05-09-2015, 06:09 PM
Join Date: Jul 2009
Location: Middleboro, KY
In the twinkling of an eye...
Today I fished the Morristown Marine Tournament on Norris Lake. The tournament was out of Lonas Young Park; otherwise known as White's Bridge in the head of Big Creek. Over two hundred contestants participated.
I do not know who won....and to be honest, I really do not care. Something happened today that could have been catastrophic...but all we can do now is tell the story. It testifies to the importance of always wearing your personal flotation device and maintaining boat control. Everything else just does not seems to pale in comparison to my partner almost dying today.
First, Morristown Marine runs a disciplined tournament trail. Today was no exception. Where we took off from, there was no passing allowed for over a mile. We were told to stay in a single file until below a designated point, then we could open up.
A long straight, a couple of mild turns then a switchback to the right. As I approached that point this morning, I trimmed down my motor and backed off the hotfoot. As I straightened out, that is when it happened.
The best way to describe it is a "rouge wave". A breaker, at least six foot in height hit the side of my boat and came over the side. It lifted my partner completely out of the passenger seat into the water. My partner is 6 foot 5 inches and weighs about 270-300. He was pulled out of the seat over the gunnel into the water. He never touched the boat...just slid over the side. My boat, a Ranger 520 was pushed sideways and into a slide. I let off the throttle as water filled the boat. I got control once the boat leveled. I immediately began looking for my friend.
I looked back and he was waving his arms at other boats screaming through the pass. The G Series boat coming up behind me seen me waving my arms (I am sure he heard the screams as well) slowed down and took a position sideways to protect my partner from getting run over by another boat. I idled back and grabbed my partner by the hand. He held on to the side of the boat and my hand as I idled back to shore. He was able to climb up on some rocks and back into the boat. No cuts, bruises or broken bones; a sore back from the impact with the water, but otherwise, PRAISE THE LORD, okay.
There is not telling, nor do I want to think about it, if this would have turned out differently. All I know is what I see....and what I seen was my partner in his red and black PFD waving his arms to be spotted by me and other boats. I seen my 20 foot 1000 pound bass boat get practically flipped by something I would have NEVER expected on Norris Lake....that happens in the ocean or the Great Lakes; but NORRIS LAKE?
I seen my partner today, wet and cold, refusing any offered medical treatment and my wanting to go back to the dock; choosing to fish and catch our only keeper of the day.
I seen the crowd at the weigh in listening intently as I told this story.
I have never even heard anything like this let alone seen this. It all happened so fast...comprehending what was going on seemed like an eternity; but in reality only took a second or two.....that is how fast your life can change.
I fancy myself a good boat driver. I am safe and courteous and attentive to all around me. I was in no way prepared for what I seen today. It is my prayer that no one ever has to go through something like this....to be honest, it has changed my awareness and need to get somewhere faster than others.
Come to find out that another angler suffered the same fate in the same exact spot. That is right, another boat rider left the boat in the same turn. To my knowledge, he was OK also.
I know what I see....and what happened in the twinkling of an eye has made me totally aware of boat control; which is really just an illusion. Everything we drive or fly is held together by parts made by the lowest bidder. I know what I see and in the twinkling of an eye I seen my 6 foot 5 inch 270 pound partner being held up by a life jacket we use when we go swimming. I know what I see when my friend was having dinner with me tonight instead of being picked up by the rescue squad.
Everything we have and are can be changed....in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye.
Be safe, always,
Thus saith the LORD, Stand ye in the ways, and see, and ask for the old paths, where is the good way, and walk therin, and ye shall find rest for your souls. Jeremiah 6.16