FORMER AND LADDER
Mario Vittone’s March “Lifelines” article about planning to fail [“Be Prepared By Planning To Fail] and his online video about falling into cold water came together for me. I once fell into very cold water from a Ranger 26 sailboat.
It was winter on Chesapeake Bay, and I was alone on the boat doing some maintenance, not sailing, when I fell overboard. There was no one around. Fastened to the stern rail was a stainless steel flip-down ladder that got me out of the water quickly. I had used the ladder for swimming and cleaning the bottom of the boat in warm weather.
Of course, I never planned to fall overboard, but it must have crossed my mind when I installed the ladder because it was held in place with light twine so it could be deployed by a person who unexpectedly found himself in the water. Lucky for me, I had planned to fail. When I switched to a powerboat, a Parker 25, one of the first things I checked was its built-in swim ladder.
Joseph Erwin Rock Hall, Maryland