Always Have a Flashlight on Your Paddle Boat

This post’s title is no laughing matter…it’s serious advice to live by in the future.

Recently my mother-in-law bought a paddle boat for the lake, which everybody thought was a great idea. Sometimes you don’t feel like getting the big boat out or a jet ski, but you want to get out on the water. So a paddle boat is perfect for a trip around the cove where their house sits on the lake.

It was around dusk Saturday afternoon and my husband’s Aunt Cheryl had the idea that we should go out on the lake in the paddle boat. I agreed to go, there was still plenty of light out and I  thought it would be fun. She commented that we should’ve brought a flashlight to shine where we were to the other boats. After dark all boats have to have little lights on them so other boats can tell where they are, but we just laughed about it knowing we would be back before dark anyways and it wouldn’t matter.

So we get out on the lake and the boat wouldn’t go where we steered it.The water was choppy from all the boats and I didn’t realize we were starting to get the windy effects of Tropical Storm Beryl. Half the time we ended up going in a circle  and laughing. It was getting dark quickly and we finally got the boat to cooperate. We started heading back to the house until a big speed boat started coming our way and it was coming straight for us. We became silent and I was sure that the boat would soon turn and go away from us, but it didn’t. It obviously didn’t see us and if it hit us it would split our little paddle boat straight down the middle.

Aunt Cheryl grabbed my hand and I started saying a prayer. My mind was racing. We were going to have to bail out of the paddle boat, but where? The big boat  (it looked like it was ten stories tall compared to our tiny boat) would probably eventually see us, but at what point and on which side of us would the boat correct and start going the other way? I had no way of knowing and the last thing I needed was for the boat’s propeller to go over us when we jumped in the water. But we couldn’t just sit there either and be hit by the front of the boat. We were going to have to chance it and hope we made the right decision.

We were both frozen and my heart was beating wildly…I literally thought we could die. The stories of boating accidents started flashing through my mind, but then the boat saw us and made a quick turn out toward the open water of the lake. I sighed in relief and my body was shaking from the adrenaline that was pumping through my body. We picked up the pace to get back to the house. Once we finally made it, we could laugh and joke about what had just happened since we were still alive.

We thought about what the papers would say about the accident. I could see the headline now “Speed Boat Crashes into Paddle Boat Killing the Two Crazy People Without a Flashlight” (Yeah I know most headlines aren’t that long, but just go with it).

Needless to say my Memorial Day Weekend was eventful and an absolute blast. This isn’t even where the paddle boat story boat ends, but I think I’ll continue it for my next post. Actually I got enough for several posts. Come back tomorrow for more life saving tips…like how when you’re in a kayak and you see bubbles coming up from the bottom of the lake you should turn and go the other direction.

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