for plan B....so I half dog paddled and half side stroked over to the stern. I always wondered whether I could pull down the swim ladder from the water. I found out that I could. Putting one foot on the bottom rung I was able to put the first bag of ice on the first projecting rung above the waterline. Pulling myself upright, I was able to place the second bag aboard.

As I climbed over the rail and placed the second bag of Ice on the deck, I was surprised to realize that the bag with the drinks and groceries was tangled around my upper arm and had not been lost.

In hindsight it is crazy that it never occurred to me to lose the bags, or my boat shoes.

I was very lucky that I didn't hit my head, or otherwise succumb on that late night deserted creek. There are a bunch of lessons here. But they can all be boiled down to one....be careful out there.

Jeff
I hope you bought a lottery ticket on the way home!
 

·
Administrator
Farr 11.6 (Farr 38)
Joined
·
9,833 Posts
Discussion Starter · #3 ·
I hope you bought a lottery ticket on the way home!
That probably would have been pressing my luck....actually the luckiest part is that I am writing this on the hook on Synergy after a really lovely sail.

Jeff
 
  • Like
Reactions: emcentar

·
Registered
Joined
·
786 Posts
That probably would have been pressing my luck....
Ya Think ?????
Surviving an incident like that virtually unscathed is pretty damn lucky!!!!
I don't guess I would go for double or nothing either.
No telling how close you could have been to a really bad situation.
Might want to add Lucky Stars as a possible new boat name though.
 

·
Administrator
Farr 11.6 (Farr 38)
Joined
·
9,833 Posts
Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Ya Think ?????
Surviving an incident like that virtually unscathed is pretty damn lucky!!!!
I don't guess I would go for double or nothing either.
No telling how close you could have been to a really bad situation.
Might want to add Lucky Stars as a possible new boat name though.
Two things that I will say. I am completely aware that I was was monumentally lucky and I very grateful to have gotten away alive and functional. But I also didn't get away exactly unscathed. I am pretty muscle sore, bruised and scraped up. This could have ended so much worse.

Jeff
 

·
Super Moderator
Joined
·
4,789 Posts
Yipes.

I wonder if there are changes you could make to the dock set up? LED lights, maybe nonskid on the boat and dock where you step on?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,291 Posts
Jeff,

I am glad you escaped relatively unscathed. I too have had a couple of potentially bad falls in the past few years, and once I knocked myself out on a basement arch, that got me seizures 3 days latter.

i truly don’t know what to do different. If you think about it too much you become a paranoid couch potato. I guess my view is rather fatalistic, keep on while you can. I am not advocation foolishness, but it can also he foolish to be overly careful, wastes you life.

I am glad to hear you survived with a decent story to tell. Sometimes I think a life should be valued by the (true) stories we can tell in our dotage.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Jeff_H

·
Picnic Sailor
Moody 425
Joined
·
2,177 Posts
Glad to hear you are okay Jeff and thanks for sharing the cautionary tale. I hope that ice made it into a stiff drink shortly after!

I had my own cautonairy experience last year in Gouvia Marina, Corfu. It was early morning and we were due to begin our days passage so I had already stowed the gangway but made a last minute decision to drop off some rubbish. Leaping between the boat and the floating dock, with early morning dew I slipped and fell into the water between boat and dock. I was able to get back onboard via our swim ladder/platform without too much trouble, but I had briefly glanced the dock with my forehead and it had occurred to me that if I had fallen slightly differently I could of been knocked unconscious and my situation would been much different.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
125 Posts
Glad your okay, First it is good to hear someone as expierenced as you took a dip , expecially after my fall in the water the first day owning a boat, feels good to know I am not alone and not the only not strong swimmer who likes to sail. But, I do have to wonder, how much you payig for ice? I kinda feel like my first thought would be aww hell screw the ice, it floats and I can drink warm beer.
 

·
S/V Interlude, PSC31
Joined
·
395 Posts
Well Jeff, one of the first things i did when we moved Interlude to her new home port was to notice the placements of all swim ladders to bulkheads and piers. When introducing a woman to sailing and helping her get her new to her boat squared away, part of the guided tour was pointing out those same said swim ladders. She was surprised that anyone might fall in the water. Well within a month, drink in hand, well after dark, in she went. She was very grateful for knowing where she could get out. We do not have floating docks and do have substantial bulkheads along the shore, which means you must find the ladders or take a long swim to the ramp at one end of the marina.

...now I did have to jump in one time when a bag fell over on our finger pier and an important item was splashed! There were witnesses unfortunately!

