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So there I was, at the boat ramp...

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  • So there I was, at the boat ramp...

    Total Newbie story...
    I was at the prep area of my local ramp making ready to launch, fenders, rods in their holders, transom straps, plugs, normal stuff. This guy in a minivan rolls up next to me pulling an older, but nice, Tracker fishing boat. He rolls his passenger window down and asks, "Is this the boat ramp?" I said yep, right where it disappears into the water there, indicating the direction with a nod of my head. He says his thanks, with a big smile, and then drives off to the ramp turnaround and starts backing in.

    A few shot minutes later and I am ready to launch, I back in, jump in the boat, fire her up, ease over to the dock, tie off, mosey to my truck, park the rig and walk back down. Mr. Minivan is now sitting in his boat cranking the engine as I walk down to the dock Before I get to my boat he has the cowling off, back and forth, cranking, fiddling, cranking. So I open a beer and watch for a minute or so. The motor sounded good when it was cranking, just not getting fuel maybe; so I moseyed over and asked if he needed some help. He told me how this was his first boat, bought it on craigslist, yada, yada. I asked if he had test driven it beforehand; he said yes, and it had fired right up before he bought it!

    I asked the usual questions, is there fuel in the tank, did you pump the bulb, did you prime it before you turned the key...
    Did I what?
    Prime it, you know, push the key in a couple of times, kinda like a choke, but not.
    Nope, didn't even know what it was.
    He did it, she fired right up.
    He offered me a beer for my help, which I gladly accepted.

    Several hours later I was heading across the lake toward the river mouth when I see Mr. Minivan cruising out in the open water with his trolling motor down, sitting in the bow fishing seat, not looking very happy. Odd, I thought, for a first time boat guy to seem so unhappy in his new boat. So I throttled back and came up alongside him and asked him if everything was okay.
    What happened? I asked.
    I dropped my keys into the lake, all of them.
    I seems, while sitting there fishing, he had the bright idea of putting his boat key on his regular key ring, and instead of putting them back in the ignition he sat them on the top of the side console. Eventually he knocked them in the lake.
    I told him I couldn't help with getting him in the minivan, but I could give him a tow to the dock at least. He accepted and I tied him on my port side and we idled the four miles or so into the dock. He called his wife to bring an extra set of minivan keys, but there were no extra set of boat keys; his fishing was done.
    We waited together at the dock, while drinking his beer, for his wife to show up with the keys; which she eventually did.
    I offered to help him retrieve the boat as it would be difficult without the big motor, but he assured me the two of them could handle it.
    He gave me the rest of his minnows and his cell number, and said if I ever needed anything to call him; and I think he really meant it.
    I went up river to find the crappie.

    Here's to you and lessons the hard way Mr. Minivan. I hope you get it all figured out an eventually get to have hours of fun in your new-to-you boat!

    Who is John Galt?

  • #2
    Good story. Like the guy's name.
    1996 Chaparral 1830 SST, 2002 Sea-Doo Sportster LE, 1997 Seadoo Challenger (SOLD), 2002 Seadoo GTX Millenium Edition, 2004 Seadoo GTI, 2007 Seadoo GTI 155 4-tec , 1997 Seadoo GTX


    • #3
      Good story! All in all a pretty good outing for a very first splash ever in my opinion for Mr Minivan

      Thanks for pitching in like that, not everyone would have taken the time out for all that. Seems like some good folk met some good folk that day.
      2002 Bryant 188 4.3MPI


      • #4
        About 7 yrs ago I was boating on my usual lake and I came across my manager out in his boat. We exchanged pleasantries and went our separate ways. about 2 hours later I'm cruising along and I see a boat about a mile or so away, literally in the center of the lake. I saw some one doing what looked like jumping jacks, well both arms waving. I head over and guess who it is? I pull up and ask if he was having engine trouble. No, he ran out of gas. he then proceeds to tell me he has lots of gas back at his truck. I look around and said I didn't see his truck anywhere nearby. I told there were two thing we could do, either toss me a line and I could tow him the 8 miles back to his truck or he could climb aboard and I could take him to the truck and back. He chose the latter. I didn't tell anyone at the office about it, he posts a video of himself telling the crew about the adventure. Boy did I get a lot of hate e-mail that week demanding to know why I didn't leave him out there.


