“He was going to call for an S.O.S.,” a client told Your Survival Guy as I sat in the comforts of my office this week.
“My friend refitted his fast trawler during the offseason and asked me if I wanted to go out on it,” he said.
Now, being a boater, my client immediately realized this was not going to be a wine and cheese deal. This was a shakedown cruise.
“I’ve had my fair share of those,” he said to me. “I kindly took a rain check.”
“My friend brought along another captain,” he said. “He was twenty years old.”
Uh oh, I thought.
“They’re out there,” my client said. “And all of a sudden thick, black smoke starts billowing out of the engine box, and the water alarm starts sounding (taking on water), and the young captain starts freaking out.”
The young guy’s going crazy.
“Abandon ship,” the young captain yells, grabbing the marine radio about to hail the Coast Guard with an emergency S.O.S. (is there any other kind?). The older captain grabs the kid’s arm, sits him down, and says don’t move.
Calmy opening the engine box, engulfed in smoke, and coughing up a lung, the older captain reconnects the exhaust tubing to one of the big diesel Yanmars, connects the cooling hose that was bringing water into the engine compartment, and with a few screams, gasps, and grunts gets the situation under control.
Motoring back to port, passing my client’s house, without saying a word, the old captain—looking like a chimney—just waved. The young captain, sitting with his sparkling white polo, looked like he was going out to dinner.
Action Line: Boating is a list of problems. You either solve ‘em, or you don’t. There’s a sea of young armchair admirals out there. I’ll take an experienced captain any day. Have a safe weekend.
E.J. Smith - Your Survival Guy
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