True Stories: We're Going Down

wakeboarding
We're Going DownIllustration: Georges Fauveau

When it comes to being a boat ­owner, there may not be anything more embarrassing than sinking your beautiful vessel. And sinking your boat at the dock because of a missing drain plug? Well, that just takes the cake. It’s the simple mistakes that tend to be the most humiliating, and among those excruciating mistakes lies the dreaded missing drain plug. What’s crazy is this is one of the most common problems boaters face out there. In fact, we’re betting a relatively high percentage of you have experienced this firsthand. And if this hasn’t happened to you (yet), you better knock on wood, because as much as you think you would never let this go down, it’s happened to the best of us.

For at least one of our readers, that unlucky day has already come. On a recent outing, he made the error of forgetting to check if the plug was installed before launching the boat. The launch area had been tight and overcrowded, so in a rush to unload the boat into the water and park the truck and trailer in a timely manner, his typical protocol went out the window. With everyone situated in the boat and his mind focused on starting the engine and getting underway, he wasn’t ­paying too much attention to his son’s comments about water creeping up into the back of the boat. Upon pulling away from the dock, he realized his son’s incessant complaints were valid. Turning around, he stared in horror at the alarming amount of water — 2 feet and rising — with not a clue where the missing plug could be.

You can imagine how this story ends. Fortunately, the family was fine; both passengers were wearing life jackets, and they were still close to the dock. However, the same couldn’t be said for their boat, which sat completely underwater with only the bow visible. The moral of the ­story is simple: 1) devise a plan for remembering your drain plug and never veer from it, and 2) always listen when someone complains about water ­entering the boat, even if it is just a kid.