Yesterday was book club day. Sal picked up her down-shore neighbour, G, in her small boat and headed up and over the storm-tossed seas to another island to pick up J, book-reader #3. She arrived at the dock to see the so-designated feverishly and frantically flailing about. The woman was attempting to unload a sinking boat.
J had just arrived at the dock and saw that a neighbour’s boat was sinking. She immediately sprang into action. The engine was half submerged, the boat was taut and low on the lines tied to the dock and various bits and pieces were beginning to float away. J sacrificed her non-galoshed feet to the effort and was immediately soaked to the knees. She then climbed onto the slippery and bouncing bow to balance the boat as level as possible. Sally and G hauled up on the aft dock line, attempting to get the transom above water, and began to bail. Twenty minutes later they had re-floated the boat, put in a call to the owner, collected the errant flotsam and re-tied the vessel.
When the owner arrived, the ladies boarded their boat and carried on to book club where a delightful time was had by all.
What is all that about?
Well, in comparative terms, it is the equivalent in effort to, perhaps, helping a neighbour get their vehicle unstuck in a snowstorm. In terms of discomfort, it was a smidge more miserable for J whose feet were not sporting boots and, as it turns out, for Sal, who worked like an Amazon to empty the boat. But, in dollar terms, it was much more huge. A too-long-submerged outboard might be written off. At the very least, it is a major effort at the mechanic’s to disassemble the motor, dry everything out, replace the electronics and then run-and-replace oils and fluids as required to capture all the moisture inevitably trapped in the machine.
But, in this case, the owner is a skilled mechanic. Five hours of immediate and expert work on his part rescued the motor and all is well.
Last night, Sal got the obligatory and much-appreciated phone call of gratitude and the promise of a fish or something to which she replied in all sincerity, “No. Nothing, please. Just do the same when it happens to us. Honest. This is what we do because we all experience this kind of thing at some time. So we just did it without even thinking. And we are all just pleased to have been there and done that at the right time. Please. Nothing. Just pass it on.”
And she’s right, of course. Every year. At least once, usually more often, a boat sinks at some local dock. Sometimes someone shows up in time. Sometimes not. We’ve had it happen to us. We’ve rescued others. Many have done and experienced the same. It’s what happens out here. Prompt action saves engines.