One summer, travelling at the outrageous speed of 8 knots, I kissed two logs. No physical damage was done to the boat. The logs were on the smallish side, and resurfaced behind me. I looked around to see if anyone noticed, and although alone, my ego was bruised - likely more than the logs!
Later that summer, I heard a witticism that the US Coast Guard created an acronym for a collision caused by a boat operator being distracted by peering into a screen. I can’t find the acronym, but did find the idea amusing until I realized in both my log incidents, I was texting. And added to my bruised ego was a deeply felt shame and stupidity. And I recalled a few other incidents - an owner I know was showing his grand children how the chart plotter worked, and drove up on a rock on a receding tide. Four boats off Moresby Island - a pristine wilderness - three helmsman were on the radio in deep discussion about a Windows issues while ours watched an eagle lift off the sparkling sea with a huge salmon. Another distracted friend ran into a large island as his autopilot was, somehow distracted. The stories go on and on.
All involve distraction.
So, I no longer text at sea. As one writer put it: “If you are texting from the helm, you’re not likely helming the boat.” My logs could have been a paddle boarder. Or another distracted boater. Or a rock.
DIDIOT might work as the acronym. Meaning “Distracted Idiot.” Or, back to my opening line, DATAE. “Distracted Addict To Anything Electronic.” Of course, peering at a paper chart could have the same result. Other suggestions are welcome.
So, US Coast Guard aside, “DISTRACTED” says it all - Don’t Be!
Wise words by Brian Kell, Co-Founder of Grand Yachts Inc. - CPYB