Coast Guard Auxiliary Association

A letter to instructors of a safe boating course:

Dear Instructors,

John and Mary here from your boating safety course. Just wanted to relay a story from this weekend. John and I were out on the lake on our way back from Chicago and John was scanning the water while driving. Suddenly he thought he spotted something in the water (we were at least a mile off shore), so he turned the boat around to check. We discovered that it was a young couple in their early twenties on a PWC. She was driving and he had fallen off. She was sober, but he was very inebriated. He could not get back on the PWC. It was obvious that he was hypothermic, as his skin looked blue. He had an ill- fitting life jacket on INSIDE OUT! It was so loose that it was slipping over his head and he was going under the waves! John immediately directed me to throw the life ring, which we now keep on deck because of your class. We did have to throw it twice, thankfully we have a line tied to it (also because of your class). We were able to get him to grab onto the life ring and pull him to the boat. He was so hypothermic and exhausted from struggling in the water that he could not climb the ladder onto the swim platform. John had to literally drag him onto the boat using techniques learned in your course. We managed to get him warmed up and safely back to the beach! We just thanked our lucky stars that we were sober, in the right place at the right time, and that we knew what to do!!! This young man would not have lasted much longer and surely would have drown. After we got him to shore we both remarked again about how your safe boating class helped us save the life of this young man. Thank you again for all of the knowledge you and your fellow instructors shared with us. Because of this, we were able to save a life this weekend.

John and Mary

P.S. I learned to drive the boat this weekend, all the way from the marina and back. I've also learned how to operate the radio. :)