2020-2021 Youth Writing Contest Honorable Mention – Junior Category – Maine (Grades 6–8)
Cole Mattson, Age 12, Dedham, ME
On a clear July day, the weather was pretty comfortable out at Great Pond Adventure Center, so my dad and I decided to rent a boat for the day. This particular boat was a rowboat and was my first time rowing, so I was pretty excited.
My dad and I went out on the lake with two of my younger siblings. After about twenty minutes, we decided to bring the younger kids back in and go out a bit farther on the lake.
My dad and I went around some rocks into a secluded area to fish for a while. Unfortunately, we didn’t catch anything while we were out on the lake, so we decided to row around for a bit and explore the lake. We stopped on an island and explored that for a little while before deciding to head back.
Around the time we reached the middle of the lake, I noticed that the boat had more water in it than when we set off. I pointed this out to my dad, and as it turned out, somewhere in the lake we had lost the plug to the boat! We were sinking in the lake!
Well, at this time my dad was a Chief Boatswain Mate in the Coast Guard, so we were not about to go down with the boat. So, my dad started paddling and I began bailing the water out of the boat with a bucket. I later learned my mom and one of my dad’s shipmates had noticed our boat was low in the water, so they spent some time watching us sink and almost not make it back, finding some humor in this.
After a little while of paddling we made it back to the beach and were able to inform the staff that their boat almost sank and needed a new plug. While we waited for the plug to be replaced, we made fun of my dad for almost sinking the boat. I was glad that we were wearing our life vests because that boat was sinking faster than the Titanic, and it was a long swim back to shore!
Other than the almost sinking of the boat that was a pretty good day! I did learn a couple things because of this experience; for instance, you need to monitor the levels of water in your boat and try not to lose the plug. But mostly I learned that it takes a lot of energy to bail out a boat full of water.
I hope the next time I’m on a rowboat it doesn’t sink to the bottom of a lake. As long as you don’t sink the boat in the first place you won’t have to worry about this, but if you do sink or end up in an emergency it helps not to panic and to find everyone a way to help. Other than that you should be good.