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Old 22-07-2018, 13:16   #1
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Intruder in the Middle of the Night

Last night, about 2 am, I awoke to the dog growling. I heard a couple of strange splashes just outside the boat that got my attention, then a thud, and a big splash.

I jumped out of bed, grabbed a flashlight, and darted out the companionway to see what was going on.

We were anchored in about 15’ of water, about 200’ from shore, and about 200’ from a friends boat in a large anchorage of about 25 boats.

When I got my wits about me, I found a young white male ~25, hanging on to the side of our boat, by the fenders that we’re either side of he starboard boarding ladder, (we had out all day but raised before retiring).

Apparently the guy had tried to board, fell back in the water, and was trying again.

When I shone the light in his face, he declared,” I’m just out for a swim.”

My mind was racing and about 25% awake.

I thought, no he isnt’t he’s boarding our boat.

So I told him in the uncertain terms to get off my boat.

I then yelled to my wife, “Get the gun, now.”

The guy immediately left the boat and swam aft of our boat (alongside the dinghy on painter that would be a lot easier to board if he just needed a rest) for a dock on shore.

I then spent the next 2 hours wide awake waiting for the Adrenalin rush to subside, thinking all the “what if’s”, contemplating contacting the authorities (we didn’t) and planning for next time.

The crazy thing...this was anchored in the St. Lawrence 1000 Islands, Canadian side.

(The only gun aboard is a flare gun.)
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Old 22-07-2018, 13:23   #2
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Re: Intruder in the Middle of the Night

I’m pretty sure you’re not allowed to use a gun for defense in Canada.

He could have told you that.
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Old 22-07-2018, 13:41   #3
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Re: Intruder in the Middle of the Night

In any "stand your ground" state in the U.S., you would be up all night doing paperwork having just eliminated another parasite.

Nobody goes for a swim at 2 A.M.
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Old 22-07-2018, 13:47   #4
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Re: Intruder in the Middle of the Night

Sounds more like a drunken idiot who went for a swim off one of the 25 boats. Any rental houseboats around? When 8 was there we saw lots of them being used as party boats by the 18 to 30ish male crowd.
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Old 22-07-2018, 14:44   #5
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Re: Intruder in the Middle of the Night

Yes, you can use a gun for self defense in Canada. But your actions must be proportionate to the perp's actions. Therefore, you can't just shoot a guy hanging on the side of your boat. But if you feel your life's being threatened, you may use a gun for self defense.

You may not, in Canada, deprive someone of his/her life to defend property. You may only kill to prevent serious harm or death, to you or others.

Though, if you must, be sure to tell the fellow he's under arrest BEFORE shooting him. Then, when you go to court... you will be treated better if you shot a fellow while he's resisting arrest, and threatening your life while doing so, than if you were simply shooting to defend yourself. A defense of "Self defense" must be defended to a higher standard than resist arrest; but defending one's self, while performing an arrest, allows much more leeway under the laws of Canada as you will have similar rights as those the police enjoy.

As all things under the law, it gets complicated.

Having said all that. I don't see any reason to take pot shots at some fellow in the water. How could you feel threatened when he's there, and you're on the boat?

Likely just a drunk, or curious punk. Though I understand your adrenaline rush, having been awoken by someone attempting to board.

Cheers.
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Old 22-07-2018, 15:36   #6
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Re: Intruder in the Middle of the Night

Sounds more like a guy out for a swim who got tired. It’s happened to us on our boat a few times. It’s easy to misjudge distance and water temperature at night. What first seems like a good idea can quickly go bad.

This even happened to me two years ago when I decided to swim 200-300 yards out to my boat at night. The darkness fooled me into thinking it was only 100 yards and I then had an exercise induced asthma attack and had to swim to the nearest boat. We’ve also offered up our swim platform for other exhausted swimmers on occasion.

Why would you yell “get the gun” when the guy is obviously hanging by a fender in a helpless situation?

Over reaction IMHO, boats are a hard target for thieves, who generally go after easy targets.
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Old 22-07-2018, 15:54   #7
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Re: Intruder in the Middle of the Night

The real hero is Rod's dog. I love the way dogs are alert to everything even when apparently fast asleep; they are always ready to give a growl at any threat.

What a great crewmate for you and your wife!

And good thinking by Rod to call for the non existent gun.
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Old 22-07-2018, 17:02   #8
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Re: Intruder in the Middle of the Night

I think we would have had to have been there, it's usually not hard to tell the difference between someone who is tired and about to drown from someone who is actively trying to board.
however gotta like the little dog, a dog can be the best alarm there is
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Old 22-07-2018, 19:02   #9
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Re: Intruder in the Middle of the Night

I remember anchoring in the bay beside Darling Point in Sydney one night for a social function with some of the high end residents there.