        • #5
          One time an older gentleman had some issues out on the lake, him and the wife on the boat, neat 16' or so fiberglas fishing rig. They got it to the dock at the ramp but he was not going to be able to go get his truck and retrieve. She could drive them home but no way she could maneuver for the retrieval. I was just hanging around the dock because I had wrecked my (duo)props on a previous boat earlier in the day rescuing my brother's slowly sinking jetski. Brother was getting it running again, and hanging around the dock to see where the water was coming in. So I had plenty of time and no boat to enjoy it with.

          The couple was pretty chatty when they got to the dock, and we could tell they needed some help as he just could not do the needful physical things to go get their truck. I offered to go get their truck and back in, got the keys, it all went well even with the manual shift small truck. He just stayed in the boat the whole time as even getting up the walk from the dock was not going to work. Someone had offered to call 911, can't remember now why that did not happen, other than they were both coherent and the wife was totally capable except for the ramp work. He was just not able to move well, breathing ok, etc. We helped get him out and into his Mazda pickup, they offered money but I refused, just get home ok we all said.

          I did get that one paid back to me a few years later. I have that on Dockside Chat, here is the link and some excerpts on the help I got that day...


          "... A couple of guys were just starting to prep their nice aluminum fishing rig, so I went over and chatted some. The wind had come up some, probably 20mph, and they as well as I were questioning our sanity at this point. I have a 22 foot Cuddy, and it does ok in chop but still can be an uncomfortable ride. One of the guys was visiting his buddy, and mentioned he had a boat back home more like mine. He knew the powertrain and it became obvious he was an experienced boater. We had a good chat and I decided to "Endeavor to Persevere" and go ahead and launch.

          Got it backed in with trailer right beside the ramp. I did not have a spring line or anything, figuring to just start it up and idle on back and tie off to the dock then go park the truck. I underestimated what the wind had in mind though, as it was blowing across the dock then blowing my stern away before I could get out of the pilot seat and back there to tie off. I tried several times to power over there, then the guy I chatted with hollered and asked if I wanted him to park my rig. I hollered back YES!!! and THANKS!!!!
          (had some fun on the water then retrieved with no new issues)
          I raised the drive then drove out then finished strapping down for the trip home. I began to write a note to the guys that helped me launch, then saw they were coming in. I waited to thank them in person. The guy who parked my rig hid the billfold and cellphone and keys all just where I was going to, very nice and I wanted to be sure he knew that it was appreciated greatly..."
          2002 Bryant 188 4.3MPI


          • #6
            Had to get in inline to unload one morning right at daybreak. Found the problem! Found his wife and boat taking up space. Seems like he was inside the boat; was relocating his ice chest; lost his balance; and it fell on his ignition switch breaking the key off. He went to town (25 miles) to find another switch. He left his wife there alone to put up with all the stares


            • #7
              There are some Muttonheads around.


              • #8
                Sign up today
                A couple years ago right after we bought our boat (25' Sundancer) we had an exciting evening. We had never anchored before and had never boated in the dark before, or ever towed anyone in. So we decided to get that first one out of the way and dropped anchor around 5:00PM. A few minutes later a call comes across the VHF for a disabled boat on the Ohio. I sit and listen and after about 20 minutes and the 3rd unanswered call I respond and ask where he is. So we pull anchor and start heading in his direction. I come up behind a tugboat and barges and stop and radio again asking his location (about 2 miles from where we were anchored). Tugboat captain replies back that he is right around the corner. So we get over there and the guy is in a 19' open bow boat by himself. There is a pontoon beside him I guess waiting for me? So we tie up and start heading in. Remember earlier when I said I had never boated in the dark? Welllllll, guess what? It's getting dark and I am moving alot slower than I thought I would. By the time we get to the ramp it is pitch black and I can't see a thing. We get the guy to the dock and he says to hold on he was going to his truck to get me some money. I told him forget it and left. So we experienced 3 new things all in the same night. Wasn't fun but would do it again if I had to.