Friends Don’t Let Friends Drift Away

TSPS members Per Knudsen and Anne Bille were concluding a week-long cruise to the Izu Islands and readying their boat Bifrost to dock at their homeport of Velasis when they encountered an unusual sight:

Sleeping man adrift on a floating mattress in the Uraga Strait
Sleeping man adrift on a floating mattress in the Uraga Strait

Apparently, a young man had a bit too much to drink and had fallen asleep on his floating mattress. According to Per, the guy had drifted more than 500 meters from shore and the prevailing current was pushing him out to sea. Fortunately or unfortunately, no amount of screaming at the young man by the crew of Bifrost roused him from his slumber, so Per called Velasis Marina for help. Bifrost continued to circle him until a Velasis inflatable arrived on the scene and woke up the young man and took him back to dry land.

It’s doubtful the young lad would have reached open water as the Uraga area is quite busy with sailing and small fishing vessels. However, this episode does raise concerns, and as a boating safety organization, TSPS should weigh in with some safety tips.

#1. “Friends don’t let friends drift away.”
Take responsibility for others. At the beach, always be thinking about your safety and that of your friends and family, but if at some point you find yourself absent one friend and one floating mattress, assume the worst and call an emergency hotline.

#2. “Don’t drink and float.”
Obviously. The gentle sway of the sea, a fresh ocean breeze, and one cocktail too many will undoubtedly lull you to sleep. For the high percentage of people who ignore such advice, don’t board a mattress alone- go with a friend. Have fun, converse. Failing that, or a friend, make sure you are either tethered via very long line to a strong tree or that you are in fact in a swimming pool or lake and not on a body of water that covers some 32% of the earth’s surface.

In all seriousness, a high number of people die on the beaches of Japan every summer. Often the cause is alcohol-related or simply ignorance of the environment- unknown depths, currents, rip tides, the effect of too much sun, etc…. Safety should always be of the highest priority when at or on the sea.

6 thoughts on “Friends Don’t Let Friends Drift Away

  1. I can imagine panic taking hold of this lucky young man had he gone undiscovered and woken up somewhere in or near the shipping lanes 500 more meters out. That would have been his drunken demise. Good job, Per and Anne. You may have saved his life.

  2. That air mattress was probably bought at a convenience store for ¥500. He’s lucky (or is it unlucky) it kept him afloat as long as it did.

  3. Great job guys. Really good work. He must be elated.

    I imagine he would be much safer if he was a jet skier though. Very tough exam in Japan! And he would have taken his phone too.

  4. Great article. Good job, Per & Anna!

    This should go to The Japan Times or Japan Today. Also the Ensign as a semi-humorous piece on TSPS life-saving over here.

  5. LMAOL!!! He probably couldn’t swim either, and even if he could probably not 500+ yards! The idiot is lucky he didn’t drown – and that he remained asleep the entire time – kept him from panicking! You ask him for a yearly membership to TSPS, for saving his drunkin’ arse!

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