We received a letter here at TFG this month, which brings up a great topic for this blog. Check it out:
That was a good article “A Star to Steer Her by”, by Lenny Rudow in the January 2013 issue. I would like to add my two cents worth.
I fish Choke Canyon a lot, and I always ask whoever my partner for the
day, “where is the boat ramp? What if I have a heart attack out here and you have to get me back to the ramp?” Never-ever has anyone been within miles of the ramp direction and in some cases, they even think its the opposite direction. Then I preach landmarks, landmarks, landmarks. Sometime when a fog bank moves in I dig out the compass, or if possible listen for truck traffic, wild turkeys, or the check the wind direction.
Good article Lenny. Good magazine Don Z.
Gerald Callaway Brownwood
Gerald, you bring up a great point. Even if you, as captain, know how to get home, your passengers need to know as well in case of an emergency. That’s why it’s a good idea to keep your GPS set to create a track, and during your pre-launch safety talk (when you point out the location of lifejackets, fire extinguishers, flares, and the like), show guests the little bread-crumb trail on-screen that they can follow home. If you don’t have a GPS onboard, Gerald’s advice is spot-on: keep an eye on landmarks, point them out to your friends, and make sure they could at least get to help, if not back to the ramp itself. Another good practice is to teach people how to use the VHF on channel 16 to call for help. Doing these things takes no more than a minute or two at the beginning of the day, and it’ll extend your safety margin by a mile – so take heed to Gerald’s advice, every time you launch the boat.