Tugster is running a Swim Day post today. So, Happy Swim Day! What better way to celebrate than to jump into the harbor? Is it legal? yes! sort of.
Here’s the catch: you cannot enter the water from anywhere near the shore. Land and waters 100′ off the sea wall or piers around the city is either state or city owned, and is therefore is under jurisdiction to patrol. If you try to swim within 100′ off the shore, you will be fished out and fined dearly. You may apply for a permit to swim in an organized event, but easy access to and from the water is dependent on where you enter and leave the waters, and there are many regulations that discourage a quick dip.
Or, you can jump off a boat offshore. What is the law there? there is no law. The police who come to pick you up willbring you in for something, but not for swimming. And if you ask them why you can’t swim, they’ll say, “Well, this is how it is because I’m telling you that’s how it is.”
So, should you try this, here is the one big rule: Do not make any captain do paperwork.
Do not inconvenience YOUR boat capt, do not trouble the captains hauling oil, cargo containers or cars, do not freak out the big DEP boat captains, do not worry the many tugboat captains, the small workboat captains, the ferry and watertaxi captains, the tourist/dinnerboat captains…et cetera. What you do to yourself is up to you!
So, as I have had access from a schooner, here’s how to swim from a schooner:
1. (The hardest:) Find a captain who will let you off her/his boat.
They’re all hardwired to keep you ON the boat, so you will be very hardpressed to find one that will actually let you off.
Your ship will most likely be anchored. If a capt will let you off a boat underway, s/he wants to put you out of her/his misery, in which case, don’t go.
Determine current direction and strength before you go in. I throw in a small piece of food, leaf, or twig.
2. (The easiest:) Jump off.
3. (The most fun—well, it’s all fun:) Swim.
(Best to avoid propellers, even if engine is idle.)
4. (The MOST INELEGANT:) Come back aboard.
To come back onboard, you’re lucky if the capt rigs something from the davit for you, or has something off the side if the freeboard is low enough. But I’ve never had this extra courtesy and I’ve never pushed for it since they look the other way to let you go in. So, climb up the headrig. It is never elegant.
At anchor, the chance that the ship runs over you is slightly less than when underway. Slightly. She will hopefully pull away from her anchor chain. Approach from the side front.
Be aware of the dolphinstrikers or martingales! Lower Bay was the most exhilarating to swim because of the swells, the openness, the big containerships steaming by, however, it was also where I watched that martingale go up very high and come slamming down deep into the water. Watch your head. Grab the chains of the headrig when the martingale is at the lowest point for a free boost. Scurry up the slimy chains before the next swell or you will return to your original position with force; hold on tightly.
The martingale stays chain will be quite slippery and green with moss and slime. If you are clever, you picked a schooner with a low bowsprit and corresponding footropes of the net. Grab the ropes of the net, then pull yourself in by holding the hawse, scuppers, anything. Don’t grab the staysail or jib: it unfurls. Then before climbing back onboard, yell “Laying off!”as if you were just out for a moment tying a few clove hitches to secure the jib.
Photos M.Riff. Thank you, M!
Ah! Sailors DO tell good stories!! Three good swim stories on Tillerman’s site: the last one is a doozy! his site is a doozy.
And MessingAboutInBoats gives you beautiful peek into another world, another time, and writes it in a way that makes you want to hold your bowl up and with big puppy eyes say, “More please.”
Postcards brings you a tale from the depths of the pool, also another time, another place, complete with beautiful sketches!
Yes! teach your little ones how to swim! So so so important! kudos to AMoveableBridge, JollyTar, and more!
I didn’t realize the water quality in New York Harbor was fit for swimming. So what made you jump off a boat in the winter? (Everyone has their coats on but you.)
The water is lovely! and there are many races around the island.
This set of photos was taken at the end of october 2007 on a painting art sail (notice easels). The Hudson River sail was to go paint colorful leaves, but the subject refused to cooperate.
Air temp was chilly, but the water was warm. UNLIKE your Long Island waters! Noank waters was so cold just this weekend! Brrrrrr! but beautiful!
ooo i see this as the start of a series . . . next installments could be how to swim from a tugboat, a canoe, a gondola, a kayak . . . . that could lead to how to (fill in the blank) on a (fill in the blank with type of vessel). in this post, i love the foto above “inelegant” partly because i see two feet and calves, one forearm, part of thigh BUT then there’s that orange that looks like cap color and can NOT figure out how you contort to get yer head there . . . please clarify.
Christina, that was such a fun day!
I tell you! watch out for a slamming bow!
The current swept me right under it, the ship came down, and loped the head clean off.
Leg caught the martingale stay, and I had a good grip, so I was not going to let go. Had to look for the head which was difficult as the eyes were on the part floating away. A ganglion trailed out like a painter, so I caught it and reeled my mind back in. All fine now. Part of the adventure.
It so happens that I like taking risks in the water as much as the next guy (more, surely) but it seems like you have quite the array of unpleasantness to avoid swimming amidst ships. Chains, barnacles, the cops…geez!
We all must get back to the water, though. Schooner better than later.*
* and I hate puns. Apologies. I’ve been off my feed lately…
How to Swim from a Canoe.
First with a quad band cell phone in one pocket and a digital camera in the other, attempt to show your son that the old man still has a trick or two up his sleeve by steering into what appears to be a gentle eddy. Second, holding the bow line with one hand and stroking with the other…..
oh, no!!! intrepid inpromptu swimmers deserve a special hand. Or two. With ziplock baggies!!! Ahhh, things a parent will do to form lasting memories for the offspring…
so…how does one get back ON a canoe?
Well, getting the phone soaked wasn’t just a matter of being too short sighted to put the phone in a baggie, that section of the Kennebec doesn’t even have cell phone coverage so there is no reason to even carry a phone.
The rating of the river there is “good for beginners” so it took some local knowledge to find a spot to flip the canoe. As to getting back aboard, I towed it (one handed side stroke) ashore (about 1/2 mile below where we capsized) where we emptied it out.
Splish, splash, Bowsprite!
Over the side, in the tide, goin’ for a ride, showin’ the flip side, climbin’ the topsides, modesty aside, bikinified. Clove hitches tied? Grinnin’ wide!
From Ambrose light to Waterford’s Locks
From Witte’s yard to Hempstead’s docks
Schooner, cruise ship, barge and tug
And all sorts of cargo which they lug.
All targets for the pen and brush
Keeping MY horizons full and flush.
anything to be said,
will pale in comparison
with your poetic harbor run!
(sorry, rhyming dictionary offered nothing to go with ‘comparison’.)