By Sheila Dassatt

        Once again, I find myself writing this on the twenty second anniversary of September 11th.  This was a day for most of us that we will never forget.  Since that infamous day, a whole new generation has been born.  When it comes to preserving history, we don’t want this day to go my unnoticed.  Today, we remember where we were and what we were doing when we heard the news.

        We honor those that were lost due to the terrorist attacks that day.  They are our heroes and we will never forget them.  We thank the heroes that didn’t hesitate to stand up for their country and the American people in the aftermath of the attacks when they heard the call to serve.  We are grateful to each and every one.

        I have written an article a few years ago stating where we were and what we were doing on that day.  It still seems like it was just yesterday.  When I say “in the blink of an eye,” this seems to be how this all happens.  One day, you are getting up to start a normal day and before you know it, life has changed forever.

        During that time, people joined together to help one another and look at life a little differently.  We joined hands, gathered with our families, shared meals together and helped those in need.  Since that time, society has changed so much.  How soon we forget.

        We have experienced such a strange and mysterious virus known as Covid-19.  What a difference in the end result of how people react.  We lost a lot of people all over the world with this virus and instilled fear in just about everyone for almost two years.  The end result is people staying home out of fear, of catching the virus, being around other people and even afraid to eat food in public places.  Now we have curb side delivery, you never have to leave your vehicle.  You can have food brought to your home and can stay isolated by working on a computer from your home.  Students were kept home and classes were meant to be taught on a home computer.  This was very difficult for some students due to the environment at home.  I’m sure there were a lot of students that had their grades lowered due to this or didn’t pass at all.  There was a big drop-out rate involved with this scare.  This is how the world has become.

        In the marine sector of all of this change that has evolved over the last twenty two years, we have faced the whale rules and environmental changes and expectations on us. We have had to re-write the way that we prepare the rope on our lobster traps so it doesn’t hurt the endangered whale, which we don’t want to hurt either.  There are now plastic breakaway pieces and knots in specific places in the rope for each trap.  When this was all in the making, one of our big concerns was for the safety of the fisherman and his crew.  I am on the boat with Mike on Saving Grace and we have seen how some of these breakaways and knots go through the hauler.  They are dangerous and can “fetch up” and then jump out of the hauler or on the side rail, making it like a “crack the whip” affect with whoever is standing there.  In the blink of an eye, damage can happen in a hurry.

        I feel I must share how quickly things could’ve changed for us on Labor Day of this past week.  I was on the boat and our nephew, Gavin was helping us that day.  With this sinking rope that is required and the breakaways, quite often we break our own ropes just hauling it up if it gets snagged in a rock.  The results of that is to grapple the traps back, which is a heavy chain with snagging hooks in the links.  This is what happened with us that day.  Mike snagged our traps by the main line with the grapple and brought the grapple up with the hauler, leaving the gap of rope that was tied to the triples that were hanging.  The grapple accidentally let go and when it started to fall into the water, it caught Mike’s leg and was taking him over the side.  Gavin held onto the rope that was holding the traps trying to keep the tension off of his leg.  I grabbed him with a bear hug hold and wouldn’t let go.  We gave the boat a little more throttle and she moved enough to break the tension and it let go.  This is how quickly things can happen.  In the blink of an eye, life can change very quickly and there is no automatic reverse. 

        Gavin and I are very grateful that we were able to prevent such a tragedy from happening.  I think we are still recovering from what Gavin called “a horrific moment.”  Mike is recovering with a big bruise and rope burn on his leg, but very grateful for not being dragged to the bottom that day. 

        We were very fortunate, but I can’t help but feel for the guys that we have already lost overboard this year due to rope snags.  We now have a good idea of what they were thinking when that rope went out and they went over the rail.  We truly hope that these rope modifications can be made so it is a little more safe for our fishermen and their crew. It is very dangerous to go out on a lobster boat to haul by yourself, please don’t go alone. But that isn’t always the case.  In our circumstance, we were all on the boat when this happened and the rope still caught Mike’s leg but we were there to help him from that moment.

        We still have more of this season to go, but please, be very careful and “focus, focus, focus” the entire time that you are out on the water.  I was told this when I was dealing with large vessels and still take that advice when I’m out on the water.  Take care and have a safe rest of the season!