...and as far as the above warm beer reply, I'm with Jeff, save the ice! A cold drink aids in recovering from such an event! My first piece of sailing instruction when moving Interlude to her new home port was from a fella who was quite the sailor. It had little to do with sails or boat handling but instead was how to safely pee over the side and not fall in. Never have forgotten that!
 

·
Learning the HARD way...
Joined
·
7,540 Posts
If by "boat shoes" you are referring to Sperry Topsiders, then this is understandable. I used to love Sperrys, they were comfortable and seemed to last. However, I learned that they were comparable to skates on ice when wet. Crocks are a better choice.

Glad that you are OK. SailNet wouldn't be the same without you.
 

·
Administrator
Joined
·
7,715 Posts
Very tricky situation. Very lucky you didnt hit your head.
I can get back on via the sugar scoop... but only just.

I need to make a way for the ladder to be lowered from the water.

Good story, Jeff. Glad youre OK!
 
  • Like
Reactions: Jeff_H

·
Registered
Joined
·
6,307 Posts
in 2017 after my boat was painted and tied up to a float I went over to move it back its slip. I tripped on a deck cleat or a dock line... don't recall which... but lickity slip I was in the water between the boat and the float aft of the beam. The float was about at least 18" above the water. No way Jose could I pull myself up onto the dock.
My plan was to grab the dock line and hold onto it and try to get one leg onto the dock and pull my torso up by using the dock line. I was making progress when someone saw and came by and took my arm and yanked me enough for me to get my body on to the dock.

I can deploy the swim ladder from the water and that would have been option 2. Lost the phone.

++++

My dog Jack decided one afternoon to chase geese in the marina. He barked and they swam off but Jack decided to jump in and pursue them. He chased them across the marina and then turned around and swam back. But he of course could not get onto the dock... and had I not been there to pluck him out the only option was to swim to the shore line... but there was sea walls and so he have to find a spot with no sea wall. The marine has swim ladders in multiple locations presumably for people who fall off the dock. A good idea!
 

·
Administrator
Farr 11.6 (Farr 38)
Joined
·
9,833 Posts
Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Thank you all for the well wishes. I am frankly still digesting my thoughts on what happened. My most obvious thought is that I need to be way less cavalier and way more careful about boarding the boat, especially at night.

This is tempered by two competing narratives. On one hand, this is only the second time in the 60 years that I have been sailing that I ended up accidentally in the drink. But that is countered by the reality that I am now in my 70s and lack the strength, balance, and stamina that I once had.

I had no problem 'getting back on the horse' but maybe that is a part of the problem. So much of being around boats and sailing feels so routine and normal to me, that I think I have lost some of that needed sense of prudent caution that is critical to self-preservation. I am hopeful that this is a wake-up call for me, and posted the original post as a reminder to all of us.

But beyond that. In hindsight I am also surprised at what did, and did not occur to me in the water. I never thought one way or the other about the bags of ice or groceries. In other words, I didn't make a conscious decision to hold onto the bags, nor did I ever think to jettison them. I didn't think that 20 feet away is a beam at water level meant as a means to exit the water.

As soon as I surfaced, I was aware that I was lucky to be alive and that I wanted to stay that way. I was aware that the water was warm enough that I was not concerned about hypothermia, which was in my first thoughts. And after that, my main concern was the nearest way to get out of the water.

Regarding Sperry, that is not an easy matter. I typically have two pairs of boat shoes that I wear on the boat. I have a pair of 'technical' shoes that I wear when racing and sailing. These have soft, grippy soles that last maybe two seasons before the soles becoming too warn to safely use. Then I have comfortable leather top boat shoes that I wear to preserve the technical shoes. They last longer but aren't nearly as grippy. At the moment, both are made by Sperry.

But Sperry seems to have moved out of the technical boat shoes market. And the construction of the leather top boat shoes has shortened both their safety and durability.

I have been looking for replacements and frankly have exchanged emails with Sperry to no avail other than due to an outcry from sailors they seem to have brought back their 7seas line, which while not really technical shoes are better than most.

Friday, I was wearing a 5 or more years old pair that I wear at work at West Marine. They are okay as street shoes but dangerous on the boat.

Anyway those are my thoughts on this beautiful Sunday morning.

Be careful out there, and enjoy every day,
Jeff
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
6,307 Posts
Thank you all for the well wishes. I am frankly still digesting my thoughts on what happened. My most obvious thought is that I need to be way less cavalier and way more careful about boarding the boat, especially at night.

