Be Prepared: Always A Good Call

Joined
Aug 1, 2006
Messages
1,506
I wanted to share my experience on Lake Erie this past weekend that has once again reaffirmed my personal outlook on the places and types of knives I carry in every situation.

Some background: I'm a 17-year-old Life Scout with Boy Scout Troop 106, chartered to Bucyrus, Ohio. Many of you know this---I've posted about it numerous times on the threads, my trips to Philmont, my knife experiences as a Scout, etc. My family owns a condo and cottage on Lake Erie (Port Clinton and Marblehead, respectively) and has several boats. This weekend, I was on our 16-foot rigid-hull inflatable Zodiac boat. Several years ago I received my ODNR Boater's License. This is something that runs in my family---my father was a world champion offshore powerboat racer but has recently retired due to an unfair shuffling of the classes in GLOPRA races.

We were out on the lake on Sunday, a beautiful, clear day with only small cloud formations moving in from the northeast by way of Canada and Pelee Island. I was pulling my younger brother on a BPR SeaDoo inflatable tube by way of red, high-tensile strength nylon cord attached to the stern pylon. My girlfriend was acting as spotter. I wore a Type II offshore personal floatation device with my Spyderco Atlantic Salt attached; my two passengers wore Type III sport-adapted PFDs.

We were moving along at a relatively high rate of speed [for tubing, about 25 miles per hour] and executing a left-hand turn near the shore to head back in the direction of our condo. A sharp gust of wind and a large wave from the wake combined to flip over the tube, usually an adrenalin-pumping, electrifying experience for the tuber. Impact with the water causes no pain (unless you "belly-smack") and just a slight rush. The tuber generally resurfaces about twenty yards behind, faceup, in perfect position to retrieve. This time, it was not the case.

The large amount of air caused by both the up-draft and the trough of the wave allowed the tube to become airborne, and slack to get in the line. As the passengers of the tube are seated towards the rear, with their feet next to the line, this can be dangerous. My brother's ankle became entangled in the line, and the pressure of the wrap probably could've broke it. What was more critical was that he was being dragged behind the boat, with his upper body (torso and head) going into and out of the water. I immediately killed the throttle, and turned backwards to cut the rope on the opposite pylon, giving the rope total slack from both the boat and current. My Atlantic Salt was in my hands and after a short stumble in opening it, I sliced the thick rope easily with the serrated blade and circled the boat quickly, jumping into the water to examine the condition of my brother. I quickly cut out the rope from around him, but in the process lost my Atlantic Salt in the deeper water because of my shaking hands.

Thankfully, he was still conscious and unhurt, his ankle rubbed raw by the rough nylon rope. He had some bruising and contusing on his shoulder from where he first hit the water, and a little "rug burn" caused from the friction of his impacts elsewhere. Otherwise, he was okay---no sign of concussion, no intake of water, cuts, broken bones, etc. We quickly returned to shore where my mother, an ICU nurse with over twenty years of experience, gave him a quick once-over. He was okay.

This is the type of action shows that the "Be Prepared" mindset can always be useful, effective, and life-giving. Even in the most fun of daily tasks---like tubing with your loved ones on your day off---it is important to be prepared to save their lives, or your own. I was lucky that I was prepared, and that everyone came out okay. If I hadn't followed my own Scout Motto, things could have turned out very differently. I was lucky to have my Spyderco with me---although I'll have to go buy another one now. A knife in exchange for the life of a loved one is a small price to pay.

Just wanted to help get the point across---being prepared can become a big deal when you least expect it.

God bless.

KATN,

Wade
 
Last edited:
Joined
Apr 30, 2000
Messages
837
Be Prepared, says the motto. Always good advice. And good that you follow it.

Do you have a project selected for you Eagle? Time is probably limited.

My scouts (I am a Scoutmaster in Oak Ridge, TN) always know that I have at least one knife with me. I encourage them to likewise be prepared.
 
Joined
Sep 21, 2005
Messages
495
Be Prepared, says the motto. Always good advice. And good that you follow it.

Do you have a project selected for you Eagle? Time is probably limited.

My scouts (I am a Scoutmaster in Oak Ridge, TN) always know that I have at least one knife with me. I encourage them to likewise be prepared.

It's funny you say that Don, I'm a scoutmaster here in Vegas, and the first thing I though when I started reading this is I hope he's got a project planned. I'm always disappointed when I see a scou make it all the way to Life and not put in the extra effort to become an Eagle scout.
 
Joined
Sep 5, 2005
Messages
2,826
Wade: I'm very impressed. Not only with your quick thinking, but your post reflects someone who is mature and comfortable with writing. I don't see this much these days and I hope you consider a career in writing. The great irony is that many Scouts are dedicated to improving society and nurturing, within themselves and others, a sense of responsibility, yet the laws in many states would prevent you from from acquiring the type of knives commonly used in emergency situations. That's a shame. Our laws seem to be designed for the lowest common denominator, and it's alarming to see societies and governments (such as those in Great Britain) advocating the abolition of anything with which people might harm themselves and others, collectively speaking.

