It’s Been a Year

I know that many of us spend time being on the water- at the lake, river, beach, or ocean. I love being water side because it is so peaceful and relaxing. I still feel this way but our accident last year forever changed how I view the water. Yes, it is beautiful to look at but it can be incredibly overwhelming and never ending. Waves don’t stop, water gets deep quickly, and even though you may feel in control, you are not with that much water around you. Through this experience, I have gained a healthy amount of respect for the strength and magnitude of water.  

Our boat accident happened a year ago today. It was such a random and freak occurrence that I don’t think it could be duplicated if we tried. I’ve gone over that day in my head hundreds of times and each time realized or learned something new. I am also more sensitive to other’s boating/water stories and photos on social media. I wanted to put together my thoughts on what I have learned and recognized over the last year in hopes of helping prevent a similar accident again.

Life Jackets

  • I know many of you read my Plea for Life Jackets post several weeks ago. So I will just quickly say- all children who are on a dock or boat should be wearing an appropriately sized life jacket.
  • If you are on a commercial boat with your child, do not hesitate to request a life jacket for them. Even if the crew says you don’t need one… the seas are calm… blah blah blah- demand a life jacket. We went on a very rough sightseeing boat tour in Ireland and I am so thankful we demanded a life jacket for our son. The children’s life jackets were stored in the downstairs main cabin, behind a metal door, and inside a wooden cabinet. Once the crewman got that far, he still had to dig through several to find a child sized jacket. Personally, that is not an easily accessible life jacket location. My heart is racing just thinking about him struggling to find one. I can only imagine what would (or wouldn’t happen) if the boat was in some sort of accident. So, let my lesson be yours too- get a life jacket for your kid or get off the boat (which is what we almost did with the initial push back we got from the crew).
  • For adults, always know where the life jackets are kept and know how to access them.
  • If you ever are on a boat and feel uncomfortable, put on a life jacket. It can’t hurt.

Safe Boating

  • I am not really a big fan of boating on major holidays- Memorial Day, 4th of July, and Labor Day weekends. There are a lot of people on the water and many of them have no clue what they are doing. If you do want to go boating those days, I prefer to go early in the morning and be back right after lunch. Cracking a cold one or two or seven on the boat is very popular but mixing alcohol, fast boats, and lots of people is a bad equation. Boating early helps prevent this scenario from occurring.
  • If for some reason you are on a boat that flips over, know that there is likely an air pocket under the boat where people may be trapped. Yes, this sounds scary (and it was) but they have air to breathe and can talk to one another there. It is important for rescuers to realize where this air pocket is under the boat so they can zoom in on where to look during the rescue. (Side note: When our boat flipped over, we quickly realized that some people were missing and were trapped underneath the boat. I immediately knew we had to get them out and the clock was ticking (I did not know about the air pocket). Thanks to watching Baywatch as a child, I knew I’d have to dive down under the boat to search for arms/legs. Who knew that Baywatch would be so helpful 25 years later?)
  • If you go out on a boat, know where you get on the boat (i.e., name of marina, boat ramp, house address, etc). If something happens and your original captain can’t drive you home, you will be able to tell someone else where you need to go. You may not know how to get there but will atleast have an idea of the general vicinity.

A year later…

I am happy to say that my son happily jumped back on this boat for a ride yesterday. He did not hesitate. I thank God for his resilience in being back on the water in that same boat again.  

