Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Ice Part 2...

Ahoy there, bloggers! Well I've been diligently Dust Busting salt off my cabin floor, drawing up plans for spring work, working on my curtains and working on driving my dad nuts. It's all a lot of work, and it doesn't leave much time for blogging.

However, there was one more grain of wisdom about ice in marinas that I wanted to offer: Leave your swim ladder down.

I was perusing another liveaboard blog the other day and I realized that I am not the only person terrified of falling off the seawall or slipping on ice on the dock and falling in.

People have died falling in the water in winter and being unable to pull themselves out.

This has been a source of terror for me since I fell off the dock at the sailing center one January. At the time I was wearing a full foul weather suit, a fleece, sweatpants, sneakers, hiking socks a lifejacket and gloves. I stepped on a rotten piece of dock, lost my balance and fell straight into the water. With all that clothing on, I couldn't manage to pull myself onto the dock. Luckily, I had been sailing with my cousins and my dad and they pulled me out of the water.

Ever since then I've been scared that it will happen when I'm alone. To the point that I occasionally dream about falling in the water.

The simple solution? Leave your swim ladder down. If you, or someone else, falls in, at least the swim ladder will be there.

Other safety tips for not falling in? Don't pee off the back of your boat or the dock (a couple of years ago someone died that way). Always salt the ice on the dock. Maintain three points of contact on deck.

I guess this is a more serious entry than I normally write, but this is definitely something that freaks me out -- and it hadn't even occurred to me until recently to put my swim ladder down. So, folks, here's hoping you put your swim ladder down and stay safe for the rest of winter.


  1. Hate to break it to you, but your swim ladder probably isn't going to be much help. If you fell in today, you probably wouldn't be able to swim the length of your boat. Think 1/10/1 (http://www.coldwaterbootcamp.com/pages/1_10_60v2.html)

  2. Several things, Steve, about my reasoning on this entry. (Assuming this is Steve and not Suzanne, that is. Hi!)

    1. The place where I'd most likely fall in is about 2 feet from my swim ladder. If you're stern into a slip, there's no need to swim the length of the boat.

    2. The people I stole this tip from was the "We Live on a Boat" blog (great reading, by the way, love their tips). Guy and his wife live in Toronto. Anyway, he fell in a couple winters ago and got out stepping on an ice chunk. Also talks about a dude who died in their marina in December trying to pee off his boat. Fascinating stuff.

    3. Finally, I'd rather a small chance at getting out alive and frostbite-free than no chance at all.

    4. Let's have lunch soon. :)