As I sit here in Chicago, with 1.5 feet of snow in my driveway, I realize that there are less than 60 days left before boating season. What a wonderful thought !!!…. It also reminds me that we (captains) need to start thinking about operating our boats. It will be five months since I touched mine.
Of course, docking jumped into my head first. It’s a great time to think about it and maybe brush up on a few pointers. Education will always improve our ability to handle our boats at that critical docking moment. This is especially true for those of you who have purchased our Landing Loop over the holidays. Here are a few thoughts… Most of these are relevant whether you use our product or not. All are true whether you are a professional captain or one of us( weekend captains).
1. Think about what size boat you have. Where are the cleats on your boat located and how will you use them to DOCK your boat? Do you pull in bow first or back in? Where are the cleats on the dock located in relation to your boat cleats? Do you single hand, have one or two mates? How experienced are your boat mates? Do you keep lines tied to your cleats? What length are your lines that are used for docking?
2. Using our Landing Loop will change the way we tie up our boats. Before the Landing Loop we would tie our line to the boat and throw it to someone on the dock. If there was no one there, many of us would jump off and take the line with us, hoping that we landed safely. Others would throw the line and try to lasso the cleat, hoping that we had the ability of Gene Autry.
3. Many of the weekend captains would just gather their friends, cast off their lines, and go. Never thinking about returning to the dock and how to dock the boat safely.
4. That’s what we are going to try to prevent over the next few weeks. How can we plan, organize, educate our crew, and be prepared for the return trip.
5. Just one personal experience that I witnessed last summer. I asked one of my pier mates if they would like to use my Landing Loop. I asked if I could show him what to do. He said he knew what to do and proceeded to take off for an afternoon trip on his boat. Upon his return, his son was placed on the bow with the Landing Loop in hand. He made a loop in his line by tying a knot that prevented the line from sliding(as in a slip knot)and tightening. He hung the knot on the frame of his Landing Loop and extended the pole. The line fell into the water and he ending up jumping off the boat anyway, the boat smashed into the pier, and many fine four letter words were spoken during the mishap. Five minutes of pre planning and education could have avoided the near disaster.
Boys will be boys, and men often times behave like boys. We handled the situation, but after the fact. We will try to prevent others from having the same experience with some common sense planning and thought.
See you next week..