Reflections On Fiery Endings and New Beginnings SM Blog Post

Reflections On Fiery Endings and New Beginnings

Happy New Year! The year’s end and the ringing in of 2016 were cause for celebration, as well as reflection for me, and hopefully for you as well. I enjoyed seeing stories and video from cities around the world as they welcomed this new year. I have also enjoyed reading, hearing or watching insightful stories with ideas and observations about ways to make this new year a better one — by tackling persistent problems, by making daunting projects into more manageable tasks, and, and, and, and…

I won’t delve into specifics now; but, hopefully, you are on board with our recommended boating resolutions. Cliché or not, many of us do approach each new year as a blank slate, not just an empty calendar. A new year just seems full of more possibilities, hopes, dreams, intention, and resolve than we might feel at other times of the year when the clock strikes midnight and a Thursday night becomes a Friday morning.

Reflecting back on a year may also bring some sorrow as well as smiles. Sadly, the last few days of 2015 brought losses to some in my local boating community. A fire in a marina engulfed two boats, both of which later sank. The story and video illustrate some of the difficulties in fighting boat fires, in terms of logistics, resources, and environmental concerns. I’m sure you can vividly imagine a myriad of other details, as well as feelings and concerns if this were to happen to your vessel or in your marina.

Until recently, I hadn’t noticed the subtle changes that have come to firefighting and fireboats. As a very young person, our historic, showy fireboat, the Duwamish, left a lasting impression on me. What could improve upon that?

In September, following the Port Tour, I spotted a small Fire Department rescue boat (photo above) and stopped to talk with the firefighters on board. I was surprised that their boat didn’t even have the capability of spraying water. They replied that the majority of emergency callouts on the water here don’t involve quelching fires. Their smaller, more maneuverable, boat allows them to deploy and arrive quickly. Backup help will follow, if needed. They are truly in the role of first responders.

My takeaways?

  • I am ever grateful for our firefighters and others whose work helps keep the rest of us safe!
  • I’m convinced of the importance of safety classes, especially hands-on fire extinguisher training. I was stunned that a fire that seemed to be nearly nearly out, sprang back to life when my fire extinguisher suddenly ran out of foam. Reading the instructions on the extinguisher, did not prepare me for the experience of facing the heat or the unpredictability of a real fire.
  • Boat shows are coming up, some as early as January…do you need to equip your boat with new gear?
  • Wouldn’t it be cool if old fireboats were retired (and the water pressure scaled down) to become Spray Parks for children?

I love new beginnings, much more so than fiery endings. I love the innocence of not worrying about everything or overthinking everything. I rang in this new year with a smile, a glass of champagne, and only a few slightly neurotic wary glances at the fireworks and the sky lanterns over the water.

Karen Berge

Karen Berge

I enjoy living in Seattle, where boating opportunities abound. My goal is to take advantage of them all!
Karen Berge

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