Friday, September 15, 2017

After Irma – Things to know before you take your boat out

Leave the salvage efforts to the experts.

St. Petersburg, Fl
Opinion by: E. Eugene Webb PhD
Author: In Search of Robin, So You Want to Blog.

Looks like it may be a pretty nice weekend, and you may be tempted to take the boat out for a cruise around Tamp Bay, up the intercostal waterway or out on one of our fresh water lakes.

First of all, you might want to think carefully before you make that decision.

There will be a lot of floating debris in all of our water ways. Though a lot of stuff gets washed out and up onshore by the tide, a lot of it floats around in Tampa Bay for a long time.

Pieces of docks, construction material, metal roofs and even sunken boats are common scenes following an event like Irma.

A lot of the material floats just under the water making it almost impossible to see. Dock boards are especially notorious for floating just below the surface.

Obviously if you hit one of these objects, it could do a great deal of damage to your boat and/or motor and also to you and any passengers onboard.

It is a good idea to stay away from any sunken or partially submerged vessels or boats and remember that the rigging from a sunken sail boat may still be attached to the hull with long steel cables.

Watch for sailboat masts sticking up out of the water especially at dusk and it is a very good idea to get off the water before it gets dark and you lose all visibility.

I was a charter captain here in Tampa Bay for years and invariably someone tries to pull an abandon boat off a shore or a partially sunken one back to port. Sometimes the results are humorous sometimes they are tragic, but almost always you end up damaging something on your boat.

Be very careful if your boat is powered by an outboard motor, as an improperly secured tow may cause the stern of your boat to sink suddenly when you apply power swamping your vessel in just a moment.

Most modern pleasure vessels are not designed to tow much of anything, and any salvage attempt is a dangerous effort no matter how small the boat you are trying to save.

Leave the salvage efforts to the experts.

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