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1142 A Boating Accident

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Complete Transcript
Welcome to English as a Second Language Podcast number 1,142 – A Boating Accident.

This is English as a Second Language Podcast episode 1,142. I’m your host, Dr. Jeff McQuillan, coming to you from the Center for Educational Development in beautiful Los Angeles, California.

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On this episode, we’re going to hear a dialogue between Liset and Mark talking about being in the water on a boat and having, unfortunately, an accident. Let’s get started.

[start of dialogue]

Liset: I should never have gotten on this boat. We’re going to sink. I know it!

Mark: Calm down. The water is a little rough today, but there’s nothing to worry about. You have your life jacket on, right?

Liset: Oh my God, water is splashing into the boat. We need to start bailing right now!

Mark: Don’t be ridiculous. That’s just a little sea spray. Sit down and relax.

Liset: Look out! There’s another boat over there!

Mark: It’s just passing by. We might feel its wake, but we’re not going to capsize. I promise you that.

Liset: How long do you think we can survive adrift on the water?

Mark: We are not going to sink. I’m telling you.

Liset: I wonder how long we’ll be marooned on an island. I hope to see my family again someday.

Mark: All right, we’ll return to the shore. It’s clear that you’re not enjoying this.

Liset: I didn’t know we’d be sailing in the middle of a squall.

Mark: There’s a gentle breeze today, that’s all. I’m sorry I didn’t wait for a completely calm day to take you out on your first boat ride.

Liset: My first and last!

[end of dialogue]

Liset says to Mark, “I should never have gotten on this boat.” Liset is regretting getting on this boat. She wishes she had not gotten on the boat. A “boat” (boat) is a form of transportation that floats in the water. A big boat is called a “ship” (ship). Be careful how you pronounce that. Liset says, “We’re going to sink.” “To sink” (sink) as a verb means for something that is floating on top of the water to go to the bottom of the water. So, if a boat “sinks,” the boat goes to the bottom of the water – maybe the bottom of the ocean or the bottom of the lake. Of course, you don’t want your boat to sink.

Liset says, “I know it!” meaning I know it’s going to sink. Mark tells her, “Calm down,” meaning don’t get excited, don’t get anxious. “The water is a little rough today, but there’s nothing to worry about,” he says. To describe the water as “a little rough” (rough) means not calm, with a lot of sudden the movements. The word “rough” as an adjective often means the opposite of “smooth.” Here, it means the opposite of “calm.” The water is moving around a lot, and of course that would mean the boat is moving around a lot as well.

Mark says, “You have your life jacket on, right?” A “life jacket” (jacket) is like a piece of clothing that you wear, except it allows you to “float” (float) in the water, meaning you won’t sink. “To float” is the opposite of “to sink.” A life jacket usually looks like a vest. It has a very bright color. It goes around the upper part of your body, just as you would have a regular jacket that you might wear out when it’s cold out.

Liset doesn’t seem to be paying attention to Mark, however. She says, “Oh my God, water is splashing into the boat.” “To splash” (splash) means for liquid to rise up and hit against something, usually resulting in several small drops of liquid – in this case, drops of water. What’s happening is that the water is hitting the side of the boat, or the sides of the boat, and perhaps is coming inside of the boat a little bit.

Liset is very afraid. She says, “We need to start bailing right now!” “To bail” (bail) here means to use some containers, such as a bucket or a pail, to scoop or to gather the water and throw it out of the boat so that the boat doesn’t sink. If water begins to come into the boat, you may have to “bail” the water out of the boat. You may need to take something to get the water out of your boat so that your boat doesn’t sink.

Mark says, “Don’t be ridiculous” – don’t be silly. “That’s just a little sea spray.” “Sea (sea) spray (spray)” is when you get a little bit of ocean or sea water that comes into the boat after it splashes against the sides of the boat. If you’ve ever taken a boat out onto the ocean or to the sea, you probably have experienced sea spray if you stand near the edge of the boat close to the water. Sea spray, then, is just water that you may feel on your face or on your body that comes off of the sea or the ocean (the two words mean the same thing, “sea” and “ocean”) while you are in a boat.

