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Old 11-22-2012, 12:47 PM   #1
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Being a nosy nieghbor

The nosey neighbor live aboard

June 2012 we had a late freshet here on the
FraserRiver in BC. Freshet is spring run off from the mountains here in BC.

For some this event has been tragic with loss of life. Mom nature as usual can rule with a heavy hand.

I am at the end of an L shaped dock that sits in the current of the river with a smaller 30 foot L shaped dock ahead. The rows of docks sit out into the river current.


This year with the late freshet meeting the beginning of a late boating season has had some interesting events for me personally.

One event that still has me running the event through my head happened on one of the first sunny Sundays we had this year. A lot of boat traffic and lots of new boaters out and about.

Sitting in the salon wheel house of Invader I watch my new nieghbor returning from a weekend cruise. They are trying to dock at the end of the L dock on the row ahead of me. Looks easy enough to me but looks can be oh so decieving. The river is running hard, fast, and steady. Our old boat is creating a wake while tied to the dock.

I watch from my seat in the salon trying not to be too much the nosy neighbor. Watching several attempts made by the couple had me not wanting to look. She was on the bow of the 28, 30 something sun bridge with that bubble bow ready to leap to the dock with line in hand. Master and commander at the helm, is getting stressed. I really felt the old fish boat of ours was going to take a hit or two. No biggy if the old boat takes a hit so be it.

But I kinda kept my eye on the attempts and could hear the tone of voice's from the vessel climb. Things are just not going very well for the couple.

I hold true and continue being nosy. In the back of my mind I think what should I do? Do I get involved start trying to talk them in? Do I take the hike down the docks.


While my thoughts run through the head bone BAM! Wake up!

I see a head in the water! It is that fast. There is someone in the water. I jump from my seat with a yelp to Carrie, someone is in the water! Out the door I head with a jump to the dock. Run to the front of Invader landing at the corner of the dock with a home plate slide. I just caught her by getting hold of her PFD. Then in an instant that same PFD that just saved her life was now working against us! Like some sort of twisted parachute dragging her under the dock lilings and bow of Invader.

She was not moving or reacting. I thought she was injured or had hit her head. The water was very cold and very fast moving and she had to come out. I hung over the dock spread eagle and pulled her back around the front of the dock. I then managed one arm under her shoulder and a hand hold of her inner thigh. I rolled my body over, she popped out ontop of me look-in me in the face. I started asking if she was OK, had she hit her head or was in any pain etc. I slapped her back on the PFD and she started to respond. I rolled and sat her up. Carrie and I then started to get her to come around.

There had been another nosy neighbor a few boats down from us on our dock that had seen the fall. She however had decided to run to the other dock.

Glad I was there being the nosy neighbor. It would really have sucked to find out that someone had perished feet from me. I my not have known till it was way too late, like seconds too late. The girl never shouted out for help, master and commander never seemed to look back never yelped for help and the lady next door said nothing.

Eventually master docked the vessel with help form my neighbor who seemed surprised that the girl was with us.

Carrie my wife said we aint going to see them again as the girl walked down the dock and out to there car. Master came back and thanked Carrie and I. I could not resist and asked if he had seen the news recently about the river and freshet. These are classic new boaters, new boat owners IMO. Later in the week the vessel was towed to a more protected spot and then was taken away for places unknown.

I reacted, no thought, ends with a good outcome IMO. Experience personal to add into my unique skill set.

Sad the excitement of the day for them ends cruising for her. She was not a swimmer to say the least.

Pulling a person from the water may look simple but from a high dock and with fast cold water be dayum careful, for me the swimming lessons from way back when paid off. Recovery of someone in the water poolside can be much the same as a dock.


Should I have been more proactive? I will never know.


If my attempt to hold and recover had not worked I would have gone into the water and tried to help. That thought scares me today. I would have been in the water praying for a ladder and help from Carrie.

Old school whistle, for help they can get others attention fast!

The PFD saved her life!

Stuff that makes me go HMMMMMMMM while I continue to learn.

Now the side note. I met them about a month later when they returned. I got a big hug! She had been convinced to get back on the horse so to speak. The vessel is now not as exposed to current and they seem to be managing just fine.


