Yep, the sun is over the yard-arm once again and it’s that time of year when a man has gotta do what a man has gotta do! With his RIB of course, and that means to launch it for the first time this year.
I hope the trailer makes it to the launch site and that the engine coughs over … chocks away and all that, but just hang on a minute, before we start putting down some serious throttle, I think we should check through a few, perhaps forgotten, maritime rituals. We need water to launch, so what is the state of the tide going to be when you get there, how long will you be afloat and when do you need to be back so that you have enough water to recover again?
A short story …
Some sensible young friends of mine thought they had considered everything and had even asked the “locals” when high tide was. Unfortunately, the “locals” got it wrong by three hours and also gave these lads some ‘duff gen’ on the weather. Everything went pear-shaped as they were washed ashore on a strong falling tide, in darkness and not knowing where they were!
Worse was still to come since they had no charts, no VHF and had not told the Coast Guard of their plans for the day. Luck did, however, turn their way since they had friends who, knowing they were missing, notified the nearest lifeboat station. A search and rescue was promptly effected as the lads did have a few flares to assist their location, and an idiot like me to repair their RIB!
Many a lesson learned here. Local tide tables cost very little and often boost the RNLI kitty. Are you a member of the RNLI? My friends are now. It sure eases the embarrassment when you call them out. If you are boating close to shore then a handheld 1 watt marine VHF will do, but generally, a 25-watt set is recommended for further offshore. If you do run aground, don’t panic… Switch your engine off, tilt it up, walk to the front of the boat to counteract the weight of the engine aft and your RIB will then float as shallow and as horizontal as possible. Just sit still for a few seconds, check that you’re drifting and use your paddles ( ! ) to make it back into prop depth again.
Get a set of local tide tables, tell friends ashore when you expect to return, have a good radio, flares, mobile phone and paddles. Good RIBing…..
Your comments and questions count!
email me at [email protected]