Outdoors Magazine

Blog Boaters Helping Boaters

By Sailingguide

I'm presently cruising Downeast Maine, where there are no towboats to come to your rescue if your engine dies and even Coast Guard stations are few and far between. Sailing these waters, you learn to be as independent and responsible for everything yourself as possible. But if you have an emergency or need some sort of help, it's other sailors or boaters who will come to your aid, in the long tradition of seafarers. A few days ago we were picking up a mooring in Boothbay Harbor, for example, when a sudden transmission problem set us adrift in the crowded harbor, our anchor on the bow roller threatening to scar or stove in nearby boats. As we scrambled for fenders and boathooks to fend off, within seconds - even without us calling for help - a couple dinghies appeared and helped us fend off and carry a line to a nearby mooring so we could secure the boat. I was remembering my first time sailing far Downeast, long ago, when a fog bank as thick as wool came sweeping in from the Bay of Fundy on a cold east wind. This was before chart plotters, although loran and the early GPS units gave a longitude and latitude you could plot on a paper chart. Before the fog bank even reached our boat, a lobster boat, the only craft within miles, rushed over and offered to lead us to a harbor of our choice. Over the years I've observed or experienced hundreds of similar acts of kindness or assistance by boaters. It happened again today when two sailors in the water from a capsized sailboat in Benicia, California, were rescued by a good Samaritan boater long before the official rescuers could reach them. In today's me-first culture, it's refreshing that sailors and other boaters still go out of their way to help others in need. Kinda makes you proud to be a member of the great sailing community!

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