Boat Maintenance Tips December '13

Taking a small break from boat and outboard maintenance brings up a subject that is equally important, and knowing the proper protocol associated with it is also vital.

During the day, most often on a weekend, I receive a call at the store from a customer or fisherman that has found themselves in a bad way. Run aground, broken down, or in general disabled, (that's normal).

For calls other than emergencies we refer everyone to TowBoat US here in Port O'Connor.

The call that is the most concerning to me is the disabled boater that is in danger, perceived danger, or imminent danger to life and or property.

We ask for their location and all relevant information but sometimes it is very hard to hear due to wind or rain or just poor cell phone coverage. If we get disconnected we will call U.S. Coast Guard Station Port O'Connor to report the incident and give all information possible.

The problem comes when the individual either cannot call back or elects not to call back if they find their situation resolved or someone comes along to help.

When a friend or company is called to report a problem and when communications are lost, every effort is made to find and help the caller based on the information that has been received. The problem is the Coast Guard, upon receiving a call from us or anyone making such a report starts a chain of events that is very expensive in manpower and money; in the form of boats, personnel and/or aircraft that are used to resolve the situation.

The bottom line is this; if you make the call and help arrives or you resolve your own situation, always take the time to call back and advise your friend or whoever was called to let them know the problem has been solved.
Resources are a terrible thing to waste and if you take the time to ask for help, please take the time to let folks know you are OK.

>TowBoat US Port O'Connor: 361-218-2936 – Robbie Sanders (1-800-888-4869)
>US Coast Guard Port O'Connor Search and Rescue: 361-983-2616 or 361-983-2617
>A VHF radio is often your best chance to hail another boater or contact the Coast Guard directly on Channel 16.
There is protocol for this type situation and it is great to know and use it when things go wrong.

Have a safe winter on the water!
Chris Mapp
Coastal Bend Marine
Port O'Connor TX