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offshore at dawn. “No one’s allowed on
deck after dark. If you went overboard,
we’d never hear you over the rumble of
the twin diesels,” explains Hussainy. “If a
crewmember has to go, he can either use
the head or open the doors to the cockpit
and go right on the deck. I’m not kidding.
I don’t want anyone near the rail at night.”
Make your plan
If you fish alone, you owe it to yourself
and your family to think through each
problem a fall overboard presents and
consider how you would deal with each
on your boat. If you can’t come up with
a realistic plan, modifying your boat or
your habits is in order.
For me and my paddleboard, adding a
surf leash solves my biggest issue – stopping the board. But my center-console’s
ladder issue is tougher to resolve. I could
stand on a trim tab perhaps, but I’ve never
tried it. My plan needs work, and I’m
going to practice next chance I get.
Michael Vatalaro fishes from a 24-foot
Pursuit center-console (and a paddleboard)
on Chesapeake Bay.
“I was alone, trolling, and leaning
outboard 45 miles offshore when the
boat rolled funny,” says Ali Hussainy,
co-host of the popular fishing show
“Local Knowledge” and president of
BDOutdoors.com. “I fell out between
the rails where there was a gap in the
corner by the transom. I caught one hand
and one leg in the rail. My backside was
dragging in the water. I was that close
to going all the way over and dying. No
question. It was a weekday in the middle
of nowhere, not at peak fishing season.
Nobody would’ve ever found me.”
Since that harrowing incident,
Hussainy has stopped fishing alone,
purchased a larger
boat, and instituted
some unusual rules
on board his vessel.
To reach the fishing grounds offshore
from his home port of
San Diego, Hussainy
and crew often leave
the night before,
overnight to be well
Go to BoatUS.
results of our
Boating law-enforcement officers are
taught to step on the lower unit (with
engine off) and use the hydraulic tilt on
the outboard engine to raise themselves
out of the water and up to a spot where
they can pull themselves over
the transom. But this requires much
strength and agility.
— RICH ARMSTRONG