OK, I promise this one won’t be as long as the last one about how our boat sank back on July 3 in Lake Michigan about five miles from shore, leaving four of us up to our chins in water, with only two life jackets between us. This BLOG entry is about what I’m going to start doing again—safety measures I used to be pretty religious about, but that I just quit doing. It will also reveal a few things that I forgot to put in the first story (which you can read the most recent version of HERE).
About six summers ago, my buddy Jeff Wenzel, who used to sell ads for Michigan Outdoor News and is now doing some marketing work for clients that include Anchor Wizard (thought I should mention that since he just put me on the Anchor Wizard pro staff) showed me a neat little trick that can save a cell phone. Just put the cell in a zip-style sandwich bag. It’s a terrific way to keep your phone from getting wet. Plus, just a little air in the bag will keep it from sinking, and you can text and send or dial and talk without taking it out of the bag. Works great with iPhones and others, too.
That first story omitted the fact that I had my trusty iPhone in the front pocket of my ugliest shorts when the boat went over. I didn’t even bother trying to pull it out of my pocket, mainly because I was certain it was toast, but also because I really didn’t want to let go of either cooler handle. I certainly would have risked poking around in my pocket if it had been in a plastic bag.
Whether or not you use a plastic bag for your phone, it’s a good idea to make sure your phone has the numbers of Coast Guard stations near where you’ll be fishing. I entered the one for St. Joe last Friday, so I could take its picture. I’m putting the number in my list of favorites in the directory to make finding it easier.
If I’d had a working iPhone, not only could I have called the Coast Guard and tell them of our predicament there north of South Haven; I could have booted up my Simple Charts app and let them know my exact location.
Another thing I used to do was keep my point-and-shoot camera in a Zip Loc bag. Going to start doing that again, too. None of my camera gear lost (two stills and two video cams) have been recovered.
Finally, for the past five or six years, I almost always wore one of those inflatable PFDs from the likes of SOSpenders (now a Coleman company, which is kind of ironic, since the cooler that saved my life was a Coleman) or Onyx (www.onyxoutdoor.com). Both are great products, and there’s no excuse not to wear one. A belt-style is even available, but the vests are so comfortable I’ve worn one home (with stops at a quickie mart for a beverage) without realizing it was on. Done that several times, right in the hottest part of the summer.
Not sure how or when I fell out of the habit. It’s a habit I’ll definitely be getting back into doing. –DAVE MULL
PHOTO: A zip-style sandwich bag can help keep your phone operational if you ever go overboard. Make sure you have the number for the local Coast Guard station programmed in and easy to find.