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Fishing Rhino

A Lesson Learned While Forethought Paid Off.

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After a day's fishing, time to load the boat.

I ran the boat onto the beach, then headed for my truck and trailer to back it down the ramp. I thought about telling the fellow fishing with me to stay with the boat while I got the truck, but thought it might be insulting to him, so I didn't. Bad mistake, by someone with more years than I care to think about, around boats.

As I was backing the trailer down the ramp, I saw my buddy headed to his vehicle with some of his gear, and my boat drifting away from the beach. Thankfully there was no wind assisting the glide that was caused by him stepping off the boat which pushed the boat away from the shore.

Off with my watch, the cell phone, my keys, wallet, glasses, shirt and shoes. My buddy offered to go for the swim, but since he doesn't know how to run the boat, that would have been futile, though I appreciated the offer.

I swam the hundred and fifty feet or so to the boat. How does a nearly seventy year old man get aboard without a boarding ladder? This is where forethought paid off. I had pondered about what to do should I find myself in the water, needing to get aboard the boat.

I swam to the starboard side of the stern. I grabbed the stern then with my right hand, I grabbed the assembly where the steering cables hook up to the motor. After getting a good grip, I found the cavitation plate with my foot, and voila, I was able to get myself sprawled on the rear deck. From there it was easy to work myself completely onto the deck. Start the motor, beach the boat, finish backing the trailer into the water, load the boat and head for home, none the worse for the wear.

Lesson one: Take nothing for granted. Give instructions no matter how obvious they might seem.

Lesson two: Plan ahead. Think about what you would do in various situations, with what you have available to you. I gave some thought about getting from the water to the boat without a ladder, should I find myself in the drink, and it paid off.

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Did you check yourself for zebra mussels? :lol:

A similar thing happened to me in 07. I was backing down the boat and I forgot to attach my rope to the trailer and saw my boat drifting away in the mirror. I run out of the car to save the boat without putting it in park. I had a split second choice to make on whether to get the boat or stop the truck. I chose to stop the truck even though it was backed down to the point there was 12 inches of water on the back seat. As my boat got about 75ft from the boat ramp another boater pulled up and retrieved my boat.

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Another option you might want to consider is using the power tilt is your motor has it. Generaly, motors with power tilt have a button/switch on the side to operate it at the motor. stand on the anticav plate and raise the motor, as it come up reposition to the mid section. I've tried this a couple of times on mine (225 OMC) even one time when water was about 45 degrees just to be sure I could do it in extremely adverse conditions and it worked like a champ. I too am getting a lot of snow on the roof and was looking at adding a folding bording ladder, but this worked well enough I decided it was not needed.

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i was loading my boat on an electric only lake and took one mis-step and ended up in the drink when the water was mid 50's and the air temp wasnt much higher. it sucked the air right out of me. i was lucky i was able to stand up and walk out.

ive heard of guys climbing up on their outboards and trimming the motor up to climb aboard. id do it in a heart beat if i had too.

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Keeping a complete change of clothes in the truck is a good precaution as well. I ensure they are modified to match the season as well.

And yes I've used them at least once.

B)

A-Jay

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I use the tilt-trim to hoist the kids out of the water after a swim. Glad you were able to get it the back.

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As another "seasoned " boater I understand the importance of having a plan. I have fallen off my boat twice now. The last time I was alone without a life jacket on. I quickly made the decision to lose the combo I had in my hand. The wind was blowing just enough that by the time I reached the boat, I had only enough energy to hang on until the wind blew me and the boat to shore. It was a very frightening experience. I had resolved to wear an inflatable flotation devise at all times, but had just left the dock and had not put it on yet. I was lucky and hope to never find myself in that spot again.

Just a little off topic, a dear friend was drowned in Baldwin Lake here in So. Illinois earlier this year. Baldwin is a perched lake and is very much effected by wind. Greg was fishing alone without a life jacket, on a windy day. I was in the hospital at the time or I may have been with him. He was 43, a great swimmer, and as strong as a bull. He left a wife and three half grown kids. Being prepared is not something to take lightly.

