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#11517753 - 04/02/16 11:37 AM What's your dumbest mistake operating a boat in saltwater?
Uncle Zeek Online   content
"Good News, Everyone!"

Registered: 09/26/05
Posts: 17111
Loc: Lewisville
I figure we've all pulled some boneheaded moves out on the ocean & forgotten to respect the raw killing power of the sea. Perhaps we could share some of those stories & help newer folks learn from our mistakes.

Mine was up in Alaska a couple summers ago, operating a 25' twin engine boat. We had anchored in about 220' of water with a 600' rode and the anchor got stuck. I was using a puller ring & buoy and circling the boat in different directions, trying to pop the anchor free. Finally, I got the bright idea to tie the rode off to a stern cleat and just ease on straight ahead.

Bad idea. Boneheaded STUPID idea that almost got me and my friends killed.

There's a sound that an anchor line under strain makes - sort of a whining, humming sound. You never, ever want to hear this sound. You hear this sound just as the rope has reached the absolute maximum stretch is can bear and will then retract to it's normal tension. I was lucky that I felt the vibration in the boat before I heard the noise, as I just barely had time to pop the engines into neutral. We got dragged backwards, at an angle severe enough that the port motor came completely out of the water!

Lessons learned from this. The only place I tie off the anchor line is the bow cleat, and I ALWAYS keep a dedicated knife stowed there to cut the line if needed.
_________________________
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You should get a ticket just for punctuation. What adult types like that?

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#11519750 - 04/03/16 08:34 PM Re: What's your dumbest mistake operating a boat in saltwater? [Re: Uncle Zeek]
OldFrog Offline
TFF Guru

Registered: 02/16/06
Posts: 48345
Loc: Probably not where you think
I hear ya'.

Lots of boats have been torn up by using the boat itself to raise an anchor. If you cant pull it by hand or a winch designed for that purpose, cut it off and consider yourself lucky.

I didnt do this one ( because believe it or not, I'm not QUITE that stupid)...but I heard about it and saw the photos a couple of years ago:

Some guys in a Kenner were fishing the Port A ship channel between the jetties. OK...no sweat. It's done all the time.

Except they anchored from the stern.
Yeah, you can guess what happened. They were rescued from the water..

The only real boneheaded move I made was to turn too sharply when leaving the car wash in Lake Charles once. Trailer fender hit a pole and bent the heck out of it. I wasnt happy.

Many years ago, our VHF antenna got hit by lightening once while at the Chandeluers. Killed one guy, and knocked the rest of us out. Not a good day at all.

I kept telling them we needed to run back inshore. When they finally listened it was too late. The storm was upon us. Cost a good man his life. He was standing right by the antenna.
_________________________
Now, Donald...please pick John Bolton for your running mate.

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#11519775 - 04/03/16 08:43 PM Re: What's your dumbest mistake operating a boat in saltwater? [Re: Uncle Zeek]
skeeter22 Offline
TFF Celebrity

Registered: 10/02/03
Posts: 7453
Loc: Lake Highlands, Brady
Waiting too long to run from a lightning storm.

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#11523170 - 04/05/16 12:05 PM Re: What's your dumbest mistake operating a boat in saltwater? [Re: Uncle Zeek]
lconn4 Online   content
TFF Team Angler

Registered: 12/02/12
Posts: 4987
Loc: Cherokee County
Too many to count, all involved thinking I can do it. All ended ok but not before scaring me half to death and thinking twice about trying it again.


Launched here after studying it for an hour. I can do it. The water looks smooth out past the breakers, the fishing will be great. Reality: The landings are rarely as smooth as the takeoffs. The picture above looked like lake placid compared to when I came back in. By then it was high tide and offshore winds had picked up. The crashing surf sounded like jets taking off from the nearby airport. When I realized it wasn't, I knew I was screwed. There were half a dozen surfers lined up waiting for the waves to build even more when I made my attempt at surfing my kayak in. Broke the only rod I took with me that day.
_________________________

A good rule of angling philosphy is not to interfere with another fisherman's ways of being happy, unless you want to be hated.

