As we have mentioned on other pages, Boating is the most fun we'll ever have, however we've also had our fair share of mishaps and moments where we had to use some good ol' fashioned homemade engineering strategies to get out of a tight spot. Here are some Boating Horror Stories we'd like to reluctantly share.....
So we're 20 miles out from the dock and planning on going further, after all it's our vacation and we want to do some sight seeing. Beautiful weather, perfect water, so we give 'er some gas and all of the sudden we hear a loud whizzing sound and the boat stopped moving. The engine was still running but didn't want to go anywhere. We thought we might have hit something, so we turned off the engine and started checking the water around the boat for debris or really anything. Didn't see a thing, so we raised the lower unit to see if the propeller was free spinning - forward and reverse - Check.
Next, we opened the engine compartment to have a look/see, everything appeared to be normal. So, we started the engine up - maybe it was a "fluke" - put it in gear, and still no go.
We shut the engine off again and tried to wave anyone over to ask for advice or any help. One and a half or so hours go by and not one person even acknowledged us - with the engine cover open, yelling and waving frantically. We even tried to reach someone on the radio, still nothing. No cell phone signal.
Back to the drawing board.
While thinking back to a previous boat we had, we changed an engine in that boat ourselves and remembered how the engine connects to the lower unit. So I balanced myself over the engine to see if I could get a look at the coupler and shaft, I could, so we started the engine again to see if the shaft turned.
Shaft = No Turn.
We found the culprit. I started removing screws and looking for anything I could shove in between the shaft and the coupler. After wedging in a few screws, we started the engine and the shaft was turning. Great! Put 'er in gear and after about 10 feet, the screws fell out of their new home and the shaft stopped turning again. I tried this method a couple more times, each with the same outcome.
Finally someone came across the radio from the marina 20 miles away, we asked for a tow, when I told her where we were she said ok, we can come out and get you-but it'll be 250 dollars, we thought that was fine so we agreed. She then said $250...an hour. We let her know we would try a couple more things and maybe give them a call back-figuring that it would be a good 3 or 4 hour tow and that would really add up.
MacGyver mode kicks in at this point, wanting to save a couple hundred dollars and we start looking around the boat for anything we can shove in the void between the shaft and the coupler. We put everything we were willing to spare in a pile, we had sunglasses, goggle straps, flip flops that were ready to be cut up, extra tools, anything we thought might have the slightest chance of working.
All of the sudden I see the tackle box that my Father-in-law had given me that used to be his Dad's. I swear that tackle box was glowing, as if God himself had put it in our boat with his own hands! I only had this tackle box for a couple months at this point, but it had plenty of fish hooks and other trinkets inside. We spent the next 20 minutes straightening hooks and cutting long wires down. After we had a good amount, I started shoving them in the void and stopped only when there was no room left. We said a little prayer and started up the engine...again.
The shaft was spinning, we knew not to get to excited, so we slowly put it in gear and started back in the direction of the dock. We kept a steady pace of about 8 miles an hour and 2 and a half hours (and some Malibu and Rum) later, found ourselves at the dock.
Funny thing was, on that two and half hour journey back to the dock, we had 2 or 3 boats ask us if we needed help.
Do you have Boating Horror Stories to share? We would love to hear them, and maybe even post them.
Pure water is the world's first and foremost medicine.