Get a grip
Give yourself something to hold onto
Have you ever had bad weather or a thunderstorm that pitched and heaved your vessel all over the place? Have you ever dinged your head or banged up your body as your boat pitched back and forth?
We ran into this issue on our Sea Scout Ship Bonne Femme during a trip to the Dry Tortugas. During night watch on one leg of the trip, I had to make my way to the head down below for a quick break while the boat heaved back and forth from port to starboard. I entered the head and closed the door behind me. When the boat heaved to starboard, I grabbed for something but only got air. My body slammed against the door and broke the jam. The door flew open, and my body slammed into the communications cabinet.
For a moment, I stood there perplexed. Then the vessel heaved back to port, the head door closed, and my face, chest and stomach smashed into the closed door.
What a bruiser! I eventually made my way back to the cockpit and laughed with my fellow shipmates about what had happened.
To avoid getting beat up in heavy weather, make sure your vessel is hand-grab safe. When your boat is steady in homeport, try this:
- From the cockpit, close your eyes and walk down below or around the top of your deck, trying to maintain your balance.
- Mark points as you go through this exercise. Have other family members do the same to determine proper placement of handrails and grab handles.
- Position grab handles in strategic places such as for ease in using the head.
- Remember when attaching a handrail or grab handle to ensure that it can hold your body weight and won’t pull out of its mountings.