Zane Grey, Tales of Fishes, 1919


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#11523294 - 04/05/16 12:45 PM Re: What's your dumbest mistake operating a boat in saltwater? [Re: Uncle Zeek]
lconn4 Online   content
TFF Team Angler

Registered: 12/02/12
Posts: 4987
Loc: Cherokee County

Starting out kayak fishing offshore I would always come in from fishing when a squall was headed my way. Got to where I was pretty confident in predicting their path and staying out longer. Always believed I could make it through one anyway if I could see the sun shining through it. Later on I would only get close to shore so that I didn't have to paddle all the way back out.. sometimes two or three times a day.

When I finally did experience the full wrath of one it was near Port Everglades Inlet. I wasn't that far from the beach where I launched. Got hit with hard winds on my beam, and rain. Couldn't see as sunblock got in my eyes, tried to wash it out with saltwater. Getting pounded. Wind gets so high I can't make forward progress as waves completely flood over cockpit. I've got tops of waves breaking under my chin. Put nose of kayak into wind and ride it out for 10 minutes. Pure Helsinki. When I can finally see again I've been pushed a quarter mile to the north and across the channel that runs into the inlet. Never again.

Can't find the picture of squall that day but they all looked about the same. The picture above is one that I made it to shore in time.


Had to tie kayak to a palm tree with winds that hit soon after making it back to beach
_________________________

A good rule of angling philosphy is not to interfere with another fisherman's ways of being happy, unless you want to be hated.

Zane Grey, Tales of Fishes, 1919


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#11523464 - 04/05/16 02:09 PM Re: What's your dumbest mistake operating a boat in saltwater? [Re: Uncle Zeek]
Mo Offline
TFF Guru

Registered: 10/08/01
Posts: 11700
Loc: Lake Palestine/Cherokee co
I was fishing off Biloxi Ms, Big swells coming in, but the interval was long , so I figured I could make it out , no problem.
I followed the Ferry to Ship Island.
On the way back in, I would run up one swell , slow down as I came over the top and power up the
back side of the next, Kind of fun, Really. I got too aggressive and
stuck the bow of the boat into the back the swell. I am guessing
around 50 gallons of water came in. Pulled the plugs from the scuppers and kept on
trucking. My Wife looked me in the eye and said , " that will be enough of that $@# "
I picked one big swell and rode it all the way to the harbor.

MO


Edited by Mo (04/05/16 02:11 PM)
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My backyard

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#11523581 - 04/05/16 02:56 PM Re: What's your dumbest mistake operating a boat in saltwater? [Re: Uncle Zeek]
malibu6501 Offline
Outdoorsman

Registered: 03/19/16
Posts: 154
Loc: Aransas Pass
Leaving the tiedown straps attached and trying to back the boat off at a busy ramp. That would be dumb rookie mistake 1. Dumb rookie mistake 2. Showing up at the ramp with a dead battery. Dumb rookie mistake 3. Running without the depth finder, crossing the ship channel without realizing it, and running aground on the other side. Nice.

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#11523608 - 04/05/16 03:06 PM Re: What's your dumbest mistake operating a boat in saltwater? [Re: Uncle Zeek]
C Worthy Online   content
Extreme Angler

Registered: 10/28/11
Posts: 2126
Loc: Wylie
Fishing the bays near Galveston. Set up to fish a reef in about 5 feet of water. Pointed the boat toward the reef and put down 2 power poles to hold me in position. Wind starts to pick up and my boat is pointing with the wind, meaning the back of the boat is toward the wind.... ugh waves. Turned around at the front to notice that there was about 6" of water in the bottom of the boat. It was a self bailing Sea Hunt but I had taken on enough water to make me set pretty low in the water. Had to pull the poles and crank up and get to moving before I became almost immobile. Made a note.... "Never anchor with the stern toward the wind"
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#11523769 - 04/05/16 04:29 PM Re: What's your dumbest mistake operating a boat in saltwater? [Re: Uncle Zeek]
JJ4MEL Offline
Pro Angler

