True Stories: Cutting Corners

Boating Safety
True StoriesIllustration: Chaz Russo

There seems to be an endless supply of boating mishaps for us to pull from. And although some of these stories are pretty comical, there’s really nothing funny about it when an accident happens to you. So above all, keep safety at the front of your mind when preparing for time on the water. A few extra seconds of critical thinking could prevent a life-changing catastrophe.

With that said, the boating blunder that most recently caught our ­attention comes fresh out of Australia — which always seems to be where we find our most extreme stories. A family was towing their boat ­behind a houseboat using a cheap old rope from Bunnings (the Australian version of Home Depot). During their voyage, the adults were having some drinks while the 15-year-old on board was left to be the ­designated ­driver. After their boat crossed the wake of another boat, the rope ­between the houseboat and the wakeboat snapped. The 15-year-old skipper went back to check on the boat in tow and saw it floating away. The family then turned the houseboat around to retrieve the ­wayward vessel, only to witness a passing yacht crash head-on into it, punching a large hole in the side of the hull and causing it to sink. Shocked at the sight of their family boat bubbling down into the depths of the river, they called marine rescue, who managed to retrieve the boat within a week’s time.

Luckily, no one was hurt in the collision, but it could have been much worse. First of all, drinking and boating is never a safe combination, not to mention leaving a 15-year-old kid in charge of both of your vessels. Second, don’t skimp on getting the right gear. Just because you have an old rope lying around doesn’t mean that it’s suitable to tow a boat. And third, if you’re driving a yacht, watch where you’re going.

Let's all learn a lesson from this and get educated about boating safety before we head out to our local waterways. Go to wakeboarding​mag.com/boatingsafety for more information on how to prevent mishaps like these. Stay safe out there, folks!