I have posted this on other forums but some here might find something they can gain from the nosy neighbor’s personal experience.

Road rash sucks !




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Old 11-22-2012, 12:56 PM   #2
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While it probably would not have made any difference in the incident you described it is surprising how many marinas do not have ladders, retractable or otherwise, on the docks to aid people in getting out of the water. Squalicum Marina in Bellingham, a large marina with two basins, a commercial fishing section, and home to well over 2,000 boats has no dock ladders.

Well, tnat's not strictly true. As part of the recent replacement of the marina's two oldest docks they included the purchase of a large number of new, swimmer-deployable ladders to outfit all the docks in the marina. I'm told they are still in the warehouse, apparently waiting on "paperwork" that is required by multiple city, county, and state agencies defining how they will be mounted and granting permission to mount them.
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Old 11-22-2012, 01:07 PM   #3
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Greetings,
Well done Mr. OFB!
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Old 11-22-2012, 01:16 PM   #4
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OFB,

Day before yesterday there was a - loose control, get sideways several times, slide off the road, rollover and come to a rest right side up about 30' down steeper than 45 degrees in a huge blackberry forrest. I was following this person about 100 yds behind.

Thought sure I was going to have to do EMT of confirm dead but as I was halfway down I saw an arm move. I yelled. Nothing. I climbed a bit further down ... arm moving again. Someone above also had stopped. On cell. Then I see her moving toward my side of the car. She pushed the door open, declared she was fine. Now lots of people stopping. She had her cell phone in her hand and said she had to call her husband but she didn't make a move to do call.
I just left. Later I recalled how she tried to avoid the on-comming car (that didn't stop - or change course) as she was headed toward it's inside fender. I think she was texting. She got off REAL easy. The car was totally totaled. What a waste. And to think of how bad it easily could have been. Change just one little variable and ... dead?

OFB I can relate to your mind tugging experience well and have moored on rivers w 2+ knots current. Just think how lucky that woman is to have a nice noisy neighbor like you!!!
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Old 11-22-2012, 01:50 PM   #5
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Like your new avatar photo, Eric. Did you take it?
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Old 11-22-2012, 01:55 PM   #6
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OFB, I hope some of my dock neighbors are as nosy as you are. I think it's natural for boaters to watch other boats dock, if for nothing more than to have a first row seat to a collision, or even a series of collisions. If you've been around boating for awhile you soon learn which of your neighbors are competent in handling their boats, and which are going to be fun to watch.

Kudos to you for going the extra mile in helping that woman. I'd bet the cold water was what kept her from yelling for help. That's a shock to the body that is tough to overcome.
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Old 11-22-2012, 02:03 PM   #7
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Marin,
I did. Fixed it up a bit and cropped it.
Notice my dinghy's missing?
This is TC Marin.
Here is the untouched original.
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Old 11-22-2012, 02:18 PM   #8
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nosy, no. I think most people do the same as you did and watch in case something happens. I have been around shortly after and before similiar incidents to the one you experianced happened resulting in the loss of life. One time a child, another an off duty policeman and rescue diver. Both occured after heavy rains with the river approaching flood stage and in both cases the victums disapeared in a flash beneath the docks never to be seen again alive. Sacramento river at Freeport Marina in central California. I grew up in the delta near there and kept a boat there for many many years'
Thank you for being alert.....
Reminds me of the times i have been falling overboard. I never learned how to swim and still have a bad habit of not wearing a pfd and very lucky to be alive.
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Old 11-22-2012, 02:41 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by manyboats View Post
Marin,
I did. Fixed it up a bit and cropped it.
Notice my dinghy's missing?
This is TC Marin.
Here is the untouched original.
Willy's looking good. I like it.
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Old 11-22-2012, 02:43 PM   #10
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Kudos to OFB for caring enough to get involved. A very close call. You can be my dock neighbor anytime.
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Old 11-22-2012, 04:29 PM   #11
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Nosey

Way to go! I always offer to help. Have been told no thanks but do not let that deter me from asking. Good job.
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Old 11-22-2012, 06:56 PM   #12
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always a challenge...as the local "pro captain"...I try to stay in the background till someone asks for help or is in a dangerous scenario.