Registered: 01/21/09
Posts: 963
Loc: McKinney, TX
Took my bay boat just outside the jettys in Galveston, looked down and realized I had just blown my electrical system. All that was fine until I decided to turn the motor off to investigate more. At this moment I am drifting towards the jetty so I throw out my anchor to keep me from the rocks. A few minutes later a huge oil ship starts coming in. At this point I start to panic. Lucky for me, my motor was only a 125 and I was actually able to pull start the motor before the huge swells came in from the ship.

Note to self, carry extra fuses and do not turn the motor off in the ocean if you know for a fact it will not start back up. Stupid me!

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#11524633 - 04/06/16 02:56 AM Re: What's your dumbest mistake operating a boat in saltwater? [Re: Uncle Zeek]
lconn4 Online   content
TFF Team Angler

Registered: 12/02/12
Posts: 4987
Loc: Cherokee County
I was fishing an online kayak fishing tournament years ago among Florida fishermen. It was a slam tournament, the total inches of the longest snook, trout, and redfish you could catch in the 30 days the tournament ran. Had a decent trout and redfish, just needed a good sized snook to clinch the prize. I thought my ace in the hole was that I was going to fish Flamingo Everglades National Park at night. Made the two hour drive and arrived at the ramp around midnight. Not a sole at the ramp as no one in their right mind fishes there after dark. Mosquitoes are so bad you have to wear a full bug suit with netted hat. I was prepared for the mosquitoes but that wasn't the problem.

As I paddled out of the marina there were schools of mullet showering all around followed by the most deafening explosions of huge fish blasting them. Mullet are jumping into and over my kayak, one eventually catches me under the armpit as I'm paddling into the darkness. I'm a little nervous, thinking I could get hit in the head at any minute. I make a couple of casts with topwater and am shocked to hear the size of explosions going on all around me. Afraid I'm going to hook up to tarpon or big shark. Not something I really want any part of at night in this particular area. Quickly reel in and paddle over to shallow bank and get out of the deeper channel that runs near a spoil island. I'm completely swarmed by mosquitoes, their constant drone driving me nuts, the sounds of large fish exploding all over the bay, near and far. My eyes have adjusted to the darkness with just the lights of the stars and I just sit and listen. I can hear the distinctive sound of snook popping on top but still in fear of hooking something else. My head is on a swivel when I hear the continuous thrashing of mullet being chased directly at me. A solid wall of mullet is flying towards me, I can feel them as they try to bury under my kayak to hide in panic and then a split second later the waters part as a big shark, mouth snapping jams my kayak as it has the mullet penned up with no where to go. I'm in shock as kayak is almost knocked out from under me and end up still seated but mostly on land.

Its over as fast as it happened. It took a while before I could make a decision on what to do next. Waited until things on the flats quieted down, then paddled right back to my car, loaded up, and made the 2 hour drive back home. Made two casts that night, drove a total of 4 hours round trip, on the water less than 30 minutes.

Pics below of same area on other trips. It is the most exciting place I've ever fished.







_________________________

A good rule of angling philosphy is not to interfere with another fisherman's ways of being happy, unless you want to be hated.

Zane Grey, Tales of Fishes, 1919


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#11525030 - 04/06/16 09:55 AM Re: What's your dumbest mistake operating a boat in saltwater? [Re: Uncle Zeek]
TroutSupport.com Offline
Extreme Angler

Registered: 08/10/10
Posts: 1299
Loc: Entire Gulf and Atlantic Coast...
Reaching down to pic up my iPhone off the floor of the boat as I was approaching port at 50mph.... looked up to find a 27' sail boat deciding to tack in the channel.. HELLLO!!! saw it just in time to maneuver and have a 1' miss. Whew. Expect the unexpected.

