Excellent Tred Barta Show on Ditching

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Well-known member
Feb 23, 2006
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Isle of Palms, SC/Fairfax, VA
Last night's Best and Worst was very good. Tred worked with USAF Search and Rescue to simulate a ditching. Tred and crew actually abandoned ship at the canyons and had USAF PJ's (hoowa) come rescue them. Serious stuff, that. Makes you think.

My crew (never the same mix) sometimes get glazed eyeballs when I show them (for the umpteenth time) how to use the VHF, extingusher, flares, back-up VHF and GPS, etc.

My normal mate, my son, I trust with my life....Not so much with others.

Perhaps this year I'll test the plan. "OK, Sis, I just slipped and hit my head and I am unconsious and bleeding......GO!"

You guys that go to the canyon gotta stay on your toes.
rangerdog":3itlsd6r said:
Perhaps this year I'll test the plan.
Another drill to conduct is the man overboard drill. I've done that to the crew before ... I just quickly put a preserver on, and tell them "Come get me ..." and then jump overboard.

Let me tell you, first they start laughing, then they're stunned, and then they panic. Once they almost ran me over as they didn't factor in the wind pushing the boat and it almost went over me. Also, do you know how hard it is to try to manuever a big boat over to a small object? If you haven't tried it ... start by throwing a cushion or fender over and try to get to it right where you'd need a person to be. Another thing, getting a person OUT of the water, if they can't move themselves, can be tough!

Having pulled 4 guys out of the water, in a rip current too, one morning who couldn't fend for themselves ... yeah ... this topic is more important to me than a ditching drill, as its more likely to occur.
What I thought was interesting was all the mistakes Tred made during the rescue simulation, even after all the preparation, planning and list making that he did leading up to the event.

Goes to show the value of doing some test-runs for that kind of thing, although I am admittedly lacking in that area.

-- Tom
Oh yeah, I forgot. Even Tred was humbled by the AAR.

Dale I practice recovery a fair amount because someone always looses their hat! :roll: I don't know about jumping overboard myself, though. Maybe we could practice on my brother in law. :lol:
I read Tred's article in Sportfisherman each month. I've watched some of his shows.

He has a couple of chinks in his armor. He is stubborn and he gets confused or swayed by determination. If any of you have caught some of the shows you can pick out situations but one that comes to mind is the one where he duck hunted on LI Sound in tough weather where he had a transom ladder for his dog (who wore a neoprene vest). Tred was yapping about downing a duck in hellacious weather when it dawned on him that his dog was going farther and farther away. He had to pull his anchor and fetch the dog while saying don't do as he did.

DaleH":2ws5t6lm said:
...Also, do you know how hard it is to try to manuever a big boat over to a small object?...

Yup. It sucks, and my boat isn't even that big. If you have a throw bag on board all you need to do is get close:


There is a very flexible high test line inside the weighted bag. One stands on the bitter end and throws the bag. It is easy to get 70' of line out with an underhand fling.
Go Fish":2q3u2jyk said:
If you have a throw bag on board all you need to do is get close ...
Uhhh, maybe ... maybe not, please don't bet someone else's life on it ...

Of the 4 guys I alluded to that Doug and I pulled out of the water ... 3 of the 4 didn't have life jackets on and they were in the 54 degree water for 15 minutes or more. The guy with the life jacket on was an 'easy' rescue. The others were holding on to anything that floated for dear life! Catching a line or float? No way ...

When I pulled up to the first guy, I misjudged the wind and it started to push me over him. Point is, he let go of the small cooler he had his hands wrapped around, and he was so cold that he couldn't use his arms to swim ... so he sank! We heard him bounce/bump under the bottom of the hull at first and only rescued him by grabbing him with a long boat hook as he passed by when he came out from under the other side, by now he was 3' under water and going down ...

My next choice was a pogie hook on a spinning rod, or to swim for him. As we picked up the other guys, we were screaming at them to NOT let go of whatever they were holding onto, as they were unable to swim and they'd sink. The truth be told ... all 3 sunk at one time or another as we pulled them up to the surface and out of the water using my boathook and gaff.

To this day, if I let myself ... I can still see and feel the fear, plus hear the noises (as if it happended yesterday) as the first guy's hands tried desparately to claw onto wet fiberglass just to stay alive ... :shock:
I agree with you Dale.

Let me rephrase:

In some rescue situations, if you have a throw bag and all you can do is get close, you may still be able to execute an effective rescue.

There is no substitute for good boat handling skills in a rescue situation, or any situation OTW for that matter. Obviously, in the situation you described, they were imparative.