Boat Ramp Shenanigans

Sunday was promising to be a mint day out on the water, or at least that’s what Dan kept telling me. He’d been watching the forecast intently over the school holidays to see if we could get out as a family on the boat, which doesn’t happen very often with school and work.

A horrible wind Saturday wouldn’t let up, so we made the decision to go out Sunday for a few hours in the bay. This meant we could take our dog out on the boat with us for a trial run. Our daughter, Brianna, is not a fan of an early wake up, especially when it’s the last chance for a sleep in, but once up and about we were both feeling good. Me with food and coffee in hand and her with a pillow, we met Dan down at the boat ramp. As we were walking around the Waka ama parked by the ramp we heard someone yelling out.

“Hey that’s Dad,” Brianna said.

As we came up next to him, he told us what had happened. Our boat was tied up at the very back corner of the floating jetty. Dan was watching the boats launching and was paying particular attention to one he had seen hit another boat once before.

The five guys on board were half-way down the jetty, when they tried to push off the wharf, then one of them got the plastic paddles out and tried to paddle backwards off the wharf.

After multiple attempts they finally got the motor started, put it into reverse to try to get off the jetty, when the motor cut out again. The engine was re-started, and then the driver shoved it into gear and took off heading straight towards our boat. They all started yelling at each other, pointing at our boat.

Dan yelled out at them, and they ended up pushing off our bow rail to avoid a collision, before heading out seemingly unphased at how close they had come to ruining a perfect Sunday.

So, with near-miss number one averted, we set off. There was a little bit of slop initially, which just eased out until the sea was glassy calm. Our dog was initially very interested in each fish that came on board then decided she didn’t like the splash in the face so settled for lying in her bed in the sun. It was on our return to the boat ramp near-miss number two occurred. There were a few people retrieving their boats seamlessly, and there were several smaller vessels returning.

I backed the trailer down the outside of the boat ramp to enable the smaller vessels to tie up to the jetty – particularly favoured by those who are operating solo or need to tow the boat onto the trailer with a rope.

Fortunately, when it was my turn to back the trailer down, the left-hand side of the ramp was free, so I managed to get down there easily enough.

There were a couple of boats tied up to the jetty and one ‘preparing’ to launch on the jetty side. At least I thought he was. As I was checking the boat catch was set for retrieval, I saw the boat being launched out of the corner of my eye.

The boat pushed off the trailer and then drifted off in front of everybody else, the skipper was fluffing about on board without the motor even going!

Thankfully, Dan was sitting further away ready to manoeuvre onto the trailer so was able to reverse out of the way of the drifting boat. Lucky that the boat did not drift towards those tied up to the jetty.

Eventually he dropped the motor, started the engine and was able to steer the boat as opposed to drifting aimlessly. Near miss number two averted, we headed home to clean up and put our feet up for the last few hours of the holidays.

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