A couple of weeks ago, my dad, my buddy Randy and I made an afternoon hunt down at the Atchafalaya Delta WMA. It was a very cold afternoon with the temperature dropping rapidly as the light of day faded. After an uneventful hunt, we all made our way back to the boat to begin the 50-minute ride back to the Berwick boat landing.
We laughed at the fact that frost was forming on our bow cases, something you don’t normally see at that time of day. Soon, however, our laughter would stop, as an event would unfold that you should hope never happens.
As I was in the back of the boat, connecting the terminals for my headlight to the battery, I suddenly heard Randy in a loud voice saying, “Whoa, whoa,whoa!” I turned to see that my 73-year-old dad had fallen out of the boat into the frigid water. They had attempted to pass each other and the boat rocked sending dad overboard.
Randy had a firm grasp of him and was attempting to get him back into the boat. At 6-foot-2 and about 230 pounds, that was not going to be an easy task.
Thankfully, the water was not very deep and we were able to get him right back into the boat, but he was soaked from the chest down. He had already put his life jacket on, so that aided in our quick recovery of the situation.
We dried him up as much as possible, and bundled him up quite nicely. We immediately took off for the boat landing, to get him home ASAP.
We quickly got back to laughing and joking as we usually do when we get together, but it really could have been much worse. If he wasn’t wearing his life jacket, it would have been much more difficult to get him in the boat. Also if the water had been deeper, that would have presented a much bigger problem getting him back in the boat.
The biggest factor was the near-freezing temperature and the danger of hypothermia.
I thank God that it wasn’t any worse than it was, but it was still pretty unsettling. It happened so fast you wouldn’t believe. It was almost like a dream.
Guys, please, please, please be prepared! This could happen to you or one of your buddies at any time. If it happens, you have to be prepared to deal with it. Dry clothes, cell phone, extra gas for your motor, a game plan left for someone at home in case you don’t come home so they will know where to look for you – the list goes on.
Try to imagine the worst possible scenario, and then plan beforehand what you could bring and do if you get in that situation.
When I end my blogs by saying, “Be Safe!” I really, really mean that. Please heed this warning and get yourself ready for the unexpected.
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