As Newfoundlanders, my father and I were convinced that “the sea” was in our blood, so in the 1950s when I was a little girl growing up in England, my father was happy to give in to my pleas to rent a rowing boat and go out on a lake in our local park. The attendant pushed out the heavy wooden boat and we were off, my father at the oars, me nestled happily in the stern. There were no lifejackets or other safety equipment in the boat – the management was more concerned about having a megaphone loud enough so renters could hear “come in no. 7, your time is up!”

All went well until we reached the middle of the lake and noticed that the boat was slowly but surely filling with water – there was a small drainage hole in the hull and the plug was unaccountably missing. With the calm developed under fire when he served with the Royal Newfoundland Regiment of the British Army in World War 2, my father immediately started rowing much more purposefully back towards the shore, all the time keeping up happy chatter with me (“well – – this is an exciting adventure!”) to prevent my panicking.

Lesson learned: one of the CSBC’s key boating safety messages: Be prepared – you and your vessel.

 

Jean Murray

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