Why does everything seem to happen when you are running late? I am the type that is never late to work. Yep, just check out my time card. When I do run late bad things are bound to happen and the other day was no exception.
In truth, I was only two minutes late, but that is not like me and I still felt the pressure I put on myself. You know the feeling. You champ at the bits at every stoplight and curse at the law-abiding citizens who are going the speed limit when you are late. C’mon, confess! We all do it, though we know that we shouldn’t!
I screech into work and quickly size up the situation. Nothing. No one is around and no one is waiting with a whip and chains next to the time clock. I check the docks on one side of the property. All is as it should be. I go out to the Bluff and look over the docks on the river. From the Bluff I can see all but maybe two or three boats at the most. All looks good. My heart is beating almost normal again so I go into the kitchen for my usual cup of coffee. Actually it’s a cappuccino/espresso combination that I make myself, but that’s another story.
Now I have my coffee and I am starting to breathe normal and my VHF radio crackles to life. The voice on the other end asks, "Sam, did you know you have a boat sinking on the front docks? It’s too far gone for me to do anything for it, do you think you can come take a look?" That does it! Fear and self-loathing for being two minutes late consumes me for all of about, oh, say, three seconds. Then it’s Dock Master Sam in his crisis mode.
As an aside, let me just say here that more boats sink at the dock than anywhere else on an annual basis. I save two or three boats a year from going under, so it’s not like I don’t know what to do in these situations. In fact, I am pretty highly trained in that regard and have never lost a boat yet that wasn’t already completely submerged when I found it.
I go out to the front dock at break-neck speed in my trusty golf cart. I run down the ramp and sure enough, it’s one of the only three boats I could not see earlier because a huge yacht parks on the shore side of that same dock and hides these few boats from view if you are on the Bluff.
I am very relieved, because I know immediately that I can save this boat. At the same time, however, my heart sinks because I know the owner of this boat. He is my dentist and he is the salt of the earth. More than once he has done emergency tooth repair for me and wouldn’t let me pay him a dime.
I go to the maintenance building and collect my huge crash pump and hoses and grab the maintenance director for help on the way. Together we fire up the gasoline motor on the huge water pump as he guides the hose into the hull. I have to board the boat and stand on the far edge to make the boat lean over enough to stop the water coming in over the transom as the giant pump kicks in.
In a matter of about three minutes, the hull is pumped dry to the point that we want to get our smaller electric pump to finish off the job. This pump is about four inches in diameter and only six or eight inches high.
We plug in the small pump that can go deeper into the hull and nothing. It does not come on. I try another electrical outlet. Still nothing! I look closer at the pump and see that the last user of the pump must have pulled on it using the electrical cord to move it around and part of the wiring is pulled out. It figures!
The boat is stabilized pretty much at this point, so we go to my desk and take the electrical pump apart and rewire it. It takes a while but we get it done and finish pumping out the boat.
This is a picture of the brand new electrical pump I bought later in the day as a back up so that I’ll never have to wait again.
As for the boat, the engine never went under, so there’s no problem there. The side of the boat that went under is the side most of the electrical wiring is located on so most of that will have to be replaced. I towed the boat around to the hoist later in the day and got it out of the water and back on its’ trailer.
This all seemed to prove my point that for me, it never pays to be late. Something will ALWAYS happen.