We were easily 300m out from shore.

About 10pm that night, deck crew alerted me to a guy hanging on to our large tender tied to the stern platform. He was buck naked!

When i got there, he wouldn't allow us to quietly bring him on board, was preventing us from safely using our large tender for shuttling the VIP guests ashore and was obviously very fatigued, shivering and upset.

We first got him to put on a life vest and managed to explain that it would be better, if he came quietly around to our port ladder, where our rescue boat was berthed, rather than stay under the bright lights of our stern entrance.

Eventually my Australian 2nd officer (ex policeman) got him into the rescue boat with a warm blanket and some hot chocolate.

Turns out, he was having a dinner with his wife at a fancy restaurant nearby.
Apparently after a few drinks, things went really bad and he decided to chuck it all in and swim towards the bright lights (us).

Somewhere enroute, fear of sharks, fatigue and survival kicked in and luckily he made it to our stern in a kind of shock.

Very proud of how our crew handled this. He kept his dignity, 2nd Mate called the police on a landline to explain and ask that they quietly come to our port side to transfer him into their care and our guest never even knew this drama was going on.

Point is, never assume they are trying to get onboard with bad intent, if dangling in the water.
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Old 22-07-2018, 19:04   #10
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Re: Intruder in the Middle of the Night

The odds of someone boarding your boat with robbery or physical harm planned in Canada are right at the bottom of the charts...I'm with those that believe he was in the party mode.
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Old 23-07-2018, 00:18   #11
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Re: Intruder in the Middle of the Night

Hee, hee! Some years ago some Canadian friends of ours were anchored in Blackwattle Bay (before it was all divided up), some 50 m from the shore of the park there. In the wee hours, they heard some odd noises and voices from their center cockpit. They both rushed on deck, starkers, using harsh language and with great enthusiasm. They found three inebriated chaps, looking pretty aghast at these two naked 50+ y.o. folks shouting at them. Two made it successfully over the side, but our pal grabbed one by the jumper, and it came off in his hand as the chap dove over the lifelines. They soon discovered that there was a six pack of beer, a bottle of wine and some liqueur in their dinghy. Apparently, one of them had swum out from shore, commandeered the dinghy and then brought his mates back to the boat for a quiet drink. Didn't work out that way at all! Lost their booze and a nice wool jumper.

Ahh, Sydney in the summertime!

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Old 23-07-2018, 01:35   #12
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Re: Intruder in the Middle of the Night

Trying to board via swimming is unlikely, if he try to board via a boat that would be another story.
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Old 23-07-2018, 03:02   #13
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Re: Intruder in the Middle of the Night

The only thing we can be fairly certain of is:

That guy was an idiot!
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Old 23-07-2018, 05:20   #14
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Re: Intruder in the Middle of the Night

Quote:
Originally Posted by a64pilot View Post
I think we would have had to have been there, it's usually not hard to tell the difference between someone who is tired and about to drown from someone who is actively trying to board.
however gotta like the little dog, a dog can be the best alarm there is
When he told me in plain voice (no heavy breathing) “I’m just out for a swim” that triggered the defence mode. Had he indicated in any way that he was struggling, that would have triggered the help mode.

In which case I would have toosed him the life ring, and told him to climb aboard the inflatable dinghy, just 20 feet astern, on a moonlit night.

If I was swimming and struggling, and I came upon an anchored yacht that most definitely had people aboard, I would wrap on the hull and yell for help.

If he thought he had enough energy left to scale the side of a yacht with at least 3 ft topsides then he shoulda had enough to swim the 150 ft to shore at a leisurely pace, compared to the beeline he ended up making.

I’m all for helping those in trouble. 3 nights ago I took to the dinghy during a thunderstorm around 2 am, to advise a boat owner they were dragging. I rapped on the hull and hollered “Anyone aboard?”

Yesterday, I took to the dinghy in advance of
a thunderstorm to help a friend husband/wife team take a small dock after dragging at anchor, and another unknown couple remove a huge weed ball off their anchor. Spent a half hour washing the dinghy afterward.

When another boater had the same issue a couple hours later and I said I felt I should help them too, my dear and very compassionate wife advised it is not my responsibility to help every boater in the 1000 Islands.
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Old 23-07-2018, 09:06   #15
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Re: Intruder in the Middle of the Night

Gaff. Produce it.
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