Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Remember your Flares

Realized the importance of flares last night when it comes to visibility on the water. I had just gotten done cutting the grass, weedeating the yard, and was cleaned up and sitting down for a plate of fresh homemade baked Zitti when my phone rang around 9:15pm. It was a good friend of mine calling to say they had run out of gas approximiately 100-200 yards from tues marsh light and tried a couple other people but couldnt get a hold of anyone. I had him on speakerphone and my girlfriend gave me the WTF look but its kinda the unspoken code of the waterman to help out a fellow boater when can so i checked the noaa forecast, the radar, and agreed to get 5 gallons to him in the next hour since i had to go fill a tank first at WAWA.

I get the 16ft duracraft hooked up since the wellcraft is down and out at the moment and head to the ramp. My buddy Ethan meets me at the ramp and we take off. Once we break out of the sandbox we are greeted with 1 to 2 ft rollers but luckily my friends "were close to Tues Marsh light". Well we get out there and start looking for them and they are no where to be found so i give him a shout on his phone he keeps swearing he is near tues marsh. I have them do some off sequence spreader bar light flashes, nav light flashes, running lights, nowhere to be seen. The whole time i am idling into a steady 2 ft sea to keep my craft pointed into the wind and waves. I decide its time for the flare (last resort before i tell him i can't find him)..... PSSSSSSSSHHHHHHHH!!!! i hear it light thru the phone and we start scanning. Suddenly a red glow pops up off in the horizon towards Mobjack bay. They had drifted 2.5 miles with a small danforth over on the outgoing york river tide by the time we got to them. Transferred gas can, idled alongside until they were under power again and boarded the vessel and hitched a much drier ride back to the mouth of the sandbox while i drank their last cold beer they had in the cooler. once back around the sandbox we split ways and beat feet back home to walk in the door just before midnight. I hope i made the fish gods happy tonight bc my other half was certainly not. The smiles on their faces were priceless when i pulled up though. wish I had my camera.

Lessons learned:

Make sure anchor is large enough for your vessel
Make sure you have enough scope for your anchor
Check your fuel levels frequently and verify your guage is accurate (to be fair their guage read 1/8 of a tank at empty)
Always carry your flares (I never would have been able to find them if it was not for them setting off a flare)
Always save one cold beer in case of need for rescue