Aye Aye, Captain!

Over the weekend we took our boat out on the lake.  It was full to the brim (but not over) with teenaged friends of my daughter, and was a great opportunity for my sweetheart to dump them one-by-one out of the inner-tube pulled behind the boat.

When we arrived at the lake that evening, we were confronted by a scene of chaos.   On the boat ramp, there were about eight kids ranging in age from five to twelve, and three rather tipsy, shirtless men in their thirties gripping the sides of a boat that was floundering at the ramp, with the lower two-thirds completely submerged in the water.  It was listing sickeningly to one side, threatening to begin taking on water from that direction as well.  One of the men was still in the captain’s chair, frantically turning the key and adjusting the throttle; he seemed oblivious to the fact that the motor was completely submerged, and unlikely to crank let alone propel him.  The boat trailer was barely in the water, and out of reach of the distressed craft.

We put our truck in park above the ramp and my sweetheart calmly said, “I think they need some help,” and walked purposefully down the boat ramp toward the scene.  (That man needs to bring a cape with him everywhere he goes, I swear!)  We waited in the truck and filmed the whole thing on my daughter’s phone.

The first thing he did was unhook the winch cable and try to hand it to the “captain”, telling him to hook it to the front of the boat.  He looked at it quizzically and said, “Where does it go?”  My sweetheart waded into the water, took it back from him, and hooked it to the front of the boat.  Then he walked back to the front of the trailer and started to tighten the winch.  When the winch was a tight as it could go at that angle, he asked a member of the “crew” to back the trailer further down the ramp.  Initially he refused, saying, “But the trailer’s already in the water.”  But he quickly recognized that he was in no position to argue, having been one of the people who almost sunk the boat in the first place, and backed the trailer fully into the water.  Meanwhile, the “captain” continued to try to start the submerged engine.  Maybe he thought he had to go down with the ship.

My sweetheart continued to crank the winch until the boat was fully up on the trailer, and then instructed them to pull the trailer up out of the water.  The group stood and watched water drain from the vessel for several minutes while my sweetheart asked them what had happened.  Apparently, the “captain” (the irony in that is so thick I just can’t stop referring to him that way) had told everyone to get in the back of the boat to make it easier for him to pull up on the trailer.  Of course, the fact that the boat was rated for six people and up to 750 pounds, and was carrying three men and eight boys made that ill advised.  Once they were all in the back, and the “captain” revved the engine toward the trailer, the stern tipped under the water…  and the rest was fodder for YouTube.

After hearing the story, and politely not calling the “captain” a dumb-ass, he walked to the back of the boat where everyone was watching the water slowly drain.  “It looks like it’s almost empty,” said the “captain”.  Then my sweetheart reached over and pulled the plugs at the bottom of the boat, releasing a Niagara Falls of lake water.  The “captain” commented, “Oh!  Where was that?”

After that, the “captain” and his “crew” seemed hesitant to look my sweetheart in the eye.  He waved good-bye and headed back toward our truck, putting our boat in the water.  Just as he was pulling our boat off the trailer, one of the boys from the sunken boat, who was all of about seven years-old, stood on the shore and waved to him mouthing “THANK YOU!”

Later, when the Game Warden stopped us on the lake to inspect our life jackets and fire extinguisher (We passed!) we showed him the video.  With a smirky smile, he thanked us and sent us on our way across the waves.

Editor’s Note:  The whining in the background is Gigi the poodle.  She was more than a little upset that she was left behind in the truck with me and the kids.

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