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We needed a pump out. For the uninformed, that means cleaning out the holding tank on the boat of all the “you know what.”

In some marinas there’s a little boat that comes around to perform this essential function. In others you have to go to the pump out station to “dispose of your unwanted load.”

So come with me.

  • A clear day;

  • A brisk breeze (which would push the boat away from the dock);

  • A 2 ½ knot current which didn’t help;

  • A fair number of boaters, some good some bad. (It’s Saturday afternoon and people are out playing.)

The Captain is being his usual efficient, competent self, bringing the 50 foot 65,000 lb. boat around in the current for a port side tie up.

“Order of lines?” I yell.

“Spring (mid boat), bow, stern,” he yells back.

“Also,” he adds, “bring the stern line from the starboard for the stern tie up.”

Picture it this way. You are tying up on the left side of the boat. To prevent the back from swinging out into the current, you bring the line from the right side of the boat, across the back of the boat and tie that line to the dock. No danger of swing out.

Explanation Over.

Into action we went.

I threw the spring (mid boat) line to deckhand #1. Check

I threw the bow (front of boat) line to deckhand #2. Check.

I turn to run aft (back) in time to see deckhand #1 trying to snag a cleat ON the boat using a line tied to the dock.

And as I run, the back of the boat is swinging away from the dock and deckhand #1 is leaning forward precariously, still trying to snag the cleat on the boat.

“I’m coming, I’m coming,” I yelled as I hoofed it through the boat. I picked up the line tied starboard side, already lying ready to be thrown.

Deckhand #1 had by now managed to snag the boat cleat and was in the process of tying off the line.

“Here,” I offered him our line. “Use ours. The Captain likes that as it prevents the boat from swinging out.”

And. And. And. Wait for it…………….

You know what the little #$!*% said to me?”

“I know what I’m doing.”

I hyper-ventilated for a couple of seconds, dropped the line and walked away.

Question One: Would he have said that if I was a man?

Question Two: Would it have been so much more difficult to say – “it’s okay, this will hold it.” Or something similar.

Question Three: Was he being an a……. because of issues I’m unaware of? Maybe I reminded him of his hated English teacher years ago. Or maybe he’d had a fight with his girlfriend. Or maybe he’s married and had a run-in with his mother-in-law.

Question Four: Or was he plain embarrassed that I saw him trying to snag a cleat and nearly taking a dunking. Doing something both stupid and dangerous.

Just sayin’…..

But my Christian Mantra was severely strained.

Don’t Judge


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