Chuck is an individual with the rugged good looks you would expect if you crossed Homer Simpson with Sponge Bob. You might think you see the glint of intelligence in those steely blue eyes, but you would be wrong. Chuck is a total airhead. That’s right, zippo between the ears. In fact, zippo ears. Chuck has the dubious distinction, and extreme bad luck, of finding himself overboard at inopportune moments. That’s right, in the drink. If the truth be known, he actually gets chucked out of the boat, and thus the name.
Whenever we have company aboard the boat, we try to be good hosts in the extreme. We consider it our solemn duty to make sure everyone knows their way around the boat, and knows what to do in case of emergency. We give short lessons on how to operate the radio to call for help. Guests are told where to find the first aid kit. Finally, they are instructed on procedures for getting someone back on the boat, should they fall into the water. This is where Chuck comes in.
One never knows when Chuck will make his move. Attention grabber that he is, he likes to wait until everyone is comfortable and unsuspecting, but he always makes sure someone catches a glimpse of him going over the rail. Once Chuck is in the water, the crew leaps into action: First, a flotation device is thrown in Chuck’s general direction. You might think that Chuck could just swim and catch up, but alas, he has no limbs. Even if he did have them, the breathtakingly cold water would render them useless in fairly short order. A flotation device will help him stay afloat until we can reach him.
The next step is to alert the captain. Some shrill blasts on the nearby whistle, followed by yells and screams of, “MAN OVERBOARD!!!” will do the trick. The captain’s job is to turn the boat around and get close to Chuck. Our sturdy big girl, Voyager, is known for her solid stability and dependability in the water. She is not, however, known for turning on a dime. Mike gets that turn down to a pretty good half dollar, but a dime is out of the question.
While the turn-around is underway, the trusty crew must keep their heads and make preparations for hauling Chuck out of the water. Everybody dons life vests, in the event that they also fall out of the boat during the rescue attempt. One of the crew stands on deck in sight of the captain, never letting Chuck out of his sight, and pointing his finger at Chuck’s location. Another crew member makes sure that all obstacles are out of the way in preparation for hauling Chuck in. This person also fetches the boat hook. A boat hook is a long extendable pole with a rubberized hook on the end. A person in the water can grab on to the pole when we get close enough. Chuck, having no limbs, needs to be “hooked” with the boat hook, and brought aboard.
The operation requires everyone to keep a clear head and do their part. The current record for a successful haul out belongs to the crew headed up by our granddaughter: 4 minutes. Future guests on Voyager are invited to try and beat the record, but be aware that points are deducted for falling in, hurting oneself, hurting someone else, or insulting the captain.
A successful rescue is a cause for….. Celebration! Glasses are raised in honor of Chuck. The glasses are empty, because, you know, so is Chuck. Chuck is lovingly dried off and stored in a safe place, where he will hopefully remain secure until the next, “MAN OVERBOARD!!!”