Saturday, December 19, 2009

First Contact

I was getting some onboard inservice last Thursday up in Stuart, FL. My new Hake Seaward 26RK sailboat "splashed" this week, and as soon as the last few bugs get ironed out, delivery will be scheduled. We would have taken it out, but the 25 knot breezes suggested that perhaps my first time should be delayed a bit!

While we were tied up, the wind and swell increased, and a Coast Guard Zodiak pulled up to our dock. They had been called when a 20+' fishing boat broke loose in the harbor. With nearly a dozen hands on deck, they arrived in plenty of time to watch it drift by, dragging its anchor/mooring bouy, and then smash into several docks and pilings as it went by, missing my boat and several others by inches. I think they thought it amusing as the 70+-year-old owner struggled to get to it by oared rubber dingy while they stood watching.

It was my first experience with the CG, and I was ashamed for every one of my tax dollars those particular young men represented. The need wasn't high profile and/or media/video worthy enough, I guess; rather it simply called for a little human decency, and there was none of that on deck. I hope I don't ever have to depend on that crew if I'm ever in a jam, but another Florida boater suggested that if I was in trouble, it might be better to call in saying I had drugs on board, or that I thought I might be a terrorist. Let's hope it never comes to that!

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