Mark tells Liset to “sit down and relax,” but Liset isn’t going to relax. She says, “Look out! There’s another boat over there!” The expression “look out” is usually used to warn someone that something is going to hit him, or perhaps he is going to accidentally hit something or someone else. Liset is worried that the boat that she is in is going to hit another boat that is nearby or close. Mark says, however, “It’s just passing by,” meaning it’s just travelling past us, travelling by us. It’s not going to hit us.

He continues, “We might feel its wake, but we’re not going to capsize.” When a boat travels through water, whether it’s on a lake or on an ocean, often, especially if it’s a big boat, there are waves that are produced by the boat itself – water that goes off either side of the boat that travels through the water, or looks like it’s traveling through the water. These are what we call “waves” (waves). Well, when you have a large boat, the large boat could produce waves. It could have a “wake” that might cause problems for the boats around it, the smaller boats around it. That’s what Liset is worried about.

Mark says, however, that the boat that they are in is not going to “capsize” because of the waves caused by the other boat. “To capsize” (capsize) means for a boat to turn over in the water so that the top of the boat is actually in the water and the bottom of the boat is out of the water. Of course, that’s not the way you want the boat to be. What Mark is saying is that the wake of this larger boat will not “capsize,” will not turn the boat that they are in upside down. He says, “I promise you that.”

Liset says, “How long do you think we can survive adrift in the water?” “To be adrift” (adrift) means that you are floating in the water – your boat is floating in the water, but you don’t have any way of moving on your own. You don’t have a motor or any other way of controlling or powering your boat. Mark doesn’t answer the question directly. He just says, “We are not going to sink. I’m telling you.”

The phrase “I’m telling you” is when you are emphasizing something to someone who doesn’t believe you. The person doubts you, and so you are trying to make sure that the person understands that what you are saying is true. Liset continues, “I wonder how long we’ll be marooned on an island.” “To be marooned” (marooned) means to be abandoned and trapped on an island without any way of leaving it. This doesn’t happen very often nowadays with modern communication and other ways of finding people, but it could still happen.

You saw that Tom Hanks movie, perhaps a few years back, which I really hated. I hated that movie. I can’t go into it right now but I didn’t like it. I think it was called something like Castaway. In English it was called Castaway. A “castaway” (castaway) is a person who is marooned on an island. What I hated about the movie, in case you’re interested, is that at the end of the movie . . . Oh well, I better not tell you in case you haven’t seen it. I hated the ending of the movie. Let me be very clear about that.

Anyway, we’re talking about a boating accident here, and Liset is wondering how long they’ll be marooned on an island. She says, “I hope to see my family again someday.” Mark says, “All right, we’ll return to the shore.” It’s clear that Liset and Mark are not going to be marooned on an island and that Liset is just exaggerating, imagining problems.

The “shore” (shore) is the area of land that is directly next to an ocean, a lake, or another what we would call a “large body of water.” We might also use the word “coast” (coast) here. The United States has two coasts. It has the West Coast (that’s where I live) on the Pacific Ocean and the East Coast, which is on the Atlantic Ocean. I’m not counting Hawaii and Alaska here, which are also of course on the Pacific Ocean, or have coasts on the Pacific Ocean.

The word “shore” usually refers to either a smaller section or part of the coast of an ocean or to the area of land for a lake. We don’t normally talk about the coasts of a lake. You could, however, for a very large lake, such as the Great Lakes of North America – Lake Superior, Lake Michigan, and so on. I guess when I hear the word “coast,” I usually think of an ocean, and when I hear the word “shore,” I think of a lake, although as I say, we could use “shore” also to refer to perhaps a smaller part of the coast of an ocean or a sea.