Another time i was futzing with the gps and ran up on a shallow mud spoil mound LOL...
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#11531095 - 04/09/16 10:26 AM Re: What's your dumbest mistake operating a boat in saltwater? [Re: Uncle Zeek]
BudT Offline
Outdoorsman

Registered: 04/08/11
Posts: 90
The list is long but one that stands out is being at the jetties on a good outgoing tide. I am fishing the outside of the jetty headed towards shore. I saw an area were the water was rushing over the jetties from the outside to the channel side, great place to set up and hopefully work some baits to fish waiting on the rip rap side right? I got distracted for a second and put my head down, the next thing I know I am being swept towards the area where the water is rushing across the jetties, all I had time to do was raise the motor and pull the trolling motor up. Fortunately it was deep enough that I did not get hung up or do any damage to my previous boat. Man I looked around, was thankful that nobody was close enough to realize what I had just done. Fortunately it was only my pride at stake, could have been much worse. Lesson learned, never.... never take your eye off the ball.

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#11640662 - 06/01/16 03:32 PM Re: What's your dumbest mistake operating a boat in saltwater? [Re: Uncle Zeek]
bluesea112 Offline
Outdoorsman

Registered: 01/07/11
Posts: 243
Loc: West, TX
When I was 10 years old my father anchored the boat close to the ship channel under the causeway at Galveston. The current was moving fast during a tidal change. A big barge and tug came by and sucked the water so that our boat turned 180 degrees. I stepped over the anchor rope as the boat turned, and walked to the bow. I hooked a fish and forgot that the anchor rope would be coming back across the boat. After the tug boat passed the current spun the boat back the other direction and the rope knocked me down. The rope caught me under my chin and pinned me against the side of the boat. Fortunately my father was paying attention and made it to the front of the boat in time to pull the rope away from my neck and allow me to slide under it. When I was free he let the rope go and it sounded like a guitar string pulling tight. That is one of those close calls that gets etched into your mind forever. I am 46 and remember that experience very vividly. Lesson learned.

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#11642012 - 06/02/16 08:17 AM Re: What's your dumbest mistake operating a boat in saltwater? [Re: Uncle Zeek]
Waco28 Crappie Offline
Outdoorsman

Registered: 06/06/13
Posts: 212
Loc: Waco TX
My dad took me and my 2 brothers out of the bay at South Padre on a 14 V Bottom with a 18 hp Evinrude. The boat is from the 70's and all I remember is dad saying "Hang On" as the boat would go straight UP in the air and then straight Down. TO this day I dont know how we didnt sink. Dumbest thing we ever tried to do on saltwater. But I give him props for trying to have a good time with his kids.
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#11643417 - 06/02/16 06:16 PM Re: What's your dumbest mistake operating a boat in saltwater? [Re: Uncle Zeek]
A draper Offline
Pro Angler

Registered: 07/03/07
Posts: 575
Loc: Lufkin, TX
I have two that I consider dumb.

My second time diy saltwater trip out of Port O'Connor was a learning experience. It was April. I was staying in a camper with no TV or internet. Ran out to Pringle on a Thursday morning to gentle south wind. We killed the trout and reds drifting. Then all of a sudden we weren't drifting. Then we were drifting in the opposite direction. Then the rain and stiff north breeze hit. We were in a 16' aluminum boat with a 25 hp motor and Espirito Santo Bay looked nasty. We left Pringle and tried to run east to Farwell only to almost take a wave over the side. I pointed the bow into the wind and hoped for best. I took several waves over the bow and it was raining so hard I could barely see. By the time I reached the ferry cut, I had enough water in the boat that everything was floating the fish on the stringer were swimming.

First time I ran the fishing center cut was before daylight and I tried to do it on the Navionics map which had the channel marked wrong. I ran a ground. I was in a bay boat this time.I pushed the boat off and dropped the trolling motor to ease back to the channel marker. I got flustered during the fiasco and left the trolling motor down when I fired the outboard. Then promptly stuck the trolling motor into a sandbar and broke the shaft.

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