Date: 16 June 2016. Safety Nets.
In case you wondered life is truly
wonderful afloat. Now that my Betsy (the Kubota diesel) runs I've been taking Seaweed
out for lots of day trips. Mostly it's just for a couple of hours at
a time. I am working out the kinks in both me and the boat. Some
things that were fine on the east coast simply won't work here in
this area. Not for me anyway.
For instance I have nets in the
pilothouse doorways to keep me safely inside the boat.
In other areas there are not quite so many boaters out and about as
I've found here. I'm one of those that waves hello. My handy-dandy
nets get in the way of greeting others.
When folks are with me as is often
the case of late leaving the nets off is fine. Honest to goodness,
it's even better to have someone aboard. It gets lonesome otherwise. I love being able
to say "see that dolphin" and having an extra set of eyes is always
One reason I am able to take others with me is the
Fifteen Minute Rule. Wherever I am I can always take Seaweed out for
a spin within fifteen minutes. Spontaneous adventures are the most
I keep her backed in or spin her around with lines.
That way I can immediately take off in forward gear.
Note: I am just not good at
backing Seaweed into slips. That's why I pull straight in then take
a couple of lines a turn her around. It's easier. Having a small
light boat makes this a breeze in all but the windiest of times.
When the wind is kicking, I'll
anchor until it abates.
I am aware that Experts can back
their boats into the trickiest of spots. That's not me. With more
practice I'll improve. In the meantime I'm out here having fun.
I wave at the boats as they pass
by. Some are very close.
I am glad Seaweed handles a wake well. That's because
she has a lot of weight low in her bilges. (Batteries!)
Safety of course is my number one priority. As a soloist there is no
one who can put the boat into neutral or return for me if I fall
overboard. I MUST stay aboard. That said, the net does not have to
go all the way to the top of the doorway.
I do have a sewing machine so fixing a better safety net is on the
agenda. The netting covers the entire doorways (port and starboard)
so I am secure inside Seaweed. When I wave at boats going by with
the netting up no one can see. Argh.
One thing you will find as you
boat more is that some of your Good Ideas aren't so perfect. This is
one such case. Being able to adapt is the key for success.
Listing a variety of solutions will
often find a workable one that is both cost effective and relatively
easy to accomplish. A friend advocates a minimum of five fixes for each problem.
He lists on paper the ideas, then implements the one that is most
to the Safety Net versus Waving Problem:
Remove the netting.
Cut the net in half
so I can reach above the net to wave.
Replace netting with
a "half door" using wood.
Make a bar (wooden)
at the half-way point of the door to keep me inbound. Add
a hole in it to put my cup when underway
Build a box that
takes up the bottom third of the doorway. Said box could
be a place for Skipper to watch the dolphin. Add a bit of
netting above her spot to keep us both in the boat.
I am not going to stop waving. I'm having fun and enjoy waving at
folks. It's a way to make friends.
Cutting the net won't work either.
This is safety netting from
Defender's and it is not inexpensive. Eventually I'd like to buy
more and completely encircle the bow of Seaweed. This is not a High
Priority item however it is on The List.
There is always a list.
No boat is
ever finished. That is a part of the fun. There is always something
to do. Small projects give a sense of accomplishment as they are
completed. The problem is that each new job spawns more ideas.
Those good ideas evolve into
Seaweed is my Last Boat. I
know that changes made today will increase the decadence level for the rest of my life. I am
installing infrastructure, updating and improving the basics.
I am also using the boat. Too often folks get so involved in fixing
that they forget to enjoy the boat. Do not let that happen to you!
Go Boating. Often.
The wooden bar across the door
opening solution mentioned above is interesting. I like the idea of
having a place to put my beverage while underway. I am considering
this one seriously.
One problem with this idea is that
wood is hard. If a wake threw me into the bar I could break
something. Netting allows a soft landing. Staying aboard is crucial.
Not being hurt in the process is paramount. This idea is on the back
Still, a flap down drink holder
that also kept me inboard might be a Good Idea at some point...
A platform for Skipper has a
definite appeal. She likes sticking her nose out the doorway and
watching the water, fish, dogs ashore, etc. She's my boat dog.
Skipper is secured to the doorway with a leash. She
cannot fall in or out of Seaweed.
In the meantime I'll have the nets up partially when underway
without guests aboard. This is not the best solution.
I like being inside, safe and
secure in my home. The next time I pull out the sewing machine I'll
make a padded border to go at the top of the netting. It will give
me an "edge" and be a bit tidier. In the meantime it will be Good
This is my Singer 221, circa 1937. She's a gem.
That's it from the Gulf coast of Florida. I'm out and about a lot
nowadays. Don't forget to say hello on Channel 16 if you see my
Seaweed. I'm always listening.
Boating is fun and tiring too. For me, for
now, it's nap time. Plus there is this thing called a Kindle...
Happy cruising to you and yours.
How do you ensure you stay aboard your boat when
Are there any doorway ideas you could offer that I might adapt for
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