Anyway, quick thinking. And make sure you make your brother buy you another knife. (Oh, and just one small point; your brother was "dragged," not "drug." I wouldn't ordinarily tell that to an old fart, like me, who's life is far closer to being over, but you obviously love writing, so I thought I'd nitpick. Hope you don't mind.)

Also, regarding your use of the Atlantic Salt. Why do you suppose you lost your grip on it? I know you said your hands were shaking, but do you fault the knife itself in any way, or the handle?


C89.jpg


The closest thing I have to this type of grip would be my
Byrd Cara Cara, which is great for dry land, but I'd hate to
have to use it in water. The serration pattern on the Salt
seems much better than the patterns on other knives.



.
 
Joined
Dec 21, 2006
Messages
1,155
Very nice quick thinking. I am a star scout, oh so close to life, but i have no time to do my merit badges, and while the situation was a bad one it is good to see the be prepared motto be proven again and again.

One suggestion so you dont lose your next knife though; get a good long length of paracord put it through the lanyard hole and attach it to you PFD somehow. Make sure you make the length of paracord long enough that you can use it unrestricted.
 
Joined
Oct 31, 2007
Messages
9,833
I wanted to share my experience on Lake Erie this past weekend that has once again reaffirmed my personal outlook on the places and types of knives I carry in every situation.

Some background: I'm a 17-year-old Life Scout with Boy Scout Troop 106, chartered to Bucyrus, Ohio. Many of you know this---I've posted about it numerous times on the threads, my trips to Philmont, my knife experiences as a Scout, etc. My family owns a condo and cottage on Lake Erie (Port Clinton and Marblehead, respectively) and has several boats. This weekend, I was on our 16-foot rigid-hull inflatable Zodiac boat. Several years ago I received my ODNR Boater's License. This is something that runs in my family---my father was a world champion offshore powerboat racer but has recently retired due to an unfair shuffling of the classes in GLOPRA races.

We were out on the lake on Sunday, a beautiful, clear day with only small cloud formations moving in from the northeast by way of Canada and Pelee Island. I was pulling my younger brother on a BPR SeaDoo inflatable tube by way of red, high-tensile strength nylon cord attached to the stern pylon. My girlfriend was acting as spotter. I wore a Type II offshore personal floatation device with my Spyderco Atlantic Salt attached; my two passengers wore Type III sport-adapted PFDs.

We were moving along at a relatively high rate of speed [for tubing, about 25 miles per hour] and executing a left-hand turn near the shore to head back in the direction of our condo. A sharp gust of wind and a large wave from the wake combined to flip over the tube, usually an adrenalin-pumping, electrifying experience for the tuber. Impact with the water causes no pain (unless you "belly-smack") and just a slight rush. The tuber generally resurfaces about twenty yards behind, faceup, in perfect position to retrieve. This time, it was not the case.

The large amount of air caused by both the up-draft and the trough of the wave allowed the tube to become airborne, and slack to get in the line. As the passengers of the tube are seated towards the rear, with their feet next to the line, this can be dangerous. My brother's ankle became entangled in the line, and the pressure of the wrap probably could've broke it. What was more critical was that he was being drug behind the boat, with his upper body (torso and head) going into and out of the water. I immediately killed the throttle, and turned backwards to cut the rope on the opposite pylon, giving the rope total slack from both the boat and current. My Atlantic Salt was in my hands and after a short stumble in opening it, I sliced the thick rope easily with the serrated blade and circled the boat quickly, jumping into the water to examine the condition of my brother. I quickly cut out the rope from around him, but in the process lost my Atlantic Salt in the deeper water because of my shaking hands.

Thankfully, he was still conscious and unhurt, his ankle rubbed raw by the rough nylon rope. He had some bruising and contusing on his shoulder from where he first hit the water, and a little "rug burn" caused from the friction of his impacts elsewhere. Otherwise, he was okay---no sign of concussion, no intake of water, cuts, broken bones, etc. We quickly returned to shore where my mother, an ICU nurse with over twenty years of experience, gave him a quick once-over. He was okay.

This is the type of action shows that the "Be Prepared" mindset can always be useful, effective, and life-giving. Even in the most fun of daily tasks---like tubing with your loved ones on your day off---it is important to be prepared to save their lives, or your own. I was lucky that I was prepared, and that everyone came out okay. If I hadn't followed my own Scout Motto, things could have turned out very differently. I was lucky to have my Spyderco with me---although I'll have to go buy another one now. A knife in exchange for the life of a loved one is a small price to pay.

Just wanted to help get the point across---being prepared can become a big deal when you least expect it.

God bless.

KATN,

Wade

This is one of the most mature and well written posts (on the subject of being prepared) i have seen.

