I share these words with trepidation and caution. We pride ourselves in being thorough and professional in everything we do, including the launching a boat. We treat clients boats as if they were our own. Prior to delivery, we complete a system’s check that includes detailing the boat, checking the trailer for tire pressure, axle grease and operational lights. We also complete a dry land start up of every boat.
Once running, the first thing we check is water flow through the exhaust pipes. With no flow, we shut the boat down and service the water pump. In most cases, rubber impellers are used to pump water from the lake and throughout the engine. Over time the rubber vanes get brittle can break off, leading to little or no flow. Impellors should be changed every year or so, depending on use. Once sorted, we restart, check the gauges to ensure all system are normal and off we go to the boat launch.
A few weeks back, I was in a rush to deliver a Chris-Craft speedboat on time. This involved launching the boat at public dock whereby I would motor the boat to the client’s dock where the driver would then meet me. We launched and the I gave the driver the thumbs up once I was underway. I had to swing by a mooring buoy as I made a turn to port. I found it odd that shortly after passing the buoy, the boat refused to turn. You guessed it, I caught a rogue line that was attached to the buoy and it had conveniently wrapped itself around the prop shaft.
In short, I was attached to the buoy with a southerly wind coming up, late afternoon. I had to get the line off, so I jumped in the water. With one hand on the swim grid and the other well underneath the transom, I struggled to free the line. I had forgotten to bring a knife. By now there were 2 people on a nearby dock watching the performance. The wind worked in my favour and slowly the boat drifted towards the dock. With their help we manage to secure the boat. It took 2 dull kitchen knives for me to cut through the line.
Exhausted after being in the water for nearly a ½ hour, I climbed onto the dock and was shaking like a leaf from hypothermia. I was surprised how cool the lake was in early July. My first thought was to call my driver to let him know what was going on, but my hands were shaking so bad, I could not dial the phone. One of the helpers got through to the driver, I wrapped myself in a blanket and delivered the boat.
Lessons learned…always carry a safety kit on board along with a basic tool kit (including a sharp knife).