real experience tells you how far to stay on the sidelines and when to jump in to help. prevent damage or worse.

there is no right call.... the guy on the dock who always jumps in when no help is really needed, and is sometimes a goober and gets in the way often creates more dangerous situation than currently exist.
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Old 11-22-2012, 07:44 PM   #13
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If it looks like it may be needed I will offer help. If it is accepted I will take a line and do as the Captain asks. I do not try to second guess or direct the captain. If the captain wants no help that is fine. I figure a man has the right to tear his boat up anyway he wants.
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Old 11-22-2012, 08:52 PM   #14
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Marin,
I did. Fixed it up a bit and cropped it.
Notice my dinghy's missing?
This is TC Marin.
Here is the untouched original.
Great post, OFB. Nice going saving that gal's life. She's lucky to have slip neighbors as attentive and capable as you. She should be sending you a Christmas gift every year for the rest of her life!!

Eric, what did you do, shift the background to align the snow with your antenna? ;-) It is a nice avatar.
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Old 11-22-2012, 09:29 PM   #15
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OldFishBoat, you’re not a nosy neighbor - you’re a hero in my book.

You saved a life. I could not have pulled someone from the water like that.

I raise a glass of Makers Mark to you.

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Old 11-22-2012, 10:59 PM   #16
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OFB, you balanced discretion and getting involved perfectly. You helped those people on the day, and to continue boating. When they have expertise they may help someone else.
Eric, the "phone in hand" auto accident. With some qualifications, it is now an offense here just to touch your mobile/cell phone while driving. "Driving" can include being stationary by the side of the road. The answer is Bluetooth.
Now if we could deal with head down pedestrians,texting or checking Facebook, colliding with other pedestrians...
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Old 11-23-2012, 12:14 AM   #17
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Great story! Mind if I reprint it in my local marina newsletter?
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Old 11-23-2012, 12:25 AM   #18
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Wow that's scary. Glad you were there to help.
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Old 11-23-2012, 12:58 PM   #19
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Marin

Ladders , re board devices are kind of a pet peeve of mine. I would realy like to see portable ladders available throughout the marina. Beside Fire extinquisers, life rings, axes etc. But we should always keep in mind that most boats in any marina should have some type of re board device available. If the water is shallow some times a step ladder or extension ladder will work very well, specialy if the mob is injured.

There sure can be a balance between being in someones face and saving there a$$. Bad things can happen fast. But usualy its a progress of things going wrong that end in bad ways. Eric car wrecks sure do get the heart rate up.

Over the years I have puuled lots of folk from the water. Some knew they where in real trouble some not so much. I have been pulled from the sea as well. I however yelled for help, but non of the other folk I have pulled from the water ever have. I find that very interesting. My yelps for help saved my but. I still believe there is a place for a whistle around the neck in the marine enviroment even if I forget that from time to time.

Hope the post creates some thought thats all.

Kieth for sure use this if you want. Dont be afraid to clean it up

TC Eric Willy looks good, from one willy to another. HMMMM that did not come out rite?

Thanks for the comments.
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Old 11-23-2012, 02:17 PM   #20
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OFB--- In my observation not many boats in our marina are equipped with a means of getting out of the water, at least not while they are in their slips. Our boat is a good--- or bad--- example. We have a pivoting ladder on the swimstep that can easily be deployed by a person in the water. But..... when we added the Livingston on Weaver Davits to the swimstep it blocks the ladder from being pivoted down into the water.

Other boats, even the newer sailboats with the so-called sugar-scoop sterns, don't have an easy means to get out of the water. For a teenager or young adult, maybe yes. But for the average older crusing boat owner, hauling oneself out onto a dock or even up onto the cut-out back of a sailboat could be a very difficult to impossible task.

This is why the yet-uninstalled dock ladders would be so beneficial in our marina. While people going into the water accidentally is a rare occurance so far as we know, the couple of instances we are aware of the only way the person was able to get out was with the assistance of someone else who heard them calling for help. They were not incapacitated or helpless in the water, there was simply no way for them to climb out.
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