Between a rock and a hard place

Published 7:48 pm Tuesday, July 19, 2011

I have a letter for our local board, but it does not look as if I will get a response, and I am concerned for the safety of our local boaters.

To the Bainbridge mayor and City Council members:

I have a very serious matter that needs to be taken up and reviewed by the board in a timely manner. We are all well aware the economy is still in rough shape, and I applauded your efforts to do what you can to pull business to our fair city. But I can see money about to walk away from our fair city if we do not find an agreement on my issue.

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This council voted and spent all the money to redo the Boat Basin. It looks great and very updated. Then you boat your way to the channel, this is such a thin area you are doing good to get a boat in each direction go through here and depending on size, this can be scary. Then just as you exit the channel, not even 20 feet, there is a large boulder, hidden under the water. This boulder is unmarked.

Now to prove a point, my family and I went out and purchased a nice family boat to enjoy for the summer. This took every dime extra we had. A coastal 230 boat. My husband (a man who is very use to drive boats) went to take the entire family out for a day of fun after church on July 3. As soon as we got out of the channel we throttled up the speed, being a bigger boat it takes time to pick up (and then we still don’t travel very fast) then next thing we know I am catching myself as my face slams into the boat, and our young daughter is thrown across the boat. Then we were told what happened (a passerby let us in on that the boulder was there and many people get caught by it). Pulling the motor up to check we then see it has ripped the rotor apart and snapped the whole bottom half of the outboard motor. Then flagging down to be towed back to the dock my concern begin to build.

There could have been so many different outcomes here. One had I not caught myself I would have been seriously injured, and another the children could have taken on serious injuries or been thrown from the boat. If you have never been in this part of the water then how would you ever know this was here. What would happen if a child was thrown and another boat flew and ran over that child.

It is our duty to protect the children, citizens and this wonderful town. This must really be marked some way. You could simply put a sign through it, or place a buoy over it. None of these are very expensive fixes here. Whereas my motor to be fixed is going to cost about $1,500. If we do not take action immediately, I fear we may lose some tourism with the bass tournament (these guys are not going come and rip their boats to shreds).

I am not asking that you fix my boat, because lets face it I do not want to hear the lame excuses or your thoughts on that matter, but a fix should be done in this area of the water. I have been told you will fight back and forth over whose responsibility it is (yours or the Corps of Engineers). Lets face it, it is our City of Bainbridge and our citizens that suffer from this the most.

Thank you for your time concerning this.


Sara L. Palmer

Bainbridge, Ga.