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A man drives into a bar and says ‘Ow.’
  |  First Published: May 2017



Recently Boobies and I had to cross a bar with a very nasty reputation for flipping boats. Apparently there are a number of things you need to avoid when you are in this situation. Actually, now that I think about that, I should explain myself there. I shouldn’t say ‘you should avoid doing,’ because it depends, of course, on whether you want to cross the bar without flipping your boat over.

In the situation where you actually do want to flip your boat over, then of course the following are things that you should try to do. However, in the situation where you are trying to avoid wrecking your boat, then avoid these things. Okay? Make sense?

So firstly, try to cross on the run in tide, so the swell coming in through the bar doesn’t clash with the tide running out and create nasty waves. Secondly, avoid crossing the bar when the tide is at the bottom of the run out. In this situation, not only will the waves still sit up, but the amount of water underneath your hull will be at the absolute minimum, which means you have a greater chance of your hull hitting sand and turning side-on to the waves, increasing your risk of capsizing. So, common sense says avoid that situation.

Thirdly, if you do stupidly cross at the end of the run out tide, definitely avoid doing this on a full or new moon, when the tides are at their highest highs and lowest lows. If you cross on a low tide on a new or full moon there’ll be even less water under the hull at the time you’re crossing the bar.

Then, make sure you have sufficient fuel so you don’t risk running out of fuel when you’re halfway through the bar.

Finally, if you’re in any doubt, cancel the crossing. Better to run away and fight another day. All of these things are common sense courses of action that should be carefully considered by responsible anglers before a bar crossing is attempted, which is what Manboobs and I recently did when we were desperate to try our luck offshore.

The only thing that we were a little lazy about was the bit about considering before we crossed the bar. Unfortunately, we did the considering after the crossing, which apparently is not ideal. To our credit, when we did stop and go through the above points and realise that we crossed on the last of the run out on the new moon with a considerable swell with the fuel gauge reading empty, we responsibly decided that we shouldn’t have gone through with the crossing.

So it’s all fine, EXCEPT THAT SHORT PERIOD WHERE YOU SWITCHED YOUR MOTOR OFF BOOBIES IN THE MIDDLE OF THE BAR WITH A 3 METRE WAVE IN FRONT OF US AND THE SAND ONLY 50 CENTIMETRES BELOW US WITH THE SWELL THREATENING, THE FUEL GAUGE READING EMPTY AND THE MOTOR NOT STARTING BECAUSE IT WAS OUT OF GEAR. Sorry, did I just write that in capitals?

Can’t imagine why.

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