Tom Keer 5/30/2013 There is an old saying “the more things change, the more they stay the same.” I’ve found it to be true in the majority of instances, but when it comes to the affects of the winter on our fisheries that adage sometimes […]
Month: May 2013
Every time I go fishing I expect to catch fish. Some days I catch a lot while other days I catch squat. Every time I go boating I expect to return to the dock. So far, that trend has held true and I’m thankful for it. And as there is time and effort that goes into catching fish there is time and effort that goes into boating safely. As the adage goes, “fail to plan, plan to fail.”
First, make sure you have enough life jackets for the individuals on board. There are different types of life jackets for different activities. The Safe Boating Campaign is a great resource for determining if a life jacket is right for you. Children, especially, should wear life jackets at all times when on board.
Secondly, make all maintenance for your boat and engine are up to date. I spoke with Capt. Curt Jessup, the owner of a Massachusetts marine assistance service called SeaTow Cape and Islands. His service directly rescues several hundred stranded boaters every year. I asked him for some insight into common issues that can be prevented.
“No matter how well you maintain your boat, engine, sails, and rigging, there is likely to be a time when they fail,” said Capt. Jessup. “Boaters who are properly prepared are most likely to come out of a bad situation unscathed. More importantly, they’re able to keep what is a normal situation, such as a non-working motor, from escalating into a life-threatening accident. While I have a laundry list of situations, here are some of the ones that regularly are at the top.”
“During mechanical failures, boats need to stop their drift. Be sure to use the correct type of anchor as well as an appropriate length of line. Claw or fluke anchors like Danforth’s are great for mud and sand bottoms while plough or Navy anchors are good choices for rocky or coral bottoms. Boaters should have between seven and nine feet of anchor rode per foot depth of water. An anchor that grabs will stop your boat from incurring additional damage should you lose power, and it can’t grab if you don’t have enough line.
“A personal EPIRB is a great product to alert a rescue team of your location in the event of an emergency. Keep one in the pocket of your life vest and activate in an emergency.
“A marine radio with a back up handheld radio is a good idea, as is having regular safety gear like flares, a whistle, a mirror, PFD’s, and even food, water, and fleece clothing or rain gear.
“Consider enrolling in a marine assistance program that provides emergency coverage.”
Reviewing the Rules of the Road from sources like BoatUS is important when you’re under way. Knowing the difference between a nun, a can, a bell buoy, their colors, and who has the right of way is critical to avoiding an accident. Look at this picture for there are a number of violations. Here are some that I see:
Leaving a wake in a no wake zone…inside the harbor.
Motoring outside of the channel.
Not following the red-right-return.
Most importantly no life jackets.
With the Memorial Day weekend coming up be sure to get out on the water. Just be sure to do it safely.
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The much-anticipated Memorial Day Weekend is almost here. And, if you are not sure where to go boating and fishing, check out our Places to Boat and Fish Map. Here are a few reminders for enjoying the summer kickoff.
1) Between the power-fishing glitter bass boats, the lounging pontoons boats, the jet skis and kayaks, the boat traffic in some places may seem almost parade-like with a celebration of watercrafts. Be prepared to share the water.
2) This may be the first weekend many have put the boat on water. Be sure your boat registration is up to date and all your safety equipment present and in good condition.
3) If you do not happen to be fishing with Mom, I’ll remind you to keep hydrated (water is still the best) and wear sunscreen. Oh, and you may see my polar white legs this weekend so you’ll probably need your sunglasses too.
4) Careful with a fire and make sure it is totally out at the end of evening. Or if conditions are dry and windy, just skip the fire completely. Much of the country is still experiencing a drought.
5) Are you sure you remembered how to assemble the tent? A dry run might be worthwhile. Also when camping, creature comforts often seem to be lacking. It is easy to get too hot, too cold, too wet… so dress appropriately. And bring backup dry clothes.
6) Is there anything tastier than a shore lunch of fresh fish? Has it has been a while since you have cleaned a fish? Make sure you and the knife are not rusty.
7) Pick up after yourself and remember to Tread Lightly! “Take nothing but pictures, leave nothing but footprints,” is a great motto outside one botanical garden. We have a beautiful country with amazing recreational areas. However, I often return to the truck with litter discovered on our outings.
May 27th also is South Carolina and Pennsylvania’s Free Fishing Day. The timing of other states’ Free Fishing Days varies around the country. And speaking of “free,” let us take a quiet minute while enjoying the pleasures of boating and fishing, to remember that Memorial Day is not just a kick off of summer but a day for remembering the men and women who gave their lives in service of this great country.
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Debbie Hanson 5/17/2013 I’m sure many of you out there have hobbies that you love outside of fishing. Accessibility, time constraints and convenience can even push this “competing” hobby into the forefront from time to time, conjuring images of a dusty and forgotten rod in […]
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