View Full Version : Collision avoidance - VERY NEAR MISS

Big Boss
06-07-2010, 01:36 AM
So we are fast-idling back to the dock today, not quite dark but not quite daylight. We are listening to the Longhorns wrap up the NCAA regional on the radio, and in my rear-view mirror I see the red/green of a FAST approaching boat. I turn to look, one of my three passengers starts to wave, and I yell as loud as I can.

When it becomes clear that they aren't stopping or turning, I hit the throttle and veer right. Just as our boat starts to leap forward, they swerve right, so I drop back to neutral as they miss us by TWO FEET! I am not exaggerating. It was an older Malibu inboard, moving at least 30 mph.

Needless to say, we were scared/pissed off to the max. Called the police as we watched them nearly hit at least 5 other boats trying to load at the ramp/dock. Then they hit the back of their truck while loading on their trailer. They then unloaded two full plastic garbage bags of empties from their boat. One chick stood on the trailer tongue as they pulled the boat out of the water.

So I need some input: What, if anything, can/should I do as far as active avoidance?

My thought process is wait till last moment, and try to power out of the oncoming boats path. I waited until what I though was the last moment and then hit the throttle to avoid. They went the same way (right) as I did so I stopped. Had they kept going straight I feel pretty sure I could have gotten out of the way in time. Did I do the right thing?

If any of you guys/gals have and advice or experience in situations like this, please share it. As safe as I try to be, at the lake on Sunday afternoon I feel I am somewhat at the mercy of the idiots. This is the 3rd close call we have had this season. Each one was very similar: nearly being run down from dead astern by a fast moving boat.

Any tips on being a small target would be greatly appreciated!


Aaron in Austin

06-07-2010, 01:49 AM
Have your lights on when it is busy at dusk and stay away from the launch until you're ready to get right in. You did the right thing and kudos to your partners for the shout out. Most riders are passive and expect everything to go OK. I wonder if the cops busted them.

Big Boss
06-07-2010, 01:58 AM
Have your lights on when it is busy at dusk and stay away from the launch until you're ready to get right in. You did the right thing and kudos to your partners for the shout out. Most riders are passive and expect everything to go OK. I wonder if the cops busted them.

Right on, I'm the guy with the lights on before the sun is even close to setting. It amazes me how many folks run with no lights until totally dark.

We were headed in to load, but I think today was my last launch/load from this ramp for the summer. Just too many morons there.

We watched them load and fumble around drunk for at least 30 min in the parking lot, and of course, literally 2 minutes after they drive away the lake cop shows up at the ramp. Oh well, I know they were busy today. I know this, if they were driving more than a couple of miles they were bound to either crash or get pulled over.

06-07-2010, 09:21 AM
The only god move that you could have done, I would have gone one more step and got their plate numbers of the boat and vehicle and called it in to the popo.

glad everyone was save, but i would find another launch or lake.

Boating should be fun and safe.


ps Get a ws420 with some hlcd and a powerful amp and you can yell really loud at the idiot morons

06-07-2010, 09:33 AM
Big Boss you did about all you can do in that situation, there's no way to call the correct move in that kind of situation. Drunks are unpredictable, you're lucky you avoided disaster. I've reported to the water cops before on idiots like that for everyones safety.

That being said i don't drink on the water, maybe one beer or Mike's Hard while floating for lunch. In Cali a BUI is exactly the same as a DUI and carries the same consequences to include the confiscation of your boat if they so desire. With that possibillity i think i can contain myself. And if i was to be involved in an incident and i had been drinking I would be toast regardless of whom was at fault.

06-07-2010, 10:01 AM
yeah, have to watch out for the morons that's for sure.. i think you did everything about right. i would have gotten the license plate number of their vehicle because that behavior is unacceptable. safety first always....

06-07-2010, 10:05 AM
Razz, in NY they made the BUI/DWI laws even stiffer. with children under 18 in the vehicle/boat its an automatic felony, loss of licence and jail time..... not worth it IMO. Boats need a DD as well if partying is involved

06-07-2010, 10:30 AM
Razz, in NY they made the BUI/DWI laws even stiffer. with children under 18 in the vehicle/boat its an automatic felony, loss of licence and jail time..... not worth it IMO. Boats need a DD as well if partying is involved

That's good to hear, way to many incidents on the water imo.

06-07-2010, 10:19 PM
id carry a Mag light.

if nothing else, you can use a (3) D cell Maglight to beat the sh!t out of the drunk idiot back at the ramp.

glad you avoided what could have been a big disaster.

Big Boss
06-08-2010, 02:31 AM
Yeah we called in their boat numbers and plate to the cops. Wish they would have gotten them, but oh well. Their day is coming. Karma is a cold heartless bitch when she finally comes calling.

I was, and always am, stone cold sober when on the boat. Here in Texas, BWI is as bad as a DWI as well. It's just not worth it. Some of my friends like to come out and get hammered, but I just sit there and laugh at them. I got that out of my system in college LOL

We used another launch today, way up at the north end of our lake, where the water is COLD. It was glass all day.

