Submitted by Jeff Buster on Mon, 01/28/2008 - 23:00.

 Having worked in the construction business for years, I got so I could tell when a Diesel was rev'd a little too high.

So here I was on the Welland Canal in late January asking - was it the ice breaking that was forcing the revs? - or was it time for a coffee break?

It was the Tim  Horton's  coffee!


The fellow climbing over the chain rail and using the tire bumper on the tug to step aboard -  told me also that a ship was waiting to come into the Canal to winter.   In fact, I had seen a Laker hanging about 5 miles off shore.   The ship hovering offshore was coming in to the canal, and if the 8” thick ice wasn’t broken up by the Lac Manitoba, it would be difficult to push her sideways to tie up.  I wonder why the incoming ship hadn’t moored sooner? What was she doing on Lake Erie 'til now?


The Welland Canal ship channel coming into the Canal from Lake Ontario was dry - you could see the dirt bottom of the channel, so the ship hadn’t just come up the Seaway.   


So, to be fair, the high Diesel revs were a bit of business, and a bit of coffee break rush.


But what wasn’t business-like was the fact that neither the red-bearded fellow in the photo, nor the engineer at the helm, were wearing life jackets or survival suits


That’s crazy in winter on any freezing water.


One slip into the sub zero lake, and you are dead.  


Try it yourself.   Jump into the icy water and see how long you remain on the surface waiting for a life buoy or waiting for someone to reach under your armpits and pull you out.  


I have spent some weeks on winter water,  and what I learned is that once you fall in, you don’t have any time.   Whether you fall out of a canoe or off a tug.  You are immediately paralyzed.   If you don’t have flotation/insulation on when you fall in,  you are pretty much dead - in the water.


The coffee was  hot, but this fellow’s not.   And his employer should be cited.  Accidents are preventable.  

Off they went at full throttle...

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