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What to do if stranded?

Old 06-18-2020, 11:35 AM
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Default What to do if stranded?

Relatively new boater (there is no relative, I am a new boater) with a less than 100 % reliable boat. I have this revolving fear of something coming up mechanically, that renders the boat inoperable, with me being unable to create a fix. I boat in a small lake with no private tow providers. I feel like this is an inevitable part of boating and I am comfortable in my ability to keep a cool head. My current strategy is to ensure I am upwind to float back to the launch. I have had no issues thus far, other than a too tight carb setting but take to heart that everything works......until it breaks.

Is this a reasonable worry? Has this happened to any of you? Does it just make for a long embarrassing day?

Old 06-18-2020, 11:37 AM
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Small lake = bring a paddle
Old 06-18-2020, 11:39 AM
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Bring extra cold beer and some cashola for the person who tows you in. Ensure you have a paddle onboard.

It is a reasonable worry. Yes it may happen to everyone. I have found having exposed t&a on board helps considerably with the willingness of fellow boaters to help.
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Old 06-18-2020, 11:41 AM
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I boat on a lake where there is no tow service or services of any kind. There are houses around most of it. You will come ashore somewhere so it's not going to turn into the Monty Python lifeboat sketch.

People will mostly help one another in a place like that. I've towed people.
Old 06-18-2020, 11:56 AM
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I would make sure you have a decent anchor and rode. If disabled, it could keep you from drifting somewhere you don't want to be.
Old 06-18-2020, 11:56 AM
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wait until the wind pushes you to a shore, then walk home! extra beer also helps!
Old 06-18-2020, 11:59 AM
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A lot depends on the boat. Since you mentioned small lake, I can assume bow rider type boat. You can purchase a cheap 12 volt trolling motor and keep it in the ski locker or somewhere until needed. It might run you 100-150 bucks. Cut the plug off and use alligator clips direct to battery. Just an idea.
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Old 06-18-2020, 12:08 PM
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Originally Posted by daselin View Post
Relatively new boater (there is no relative, I am a new boater) with a less than 100 % reliable boat. I have this revolving fear of something coming up mechanically, that renders the boat inoperable, with me being unable to create a fix. I boat in a small lake with no private tow providers. I feel like this is an inevitable part of boating and I am comfortable in my ability to keep a cool head. My current strategy is to ensure I am upwind to float back to the launch. I have had no issues thus far, other than a too tight carb setting but take to heart that everything works......until it breaks.

Is this a reasonable worry? Has this happened to any of you? Does it just make for a long embarrassing day?
Trolling motor
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Old 06-18-2020, 12:09 PM
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Stranded Nekkid??
Old 06-18-2020, 12:18 PM
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I have an oar at the ready for sure. The trolling motor is definitely a thought I had and I have a second battery, glad to hear that is a viable option. Thanks for your responses.
Old 06-18-2020, 12:37 PM
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Originally Posted by daselin View Post
Relatively new boater (there is no relative, I am a new boater) with a less than 100 % reliable boat. I have this revolving fear of something coming up mechanically, that renders the boat inoperable, with me being unable to create a fix. I boat in a small lake with no private tow providers. I feel like this is an inevitable part of boating and I am comfortable in my ability to keep a cool head. My current strategy is to ensure I am upwind to float back to the launch. I have had no issues thus far, other than a too tight carb setting but take to heart that everything works......until it breaks.

Is this a reasonable worry? Has this happened to any of you? Does it just make for a long embarrassing day?
I had a 25 year old Bayliner with Force outboard. I have much experience with this. lol

How crowded is the lake? If there are others on the lake you can usually find someone to give you a tow. Boaters are generally an understanding and kind lot, especially since they likely have had trouble at some point.

If your usually alone make sure you carry a paddle so you slowly row to shore. Or even better if you have some space carry a small trolling motor that you can hook up and connect to your battery. It will also be slow, but will get you off the lake.