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There were no other boaters around to shuttle you back to your sweet sweet ride? That sucks. Glad it didnt happen during the EMGT or someone got some splainin to doo...glad you were able to recover it alright.

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When I bought my boat I had a good look at it and said to myself "Self, you're no longer a spring chicken. What are you going to do if you fall out of the boat?" The boat now has a boarding ladder. Thankfully I have never had to use it - yet.

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When I bought my boat I had a good look at it and said to myself "Self, you're no longer a spring chicken. What are you going to do if you fall out of the boat?" The boat now has a boarding ladder. Thankfully I have never had to use it - yet.

Spring chicken or not, in my opinion a boarding ladder is almost a must. I had a very similar experience to skunked. I went overboard at a ramp a few years ago. Water was mid 50's. Air, strength, and coordination sucked right out of me. I struggled to get to me feet in water that was a little over waist deep. I am almost thankful that it happened. Couldn't have happened in a better spot. I learned a lot from that. My boat now and any future boat will have boarding ladders.

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You have two different situations here, one is falling in friggid water, the other the boarding ladder. If you have never praticed survival in friggid water and fall in, there's a good chance a boarding ladder is not going to do you any good if by yourself.

The common reaction for most people when they hit frigged water is a sudden, deep inhale. If you go in head first, you may have just drowned yourself or panic to the point you are totally disfunctional. Add some bulky, cold weather gear that just soaked up about 100 pounds of water, unless you happen to fall in right beside the ladder, you probably would not get to it.

I make it a point every few years to dive my warm, dry butt in water about 45 degrees (about as cold as it gets in my area) just to keep in practice with proper survival techniques for frigid water. Hell no, it's not fun and my granddaughter hates me for a week when I make her practice also, but if you've never been it and think it's just another dip in the lake, you are in for a big surprise, possibly a deadly surprise.

One note, do this with a partner that's staying dry and a safefy line secured to you. This is also not recommended recommeded for people with a heart condition. The shock to the body is bruttal and people have had heart attacks when then fell in frigid water.

I've been staying in practice with this since my first cold weather survival school in the military back in 1981. My first time was a real awakening.

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In frigid temps, the prudent, though not comfortable, thing to do is wear a survival suit. I have three from my commercial lobstering days.

To repeat something that has appeared on here several times. Always wear your pfd. It makes finding the body easier should you have a fatal heart attack and fall overboard, or fall overboard and die from hypothermia.

I have fallen from my canoe into the drink in early spring with hip boots and wearing my pfd. Water temps in the low 50s. The canoe did not swamp. I was able to cling to the side of the canoe and operate the trolling motor which got me to shore.

It was an unusually warm early spring day, so after I lay on my back, lifted my legs to drain my hip boots, I got back in the canoe and resumed fishing.

As for an annual dip into water with temps in the forties, I think I'll pass. I'll leave that experience to the hardy, or maybe foolhardy souls who like to celebrate New Years Day by cutting holes into the ice if necessary to take a quick plunge. You know, those who belong to the various Polar Bear Clubs.

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I am glad you got aboard your boat ok.

I did the polar bear plunge in Russia a few years back. I would not advice anyone to try it. Those few seconds were an eternity while I was being pulled out..

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i too had an interesting experience this week. me and a fishing buddy was out on a lake and just after some brunch, i needed to tick but there was no bathrooms around nor were we anywhere near shoreable land. and so i asked my buddy(who owns the boat) if i could take a quick leak. And obviously it was windy and rainy and as i got to the edge, i got my left foot planted well, but as i tried to find a good spot for my right, i slipped and next thing i know i hit the bottom of the lake(6fow) and of course i didnt have my lifevest on bc we were having brunch. panic quickly arose as the 6fow was 6fow but has like 2 feet of thick marsh and weeds. thankfully, i had read this thread a few days prior to going on my fishing trip and my panicking stopped and i knew i had to get to the motor and pull myself up from there. Not being much of a swimmer myself, my leg cramped to the motor and was glad i got to the motor when i did. my buddy wasnt much of a help when i kept saying to throw me my lifevest, but he got ahold of me with his lure retrever stick he had. Its definitly awaken me to be more cautious when on the waters.

