MIYC Anchor Lines June:July 2017

Page 29

Marco Island Yacht Club

Here’s something to think about……. “Alarm and agitation caused by the expectation or realization of danger”. That is Mr. Webster’s definition of fear. Some synonyms include fright, foreboding and terror. From my own experience, fear is often in the back of my mind when I operate my boat. I think that some level of fear is always with us; sometimes just under the surface. If what I am saying is true, then we should take it into account and perhaps harness that hidden energy to our benefit. I think it fair to assume that fear can be a good thing: that without some level of it, we may become careless, overly confident, and maybe unable to curb unproductive bravado. The bad thing about fear though, is that left unchecked it can be debilitating, might prevent us from taking needed action and may even stop us from using our boats at all. I again suggest that fear can be used to our benefit and harnessed to be our ally. Here are some observations: • “I am afraid to go out in the gulf because I will get lost”. With a little training and familiarity with DSC/ VHF radio procedure and basic knowledge on how to read a chart and use a compass, it is almost impossible to get lost. It is virtually impossible not to be found. Be afraid that you don’t know enough and let that motivate you to become informed. • “I am afraid I will run aground”. If you learn how to read the lateral markers and use your chart and electronics properly, the likelihood of running aground is reduced significantly. If you do run aground, and there is no dangerous damage, wait for the tide to rise and don’t worry about it. Reduce the fear to a little anxiety by doing your homework before setting out. • “I am afraid that I won’t be able to back my boat into a slip once I get where I am going.” Backing into a slip will always present unknown problems. The thing here is that, more than likely, it is the fear of having an audience watch a bungled job. Lose the ego and let fear drive you to practice and practice some more. Also, go slow enough that if you hit something, the boat won’t get too dinged up. • “I am afraid when I see a storm in my path”. This is when being scared is good. Learn all you can about weather in southwest Florida and what preemptive precautions should be taken in case Safety & Training

you are caught in a messy situation. Wind and lightening do not care about blood and guts bravery. If you are uncomfortable, head for home. • “I am afraid to take my boat to the Snook Inn for lunch because I won’t be able to park it”. Listen

Jim Olmes Safety & Training Officer

carefully to your head here; this is intelligence speaking, not fear. Only strange people try to park at the Snook Inn; at least more than once. Another thing I witness is the sometime actions of new boaters who haven’t experienced enough to know when to be afraid - the deadly ignorance is bliss adage. Through the classroom and continued questioning of others you will start to find out what you know and more importantly what you don’t know. Then you will see fear. If you are afraid while driving your boat, try to breakdown the big fear into smaller parts. Find out what is realistic and what is not. Replace as many of those little fears with solid information and you will probably change what was overwhelming fear to your advantage. Use it as the motivator to learn. There are two comments from others I would like to share with you. The first comment is from a friend, who when I asked “Why, after all of my training and experience, do I feel anxious when I put the keys in the ignition”, he said “When you don’t have that feeling you should stop boating. That little bit of anxiety keeps you alert and your head in the game”. The second comes from comments made by Marine General Peter Pace, retired Chairman of the Joint Chiefs. He was a member of a small group of officers attending a reunion which I was co-organizing and I had asked him to say a few words during our dinner. Among his comments was the statement to the affect: In combat I want to be with those who are afraid. Excellent training and natural fear are the ingredients that make people take the right action. Stay scared! Learn! Jim Olmes Safety & Training Officer

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