Taking safety seriously with a compassionate heart

August 2021

By Ali Wisch

On July 17, eight people boarded a boat in Boston Harbor, and seven people returned. The body that was recovered wasn’t just a body, but an amazing woman with a huge heart and a beautiful soul that we lost way too young. She used to work at my marina and brightened everyone’s day with her smile and positive attitude. My heart breaks for her family, and she will be remembered and missed deeply by everyone who knew her and now those who know of her.

In view of this tragedy, I’ve found myself thinking more and more about how accidents like this most recent one could have been prevented, how I can improve as a boater for my safety, for the protection of everyone else on the water and how I can share that information so that this can be a conversation about safety instead of blame. I figured this is an excellent place to start.

It’s incredibly easy to draw your own conclusions about what caused an accident to happen when you weren’t there. And I feel like it’s human nature to make judgments and draw comparisons that come straight from our egos, without enough information or first-hand knowledge. I’ve been following this story closely, and some of the comments have left me saddened by the lack of compassion. As of right now, we still don’t know exactly what happened. So instead of speculating, I’d like to use this opportunity to remind you that this pastime we all love so much and can bring us so much joy can also be dangerous. There is a level of responsibility that we need to take seriously.

Every boating season, I hear various stories, boats running aground, running into each other, and vessels being operated without the proper precaution, preparation and information. I’m no stranger to how quickly and seriously things can go wrong in an instant, and for every fantastic day I’ve had enjoying a perfect sail or a fun putt around the harbor in my dinghy, I’ve got plenty of examples of how I’ve nearly avoided tragedy and learned lessons the hard way.

Accidents will happen, preventable or not, but I think we can all start by remembering to take basic safety measures every time we step foot on our boats, whatever your level of experience. This is a serious matter, and moving forward, we will be publishing more articles involving safety measures and what you can do to enjoy your time on the water while keeping yourself and your passengers safe. I believe education is the first step. The more information you have, the more opportunities you have to make informed decisions.

The accident on July 17 was horrible. Let’s do everything to prevent it from happening again. Stay humble, practice gratitude, stay safe and appreciate every day on the water.

In loving memory of Jeanica Julce.