Don’t Jump Ship Unless You’re Sure It’s Sinking

Photo Courtesy of Flickr

A couple summers ago I was visiting my Aunt and Uncle near Knoxville, Tennessee. One of our days there we took a trip to nearby Sweetwater to visit the Lost Sea.

The Lost Sea is an underground lake deep in the caverns of The Great Smokey Mountains. Tours include a boat ride on the lake and a chance to see freaky looking colorless fish.

Coming along on the tour with us were my cousin Manda and her boyfriend Justin. Before we went Justin had shared with us that there had been an incident with one of the tour boats sinking in the lake recently while giving a tour.

Our tour had gone flawlessly, which was surprising considering the company I keep. On our walk back up from the lake our tour guide had us stop for a rest. I don’t remember our tour guide’s name, but let’s give him a good southern name like Boone.

Justin used our rest stop as an opportunity to ask Boone what he knew about the boat that had sunk.

Turns out that Boone was on that boat leading a tour for a group of school children.

It was his second day working there. Along with another tour guide they had loaded everyone into the boat and as they pushed away from the dock he noticed that something was wrong. The boat was somehow taking on water.

Fearing the worst he heroically jumped back to the dock to get to the emergency phone, but slipped and ended up in the water himself.

He told us the media made it sound much worse than it actually was. No one was hurt, except for Boone’s pride.

The boats are constructed of styrofoam and aluminum and can handle a fair amount of water before they start to sink, making Boone’s leap to get help totally unnecessary. That would have been useful information for him to know before hand.

While generally I believe it’s best to distance yourself from any “sinking ship” as quickly as possible, it’s noteworthy to consider Boone. Unfortunately for Boone he jumped ship because he thought it was sinking and even more unfortunate for him he ended up in the cold dark waters of The Lost Sea.

How many times have you abandoned something that you thought was sinking, only to find out that it wasn’t nearly as dire as you had originally thought? It’s a fine line between hanging on too long and getting out just in time. Often it’s not until much further down the road that we can decipher which it is.

Only then will we know if we made the right decision or ended up in the water.

Should you be hanging on or jumping ship?


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