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I'm glad everything worked out for you Rhino.Reading your post has me rethinking a few things,Thanks.

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I really hadn't thought about it, but this is a good argument for iPilot and a remote TM. My buddy loves to show off how he "parks" his boat at the dock, and "anchors," while he gets his truck.

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I really hadn't thought about it, but this is a good argument for iPilot and a remote TM. My buddy loves to show off how he "parks" his boat at the dock, and "anchors," while he gets his truck.

It's impressive, but it wouldn't replace dock lines for me, should I ever get one.

Some guys do the same with power poles, sort of. I read where one of the pros, forget which, angles his boat toward the dock while launching. When the boat gets close enough to the dock, he remotely lowers the power poles, parks, goes to the dock and steps on his boat, raises the power poles and goes fishing.

I've done similar things (not necessarily boating related), showing off of course, only to have something go wrong. I end up with egg on my face. I've done those things more than once during my life, but no more.

Maybe Minnkota should team up with a company that makes power, bag toting, golf carts that follow you around the course. You carry a transmitter and the cart will automatically follow you, stopping when it gets close to you. Then, if you have an iPilot, and fall overboard, the boat would come back to you.

The heck with holding the boat in position, leaving you to swim to it. I mean, if you're gonna do something, do it right.

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Some guys do the same with power poles, sort of. I read where one of the pros, forget which, angles his boat toward the dock while launching.

Not just pros, anyone with them use them for this. In fact, I think this is the #1 use they get. I've NEVER seen anyone actually fishing with their Power Poles deployed. Then again, most of the natural lakes around me are far too deep, even along the shoreline" for them to work.

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I remember the years when I used to strip and dive over the side. I could "thro" myself back over the gun'el. Those years are far behind me. I fell out of the boat and fortunately was not fishing alone. It was still a chore. I will never again fish without a boarding ladder.

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I'm with the crowd that wants to know what a 70 year old man is doing out there without a boarding ladder. As a 70 year old man that's taken the plunge, I am now the proud owner of a boarding ladder.

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In younger years I would strip, dive over the side and "thro" myself back over the gunn'l. At 70 I could no more do that now than flap my elbows and fly. Having experienced a similar plunge recently, I am now the proud owner of a boarding ladder. My question: what's a 70 year old doing out there without a boarding ladder?

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I'm with the crowd that wants to know what a 70 year old man is doing out there without a boarding ladder. As a 70 year old man that's taken the plunge, I am now the proud owner of a boarding ladder.

I like living on the edge :laugh5:

But seriously, I was only 69 at the time of this incident. Ergo, I was not a 70 year old man, "out there without a boarding ladder".

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I am a 41 year old good swimmer. I didn't necessarily like the looks of the boarding ladder on my boat. It looks a little out of place and sticks up too far. But I understand the necessity of having one. It was the first addition to the boat after I purchased it. I don't think I'll ever be sorry I added it to my boat.

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Not just pros, anyone with them use them for this. In fact, I think this is the #1 use they get. I've NEVER seen anyone actually fishing with their Power Poles deployed. Then again, most of the natural lakes around me are far too deep, even along the shoreline" for them to work.

I know all too well that guys fish with their powerpoles down. At Oneida lake i was a co angler with a guy who had double poles. He would nose up to a dock, drop the poles, and fish the dock while blocking me completely. Better yet, it was the first tournament i had ever fished. Only two fish i caught all day came as we briefly fished a shoal between dock locations...

As for falling overboard, i had a pretty bad experinece in kayaks. I had a buddy who decided to put down the anchor but flipped the kayak while tring to do so, falling into 10 ft of 53 degree water out on Lake Ontario. He had a life vest on but ended up turning blue, unable to move, and had that deer in headlights look. Sure enough, i end up jumping in after him. I hit that water and it pulled all the air out of me and i couldnt speak, but the adrenaline kept my legs and arms moving. Long story short, i end up dragging this kid to another friends pontoon boat who was fishing with us and pushing him over the side and in the boat. I then somehow re-entered my sit-in kayak from the water. I was real shook up for a few days. Without that life vest, my buddy would've started sinking. Morale of the story- Wear the life vest and try to be with someone!

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