Now that fishing season feels like it is really here with warmer weather and the rivers and steams at a fishable level, I want to bring up the topic of boat etiquette. This issue is not just a Maine issue, this is a people issue. I saw it on a recent trip on the Upper Delaware river with www.riversoflife.com guide service. The drift boats would float right through where we were fishing. And in Florida I saw it at the boat launches,people arguing
. When we are on the water we are supposed to leave all the stress and tension behind but that is not what I am seeing. It’s as if people feel they have spent all that money on a boat and fishing license that they have the right to do what they want. Without taking anyone else into consideration. When on the water or shopping at the local mall, we need to respect other people and use common sense. Which seems to be something we have lost over the years.
Maybe people just don’t know the proper boating etiquette. This could be their first boat or no one has taken the time to educate them. So what I would like to do here is give people some scenarios and hopefully show you some things not to do when out on the water.
Let’s start right at the boat launch. I know we are all excited and this might be one of a few times we get to be out on the water, so we pull right up to the launch and back down the ramp. We get out, start loading our boat and getting gear ready. All the while, more and more people are showing up wanting to launch their boats. This can start everyone’s day off on the wrong foot. Tensions get high and people get pissed. Instead, try pulling off to the side to get your boat loaded and ready, then back down onto the launch. This way you are in and out and everyone gets on the water quicker.
Just last week while floating the Delaware River in New York, the guides would do the proper thing when they saw someone else fishing. They would slide in behind the people fishing and just move through. While the people out fishing would float right through where we were casting our flies. This creates tension between everyone on the river. So if you find yourself in that situation, go behind the people fishing or go real wide. If you have to float through because there is no other option then just do that, float, don’t row and scare their fish.
I was floating down the shore line last year, having clients cast towards the shore. I could hear a boat coming and he could see that I was fishing the shore line. He pulls right up below me and starts fishing. Will this effect the fishing? I believe it does. If he doesn’t catch them first, he might spook the area and make it harder for me or my clients to catch them. I had to run to a different area and start over. If that had me, I would have hit a different area and come back later. Giving the area enough time to settle down or put a lot of distance between me and the other boat. The best policy would be to get behind the boat, not in front of it. Again, this keeps tensions low on the water.
As a boater, I think we forget we are not the only ones on the water. There are animals,canoes, kayaks, paddle boards and wade fishermen. We need to respect everyone and keep our distance. Slow down so our waves do not capsize anyone out there or even just scare someone . We all need to get along and make every experience a good one.
When we end our day and need to take our boat out of the water. It is like anywhere else, first come first served. Don’t back your vehicle down in front of someone else who was there first.
So the next time you are fishing from a boat, treat everyone around you with courtesy and respect. As with anything in life, treat people the way you want to be treated. I bet it would catch on. Then maybe the next time, you might enjoy running into someone else on the water.