Sure it can be embarrassing, but if you are on a small lake you will get off one way or another.
Old 06-18-2020, 12:51 PM
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Trolling motor, plenty of life-jackets, water, and do what is necessary to make your boat more reliable. Anything but a small familiar lake, I would not take an unreliable boat. I mean small lake like a large pond.
Old 06-18-2020, 12:54 PM
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My Dad got baked lobster red one time when our boat died on the water and we had to wait for someone to come along, so I'd say maybe extra sunscreen too...
Old 06-18-2020, 02:32 PM
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How effective would a 36lb thrust trolling motor be in a 24 foot boat?

Obviously don't expect it to be fast but would it be enough to move slightly in a mild wind (5-8 mph?)

Old 06-18-2020, 02:38 PM
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Swim!

Just kidding. Don't try it. It's further than you think.
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Old 06-18-2020, 02:59 PM
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I bought an old 17' aluminum boat. Our first time out, the motor died in sight of the ramp. We're rural and were on a in-the-middle-of-nowhere salt marsh creek. I often don't see another boat all day where I am. We were drifting away from the ramp Limited cell service if any and, because it's in tens of thousands of acres of salt marsh - you can't walk out.

Fortunately, I got the motor to barely run and we limped back to the ramp.

The next day I bought a 5hp outboard and mounted it on the back as a kicker. I've tested it and it will push us along at 5-6mph. A slow ride back but it will get us there. I've never needed it since but I'm not going out again without it.
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Old 06-18-2020, 03:04 PM
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Originally Posted by daselin View Post
Relatively new boater (there is no relative, I am a new boater) with a less than 100 % reliable boat. I have this revolving fear of something coming up mechanically, that renders the boat inoperable, with me being unable to create a fix. I boat in a small lake with no private tow providers. I feel like this is an inevitable part of boating and I am comfortable in my ability to keep a cool head. My current strategy is to ensure I am upwind to float back to the launch. I have had no issues thus far, other than a too tight carb setting but take to heart that everything works......until it breaks.

Is this a reasonable worry? Has this happened to any of you? Does it just make for a long embarrassing day?
Do you have cell phone service there?
Old 06-18-2020, 05:04 PM
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Immediately start to ration the remaining beer supply, women and children last 😀

make sure to relieve yourself on the downwind side of the boat.

have a few daytime and nighttime signal flares

Last edited by tpenfield; 06-18-2020 at 06:12 PM.
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Old 06-18-2020, 05:32 PM
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Originally Posted by daselin View Post
Relatively new boater (there is no relative, I am a new boater) with a less than 100 % reliable boat. I have this revolving fear of something coming up mechanically, that renders the boat inoperable, with me being unable to create a fix. I boat in a small lake with no private tow providers. I feel like this is an inevitable part of boating and I am comfortable in my ability to keep a cool head. My current strategy is to ensure I am upwind to float back to the launch. I have had no issues thus far, other than a too tight carb setting but take to heart that everything works......until it breaks.

Is this a reasonable worry? Has this happened to any of you? Does it just make for a long embarrassing day?

What year make & size of motor and how small & deep is the lake. Rocky/ sandy? .......Gators?

Presumably you will have the required life jacket, anchor and sufficient rode, flares, horn and the other safety equipment. And flashlight. You can anchor up, see if the problem is something simple ( loose fuel or battery connection or fuse you have spares for?) If still stranded , use your cell phone to call someone you know to report your situation and locations and ask for assistance , at least for contacting authorities if necessary. There is always 911 in most locations if there is cell service there and your phone is charged.

If the boat is small enough you can try paddling or rowing. A little bigger and you could use the tarp you wisely have aboard to attach to a boat hook and /or padde and dock lines to make a sail or big kite for up to maybe 140* maneuverability.

If the wind isn't strong and the lake isn't too deep you could kedge by tossing the anchor ( anchor line secured onboard) in the direction you hope to move and haul back on the line and keep repeating. if the boat is not too massive and shore not too rocky or muddy you could wade, pushing or pulling along shore.

What would McGyver do?

Make serious effort to learn about your boat & motor so you CAN deal with minor breakdowns. That's part of boat ownership. And think about equipment that can help you get back before you are stranded , not after.

Just don't wait until you are stranded . And don't wait to anchor until it is too late if you are drifting in the wrong direction. You can always up-anchor when you formulate a better plan
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Old 06-18-2020, 05:56 PM
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A small gas powered kicker shouldn’t be too expensive

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