To the Ungrateful Kid I Rescued Yesterday on His Sailboat in Sag Harbor: You’re Welcome

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Yesterday I went for a sail with my future in-laws out in Sag Harbor on my sailboat “Serenity Now.” It was a gorgeous sail, and on the way back, I noticed a sailboat with the mast completely laid down on top of the rails, about 25 feet in length and in poor condition. It was just sitting there, under no power, bobbing in the middle of Sag Harbor, and yesterday was a relatively dangerous day to be out on the water because it was super windy and the water was choppy even though the sun was shining bright. I’m a nice guy, I felt bad for the people on board, so I figured I’d do something, obviously something was up.

I told the five guests on my boat that we were going to head over to them and make sure that they were okay. When I got over there, I met a group of three people, two guys and one girl, who clearly had no idea what the hell they were doing. The Captain of the boat, who looked to me about 18 years old, didn’t seem too concerned that he was bobbing in the middle of Sag Harbor, which is LOADED with rock hazards. But whatever, at least he was playing it cool, and I’ve done stupid crap too on boats.

“You guys okay?”

“I ran out of gas,” the Captain said.

My first thought was, ummm…okay…that’s one that has never happened to me…how does that happen when you have an igloo gas tank that you can literally carry on board? Again, whatever. I once was sailing and had my rudder snap in half and had to motor in on a dangerous day. You have to improvise when you sail, that’s the beauty of it. But then I noticed his mast laid out across his 25-foot boat. A mast like that needs to be hoisted up with a crane, why the hell would you take it out like that? It looked ridiculous. Did the mast break from high wind?

“What happened to your mast?”

“I haven’t stepped it yet. We are coming from Patchogue.”

Again I thought…okay, that’s weird, even if you were dodging the bridges, why the heck didn’t you have a plan to put them up earlier with professionals or with experienced people instead of motoring around Sag Harbor? What the hell buddy? Again, whatever.

I guessed that this guy didn’t have Sea Tow insurance just based on the condition of his boat, and I knew that it would have been over $1,000 for him to be rescued, so I told him I’d drag him to a mooring and call for help. No big deal. I like doing rescue stuff anyway, it brings me back to my lifeguarding days.

I motored up next to him and he threw me a line, I caught it, attached my boat to his, and powered over towards a mooring off of Haven’s beach. I called him on his cell phone, and told him my plan. “It’s too dangerous to bring you into a marina because of your size and because the wind is so strong, so I’m going to aim for a mooring.”

“It’s not too dangerous to go to a marina,” he said.

“Okay, listen, that’s the plan. Sag Harbor is loaded with million-dollar boats and the marinas are packed today. I’m not doing that buddy.”

The two other guests on board the boat were totally lax-a-daisy. The wind was super strong yesterday and we both had pretty large boats, even though his boat looked like he must have gotten it for free because it was in such shoddy condition. ANYWAY. I got him to a mooring, and nearly every instruction I gave to this kid he just wasn’t responding. “Okay grab this line and attach it to your boat, but fend off your boat from hitting mine.”


I threw him the line to attach the mooring, our boats were rocking back and fourth from the wind and waves, his boat was dangerously close to my engine. If his boat were to hit my engine and knock it off, that would be it. “Fend off, man!”

I raced to the stern of the boat and pushed him away from my engine literally as I stood on the bow of his boat with his arms crossed.

I was sort of amazed by the attitude and ungrateful BLAH of his behavior. I undid my attachment to the mooring, I was soaked in sweat, then motored away from him and called up my friend Ken at Sag Harbor launch.

“Hey, Ken, I grabbed this guy and attached him to a mooring, he’s outta gas, I think.”

“What a knucklehead.”

“Yeah, I know, I’m almost regretting it by his attitude.”

“Do you have any idea how much money you just saved this guy? It’s like thousands.”

“Yeah, well, I don’t know. He needs gas though. I’ll be at my mooring in five minutes. I know your busy, when you can just come and grab me and my family.”

“Okay no problem.”

Ken (who is an awesome guy by the way, like I can’t say enough good things about him) zoomed out to the kid so he could bring him back to shore, then picked me and my guests up and brought us back. On the tender, the kid who we just rescued barely said a word. I think he managed to get the words “thank you” out, but it was the way a child says thank you to a mother when the mother demands from the child to say thank you. I honestly couldn’t wait to get the hell away from this kid just based on his “I know everything” attitude. Reality is, the kid probably is going to hurt himself or somebody else on the water one of these days.

ANYWAY, so I get off the boat, I tipped Ken (or I should say my future father in-law did because he insisted on paying) and then we all started going home. I got a call on my cell phone about an hour later. It was the kid, and in a very rude voice he said, “I need a pick up right now.”


“I need a pick up right now. What don’t you understand?”

“Buddy. You gotta be kidding me.”

“No, I need a pick up.”

And then it hit me.

“You’re calling the guy who rescued you. Call up Ken. Good luck, pal.”

I hung up, and I suddenly felt depressed about the human race.

I got a text from Ken later into the evening. “You’re too nice, Dave. That kid needs a $1,000 lesson. What a knucklehead.”

I can think of other words besides that. But I’ll stick with knucklehead. SERENITY NOW!

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