Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Almost Tragedy

As happens every Summer, a boater got in trouble in bad weather. A sail boater in this case. It wasn't just bad weather, it was a severe thunderstorm that swept through the south end of Pend Oreile Lake, late Wednesday Afternoon...

Weather can change in an instant, but in this case, the weather was apparently ignored. For at least one hour, it was obvious that a severe thunderstorm was tracking toward Whiskey Rock, and south.

According to officers on site at the Kootenai County boat ramp, the boaters were rescued by Bonner County Rescue crews.

I question why, with all of the electronic aids we have, such as weather radio, radar, why boaters that have no more qualifications than the money to buy a boat they are not qualified to operate are allowed to go forth upon this lake of ours, with the knowledge that we will rescue them if they get in trouble.

1 comment:

Bill McCrory said...


We couldn't agree more with your last question, observation really. In the 50's and into the 60's our family had a boat on Pend Oreille. We fished from Bayview to Lakeview and rarely went north of Cape Horn. Our boat could comfortably handle any of the quick and quite violent storms that could come up, yet we always watched the sky and the water. If the sky and the water got dark and the whitecaps started to form north of Cape Horn, we headed back to our slip at Mac & Ina's Hudson Bay Resort. Usually the storm was on us before we could get all the way in. We didn't have VHF or WX radio on the boat, but we could read the weather pretty well. Now we have a safe boat on Coeur d'Alene (with VHF/WX/Fire radio), but we still watch the weather closely and head in before it gets too bad. Usually the signs of a coming storm are visible before they're on VHF-16.

By the way, both of us have completed the Coast Guard Auxiliary's safe boating courses. We highly recommend them. Even with over 40 years boating experience on Pend Oreille and CdA, I still learned a huge amount about safe boating from the safe boating course. We'll probably take it again next winter or spring just to refresh ourselves. Safe boating takes more than money.