So, I’m waaaay out in the middle of nowheresville on the Delta last week, right before sunset, when I come across the interesting sight above. A little boat; One guy in the bow and another in the water, attempting to drag it…against the surging flood tide.
As we got closer to the vessel, the guy in the boat said they’d had engine trouble and the chap in the water said he’d been dragging the boat for quite awhile.
Keep in mind that my graph was showing a water temp of 49-50 degrees!
Then we discovered that the two were beyond inebriated…so intoxicated that they could barely function. We pulled alongside and tried to help the guy get back in his boat, but though the water was only 3.5 feet deep, he couldn’t, and the sides on my boat where way too high.
So, I had him hang on as I slowly towed their boat to shallower water.
Between the alcohol and completely numb legs, he could barely climb aboard…
Once onboard, I told them I’d tow them and asked the guys where they had come from but they had no clue.
The sun was now setting and wet guy started shivering uncontrollably. We offered him a dry jacket but he refused, opting for another 12 ounce round of liquid “warmth” instead.
I started fearing hypothermia would set in as darkness fell and realized the situation was quickly getting worse. Particularly after they both nearly fell out of their boat into the swift current during the tow.
Thinking that they may need medical attention — and certainly a ride home, I called the Coast Guard. The boys in orange showed up and our part of the mission was complete….
These guys were so lucky we happened by when we did. It had been a very quiet day on the Delta and we hadn’t seen another boat in a couple hours. If we didn’t come along, there was nobody else coming in behind us way out there in the boonies to help.
The really crazy thing about it all was they were so hammered that they had no clue that they were in trouble. Case in point, when I offered up the jacket to the wet guy, his buddy, who was perfectly dry said; “No thanks, I’m good,” not even realizing it was intended for his shivering buddy.
With the incoming tide making the water deeper and the sun going down, wet guy surely would have died. He was just too cold, drunk and weak to hang on much longer. And who knows, the other guy would’ve either eventually fallen over the side too — or passed out and woke the next morning to find his buddy missing.
I bring this up because there are a lot of people out there that don’t respect the water enough. These guys were in a tiny, narrow-beamed 12 footer on a waterway that can turn ugly in a hurry. No safety equipment or running lights and, apparently, no common sense, since one guy was trying to drag the boat against the current — rather than use the paddles they had.
Booze and boating don’t mix and without our random crossing of paths, the water almost claimed another victim or two.
Be safe out there, people!!