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Old 24 April 2010, 18:25   #1
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One minute into the season and my first rescue...

Our spring has finally sprung here in The Great White North. I launched my boat this afternoon and headed out for a jaunt. It was sunny and brisk with a light breeze...

No sooner did I clear the inner harbour when I spotted a very small boat ahead of me and as I got a little closer, I could see the occupants waving frantically. I zipped over to find 3 young girls, (about 12 years old I would guess) in an 8' rowboat which was at least half filled with water. The drain plug was obviously missing as I could see daylight through it... It was a 1" hole I would say. To their credit, the girls had the sense to move to the bow which, to some extent, kept the hole partially above water, but there was easily a foot of water in a boat with about 18" of hull depth. Because they had to sit up front, no one could row, so they were being blown out into the lake (Lake Huron... not a wee lake...) The water below them was 130' deep.

I quickly got them into my boat and wrapped them in a space blanket. Their lower halves were soaked and they were shivering badly. They thought that they had been drifting for about 30 minutes. The air temperature is about 45F today. They were wearing shells and life jackets. There was no bailing bucket, no radio, no cell phone, no flares.

And the water was 38F.

Had they gone into the water, they would have been dead in minutes. Other than theirs, I was the only other boat on the water for the entire day.

I took their punt in tow back to their parent's cottage. Mom was on the dock when we arrived and they were all laughing. The girls ran up the dock, yelling "Thank you". Mom was still laughing about her "silly girls" (One was hers, the other two were friends... ).

After chatting a moment while handing off her little boat, I looked her in the eye and said "You understand that if your girls had been out there much longer, the boat would likely have capsized or sunk, and they would have been dead in a very few minutes?" She looked at me and said something like, "Well it's good you brought them in then..." (Bit of an understatement I thought). So I repeated what I had said a moment before.. "The water is 38 degrees... they would have been unconscious in a few minutes and dead a few minutes after that... "

And then I think it registered that she had just about lost her kid and her friends.

What I find amazing is that these people have a cottage here, and several boats (none of which were in the water yet...) WTF are they doing sending three young kids out in a small boat with absolutely no allowance for safety equipment and no one apparently even keeping an eye on them? The punt was close to a mile off shore.

There have been many threads on here over the years where we all joke about "rescues" we have performed, but today, I honestly feel like I saved three kids' lives. I almost didn't go out today, because I should have been doing some work, but the weather was just too nice...

I'm glad I did.

Edit: I'm wondering if I should mention this to the Coasties. Perhaps they should have a word with the parents.
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Old 24 April 2010, 19:48   #2
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I think it would be worth a mention - the parents need to be beaten with a cricket bat wrapped in barbed wire for that one especially the attitude afterwards!
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Old 25 April 2010, 00:45   #3
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As it turned out, I had a couple of pints tonight with a some of the off-duty lads.... They are going to swing by tomorrow.
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Old 25 April 2010, 03:34   #4
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I've had this 'indifference' as well after rescuing a couple of young lads whos motor wouldnt run 'after' theyd let go there mooring with a stiff off shore breeze, no LJ's or any provisions, when returned to their parent/guardian on the shore, not a word of thanks, and another,..... a young lad frozen solid only wearing a wet suit top clinging to his mothers canoe, because he couldnt climb into his own .... it beggard belief .. the woman wouldnt initially accept help, 1200 YDS off shore in a heavy chop with a spring tide running.. and an off shore wind, trying to row herself like that whilst towing his canoe aswell .. she had no chance .. the young lad couldn't move once I got him into my boat as he was so cold, so how long before he let go of his mothers canoe ? I almost got made to feel like I had interrupted her day ! once she accepted a hand.

Maybe its their embarassment,.. but I totally agree just when you think a bit of grattitude would be forthcoming, it isnt. I dont think some of these people realise how thin their luck had just got
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Old 25 April 2010, 04:00   #5
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I managed to get as far as Poole harbour mouth yesterday before doing my first tow in-a small speedboat with a '70s Johnson on it with a very wet engine. No flares, no VHF, not even a bilge pump...

Mind you, he was very appreciative.
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Old 25 April 2010, 04:04   #6
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Well done you for rescuing them - what a pity that the parent you met is clearly moronic.

I am often irritated by the numerous posts here of rescues and aid being given where a 'thank you' is barely muttered to the rescuer.
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Old 25 April 2010, 04:48   #7
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In Stoo's situation, I think i'd of let go of enough anglo-saxon expletives to ensure that Mother really got the message.

I put one of mine in a sticky spot in some big surf on the North Coast a few years ago. An experienced surfer hauled him back in. I got the bollocking and took it on the chin.
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Old 25 April 2010, 05:00   #8
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Well fetched Stoo.

I had occassion to assist a drifting boat recently - no heroics, just being a security blanket until the RNLI arrived. The skipper went out of his way to seek me out in the meleé at the carpark later (in the midst of some eight boats) where he gave heartfelt thanks.

I don't think it was easy for him and I was well impressed.

I suspect that some rescuers pile the "moral of the story" on a bit thick - natural I suppose, as we have possibly had a fright too.

I have a theory about people who do stupid things and need help, but I'll share it with you all another time. It's VERY boring
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Old 25 April 2010, 05:19   #9
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Originally Posted by willk View Post
I suspect that some rescuers pile the "moral of the story" on a bit thick - natural I suppose, as we have possibly had a fright too.

I have a theory about people who do stupid things and need help, but I'll share it with you all another time. It's VERY boring
I agree and I think I can guess the gist of your 'theory'. However, if those supposedly 'minding', genuinely don't appreciate the gravity of the event. A 'word' may be future preventative.
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Old 25 April 2010, 05:23   #10
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I'd be interested to hear the theory though...
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