Sunday, April 4, 2021

The Pie of Knowledge


 With the exception of a few years early on, my entire adult working life has been focused on moving people and cargo from one place to another. I spent 12 years flying the massive CH- and MH-47 Chinook Helicopter, carrying soldiers on the inside and 18000-pound howitzers slung underneath. 

In Honduras, I took doctors and veterinarians on "MEDRETS" to assist rural villages located far from any modern anything. I flew tons upon tons of relief food to starving people in the interior. In Liberia, I flew men, women, and children who were at risk of being brutally murdered safely away from that terror. 

And finally, at the end of my military career, I flew special forces operators who occasionally drove their inflatable boats straight into the back of my helicopter as we hovered with our cabin partially submerged. It was often high-adventure, occasionally frightening, and it paid the bills. Moving people and "stuff" is what I like to do. 

But I'm no expert. I never will be, as an expert is a combination of somebody who used to be something and a drip under pressure.

As an avid boater, it was only natural that I would come to move people by boat. I mean, what a great place to work! Mike Neal, the owner of Bull River Cruises, gave me my break into commercial boating and has counseled me every step of the way. He also recently hooked me up with one of the greatest adventures of my life, an eleven-day boating-marathon that had us working on the water from first light to twilight. It was epic.

A production company is in town filming the "Devotion" movie. As much of this film involves aircraft flying over water, safety-boats were needed in case an aircraft was forced to ditch. Divers stood on standby, ready to go into the water and extract pilots. They did this on a boat that I captained. Fun? You betcha.

Offshore and on duty. Ready to respond. Captain Mike Neal.

Savannah Firefighter, USCG officer, and rescue-diver Scott
speaks with stunt-man and rescue-diver David as we depart a
new Savannah Boathouse Marina in the 28'.

I put this route into the 28's SIMRAD EVO3 in order to help
with exiting the Wilmington River. There are numerous bars
and breakers off our barrier islands, and "you must follow a
channel or you risk losing the boat." (Cpt. Scott) Our track
lines tell a story.

Our weapon of choice for this multi-day life-guard mission was the 28' NauticStar owned by Tommy McCarthy and Savannah's Freedom Boat Club. A special lease agreement was reached, and one condition was that I operate the boat as I am the guy who shows Freedom Boat Club members how to operate her and go offshore safely. When we started I had more time in her than anyone else. After running her for this job, I think that record will stand until she is sold.

I ran her 829 miles and burned 457 gallons in 11 days.
I'd start again tomorrow.

Good Morning!



Our days started early and ended late, and often I ran home solo, alone with my thoughts
but certainly not lonely. The 28' proved herself to be a fine friend. The 600 horses helped.


Rescue divers have a lot of gear. And David brought the snacks too.
I had my first ever "Clif Bar" but not my last.
Movie people don't go hungry.

Wyatt; an actor, stunt-man, former USCG member, and current
rescue-diver. He was a constant source of laughter and fun, as indicated
by the look on Mike's face. Hey, I thought it was funny!


So did Wyatt...


One thing about boating; the more you do it, the more you learn. Scott mentioned something he has become aware of as a platform-instructor for both fire-service-related and maritime-related topics. 

"If you consider knowledge as a pie, there's a little sliver that constitutes what you know. Then there's another little slice that's the stuff you know you don't know. But the vast majority of that pie-of-knowledge? That's all the stuff that you are simply unaware of. You don't even know all the stuff you don't know. So never stop digging and learning." (Captain Scott Boyd)

Ignorance is no excuse for damaging equipment or hurting someone. If you don't know what you are doing on the water, don't do it. Ask for help. If you don't know how to dock a boat, get some instruction. The fact that the government lets you take to the water without a clue is not reason to do this. Take a class (the one from Boat US is F.R.E.E.). Click here to see for yourself.




As for me, I'm 63 years old and have been boating my whole life. I know a lot about operating a boat. And then again I don't know crap. So I took full advantage of the experience around me on those eleven days and asked a thousand questions; continuously eating from the pie of knowledge.

"Clutch In!"





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The Pie of Knowledge

 With the exception of a few years early on, my entire adult working life has been focused on moving people and cargo from one place to anot...