• close family • small boat • big world •

The Great Fender Rescue

January 14, 2014

by Cash
Georgetown, South Carolina

Heading out into the Sampit River
We were just arriving at Georgetown, SC after a long day of motoring from an anchorage 40 miles to the north.  It was starting to rain, and we were relieved to be near a marina.  As we were in the entrance channel, we checked the dock lines and put the fenders over the side.  One of the fenders had been tied on beforehand, but not put under stress, so when we put it over the side, the knot came undone and it started to float away.  The current in Georgetown was flowing at about 2 knots (2.3 mph) out of the harbor toward the large river (the Waccamaw).  We couldn't go and get it with the boat, because it immediately headed for shallow water.  

I wanted to go and find it in the dinghy, but my parents were against it.  They were concerned that with the fast
current, if the dinghy motor died, I would be swept down river too fast to row.  They also figured the fender was probably already far away. However, I really wanted to try to find it, so I insisted, and they gave in.  We quickly put the outboard on the dinghy, and I took off to look for it.

How it happened
[Look at the map for this paragraph] I headed out in the cold sprinkling rain, and headed for the mark where we had seen it last.  The current was flowing toward the opposite shore and out of the harbor.  From the mark in the middle of the channel, I headed toward the opposite shore, where a small private marina was.  I didn't see the fender anywhere.  I headed closer to the marina, and I still didn't see anything.  I sat there, disappointed I hadn't found it.  As I turned my head to go home, I spotted something white, far away on the same shore as our boat.  As I got closer, I realized it was the fender.  We couldn't walk to find it, because it was marsh.  The only problem was, it was right by the shore and sunken pilings.

I got closer, and realized that it was very close to the shore, and I might not be able to grab it where it was.  If I couldn't, then I would wait until the current brought it out from the harbor into the river, and then grab it.  But why not see if I could reach it?  I headed slowly toward the shore, watching the water to see any shallow areas.  Surprisingly, I could get right next to it, about 5 feet away from the land, half that distance away from a piling, and getting pushed by a 2 knot current.  I quickly grabbed the fender and sped off.  I had saved our fender!  And I had fun doing it!


Anonymous said...

You sure do look bundled up, there, Cash. It looks as though it is, almost, as cold there, as here in DC. I enjoyed the story. And, have been on several fender hunts, myself.

Ray Carter, s/v MorgaNado [B373 #134]