Thanks for all the advice everyone. A bigger boat just jumped to the top of my priority list, as I now subscribe to the SUV theory: if my boat is bigger than most, I'm safer than most. Light bar on the tower will be a requirement as well.

The craziest part of the whole thing is after we pulled our boat out, the chick who owned the boat couldn't find her cell phone, and came and asked me if I would call her phone so she could find it! I bit my tongue, might have been the hardest thing I ever did. I was so amped, I knew I was in no frame of mind to just yell, so I told her my phone was dead, sorry. I doubt they even remember being at the lake, let alone nearly killing us. Crazy.


06-08-2010, 11:20 AM
I had a similar thing happen to me last season. It was fairly late and we were just anchored and were fishing (yes, I fish). I had my Nav lights on, but a boat going in was coming at 25mph staright for us. At about 100 feet it became very obvious they were gonna hit us, so I turned on the tower lights. They swerved at the last minute and we were safe but without the tower lights, I'm not sure what I would have done becuase they were just plain not paying attention. I had all the LED lights on in the boat too, so it was glowing blue on the water, not sure how they didn't see us.

06-08-2010, 11:51 AM
360 ramp? It gets crazy there at dusk.
We were out on the Perd last weekend and had a retard in a Supra do a power turn around my boat and drug his rope through my boat. I was pissed to say the least. We were anchord up by the shore, probably 15 feet off of dry land and he powered through that small gap. I was screaming at him then pulled up and told him I'd hold his head under water and offered driving lessons. Another case of more money than brains.

06-08-2010, 01:42 PM
Another case of more money than brains.

Boating may just be the #1 offender of this, at least in my life experiences so far.

06-08-2010, 08:18 PM
Big Bossman, I am glad to hear everyone was okay in this situation. And I think you did what you needed to do. In my boat experience and education (a class is required in Idaho, and recently in WA state) if you overtake a slower boat, you must pass on the right. So, theoretically, you should have kept going straight, and they were to pass you on the right with plenty of leeway (and more theoretically giving you a honk to tell you that's what they were doing). But all theory goes out the window when you have copious (word of the day)amounts of alcohol. So, you have to do what you have to do to protect yours.

So, I think in reality, you did what you should have. I usually err on the side of every boat is full of idiots unless they prove me otherwise. It's hard to tell which group people fit in when they are coming at you from behind at 30mph. So you have to make snap deicisons. Unfortunately, you have to find out the hard what which ramps/areas to stay away from.

06-08-2010, 10:17 PM
Hey at least Texas wrapped it up! Hook 'Em!

you da man
06-08-2010, 10:28 PM
I can't imagine the traffic on Lake Austin on a weekend/holiday. That has got to be anxiety for the driver. I've been on Lake Austin twice on my boat, the test drive at delivery and one other time but they were on Thurs and Monday. The Hula Hut was empty and only a handful of boats out.

Big Boss
06-09-2010, 11:29 AM
Yeah it was at the 360 bridge. It can be a little nuts there at the end of a long day. I know this all too well, and usually avoid it on weekends, but we had some friends that really wanted to go out, and they really didn't want to drive all the way from Circle C (way far away) to Quinlan Park. So it was against my better judgement to use that launch in the first place. Lesson learned, they can drive or stay home!

you da man, the difference on Lake Austin between a weekend and weekday is incredible. We will go out on Mon and Wed most weeks, and rarely see more than 5-6 boats on the upper end. It's great. But you are right, on weekends it's like I-35 without lane markings.

squeeg333, here in Texas the overtaking boat can go to either the left or right side. On Lake Austin it's almost always the left, because it's basically a wide river, and most people drive to right of the center of the lake. This usually makes for a more predictable traffic pattern. That combined with the fact that I was only about 30-40 feet from shore is why I started to go right.

You are totally right about assuming every boat is full of idiots, that is pretty much my standard frame of mind now.

06-09-2010, 01:29 PM
I always remember the right of way rule and if there is a collision it best be on your port side (left). If the collision is on the right side and the other boat had damage to their left side it would be very easy to be cited for failing to yield. I use that with jetskiers as I make sure they are seeing my left side even if I have to do a power turn (Crazy Ivan).

06-09-2010, 02:19 PM
You did everything right. You should not have to not stay out past duck because of other people. Going to the right is the way you should go. You should also do 5 short blasts on your horn. Everyone should know that this means DANGER and to lookout.

As far as proactive things to do is carry a flare gun and shoot it into their boat. oo wait that is not nice to do. You can carry a VHF radio and tune to CH 16. Any police or coast guard in the area will be on this channel. An example of the call would be.

"US Coast Guard US Coast Guard US Coast Guard this is pleasure craft "Name of your boat or your boat number" on channel 16 over."

After you make contact you will be asked to change your radio to a working channel.

I always keep an eye out for people drinking during the day and try to watch if they are still out past dusk.