Mark says they’re going to return to the shore because it’s clear Liset isn’t enjoying the boat ride. Liset says,” I didn’t know we’d be sailing” – going out into the water – “in the middle of a squall” (squall). A squall is a very strong windstorm over the ocean that can be very dangerous. Mark says, “There’s a gentle breeze today, that’s all.” A “breeze” (breeze) is a gentle wind, a wind that is not very strong. A squall would be a huge storm. A breeze is usually something you consider very pleasant. It’s a small movement of air, a very light wind.

Mark says, “I’m sorry I didn’t wait for a completely calm day to take you out on your first boat ride.” A “calm (calm) day” would be one in which there is no movement of the water or no wind. Liset, however, says that she doesn’t really want to go on another boat ride. She says, “My first and last!” meaning this will be the last time that she goes out on a boat.

Now let’s listen to the dialogue, this time at a normal speed.

[start of dialogue]

Liset: I should never have gotten on this boat. We’re going to sink. I know it!

Mark: Calm down. The water is a little rough today, but there’s nothing to worry about. You have your life jacket on, right?

Liset: Oh my God, water is splashing into the boat. We need to start bailing right now!

Mark: Don’t be ridiculous. That’s just a little sea spray. Sit down and relax.

Liset: Look out! There’s another boat over there!

Mark: It’s just passing by. We might feel its wake, but we’re not going to capsize. I promise you that.

Liset: How long do you think we can survive adrift on the water?

Mark: We are not going to sink. I’m telling you.

Liset: I wonder how long we’ll be marooned on an island. I hope to see my family again someday.

Mark: All right, we’ll return to the shore. It’s clear that you’re not enjoying this.

Liset: I didn’t know we’d be sailing in the middle of a squall.

Mark: There’s a gentle breeze today, that’s all. I’m sorry I didn’t wait for a completely calm day to take you out on your first boat ride.

Liset: My first and last!

[end of dialogue]

We’d like to thank our always-calm scriptwriter, Dr. Lucy Tse, for her wonderful scripts.

From Los Angeles, California, I’m Jeff McQuillan. Thank you for listening. Come back and listen to us again right here on ESL Podcast.

English as a Second Language Podcast was written and produced by Dr. Lucy Tse, hosted by Dr. Jeff McQuillan. Copyright 2015 by the Center for Educational Development.

Glossary
boat – a type of transportation that floats on the water and carries people and goods, either with a motor or with paddles (long, flat pieces of wood or plastic that are pushed through the water with one’s arms)

* How long would it take us to cross the lake in that boat?

to sink – for a floating object to fill with water so that it no longer floats, and instead falls to the bottom of the water

* A balloon filled with air floats, but a balloon filled with water sinks.

rough – not calm; with a lot of sudden movements

* Riding on a gravel road can be a little rough unless you go very slowly.

life jacket – a floatation device; a brightly colored vest worn over one’s clothes and closed with buckles, designed to keep a person floating if he or she falls into the water

* By law, cruise ships must have enough life jackets for every passenger and crew member.

to splash – for a liquid to rise up and hit against something, resulting in many small drops

* The waiter moved the glass too quickly, causing the juice to splash onto the table.

to bail – to use a bucket, pail, or cup to scoop water out of a boat to avoid sinking

* This boat has a small hole in the bottom, but as long as we bail out the water, we should be okay.

sea spray – a splash of ocean water as it hits against something

* If you stand on these rocks, you can feel the sea spray as the tide comes in.

wake – the lines of raised water that trail behind a boat that moves quickly over the water

* Hang on tight! Our kayak is going to be rocked by the wake of that motor boat.

to capsize – for a boat to turn over in the water, so that the top of the boat is in the water and the bottom of the boat is out of the water

* If this boat capsizes, hopefully the Coast Guard will come to rescue us.

adrift – floating without a working motor or any other way to move; in a ship or raft that floats, but without the power to control where it goes or how quickly it moves

