2015 New York Safe Boating - 71
should also place bow and stern lines for assistance in
"Our motor boat had difficulty taking those two out
of that tree, the water was high and moving fast, and
branches keep pushing the boat away," the fire chief
acknowledged. "The couple we rescued was suffering
from hypothermia--the ambulance transported them to
In hot weather, paddle at an easy pace and drink plenty of
liquids during the day. Lassitude, a lack of will to carry on at a
modest pace, is an early sign of overheating. If this happens
to you, take a break, drink more fluids, take a swim from the
boat, sit in the water by the shore or pour some water over
yourself. Wearing a hat will also help to reduce your body
Dan and I, with the firemen and other rescuers, scouted
the river for hours. The only sign of Mike was his PFD,
caught in another strainer further down the river. Days
later, when the river flow was down, police divers found
Mike's body under the first tree.
Stick with your group. If you want to take a few people
away from the group, discuss it first with the entire group.
Establish group horn signals (to gather up, boat over, etc.)
Groups always spread out, so identify a few waiting points
along your course. Each time you stop, clearly indicate the
next rest point. Always paddle at a speed to accommodate
the weakest paddlers in the group.
Kayaks and canoes are hard to see and are not picked up by
radar, so larger boats may not be able to see you. Cross boating
channels at right angles to traffic after oncoming boats have
passed. Groups should cross together, not one by one.
A regatta is an organized event and often attracts public
interest. There will be more boat traffic in the area of the
regatta, and there will likely be observers on shore as well.
When travelling in an area where there is a regatta, always
wait for an escort boat to guide you through safely. If the
event doesn't provide escort boats, proceed at a safe, no
wake speed and don't cut through the event.
Mike's Last Paddle
It was a warm April and I just couldn't wait to try out
my new kayak. My friends Mike, Hank, Linda and I
piled into Dan's pickup with our kayaks and canoes and
headed to the fishing access site on the other side of
town. Dan was the designated driver for the day; he
was going to check in with us at certain spots along our
route, and pick us up at the end of our journey.
Any race or regatta requires a permit issued by New York
State Parks, New York State DEC or the US Coast Guard.
Before issuing a permit, New York State Parks, DEC, or the
US Coast Guard will consider:
How many safety patrols will the event require?
Will a portion of the waterway be shut down?
How will other boaters transit that area?
Are there laws that may have to be suspended? If
We put our boats in the water and off we went. A
week's worth of rain and the winter snowmelt meant
that water was high, fast and rough; but we're
experienced river runners and we looked forward to an
exciting ride. We were having an exhilarating trip when
we went under the first bridge. Dan had driven there as
planned and we waved to him as we passed underneath.
As we turned a bend, we came upon a fallen tree across
the river. I was on the outside of the group so I was able
to stay clear of the tree, but my friends couldn't.
so, what laws?
Will the event create noise? If so, at what time of
Is the event near an area that is a preserve or where
endangered species may live?
Meanwhile, Dan had stopped at his next checkpoint-a
clearing along the river where he could see us go by. A
few moments after arriving, he saw two canoes floating
by, upside down. "It was the scariest thing I'd ever seen,"
Dan said. He called 911 on his cell phone and started
running upstream. After about half a mile he found me,
Hank, and Linda.
If you are organizing a race or regatta, start your paperwork
early so that you will receive your permit in time for the event.
Sailing is a challenging sport, much more so than power
boating. With a good instructor, you can learn the
fundamentals of sailing in just a day or two and, the more
you sail, the better your skills will become.
Hank and Linda were in the water, hanging onto the
tree. Mike's canoe was wrapped around the base of
the tree. When I saw the canoes run into trouble I
grounded my kayak and ran back toward the bend to try
to help. I kept Hank and Linda within sight while I looked
for a safe way to reach them. When I saw Dan, I sent
him to scout the riverbanks for signs of Mike. About
that time a fireboat showed up for the rescue.
There are four components to a sail boat: the hull, the sails,
the daggerboard (or keel) and the rudder. The hull carries
the crew and supports the mast and rigging. Sails provide
motive force. The wind fills the sails and pushes the boat
according to how the sails are aligned. The centerboard
(or keel), keeps the boat from being pushed sideways and