Common Courtesy

by: Capt. Tim Ramsey

Part 1:

No matter where you go, no matter what you do, you will always encounter people who just don’t understand how to run their boats. Every once in a while, I need to vent, and offer some examples on what to do, and what not to do. Here are a few examples.

There I am, in the mangrove backcountry, on my trolling motor or power pole, engine raised, casting close to the bank. No one else around. Here comes a boat, often run by guides you think would know better, and they run right past me at speed, often closer than necessary, sometimes between me and the mangroves as I face them. Gee thanks for the wake, the noise, the push of your wake against the bank causing it to mud up, and your generally ill-mannered operation. The guy on the poling platform nearby that almost fell off appreciates it too. Any reason why you can’t slow down? Why did you just ruin my fishing in that area? Do you even know what you’re doing? Are you from the north where no one slows down for anyone? Did Daddy buy you a boat? Are you one of the many who run their twin-engine offshore boats in back and want to stay on plane because you draw too much water? Looks like you bought the wrong boat if you’re back there in that thing.

There I am, heading into the marina just a touch above idle speed. “Slow, no wake” is what it said on the sign. Obviously, the person behind me in the big center console can’t read. Not only was he pushing a wake, but dangerously close to my stern. I saw a boat stopped at the marina entrance, so I pulled the engine into neutral and slowly drifted forward. That’s when I turned around and saw the guy behind me still pushing water and headed toward me, music blasting, not a care in the world. I wondered how long it would be until he ran into me. Quick decision, I turned hard to the right and bumped the engine in gear, clearing the boat in front of me. Seconds later, the driver of the boat that used to be in front of me yelled “hey” at the boat that was behind me as the guy barreled toward him. Not saying the boat that ran up my stern was a guide, not saying he wasn’t.

Don’t even get me started on jet skis.

There we were, in the ICW canal behind Keewaydin in the “slow, no wake” section. Usually, I avoid the area from Big Marco River to Gordon Pass like the plague, but I was showing someone around. Idling ahead of me, an old center console with a smokey two stroke engine was towing a tube with two kids on it no bigger than toddlers. Not a good idea. Coming in the other direction was the same big center console I saw every time I went through there, the boat at high idle, digging a hole and kicking a monstrous wake like he always did. What part of “no wake” does this knucklehead not understand? Yes, the rules apply to you too.

Group of boats waiting for the boat ramp. Too bad. A group of kayakers are assembling their sailing kayaks. The ramp can handle two at a time. Sorry. The boat club is blocking one side. Two old guys drifting in an aluminum john boat in the backwater. A thirty-foot triple engine center console with about ten people on board, most on the bow, blows by about fifty feet away with their music blasting. Completely unnecessary. After the wake subsided, one of the old dudes was bailing with a cut off milk jug.

Out on the Naftal reef, two boats used their trolling motors to stay just ahead of the main part of the reef, sending their baits back onto the sweet spot. Then along came a big, old hardtop inboard with a massive EZ anchor puller on the front. He came right up behind the other two boats and dropped the hook right on the reef.

Look for the rest of this story in August’s edition of Coastal Angler!