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Old 12-08-2013, 02:47 PM   #1
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Boats and body parts

I wanted to share an experience my family had yesterday in the hopes that someone benefits from our mishap.

The day prior, Friday Bellingham area had some gale force winds measuring above 40-50 mph at some point on and off through out the day. The following, Saturday, my father and I were to set out on a Christmas cruise to La Conner just about 20 miles away South of Bellingham. I checked the weather and NOAA stated by mid day winds would die down and waves would be at 2 foot or less.

Neither of us were in any hurry and figured if the winds did not die we would spend the afternoon on the boat playing cribbage and enjoy some wine together.

We puddered around for the first few hours of the day and around 11 or so I decided to do my engine checks, fluids, belts and what not prior to heading out. Watching the wind and predicted weather we decided things had calmed down and would release the lines. I began turning the boat and a wind came up say maybe 15 mph +/- with the boat sideways to the prevailing wind it began pushing me towards the opposite side of the docks where there were several boats. Each time I corrected the stern of the boat the wind would begin pushing again. I ran out of room when we were about two feet from the sterns of boats opposite of my slip.
I said to Dad, I am losing it, fenders fenders - in this boat I carry four main with four of five back ups. Unfortunately things happen a bit to quick and my father put his hands in between my boat and anothers swimstep. At the end of the swimstep there were two tender brackets - these brackets centered the force of my boats weight and momentum onto four points totaling maybe six inches. So what does a 20,000lbs boat and six inches of force equal. Maybe someone will chime in with a enginering degree. In any case, his plan was to help push out and away from those brackets but his finger decided it wanted to soften the impact and nearly released its rightful place from his hand. Within seconds he says,
"I broke my finger." The tone of it all said, this is bad. He adds, "I need to go to emergency."
All the while one of my neighbors was putting up Christmas lights on his boat and saw this unfold. He ran over with another friend and pushed our boat away from the others at dock. I told everyone we were going for the first spot we could safely dock the boat. Lines were thrown to my neighbor (many thanks to Bob and his friend!!!) Dad had already gone inside grabbed the nearest rag and had his finger wrapped. (Or what was suppose to be a finger) With two lines and spring set we walked to the car to drive to emergency.
After spending eight hours in emergency and a nearly one hour plastic surgery he may gain the use of his finger back. This is with four weeks of recovery - maybe more and another three to four months of physical therapy.
Needless to say, the Christmas cruise was canceled - the finger is on the mend - no one had any wine last night - I got my father (and mother) back to a warm home to spend the night at midnight. Lessons learned,
1. No body parts between yourself and boat or boats or docks! Yes that was on the briefing. Even my mother asked my father, "didn't you read the briefing?"
2. Wait longer for less wind. (I have had a boat nearly full time since 2008 and did not anticipate the affect on the vessel.)
3. Move to a larger slip. (Thanks Bob, I'll be calling on Monday and get into something better suited for the length)
4. Did I mention no body parts? "Keep your hands in the vehicle at all times and objects are closer than they appear."
5. Try to be more prepared for the unexpected....
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Old 12-08-2013, 03:05 PM   #2
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Old 12-08-2013, 05:48 PM   #3
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Yow! I hope your dad will be ok. Thanks for sharing. I'm guilty of trying to get the Admiral to play "fender" at times. Gotta stop that.
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Old 12-08-2013, 06:04 PM   #4
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A 'war wounds' thread

Brother in law after helping anti foul the boat last year. He fell off the gantry, compound fracture of the leg.Trouble is the old girl is nearly ready for another anti foul, this may take some persuasion.
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Old 12-08-2013, 07:10 PM   #5
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"When you`re up to your ass in crocodiles it`s hard to remember you got into the water to drain the swamp"
In emergencies, the well intentioned less trained or experienced will do things under pressure they would not otherwise do. It may be panic, confusion, or just an overwhelming desire to save the situation. I doubt anything but experience will prevent it, even then it may not.
Hope your Dad recovers full use of the finger.
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Old 12-08-2013, 07:48 PM   #6
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Wow, I'm sure glad he wasn't hurt worse. The danger posed by getting between a boat and another object escapes most people who aren't aware of the massive momentum that a heavy boat carries. Most assume they can just fend off - until they find out they can't. There was a tragic case in Florida of a pretty experienced cruising couple and the wife inadvertently got between the boat and a dock. She was killed.
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Old 12-08-2013, 08:00 PM   #7
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Ouch. I know stuff happens. IIRC before the first Nordhavn rally a woman was killed getting between two boats to move a fender. Number 1 rule on my boats LETTER BUMP do not help, I got this.
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Old 12-08-2013, 08:54 PM   #8
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One of the great things about dock neighbors is we help each other out all the time. This time was no different and while the situation was difficult there was no panic. We assessed the situation, took the necessary actions, made the boat safe and got everyone where they needed to go. Could have been a lot worse but wasn't and lessons were learned by all. It was great to see your dad on the dock today!
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Old 12-08-2013, 09:03 PM   #9
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Ouch. Trust your Dad will have a full recovery.

