Simple Lifesaver

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It happened so fast. We were fishing off the south end of the Island in a brisk-but-not-worrisome breeze. I started to make a turn to port and the wind pushed us over the starboard fishing line, which immediately wrapped around the prop. My bad, but not too big of a deal. I cut the motor and tipped it up  to unwrap the line. My fishing buddy came to the back of the boat to help and hang onto me as I leaned over the stern. At this point, the breeze blew the bow downwind, and we were suddenly stern into the wind, with two big guys in the back of the boat, taking chop over the transom. Thankfully, we got it unwrapped and under power again before anything could happen, but it definitely scared the hell out of me.

Then, of course, we kept fishing, and as the years went by, the whole thing faded from my mind. Until I recently heard of a similar event, with a different result: The boat sank. And my memory of the day above came rushing back.

So, as we start prepping for another year on the water, this is what I made. It’s a sea anchor, or drift sock, which is mostly used around here off the stern of boats to either slow trolling speed or, when fishing big rivers, to keep the boat from swinging back and forth on anchor. But I think it can work to prevent the scenarios above. I’m going to keep it handy, and should we lose power, the idea is to clip the carabiner to the bow and throw the sea anchor overboard. When it comes tight, it will keep the bow into the wind while I deal with the motor or until help arrives. Hopefully, we’ll never have to use it, but I feel better knowing it’s there.

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