Kudos to you Wade, for your mindset, your preparedness and your maturity. There is hope for the future yet.

:thumbup:
 

Halbie

BANNED
Joined
Jun 20, 2008
Messages
1,047
"To do my duty... To help other people at all times..."

I salute you, Sir.
 
Joined
Jul 3, 2006
Messages
297
Re putting a long lanyard on a knife. You drop the knife and now it's flailing around. If you must use a lanyard, keep it real short and attached to the wrist only, not to a PFD, BC, or other object.
 
Joined
Aug 1, 2006
Messages
1,506
Scoutmasters-I have my Eagle Scout project planned and in the works, renovating a local parks district trail (Heckert's Woods) with proper trail markers, landmark pilings, navigation points, etc. It should be approved within the week. :thumbup:

Confederate-the loss of grip on my Atlantic Salt had nothing to do with the design of the knife or its FRN composition. It was just the heat of the moment---I was more worried about checking my brother out than holding onto the knife. After cutting the cord, I suppose it became more of a liability and I just subconsciously let it loose.

In regards to the lanyard, I purchased an "adrenalin cord" for use. It is much like the lanyard that keeps you attached to a treadmill---if you fall off, it comes with you. It attaches to the knife through the lanyard hole, and is attached to the wrist. It's only fault is, it's a bit cumbersome having the thing hard-wired to you on a boat where such things can become snagged on pylons, throttles, steering wheels knobs, antennae, fishing rods, etc. It's more suited, I believed, to actual swimmers, tactical operators, and the like. Maybe I should sit down and try to figure this one out...;)
 
Joined
Aug 27, 1999
Messages
4,531
Well done Wade. quick thinking and the ability to stay cool in an emergency+preparedness.:thumbup:
 
Joined
Jul 3, 2006
Messages
297
Steelscout:

Please forget about that adrenalin cord/lanyard. See my earlier post. It's fine as long as the knife is closed, but once it's open, that setup can kill you. You will never see a scuba diver with his knife attached via a lanyard for that very reason. If you really, really, need a knife, and are in big trouble without it, the appropriate redundant step is another knife, in a PFD/BC pocket, affixed in a sheath to the PFD/BC, etc. There are many small knives specifically designed for this purpose, such as the Underwater Kinetics Remora. Lanyards not!
 

Brian Jones

Moderator
Joined
Jan 17, 1999
Messages
7,560
Wade,

Outstanding job, outstanding writing, and way to keep your cool and act decisively in an emergency. My hat is off to you. Hope we see nore of you in the wilderness forum - a lot of former and current scouts hang out with us!
 
Joined
Oct 5, 2006
Messages
318
Well done lad!!!!

Under conditions where physical exertion is required it is a good idea to have your knife tied to you. Imagine if you’d needed it again to make further cuts after you’d dropped it.

Back when I was serving in the South African Army we used to tie our hats to our shirts to prevent them blowing away when we were on the back of vehicles or patrolling through the bush. To prevent the paracord from getting hooked on something we would gather it into a slip-knot which would release when the cord was pulled. I don’t have any idea what the knot would be called (25 years on I cannot even remember how to tie it!), but it looked like the paracord extension some custom knives come with eg Wilson.

Out of interest, here in the UK where I am currently living, your action would have been (a) illegal, as public carry of a knife is forbidden, especially by the ‘irresponsible youth’ or (b) impossible, as if you had obeyed the law you would not have had the knife with you. Tough choice….
 
Joined
Oct 5, 2006
Messages
318
I've just read Moxie's post (after posting my first reply). Point taken about the lanyard. I remember reading about a skydiver who had a second person strapped to him when their chute became tangled. He pulled out his knife and started to cut away when the knife BROKE (cold maybe?) and then pulled out a second knife and succeeded to cut away the useless main chute. They landed safely. (I'd have to search for the original story - it was a couple of years ago.)
 
Joined
Dec 21, 2006
Messages
1,155
okay thanks for pointing out the danger of my suggestion i never took that into account. Please do as these more experienced members say and dont use the long lanyard idea.
 

Brian Jones

Moderator
Joined
Jan 17, 1999
Messages
7,560
It's a trade off with a lanyard in the water. In rough seas it can be dangerous, or a loose knife can cut its own lanyard off and be lost anyway. If there is a struggle on the part of the person being rescued, any open knife, whether on lanyard or in hand, can be dangerous to the people around.
 
Last edited:
Joined
Feb 28, 2002
Messages
7,636
You should send this story to Tactical Knives magazine. It's exactly the sort of real-life account they publish in their "It Happened to Me" feature.
 

Halbie

BANNED
Joined
Jun 20, 2008
Messages
1,047
You should send this story to Tactical Knives magazine. It's exactly the sort of real-life account they publish in their "It Happened to Me" feature.

Hey, I submitted one of those "It Happened to Me" articles! Oh, wait, that was to Penthouse in the mid-eighties...
 
Top