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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I had a close call yesterday on the big CR.

After work yesterday I was taking some family members out to go play with a new 3 person tube I got but hadn't used yet. We were going to play over on the back side of Sandy Island out of Kalama marina. I had checked the boat the day before and everything seemed fine. We left the marina and all was well. I started crossing the river in front of a large ship but not pushing it by any means. He was at least 200 yards away when I started out. I was doing about 4300rpm (about 30+ mph) as I passed the jetty just outside the marina. I was crossing at an angle to give more room between me and the ship and the becuase the southern tip of the island is down river from the marina.

I was about mid river when all of a sudden the engine quit. No sputtering or missing, just died. I tried restarting it and the engine didn't even crank over. It appeared that I didn't have any electricity. I checked the battery and all conections were tight. I tried starting it again, but still nothing. Luckily as soon as I had lost power I turned the boat towards the WA side to try to get out of the ship's path. I was directly in front of him. Quite a ways in front of him but I wasn't moving very fast. It felt like I was not moving at all.

OH GOD that thing is coming straight for us. Again luckily I was far enough ahead of him and we had enough momontem to carry us out of his direct path. We were far enough ahead that he must of seen we were have problems and he did change his course a little bit(no horn blowing or major deviation on his part). I didn't notice the course change of the ship as as I was too busy trying to get get the paddle out to help get us further away from him. My family told me later that the ship changed course a little bit.

As my brother-in-law was paddleing like mad I removed the engine cover. There was the problem. The main power cable from the ignition to the starter was broken.

As the ship passed us about 100 feet away I jumped on the VHF and called the Coast Guard. I just bought this radio Saturday, another lucky thing. They responded quickly and politely. They asked me a few questions since I didn't remember the correct procedure when calling for assitance. I forgot to tell them a few things. I read the procedure the day I got the radio but under the stress of the moment I didn't remember it exactly. OOPS.

Another lucky thing, another boater was near by and we caught his attention and he was kind enough to tow us back to the marina. I contacted the Coast Gaurd back to let them know that I had received a tow and they asked me to notify them when we were safely docked. Hey, it was really reassuring to talk with them on that radio.

At the dock I tried to pay the guy for towing me in but he would accept. He was a really nice guy and I asked him if he was an Ifisher, but he wasn't. He kind've looked like a few of you guys out there. I couldn't thank him enough. I called the Coast Guard back to let them know I was safely at dock and they thanked me. I THANKED THEM. Even if they didn't do anything, like I said, after contacting them on the radio the tension level went way down.

I was very lucky today. I created some of my own luck because I kept a cool head, thought quickly and correctly, and alot was just plan luck.

For a split second there I thought I might be killing my family. I could almost see us being sucked under the bow of that ship. I had my sister and her family, my daughter and granddaughter with me.

Fortunately it never became a REALLY close call but it certainly could've VERY quickly.

Sorry for the long post but I just want to remind some of you - never think that going out on the big CR is something to be lax about. Always pay attention to river, the traffic and have an emergency plan of action. Boat defensively.

I am not expressing my self like I want to but -
Be safe and try to stay alive.

[ 07-30-2003, 07:55 AM: Message edited by: Conspiracy Theory ]
 

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Glad to hear you made out OK, but don't let it discourage you from future time on the water. You obviously have thought about the experience and have learned from it. Enjoy the water!!

BTW- Another reminder for myself that the boat doesn't go anywhere without the kicker attached. A quick pull on the 9.9 and you can find the broken wire...out of the shipping channel.

Again, happy to hear everyone is fine.
 

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CT,

Just a suggestion to other folks in that situation... call the CG first thing . They'll notify the pilot on board the ship and they'll issue a general alert to boats in the area to assist.

I'll bet you dollars to dognuts, the pilot on the ship did not think you were in trouble (another inattentive boater) and did not alter course.

Brion
 

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CT - I think you expressed yourself just fine. Glad to hear that you and the family are alright.

Do you have a kicker motor? Thinking of getting one? Things can and will go wrong.

Good job keeping your head.
 

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And never, ever, ever cross the path of a commercial vessel under way. I learned that, like you, though it was about 45 years ago. Still wakes me at night.
 

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Thumper, I like that idea.
People do it all the time, though. Is it OK if you have a kicker?

Bill always says, "Jennie! It's five miles away!"

It sure doesn't look like it!

I am so glad you are OK. Your story gave me shivers.

Jen
 

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I like stories with happy endings! Two things come to mind here for me... first is the recent post about "should i have a kicker motor". The other is the use of a drift sock (sea anchor) to help keep you straight in the current and able to steer your boat when there is a loss of power. Attach it to your bow hook and throw it in. The bigger the better in this case. It will keep your bow pointed downriver and enable you to steer (if you have some sort of rudder - it also makes rowing easier). Ships and small boats are a bit like trains and cars - Glad it all worked out and thanks for sharing! :cheers: zip
 

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Glad to hear everyone is safe. It pays when you keep a cool head like you did. :cheers:

Sounds to me like a good advertisement for a kicker motor.
 

