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Old 17-04-2010, 20:41   #1
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Docking Injury

I feel bad. Yesterday I volunteered to take some young folks (15 y/o) out for a little familiarization sail.

The weather was deteriorating badly but I still agreed to take them for a short motor sail.

As we were coming back to dock my bowman (18 y/o) was really looking like he was going to jump to the dock. He was experienced and had crewed with me before a few times so was not one of the visitors.

The rain had started and I was bow in (not parallel yet) but turning to starboard. Even on my small boat the gap to the dock from the bow was growing rapidly.

I preemptively shouted several times for him to move amidship and "step" off at the shrouds. "Don't jump!"

I thought I made my point but apparently not. He jumped the approximately 4 foot gap and it ended with a pretty nasty face plant on the cement floating dock.

He had a pretty good elbow, hand & knee scrape and a pretty wounded pride but will probably be OK.

As the Skipper I feel responsible in a large dimension but on the other hand I think he learned a very valuable lesson.

Jump to a dock, fall in and get between the dock and an 18 ton boat and you probably get killed. Especially if wind, rain and tide conspire to create a lot of dockside churn.

Don't let them jump - talk about the docking maneouver in advance and make sure everyone who has a role knows what the role is. Make sure everyone who does not have a role stays seated until the boat is secured.

Good lesson for me too...
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Old 17-04-2010, 20:47   #2
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It's probably good to have a no jumping rule when docking a yacht. If they can't step to the dock, then they stay on board.
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Old 17-04-2010, 20:52   #3
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Yes, I think you've already analyzed it well and arrived at the correct answers, Dan. It might be a good idea to invite the boy back for another sail with just the two of you and spend a little time talking through the procedure that you expect your crew to follow when sailing with you. It wouldn't hurt at all to let him know the really serious consequences that could have befallen him - that his few bruises and wounded pride are nothing compared to what could easily have happened.

Then, when the two of you are ready, maybe you rehearse the process a few times before you head out for a sail. When you come back, maybe you do it a couple more times to make sure the lesson "stuck."

Even if he never sails with you again after that, he will at least have learned a valuable lesson that he can take with him on every vessel he steps aboard.

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Old 17-04-2010, 21:35   #4
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That gave me shivers (to read that) fo' sh

Rule You step down to the dock

Rule You step up to a life raft.
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Old 17-04-2010, 21:54   #5
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There is a tendency for some people to jump to the dock, and I think they must think that if they don't jump all is lost. I explain to people that help me that we would like to dock successfully, but if we don't it's not that big of a deal. Once into the slip (whether it be a single or double), what's the worse that can happen? We either rest up against another boat, or we get off on the other side of our boat...either way it's not the end of the world.
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Old 18-04-2010, 08:32   #6
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Ouch . I used to crew aboard a wianno senior. No motor so we would saiL unto the dock after the races. Lovely boat. If we were coming in a bit hard I always had this impulse to put a Limb between the boat and pier. I had to catch/stop myself from doing so. Because I'm aware of my defect or impulse I'm mire likely not to use my leg as a fender. I think some people have the impulse to jump as a means to complete the mission. Heard a story the other day of a women picking up a mooring. They missed the mooring actually it was an inflatable tethered to the mooring. She got a hold of the dink but the boat was falling off. Instead of releasing the grip on the boat hook she lept for the dink. Apparantley not a graceful landing . Seen quite a few people do that with a boat hook minus the jumping part.
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Old 18-04-2010, 08:39   #7
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Dan, he is 18, he will survive, better still he will have learnt one valuable lesson, so when he is a skipper he will make absolutely sure no one jumps from his boat.

Like the idea of taking him out again though.

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Old 18-04-2010, 14:03   #8
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I say no jumping and further - don't worry about the boat, it can be repaired if the worst happens. I learned the hard way, my wife jumped off as we came in one time and her landing was on the mid cleat on the dock. We both learned that the boat is not all that important.
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Old 18-04-2010, 14:58   #9
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Ouch. Glad it turned into a good lesson and nothing worse.

There is one important additional detail to convey. As you are stepping to the dock, keep your eyes where you are stepping. I was once in a perfect docking and stepping situation, but in the second or so looked back at the sail, the boat blew about a foot away from the dock. I planted my foot solidly in that narrow gap. I hit the edge of the dock with my hip, and was luckly to get only a little worse than a bruise.
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Old 18-04-2010, 16:14   #10
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Discussing the plan with everyone, whether getting underway or docking, is something I often forget to do as well. To try & correct this, I've borrowed something from the aviation world & made up several 2x4 laminated checklists. Of course, one of the items is "Crew....brief". Hopefully it's enough to overcome my "aluminum pot syndrome".
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Old 18-04-2010, 17:57   #11
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Do You Know How Much Testosterone is in an Eighteen-Year Old Boy?!

You did it all right, Dan: he just let his gonads get bigger than his ears there for a minute. Some boys just need to lose a little skin to make them teachable… lol

Daddy said: "Nothing takes the stink off of failure like a little success." Definitely take him out again, and offer him the same job to do again. Talk everyone through his job again, then add a simple "Step off to the dock this time?" with a wink, for him. When he smiles and nods, you know he'll restrain himself this time.

It will reassure you, and give him the affirmation he needs to trade the "Screw-Up" t-shirt (note: t-shirt only exists in the minds of the ones wearing them) he's likely chosen to wear for one that declares "Able-bodied Crew."

Afterward, a simple-but-sincere praise for a job well-done should be all it takes to set him back on the path of righteousness.

No lecture, and no mentioning the previous embarrassing face-plant: he's learned the lesson, and now just needs to redeem himself, and that process begins inside him when you actually ask him to sail again.

That's the way my wise old man always did it. Even when I didn't want to put myself back in the situation in which I'd failed, which was usually, he knew it was important to get back up on the horse what threw me, so he got me up there. It always worked, too: I always left feeling competent again. And it's important for a lad to feel competent in the company of older, more experienced men.

Just my two cents.
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Old 18-04-2010, 19:10   #12
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Well put Jeff. Half of us were teenage boys once too.
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Old 18-04-2010, 19:27   #13
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I think the fact that the majority of the 15 y/o's were young ladies had something to do with it.

Pride is injured more than anything else.

The idea that one has to "leap" to the dock to save the landing must be a trait learned due to the fact that most skippers are lousy at landings and need to be saved - LOL...
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Old 18-04-2010, 19:41   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ex-Calif View Post
I think the fact that the majority of the 15 y/o's were young ladies had something to do with it.
Ha, really laughed out loud reading this; made my day.

Left the most important detail out of the initial story, didn't you?
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Old 18-04-2010, 19:46   #15
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Ha, really laughed out loud reading this; made my day.

Left the most important detail out of the initial story, didn't you?
Behind every great man is a great woman.

Behind every failed man is a woman he's trying to impress.
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