This is tempered by two competing narratives. On one hand, this is only the second time in the 60 years that I have been sailing that I ended up accidentally in the drink. But that is countered by the reality that I am now in my 70s and lack the strength, balance, and stamina that I once had.

I had no problem 'getting back on the horse' but maybe that is a part of the problem. So much of being around boats and sailing feels so routine and normal to me, that I think I have lost some of that needed sense of prudent caution that is critical to self-preservation. I am hopeful that this is a wake-up call for me, and posted the original post as a reminder to all of us.

But beyond that. In hindsight I am also surprised at what did, and did not occur to me in the water. I never thought one way or the other about the bags of ice or groceries. In other words, I didn't make a conscious decision to hold onto the bags, nor did I ever think to jettison them. I didn't think that 20 feet away is a beam at water level meant as a means to exit the water.

As soon as I surfaced, I was aware that I was lucky to be alive and that I wanted to stay that way. I was aware that the water was warm enough that I was not concerned about hypothermia, which was in my first thoughts. And after that, my main concern was the nearest way to get out of the water.

Regarding Sperry, that is not an easy matter. I typically have two pairs of boat shoes that I wear on the boat. I have a pair of 'technical' shoes that I wear when racing and sailing. These have soft, grippy soles that last maybe two seasons before the soles becoming too warn to safely use. Then I have comfortable leather top boat shoes that I wear to preserve the technical shoes. They last longer but aren't nearly as grippy. At the moment, both are made by Sperry.

But Sperry seems to have moved out of the technical boat shoes market. And the construction of the leather top boat shoes has shortened both their safety and durability.

I have been looking for replacements and frankly have exchanged emails with Sperry to no avail other than due to an outcry from sailors they seem to have brought back their 7seas line, which while not really technical shoes are better than most.

Friday, I was wearing a 5 or more years old pair that I wear at work at West Marine. They are okay as street shoes but dangerous on the boat.

Anyway those are my thoughts on this beautiful Sunday morning.

Be careful out there, and enjoy every day,
Jeff
Grippy is elusive in footwear. Cheap gummy bottomed slip on sneakers are more grippy than boat shoes, 1/5 the cost and almost disposable. Boat shoes are essentially a fashion statement. The grip technology they employ is a joke.

I hear you on the senior thing. As we enter the senior period our motor skills, balance, strength, vision, hearing and so on are in decline. You are no longer the 100% person you were in your 50s. I think our cognitive skills don't decline as noticeably and so we are able to sail and work and so forth... where we need to think. Balance turns out to be a huge think for mobility. As our body loses the ability to maintain its "center" quickly... moving on a boat become especially challenging. I learned this suddenly after the failed spine surgery. Not a gradual decline but a noticeable "step down".

Take it easy... but take it.
 

·
Learning the HARD way...
Joined
·
7,540 Posts
I have a pair of Crocks BOAT SHOES! They look like Topsiders (leather upper and white soule) but have MUCH better grip when wet.
 
  • Like
Reactions: SanderO

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,402 Posts
Glad you're ok Jeff! Definitely a reminder to all of us seniors, to pay more attention! I fell in the drink once, with groceries in hand, trying to board the boat from a kayak ( which swamped) in Great Salt Pond. I did the same thing, tried to save the groceries before I realized I was treading water and needed to figure out how to get back on the boat 1st, and deal with the groceries and the swamped kayak later. Luckily the water was warm.

A few years back a slip neighbor fell in next to his boat, and dislocated his shoulder, luckily it was daytime and a few of us heard his calls. Last fall we lost a guy who fell in late at night and was found the next morning. Yours was a good cautionary tale, glad you're here to tell it.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,149 Posts
I need to make a way for the ladder to be lowered from the water.
When I planned my boarding ladder (the boat did not have one), this was the highest priority. In fact, this was essentially the only reason I installed it. I don't need a ladder for the few times I or someone else goes swimming (voluntarily!) from the boat, it was designed for emergencies.

If there is interest, I can take a picture of the contraption I came up with. I have tried it from the water, it works flawlessly. And the cost was maybe $20.-
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
125 Posts
If you can get past the goofy looks, and the weird way they feel at first... I like Vibrams, the weird toe sneaker, I find that as I have gotten into my 50's, my center of balance has shifted ( I am not FAT) and the toes being seperate help wiht my balance, mind you, i spent a lot of my 20's shoesless, so there is that
 
  • Like
Reactions: SanderO
1 - 20 of 49 Posts
Top