Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Community Spirit

By the look on his face Capt. Rob had bad news when he came to my door yesterday at 8 am. "Philip," he said, "your boat has sunk." I could hardly believe what he was saying. I keep my 18' skiff tied up at the Community Square dock. I check it regularly, and it hadn't been long since I was out in it. I got on my bike and rode down to assess the situation.

Sure enough, the entire stern was underwater; the outboard was half submerged. Rob was already in his dingy seeing what could be done to raise the gunwales above the surface. Before long David and Amy were there to help. Kelton was there, too. Then Hank and Joe, island visitors and boat owners, showed up. Before long James and Van were there with a gasoline powered pump.

With some effort, pulleys...and ingenuity we raised the stern above the surface. David positioned the hose in the bilges, and Van and James fired up the pump. Rob steadied the stern. It wasn't long before the skiff was nearly fully bailed out. Joe used his boat to tow my skiff to the boat ramp. Juan lent a hand at the ramp. By then Tom had arrived to help David and Rob get the boat on my trailer.

Just one more example of people helping people on Ocracoke Island. Many thanks to everyone who pitched in to help me out! 

By 11 am my skiff was in my yard. By 5 pm I had my outboard drained of salt water, and running smoothly. I haven't checked the boat yet, but I think Van might be right. I am wondering if the wake from the dredge sent a wave over the transom and swamped my old wooden skiff. If it put enough water inside to bring her down where the planks weren't swelled tight the bilge pump may not have been capable of keeping up with the influx of water. 

Below are a few photos: 

Our latest Ocracoke Newsletter is the story of midwifery on Ocracoke. You can read it here:


  1. Anonymous7:49 AM

    Looks like somebody forgot to put the plug in or somebody pulled it out.

  2. It looks like the plug was out, but, no, the plug was in. I will examine the boat today, but I think a wave washed over the stern. Since the boat was tied up, a wave from the dredge wouldn't have pushed the boat forward more than a foot or so; it would have simply broken over the transom.

  3. Anonymous8:58 AM

    You gotta love teamwork,good friends & neighbors.

  4. Anonymous9:29 AM

    From the look on Philip's face in the final photo, I'd say he wholeheartedly agrees with the commenter at 858a.

    Philip, as fellers whose boats have just sunk go, you look like one happy guy.

    Congrats on getting your boat out of harm's way and to the rescue team.

  5. debbie s.12:29 PM

    Glad she's safe and dry now!

  6. Anonymous12:40 PM

    Oh my would the web cams have images of a rouge wave in the harbor?

  7. Anonymous7:37 AM

    sue the bastards!!! dredges motoring too fast!!

  8. I just really love the John Deere shirt, a present from a recent visit to...Indiana!

  9. Anonymous5:04 PM

    Lou Ann, I caught a glimpse of the J.D. shirt and thought, how funny!

    Philip,Glad everything worked out & hope your boat will be sea worthy soon. I suspect the unusual situation w/ the dredge being in the harbor just caught your boat unaware.

    I am not surprised with the caring, community spirit that is on O.I. That's another reason why NC Mainlander loves it so.