Sunday, June 11, 2006

The Dock Ain't for Swimming!

Okay, it’s time for a little session here. I don’t know if anyone reading this is guilty of the actions I’m about to rant about, but if you are, get a clue and stop doing this in the future.

My rant is simple. Kids. Okay, there it is and it is simple. Your kids love to go to the lake and ride around on boats, fish, ski, or swim don’t they? It’s a wonderful day to take your kids out to the lake and spend good, quality, family time together. But, that family time is not to be spent at the dock and the ramps.

A dock, near the boat ramp, is used to tie your boat off, make final preparations and head out to the main waters. This is not the place to work on your boat while your kids run wild. Just the other day a gentleman was working on his boat and his two (I’m guessing) grandsons of at least eight years of age if not a little older were busy running up and down the dock and throwing rocks. Yes, throwing rocks! For crying out loud, people are trying to get in and out of boats in this area and the last thing someone wants to think about is some brat throwing a rock at his or her boat. Now, I didn’t actually see any rocks hitting boats, but I was assured by someone else that they thought the kids were throwing rocks at some boats.

Now, if the rock thing isn’t bad enough, let’s consider those big orange signs all around the dock and ramp areas. You know the ones that say “No Swimming” and “No Walking in Water,” etc. Apparently these kids and their grandfather were unable to read. I had to wait for several minutes for these little darlings to decide they were done swimming at the dock before I could pull up. I didn’t want to bump one of them in the head as I floated up to tie off!

I made my happy way up the ramp (this is while they are throwing rocks mind you) and got my trailer ready to go down the ramp. By this time grandpa has got his own truck down the ramp and has his boat loaded onto the trailer. He is now proceeding to attempt to move his motor pin, or something. I start backing down the ramp and what do I see in the water? Two little darling kids swimming in the ramp area. I think, “well grandpa has a brain, he’ll tell them to get out when I come down the ramp with the big trailer moving toward the water where they are”. Well, I think wrong. Grandpa apparently can’t think for himself. I finally get the ramp into the water, while counting kids, and watching to ensure none of their darling, little heads get lopped off my the steel on my trailer.

Like all good boaters, I’m in a hurry to get my boat loaded and get off the ramp so others can load their boats. Grandpa now has several people waiting while he is still “playing” with his motor. I obtain my boat (see pictures) and attempt to load it onto the trailer. Guess what? Grandpa still hasn’t told his kids to move out of the way. I now have to contend with watching the trailer, guiding the boat, and trying to make sure I don’t run over these darling, little boys, that swim toward my trailer and back to their grandpa’s boat.

Finally after the third try (you try it with kids in the water around the boat) I killed the motor and told the kid closest to my boat, “You know, I’m not real good at this and I’m afraid that I may drift over and bonk one of you in the head.” It was time for their response. I thought sure grandpa would tell them to get out of the water. No, I thought wrong again. Grandpa and the two boys looked at me as if I had just spoken a foreign language to them.

I finally got the boat loaded, up out of the water and left the area. In the meantime I watched two other frustrated boaters try to get past the grandpa and his boys. It was not a good end to a great day on the lake.

Okay, the lesson here is simple. The government did not spend money on “No Swimming” signs so that your kids could swim around the boat area. Boats are big kids; they have props that go swish, swish, swish, and chop, chop, chop. That is dangerous. Parents take charge and tell your kids to get the heck out of the water! As for all those of you who have had this frustration before, I feel your pain. Fortunately, this is the first boater I’ve dealt with like this in a very long time. Ninety-nine percent of the rest of us want to spend as little time at the docks (be it loading or unloading) as possible. Enjoy boating!

1 comment:

SLWatson said...

Here via randomly surfing from your Trek stuff...

If you want to make it clear just how important it is for people to watch their children, feel free to take them aside and tell them a story: My husband was an officer for the Ohio Department of Natural Resources for many years. One year, a little boy was in the water and ended up being hit by a prop -- he suffered two eleven inch long slices to his thighs, and came very close to dying. Thanks to my husband and the other officers on duty, the little boy lived, but it was a hard recovery for him.

His parents weren't bad people, and it was an accident. But a little more safety taken would have saved that child from a lot of pain.

Next time a grandpa goes and is oblivious, try taking him aside and gently explaining. He may get mad, and not seem to listen... but you can bet it'd stick in his mind every time he's at the ramp.