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So glad everything turned out okay! What a scare. And thanks for the tip Zipper, didn't know that.

Dipnet :grin:
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Thumper
As I was coming out of the marina I did think about waiting for the ship to pass but I had a number of young kids in the boat and I didn't know how they would react to the larger waves. Since I had plenty of room to do it I decided to go ahead of it. Next time I think I'll wait.

When I got home I said to my wife, "you know, if we had a kicker we could've got back on our own and not been in any danger". I will be considering one a little more seriously now. Unfortunately you still got to have the dough to be able to pay for it - unless someone wants to donate one to me (just kidding).

[ 07-30-2003, 07:52 AM: Message edited by: Conspiracy Theory ]
 

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Lieutenant, bring me my brown pants.

:shocked:
 

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Thanks for sharing that.
It's another "what if" we all should consider when making decisions. The older we get the more "what if's" we consider.
 

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Same thing happened to me on my 14ft Livingston. The 30hp Johnson died in the middle of the river just out of Kalama Marina. Car carrier coming downriver. Fortunately, I had a 50lb thrust MinnKota that got me out of the channel so I had time to get out the quickstart can and not be turned into humanburger.

ALWAYS have a kicker!
 

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Glad your ok, but i have a question. what is a kicker motor? if this is something every fishermen should know then im sorry but i gotta know what it is.
 

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ANother note on the Kicker motor.....soon as I leave the boat launch area, I prime and start my kicker, warming it up so I have one pull starts, this for quick starts out of a hog line or in cases like this. take care, Russ
 

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I'm with jigNfloat. I'll always start my kicker first thing at the ramp just in case. So if I take an extra minute or two at the launch, I apologize now for the inconvenience. I just like to make sure it's ready to go if anything should happen.

BTY.... what is the proper way to hail the CG?? Do I need a secret password. Thankfully I've never needed their services. But I would like to know the "proper techniques".

Full Freezer
 

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Besides a kicker someone talked me in to buying a cheap plastic "Distress Signal" flag.
It's pretty big and I'm sure the commercial pilot could have seen it and would know you in trouble. Hope I never have to use it but I'm glad I have it. Happy to hear you're all okay. The radio will be my next purchase.
 

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Alright then ... So glad you are ok. I can relate a recent experience and give the radio lesson at the same time

On July 2, 2003 I went TUNA! fishing with Ocean Blue. It was the start of a week at the coast and proved to be the most eventful day. We had what Skein calls 'The glaze'. That is where the fishing is more important than some other details.

We left Depoe on a marginal Ocean with a wind predicted for the afternoon. No big deal, I thought, we have the gear, the boat is happy and we know what to do.

About 20 miles out the engine began to miss and not bad at first but it gradually got worse as we went on. At 24 miles out the engine quit. This had happened before and I fired the bilge blowers and fuel pump and tried to crank the engine.

Nothing, not even a click

We stayed calm but I could feel a serious mad coming on. What detail had I over looked? Why would the boat not even start? Here comes the radio lesson.

The emergency and hailing channel is VHF 16.

I switched from 78 ( the normal Salty dogs channel) to 16 and turned the squelch down to minimum. I then selected 25 watts and keyed the mike ..

"Coast Guard station Depoe Bay, this is the fishing vessel 'Pilar' declaring an emergency"

'Vessel Pilar, this is Coast Guard station Depoe Bay, what is the nature of your emergency, over?'

"Coast Guard, we are dead in the water with engine trouble, there are two souls on board and 50 gallons of fuel, the boat is stable and no one is injured, over"

'Pilar, Coast Guard station Depoe Bay, understand you are dead in the water, what is your position over?'

"Coast Guard depoe Bay, this is 'Pilar' we are at N45 02 decimal 533 by W124 21 decimal 502, over"

'Pilar, Coast Guard station Depoe Bay, understand your position is N45 02 decimal 533 by W124 21 decimal 502, Please describe your vessel and have your crew don lifevest at this time. Would you switch to channel 22 alpha?, over'

"Coast Guard Depoe Bay, 'Pilar' roger, donning vest and switching to 22 alpha"

I switched the VHF to 22a and went on

"Coast Guard Station Depoe Bay, This is 'Pilar on 22 alpha, Over"

'Pilar, Coast Guard station Depoe bay, roger sir I read you on 22 alpha'

"Coast Guard station Depoe Bay, Pilar, we are in a white on blue, 19 foot bayliner with a white canvas top, over"

'Pilar, Coast Guard station Depoe Bay, roger sir understand your boat description is ...........


And so on. 3 legged communication is the key. They give an order and you repeat it back so they know that you got it right. Name the station you are calling and then who you are so they know who is calling.

Practice this by listening to VHF 16 and witness the rescue of other boaters as it happens

May you never have to do it for real. We were towed 24 miles because of a defective starter that had been replaced two weeks previous. We stayed calm and were only inconvenienced.

Stay calm and use the most valuable thing on the boat, The captains brain.

I am mirroring this to 'Salty Dogs', there are some very valuable lessons here for all.

[ 07-30-2003, 05:05 PM: Message edited by: Pilar ]
 
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