Heading for safer, quieter waters

Summer is here in all its glory. Sunny days, warm temperatures and more people spending more time boating on the many lakes here in the Southern Interior.

As people with power boats discover the lakes that I’ve enjoyed fishing for years, I find myself heading out to some of the smaller, more remote lakes this region has to offer. In large part because I wish to enjoy peace and quiet when I’m on the water, also, because I simply don’t want to have to deal with some of the yahoos who are allowed to get behind the controls of power boats and Sea-Doos.

Years ago, the federal government instituted the Pleasure Craft Operator Card program that requires one to pass an exam before being entitled to operate a water craft.

The problem is there’s no law against stupidity. I’ve had far too many close calls out on the water. I’ve come way too close to being hit by a Sea-Doo running at full-throttle, or being swamped by the wake from a powerboat while sitting out on the lake, fishing in my little 12-foot fishing boat. On more than one occasion I’ve had someone in another boat cross over my fly line with the prop of their gas-powered motor. Whether they didn’t realize what they had done or simply didn’t care, I’ve had to replace several $60 and $70 lines.

All you have to do is look behind you when you are in a powerboat to see that you are creating a wake, and, all you have to do is use a little common sense to figure out the wake from your boat will have an effect on a smaller (especially non-powered) watercraft.

And I really don’t get how people can claim to not know when they are crossing over your line.

People need to be aware of the effects of their actions out on the water. They need to watch out for the safety of other watercraft, as well as watch their wake.

By definition, wake of a boat is the wave of water resulting from the passage of the boat’s hull through the water. This wake, depending on the size and speed of a vessel, can cause serious problems for other smaller craft in a variety of ways.

Like I said, I have come way too close to being swamped a number of times.

A little less speed can make a world of difference to other boaters. When overtaking a slower-moving or stopped vessel in open water, do so with as much room as depth conditions allow. Be especially cautious of smaller vessels, such as canoes or kayaks which are less stable. Remember that when you are operating any powered vessel, you are not only responsible for the safety of your boat and all passengers onboard, you are also responsible for any injury to others or damage caused to other boats as well as personal property.

Don’t even get me started on boaters with kids on- board. I mean, it drives me crazy when I see a boat load of people, several adults and several more kids, and none of them are wearing life-jackets. Yes, I know that it is not mandatory to actually wear the life-jackets – it is only necessary that each person have a life-jacket onboard. Be that as it may, it only takes a matter of seconds for things to go desperately wrong.

All I know is that when it comes to kids onboard any boat, it simply makes more sense to have kids wearing their life-jackets. Better to be safe than sorry.

I’m not against people having fun out on the water. However, with more and more people spending time on our Interior lakes, there is an ever-increasing need for safety on the water.

Safety concerns can be addressed to a large degree through laws and legislation, but indifference and stupidity, well that’s another thing altogether. I don’t have an answer for that, other than staying as far away from speed boats and Sea-Doos as I can.

By the way, while you are reading this column, I’ll be up at a really nice little lake that a friend recently told me about where no one is allowed to use a gas-powered motor on their boat – where nobody will be able to bother me.

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