Saturday, May 23, 2015

Memorial Day, and Helping Other Boaters

Memorial Day in the United States is a day for remembering those who served in the armed forces and gave their lives for their country. We are profoundly grateful for their service and their sacrifice.

In years past, Memorial Day weekend often had me blogging about the start of the boating and fishing season in the North East United States. I've observed that my neighbors and I will walk up and down the waterway that passes through our back yard, visiting one another and talking about new boats or new boating equipment and our plans for the coming season. It's a time of hope and optimism.

Memorial Day weekend 2015 is here and there's some of that going on. I myself have a new boat this year and my neighbors have dropped by to admire it, talk about it, get a ride. We have even been out for a some fishing, though the weekend has been a little colder and windier than any of us likes.

This year, though, I noticed something else and decided it was worth mentioning here. Over the last two days I saw several boaters that were experiencing early season engine problems and required help from another boater, usually in the form of a tow back to the dock. When a boat has a serious problem, a commercial towing service like Sea Tow or Tow Boat US is the right call. But in simpler circumstances, such as a stalled engine or an empty gas tank, within a mile or so of the dock, a helping hand and a tow-line from a neighboring boater can be a great help. Boaters help each other often. It's part of our culture.

This weekend I've already seen three boats getting local towing help from neighbors – and the weekend is not over. One was a neighbor across the lagoon, who used his larger boat to tow his own smaller boat in. Another was a local boat whose owner I don't know. The third  though, was me towing a boat I sold earlier this season! Unfortunately, my old boat developed what looks like a simple and fairly easy to address fuel line problem, but the new owners are relatively new to boating and I spent some time with them today trying to resolve it and then towing them home. I'll help them to get it addressed and get them back up and running soon.

Also in the spirit of safety and help, there's the Coast Guard. This weekend, the Coast Guard boarded both of my power boats out in the bay and did basic safety checks. Both passed without a problem. The fact that there are few boats out on the water (early season and cold weather) meant the Coast Guard didn't have lots of boats to pick from, so I won the lottery. Twice. I didn't mind. They were serious and professional and maybe a little bit intimidating with their all-black outfits, dark sunglasses, bullet proof vests, and visible side-arms, but they were respectful and I know that they have a job to do. And I remembered what weekend it is.

As you celebrate Memorial Day with loved ones this weekend, be sure to give thanks to those who have served and sacrificed. And to you boaters out there, be sure to help a fellow boater who needs it if you can do so safely.


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