And #6: It could be nice to have a heavy boat with a low profile.
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Old 12-08-2013, 09:26 PM   #10
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So sorry to hear about your dad, but thankful that it was "relatively speaking", minor, that being, all the parts are still there, and will eventually function properly again

If it helps any, I've seen "trained" Coastie crew members do some pretty dumb chit stuff in a crunch. In real time, things happen quickly.

Hell, my wife started to fend off a dock last time we were out. Gunnel's rising as we approach the dock and it looks as though the skipper's going to stuff the corner underneath it.....so out goes the little hand...??
I couldn't even speak! I managed to snatch her back before it go ugly.

Hopefully, everyone picked up a little something from this, and all will benefit.

Tell your dad that we'll keep prayers going out for his full recovery.

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Old 12-08-2013, 09:42 PM   #11
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It's human nature to fend objects off or arrest motion when docking with your hands. There are plenty of dangers out there even for us, but the inexperienced don't appreciate the weight of a boat or the energy generated by the wind.

Wrapping a cleat or dropping a fender between boat and dock is not in their knowledge base. Invariably they choose to use bruit strength, which unfortunately has predictable results.
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Old 12-08-2013, 10:11 PM   #12
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It could easily have been a hand or worse. Thanks for the humble share. I'm listening.
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Old 12-08-2013, 10:59 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kulas44 View Post
Ouch. I know stuff happens. IIRC before the first Nordhaven rally a woman was killed getting between two boats to move a fender. Number 1 rule on my boats LETTER BUMP do not help, I got this.
Yup, that's the one I was referring to.
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Old 12-09-2013, 12:52 AM   #14
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Just last month, while on our sea trial, a lifelong boater friend of mine climbed over the rail and jumped on to the dock when it became obvious the broker (not me!) had pooched the docking maneuver! I yelled at him but he was already gone, scared the heck out of me but fortunately he did not land with any parts hanging over the dock and we smoked the piling anyway. A little creosote on the rail, big deal. Your best friend committing a totally irrational act?

Even the best trained, most experienced logical people lose their grip in the heat of the moment. Stay safe out there, it's supposed to be fun.
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Old 12-09-2013, 06:51 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Andy G View Post
A 'war wounds' thread

Brother in law after helping anti foul the boat last year. He fell off the gantry, compound fracture of the leg.Trouble is the old girl is nearly ready for another anti foul, this may take some persuasion.
Just save the money and let it go another year, or even two Andy. After all, I just got 3 years plus out of mine. You use similar stuff don't you..?
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Old 12-09-2013, 07:27 AM   #16
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Yep, you are probably right Pete, better not push it, it's taken me three months to convince him he is up to skiing the Valley Blanche in Chamonix this February. Thirty three years after our first attempt. Tricky things glaciers.

The boat will still be there when we get back.(hopefully)
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Old 12-09-2013, 10:40 AM   #17
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As an aside, I also tell folks who want to hold a fender during docking maneuvers to never wrap the line around their hands or anything attached to your body.
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Old 12-09-2013, 10:46 AM   #18
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As an aside, I also tell folks who want to hold a fender during docking maneuvers to never wrap the line around their hands or anything attached to your body.

http://www.cishipping.com/pls/portal...TRANSIT%29.PDF
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Old 12-09-2013, 01:21 PM   #19
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Ouch!
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Old 12-09-2013, 02:14 PM   #20
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RickB-good point. Learned that as a mate on a charter fishing boat many years ago. How to wrap a leader around your hand so that a 2-500 lb marlin did not take your hand with it when he bolted. Saw more than one very nasty gash from holding a wire leader wrong.

Years ago, in Little River, SC, we docked with a parallel current, we used a spring line around the piling to nove the bow into the current when leaving the dock. My firm rule is "Don't help unless told to". Had a friend convince himself that we were still tied to the dock as we moved out. He stepped over, one foot on the gunwale and one on the dock to "untie" the line. Of course as the current caught the bow, he did the splits into the water, and the stern quarter bumped him into the barnacle encrusted piling. Nothing broken, but about 1,000 barnacle cuts!
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