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#12505119 - 11/16/17 01:01 AM Lake Fork Low Life
bluesea112 Offline

Registered: 01/07/11
Posts: 312
Loc: West, TX
Yesterday my father and his fishing buddy were on Lake Fork around 1:00pm and got stranded a few miles from the boat ramp. My father is 81 years old and has heart issues, and his fishing buddy is recovering from 3 strokes he had not to long ago. They look out for each other on the water and tire out pretty quickly. Yesterday when they could not get the engine started they pulled out the paddle and started paddling across the lake. The boat they were in is a 16 foot fiberglass v-hull, so it was a heavy boat to move with just one paddle. They took turns paddling while the other rested. After an hour of paddling, they saw a boat coming towards them in the distance. As it got closer they stood up and started waving the paddle and their arms in the air to flag down the boat. As they stood there waving and hollering the boat passed by less than 100 yards away and never let off the throttle. There were 3 people in that boat, and every one of them saw the distress signal. The boat they were attempting to flag was headed straight for the boat ramp my father and his friend were paddling to, so it would not have been a huge burden for that boat to stop and offer assistance.

I cannot count the number of times my father and I have helped other boaters throughout the years. We never think twice about stopping if another boater is flagging us down, because it is just one of those things you do.

I am curious to hear what y'all think. Am I right or wrong about the necessity to stop when another boater is flagging you?

#12505121 - 11/16/17 01:35 AM Re: Lake Fork Low Life [Re: bluesea112]
Bobby Milam Online   content
TFF Team Angler

Registered: 07/13/14
Posts: 3579
Loc: Arlington
Who knows what they were thinking. Maybe they thought your Father was scolding them for running too close on plane. If they knew that they were being flagged down for assistance and did not stop then that is pretty crappy. Glad they made it back in safely. If their health is that bad you should really put a trolling motor on their boat just for this type of scenario.

#12505135 - 11/16/17 05:34 AM Re: Lake Fork Low Life [Re: bluesea112]
flukeman83 Online   content
Extreme Angler

Registered: 06/19/14
Posts: 1263
Now days not everyone is ready to stop and render aid,,,, whether it be on the water or on the road.
you can't say someone is a jerk for not stopping. Their situation and/or trepidations about stopping to help is only known to them.
in a situation like that you can only hope that someone stops and helps and that they are the people you want stopping and helping.
the wrong guys stopping and could have been worse.
it is not 1960 and the world has changed ,,,,,,,, for better or worse.
I am with Bobby ,,,,,, your Dad should not have to use a paddle ,,,,,, get that man a trolling motor.
My kids bought me a trailer "step system" because they were worried about me getting in the boat when I unloaded/loaded it by myself.
now if they could just get me to wear my life vest.

#12505190 - 11/16/17 06:54 AM Re: Lake Fork Low Life [Re: bluesea112]
CarlT Offline

Registered: 06/11/12
Posts: 75
Loc: The Colony, TX
I personally consider it a privilege whenever I get to help someone out on the water. Somehow you always get back in life what you give out. Good or bad.

#12505193 - 11/16/17 06:58 AM Re: Lake Fork Low Life [Re: bluesea112]
tricky Offline
Pro Angler

Registered: 10/15/04
Posts: 781
Loc: little elm texas
I think you are absolutely right! There is no excuse to not stop and help.
Its just the right thing to do.

#12505238 - 11/16/17 07:32 AM Re: Lake Fork Low Life [Re: bluesea112]
the skipper Offline
TFF Team Angler

Registered: 07/04/11
Posts: 4282
Loc: nederland, TX
What they did was illegal. If they could have gotten the TX numbers they could have called them in.

#12505328 - 11/16/17 08:49 AM Re: Lake Fork Low Life [Re: bluesea112]
Flippin-Out Offline
Extreme Angler

Registered: 02/25/15
Posts: 2167
Loc: Magnolia, TX
WOW, everybody seems intent on jumping on this "unknown jerk" boater.....

I'll have to comment that I'm very impressed with the OP. He needs to contact the CIA since he has mastered the art of reading other people's minds, re: "There were 3 people in that boat, and every one of them saw the distress signal." Really? How does anyone know what they did or did not see without talking to the three people?

Additionally, waving (with or without a paddle) IS NOT a designated distress signal as of the last time I read the regulations. CONSIDER that the passing boater could have easily taken the waving to mean "We are here; don't overlook us and run over our boat". The other boater may have felt he was doing what they wanted by passing clear of their vessel, and thought nothing more of it.

MAYBE the people in the other boat didn't actually "see" or comprehend what was going on IN the disabled boat. When traveling at speed, what's needed is to comprehend speed and course of other vessels to extrapolate whether evasive action is needed. The driver may have seen the boat, but not comprehended the "hey, they're waving at us" part of the event.

Who's to say they actually passed within "100 yards"? It's a fact that many people are HORRIBLE at estimating distance, especially on open water. I've shown people a range they estimated at 100 actually 300 yards by rangefinder. None of us were in the other angler's boat, so we have no clue what he could reasonably be expected to notice.

BTW, if you're floating in boat that's not at risk of sinking or other serious incident, I'm not so sure other boaters are "required" to stop according to law/regulation. I don't think the mandatory render aid clause applies in this case. Should they stop if they see you? Sure. I'd bet that the vast majority of boaters will stop IF they see that someone is in need. There's probably more to this story that would explain why it went the way it did.

The best person to help when you are in a bind is yourself. That didn't go so well in this case. When something happens, don't get mad about it and slam others that may not be at all responsible, nor even derelict in civil responsibility.

So, the fact is that two elderly men, both with serious health issues, made a conscious decision to go out in a single engine boat (one outboard, no trolling motor). Apparently, nobody prepared for the "what if's" at all.

Here's some questions for dad and his friend:

Did they have at least one cell phone? I wouldn't think of going out without one. It might not get a signal, but it's worth a shot in a bind.....

Do they have a horn in the boat?

Did they have flares in the boat?

Do they have a distress flag in the boat? (There's a standard for that, and Academy sells them.) If nothing else, it's a big orange flag other boaters might more readily notice so they realize they should stop to inquire if assistance is needed.

All of the above things are prudent for any boater whether mandatory or not. They were lucky considering how unprepared they were. This is your chance to correct THEIR numerous oversights and mistakes. Put some effort into that instead of ranting about a passing boater who may not have taken waving as a distress signal if he even noticed they were waving. You have no way to know that their lack of stopping was intentional.....


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