Anchors Away

As the spring sky was brightening, Roy completed his checklist of the readiness of the trailored boat in his driveway. On board were life jackets, flares, fire extinguishers, paddles, a whistle, flags and flares.
    The boat, another used yet unnamed craft, was a 19-foot aluminum V-hull runabout with an 80-horsepower engine, an engine that seemed to work fine when he tested it. Roy hadn’t boated for a while, but when his son Kevin called from Iraq saying he’d really like to get back on the Bay when his National Guard tour ended, Roy got the boat ready. As a park ranger, Kevin loved to be outdoors, especially on a boat fishing. His dad was trying to oblige.
    Now, with his returned son, it was time to take the boat on its trial run.
    The sun was breaking through the mist when they reached the ramp. They launched the boat into perfect water and pointed the bow toward the Bay. All was fine for 30 minutes. Then the motor stopped. While Kevin got on his cell phone to make contact for a tow, Roy looked for the anchor. Ah, but the anchor was not away, as in pulled up and stowed for launch, but away as in far away, not on board, back home in the driveway.
    Anchorless, they drifted around Fort Smallwood Park, working on the engine while trying to paddle away from mid-channel. This is when flags and whistles come into play, but other boats were too far away to hear or notice them. The towing company ­didn’t have help available at the moment.
    Finally, a sailboat responded to their distress calls and came to the rescue. The couple on board towed them away from the shipping channel. Then more help came, again not from one of the boat’s peers, but from a man and his daughter on a large wave runner. Though headed in a different direction, the driver volunteered to tow the bigger boat 30 minutes back to its launch site. The rescuer refused money for the tow, so Kevin pushed the cash into the hands of the daughter and told her to put it in her piggy bank.
    This failed trial run happened several years ago, and the story now is told with laughter tinged with a bit of embarrassment at the missing anchor and a motor boat’s rescue by sailboat and wave runner.
    Today, father, son and grandson have a newer boat, with a running engine, an auxiliary nine-horsepower engine and not one but two anchors. This vessel is referred to as Anchors Away II.