We have not yet gone back to the location of the accident. I am not sure when/if I will. I know that time is helping to heal things though. For me, getting back on the boat several times over the last year has been a big deal. I will not let this accident scare me away from the water. But, I will take what I have learned to be even safer when boating. I hope you will all do the same!

love & learn, brooke

What She Wore… Fishing

 

FullSizeRender (5)The essentials:

  1.  Pearls.  These are only mandatory when fishing in the south.  They make your teeth look whiter in fishing photos.  I’d recommend a pair that you bought at Target as part of a 3 pack… you know, the fancy ones.
  2. A shirt.  On this trip, I am sporting a Magnolia tank top that I bought in Waco while visiting the Silos.  On it’s second wash, it got two holes in it.  I hope their renovations are higher quality than their shirts.
  3. A Hat.  I prefer to wear a ten year old Masters hat that is showing its age via fading and fraying on the brim.  At this point, I am not sure I could give it away.
  4. Sunglasses.  Many people go the expensive route when buying fishing sunglasses… something with UV protection and polarization.  I, however, go the complete opposite route and buy my sunglasses from the Dollar Tree.  Yes, they cost $1 per pair.  Don’t be jealous.  They are probably going to end up at the bottom of the river/lake/ocean anyway… no matter how much you spend.
  5. Croakies.  My croakies are a free set from Southern Tide that I received at a tailgate party 8 years ago.  They are old, ratty and tattered but this prevents others from stealing them.
  6. Shorts.  These (non) fancy shorts are a pair that I found at the C Shack that someone abandoned and never reclaimed.
  7. Waterproof shoes.  My chacos have helped catch plenty of fish.  Bonus point is they don’t fall off if your boat flips over.  Not that I would know anything about this, though.

FullSizeRender (6)As my husband always reminds me, the most important part of any sport or activity is how you look.  Thankfully, this outfit actually helped me catch something (*I do not guarantee it will work for you though).  So, the next time you go fishing… head to the Dollar Tree, pull out your hole-iest clothes, find a free t-shirt and be ready to rock an awesome fishing style too!

laugh, brooke

A Plea for Life Jackets

This is a very difficult post to write but I think it is VERY important to share especially as summer vacations are quickly approaching.

I grew up on water… the Savannah River to be exact and have been swimming and boating as long as I can remember.  In the summers, we’d go to a sandbar to swim 2-3 nights a week and would spend several hours there on Sunday afternoons.  I love being on the water, it is so calm, beautiful and peaceful.lifejacket

Growing up on the river meant that my parents had strict rules about life jackets.  We always had to wear them.  The boat would not turn start until everyone had on their life jacket.  Even if we were strong swimmers, we always wore our life jacket jumping into the water.  We wore them on pontoon boats, jet boats, and fishing boats… discrimination on the kind of boat did not matter.  If you were leaving the dock, you had on a life jacket.  Thankfully, we never had any issues with following this rule and had plenty of fun, safe boating.

Fast forward to last Memorial Day weekend, my family was on a boat leaving the beach off the Georgia coast.  I’m still unsure of what really happened, but a wave knocked our boat over and we were all tossed into the ocean a few hundred feet from shore.  Thankfully, all of the children had on life jackets, including my 3 year old son.  He did not know how to swim and the water was deep.  His second-hand, $10 life jacket SAVED HIS LIFE and for that, I will always be SO grateful.

I had been boating EVERY single summer for 31 years of my life and never had a boat flip.  It was totally a fluke but I am so thankful we were prepared.

Please do yourself and your children a favor… make them wear a life jacket.  Obviously, it is so important to wear while on a boat or while tubing but also on a dock too.  Things can happen so quickly.

It is also valuable to remember that you cannot control all situations.  Yes, you may be a safe boat driver but you can’t control how others are driving their boat.  Or yes, your children may know not to go near the edge of a dock, but what happens if a raccoon runs down the dock towards them?  (No joke, this has happened to me.)  So many things are not in our control but putting your child in a well fitted life jacket is.

And finally, every time I mention this story to friends, I want to make one final point.  As an adult, if you are ever in a situation where you feel uncomfortable on a boat or body of water, just put on a life jacket.  There is no harm or foul in just being prepared.  Yes, the water is beautiful, calm and relaxing but we have to also remember how deep, strong, and overpowering it can be.

If you want more info on life jackets, I’d encourage you to check out the US Coast Guard website.

I wish you all a safe, wonderful and happy summer at the lake, river or ocean!

learn & love, brooke