Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Rowing tragedy

I haven't figured out anything worthwhile to say about it yet, but there was a fatal accident on the Harlem River this week and I feel like I have to at least say that it happened. If you're a New York City resident, you've already heard about it, but for non-locals, there is a rowing center at the Peter Jay Sharp boathouse on the Hudson River; a four-man crew went out for a pre-dawn workout (absolutely standard practice for rowers); they were turning & while they were broadside to the channel, they were struck by a motorboat & one of the rowers is missing and presumed dead.

All boating entails risk of injury or death; responsible boaters understand that and do everything they can to minimize those risks but sometimes things just happen anyways.

I do a lot of private hand-wringing, occasionally spilling over into overly-loquacious blog posts & emails, about people I see launching out on the Hudson in inadequate boats, wearing inadequate gear, and with inadequate skills, a combination which I think I can safely say indicates inadequate understanding of the risks as well -- but that wasn't the story here at all. These guys were experienced & dedicated rowers, they knew what they were doing, they were out doing what they love (just like me and every other recreational boater on the face of the earth does as often as they can) and this was just one of those tragic "things that just happen anyways". I said I don't know what to say yet, don't know when or if I will - it's all fine talking about awareness & acceptance of risks and all that in a theoretical sense, but when someone is actually gone I just can't throw some slapped-together post with the usual pontifications out there. I've made a few comments here & there, had a couple of email conversations - even at that limited level, I have already said a thing or two that I'm already wondering if I should have said, so I'm going to keep it at that for now.

SeaLevel mentioned that he has had a similar reaction - his response has been to just put up all the information on SeaLevel as it comes in.

The New York Rowing Association is also looking for volunteers to search the riverbanks - more information here.

Let's all be careful out there.

No comments: