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Circle of Death: Dinghy Out of Control
It was low tide. I needed to navigate shallow water to get to my usual tie up spot. I did what I frequently do in this situation, turning around to lift the idling motor into the shallow water setting. The new motor we bought this year doesn’t raise and lower quite as easily as our old one did, so I had to jiggle the motor to get it to lock into position. As I did this, the motor tiller brushed the side of the dinghy and jerked into full throttle. The dinghy surged forward, then swerved violently to starboard. I was thrown from the dinghy into the shallow water.
A Dinghy Tour Becomes A Heartstopper
.... As the sun descended towards the mountains on the distant mainland, we discussed our concern.  While we were hesitant to retrieve and reset the anchor, we agreed that we could wait no longer for her to return without commencing a search; she did not have a radio or phone, a flashlight or her warmest clothing; we did not know if she was wearing a PFD or using the “dead man” switch on the outboard which had been operating erratically; we did not know in which direction she had departed or her plans.  We were at a loss in deciding which direction to start our search. It occurred to each of us that she could be drifting towards the darkening mainland with a dead engine or she might be ashore on an islet with the dinghy drifting on its own.  She could even be in the frigid and potentially lethal water.
Safe Dinghy Checklist

Dinghy Safety Checklist