* The Life of Pi is a book that tells the story of a boy who is adrift in the ocean with a tiger.

marooned – abandoned and trapped on an island without any way to leave it

* If you were marooned on a desert island and had only one book, which book would you choose, and why?

shore – coast; the edge of land directly next to a sea, ocean, or lake

* Who catches more fish in this river: the fishermen standing on the shore, or the ones in boats?

squall – a strong windstorm over the ocean that causes very large, dangerous waves

* We were going to cross the bay this afternoon, but the captain decided not to go out into the squall.

breeze – a gentle wind

* Without the breeze, the weather today would be intolerably hot.

calm – still and peaceful; without any movement or agitation

* The surface of the lake was so calm that we could see our reflection in it.

Comprehension Questions
1. What would cause the water to be rough?
a) Bailing
b) Being marooned
c) A squall

2. What does Liset mean when she says, “We need to start bailing right now”?
a) We need to fix the motor.
b) We need to use the radio to call for help.
c) We need to take water out of the boat.

Answers at bottom.

What Else Does It Mean?
to sink

The verb “to sink,” in this podcast, means for a floating object to fill with water so that it no longer floats, and instead falls to the bottom of the water: “The heavy rain, strong winds, and tall waves caused several small boats to sink.” The phrase “a sinking feeling” describes a sad or uncomfortable feeling that one has upon realizing that something bad will happen: “I have a sinking feeling that someone is going to get hurt on this hike.” The phrase “to sink so low” means to do something that is very unfair, bad, and selfish: “We never thought he would sink so low as to steal money from his own daughter.” Finally, as a noun, a “sink” is the ceramic or metal container in a kitchen or bathroom that water falls into, usually used for washing dishes or one’s hands: “We need to wash the dirty dishes in the sink before going to bed.”

wake

In this podcast, the word “wake” means the lines of raised water that trail behind a boat that moves quickly over the water: “Fishermen really dislike motorboats, because their wake disturbs the fish.” The phrase “in the wake of (something)” means after something bad has happened: “Several dozen people lost their jobs in the wake of the mismanagement scandal.” The phrase “in (something’s) wake” means after or behind something: “The tornado left destruction in its wake.” When talking about death, a “wake” is the period of time when people meet and/or view the body before the funeral (when a body is buried): “Almost everyone at the wake was dressed in black.” Finally, a “wake-up call” is something that shocks one into changing one’s behavior: “Weighing in at 300 pounds was the wake-up call that Harvey needed to finally improve his diet and start exercising.”

Culture Note
Getting a Boating License

Most states require that people have boater education in order to “navigate” (drive; operate) a “motorized” (with an engine) boat. Most people refer to this as getting a boating “license” (official permission to do something), even though it is not an actual license in most states.

The “licensing requirements” (what one must do to get a license) “vary” (are different) by state, but they have many things in common. “Applicants” (people who want to get a boating license) must meet the age requirement, typically with a minimum age of 16, which is generally the same as the minimum age for “obtaining” (getting) a driver’s license.

Most states require that applicants pass a test on “water safety.” The test includes questions about the maximum speeds, basic boat “maintenance” (taking care of something so it stays in good condition) and “repair” (fixing things that are broken). The test also “covers” (deals with topics on) “navigation” (the ability to go where one wants to go) and how to handle a boat during “inclement weather” (bad weather) and storms. Applicants are also expected to understand the importance of using “personal floatation devices” (life jackets) and the importance of not boating “under the influence” (while one is drinking alcohol or using drugs).

Some people take a “boating safety course,” often online, in order to prepare for the boating exam. But others simply read “printed materials” (books or pamphlets) to prepare themselves to take the test.

Once people have their boating license, they then need to register their boat with the appropriate state “authority” (department or official), just as they would register a car with the Department of Motor Vehicles.

Comprehension Answers
1 - c

2 - c