Every Boater should have a Boat Buddy—especially during the fall. Why? Once September comes, families focus more on back to school and routines and work. Boating starts slipping into the background.
Trips to the boat decrease and social activities at the marinas are winding down. Life gets back to the hustle and bustle with everyone trying to make schedules work and calendars fill up with meetings, events and activities. As a result, there isn’t much traffic on the docks during the week, just a few boaters preparing for haul out and preparation for winter.
This year, we are blessed with summer weather at the end of September. It is magnificent! Temperatures up to 30 degrees C (80+ degrees F) in the daytime and down to 18 C (60 F) at night. Light breezes from the south one day and northwest the next create great cruising for power boaters and some stronger winds for the sailors to enjoy. What could be better? But, there aren’t many boaters taking advantage. We are staying on our boat during these last two weeks of September and witnessing the lack of activity.
One gorgeous morning, I was out walking from one side of the marina to the other for a shower at clubhouse. I say walking, but having been in the marina business for most of my life, we never just walk. We are always looking and listening as we walk—checking lines, knots, water levels, listing boats, water leaks, listening for sounds we shouldn’t hear like blowers left running, bilge pumps running continuously, boat alarms, VHF left on and much more. We notice anything out of the ordinary.
This September morning, I heard an electric motor running. So, I had to stop and investigate. Expecting it to be either a blower or a bilge pump, I asked Doug to take care of it while I continued to the clubhouse for my shower. He quickly determined that it was the electric downrigger motor that had been left on, and turned it off.
The owner, in his haste to gather up the fish that he had caught, and plug in the shore cord, overlooked turning off his 2nd electric downrigger motor. With all the noise of his truck running in the driveway near the boat, it is understandable how he missed hearing it. But in the silence of my morning walk, it caught my attention.
We weren’t his appointed “Boat Buddy” but we took it upon ourselves to help out. A Boat Buddy would have been checking his boat and would have found the downrigger motor running and turned it off. If the problem was inside the boat, the Boat Buddy would have keys to correct any situation and the phone number of the owner to notify him.
The owner hadn’t been back to his boat for a couple of weeks. If we hadn’t noticed and turned off the motor, he could have come back to a burned out motor and/or dead batteries. We didn’t have his phone number or address so couldn’t notify him. When he showed up, we explained what happened and he was very appreciative not only for us turning it off; but also for saving him $1,500 for a new one.
This is an example of why we wrote the article “Fall Boat Buddy” a few years ago.