My Take on Boating Safety and Courtesy

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Posted by Barry Nicholson on February 18, 2002 at 13:59:24:

If I'm on plane in a 20 foot bass boat and I see a ANY
boat,large or small,ahead of me,I give it the widest
amount of water possible.I'll stay on plane if I'm within
200 yards of another boat.Any closer and it's time to
shut down and idle.Sometimes this is not possible with
going by bank fisherman.One place I fish regularly has
a few bank fisherman on a bluff nearby.They're fishing the
channel,which is about 30 feet wide.On the side of the channel is
stumps and 2 feet of water.I have found a path with no stumps out
about 100 yards from the bank in this 2 feet of water,so
I use that and keep it on plane till I am past them.Am I a bad
boater because of this.I don't think so.My wake is significantly
less than it would be had I slowed down to idle.
I've checked myself and other boats.On plane,another
boater may encounter a slight ripple or two of wake,
but if I slow down,the boat pushes so much water that
it will wash them out of their spot.This is from around
200 yards mind you,which isn't a whole lot,but is plenty
of room.On open water,depth perception is hindered and
although they may appear to be blasting right by you,
they may in fact be 100-200 yards out.
On another note......If your coming into an area to fish,
don't go by another boater and start fishing in the direction
their boat is pointing.Just plain rude.Start behind them,if possible.
If you must go ahead of them,for some reason,fish in one spot
till they pass you.Also,while you're fishing,stay out
of the channel that boats must use to get from point A
to point B.I hate having to go near you while your
lines are cast in every direction.Not only for safety,
but for common courtesy.
If you're on a dock near a boat ramp,please pull in all of your lines
so they do not interfere with boat props.The rod you save
may be your own.
I also have a 15 foot jon with a 25 horse on it.It pushes
more water than the 20 footer with a 200 on it.I MAKE
it a point to SLOW down and idle past someone if I'm in this
boat.Even on plane,a small boat like this pushes alot
of water,and even more when slowing down and stopping.
Also,while at the boat ramp,wait your turn.Don't back right
down the ramp and then start unhooking your boat,jet ski,
or whatever.Most fisherman are quick when it comes to
unloading and loading,so just go ahead and start getting
your stuff ready and unhooked while in the parking lot.
Don't throw your fishing line OVER a boat ramp and leave it
out while a boat is loading or unloading.I've actually had
this happen.Got the line wrapped all around the prop
while the folks fishing just stood there.YOU'LL GET
where your line is at,but you know where you cast.
This is just a small list and I can come up with many,
many more.I'm on the water almost all year long and I
see alot of good boaters along with the bad.This is the
same for bank fisherman,small craft fisherman,etc.,,
Fishing has grown in popularity over the last decade
and with that popularity has included a few bad apples.
It's gonna happen with anything.The more people involved,
the more likelyhood of bad incidents.I've duckhunted
for over 20 years and I see the same thing happening there.
I just hope to God nobody starts having "duck hunting
Tournaments,I've done also.I've seen guys who are
a pleasure to fish with on the weekends change into
money hungry fearless boaters.I've actually had them say
"Hey,this is for money,he better move out of my way"
or "Who cares,I'm fishing for money".That was enough for
me.I quit fishing tournaments years ago.I didn't enjoy myself when
I knew I had to produce to "bring home the bacon".
I've also seen tournament guys who are very courtious.
I had a guide tow me in one day while he was with clients back
when I fished out of an old tri hull with old Merc
on it.Talk about a nice guy.He towed me as far as he could
then called the marine police to bring me in the rest of the
In a nutshell,just treat others as you'd like to be treated.
Respect and courtesy go a long way on the water,whether
you're fishing or hunting.
Take care

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