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Old 09-23-2009, 11:41 AM   #1
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Default Positive Boaters Chime in

In the interest of clearing the air, and trying to develop some camaraderie amongst boaters of all kinds, both on the water and on this forum.

When debating strong opinions in general, many people can lose their cool, or say things that stray from the subject, and have no bearing on any positive outcome. I confess, I've probably done that more times than I would have liked to. Things have cooled down somewhat, but we still have positive and valuable insights on the forum once distilled. I would like to personally than the likes of Noregrets, OCDACTIVE, DaveR, Lakepilot and many others for their positive contributions.

In addition, after going back to re-read older, and many subsequent posts by Acrespersecond, Bear Islander and others, gave me far more insight and cause for reflection. It's only after you go back for further review that you can fully appreciate the points made, and the statements evaluated. Always hard to do when a confrontational battle erupts.

What I've discovered is something I knew awhile back, but the thought got lost in a battle of posts, mostly stirred by a few members that wanted the pot stirred. When you look back through the threads, and jot down notes, you'll find something amazing. Mostly, the posters on each side of this contentious issue agree on the quality of life and respect issues. Two main areas that I was brought up to abide by.

I certainly appreciate that everyone, including myself, have the right to safely enjoy all aspects of the lake, providing I am respectful of everyone's right to the same. So here are some of my own boating rules that I've lived by my entire adult life, with given examples.

1) I would never blow by a fisherman, kayak, canoe, or anyone, at any higher speed close by, 150' or otherwise. I don't appreciate being rocked by waves that close, and I don't do it to others either.

2) If my boat produces a large wake, I would know full well what happens if my boat is 150' from a small boat at rest, or just headway speed.

3) I go out of my way to go around, or give way, that which I would upset by continuing on, legal or not.

4) I am always aware of my wake (which really isn't that large), whenever I'm on a waterway that puts me closer to lakefront homes and docks. I've lived on the water, and watched our boats rock from side to side after boats plowed offshore creating large wakes.

5. If I had a loud exhaust (I do not), I'd be pretty sensitive about how I went about my boating. I'd be so sensitive that if I had no way of quieting it, I'd probably never go out early morning or at night. I appreciate peace and quiet as much as anyone else. During waking hours on weekends, less sensitive. Be respectful of everyone's right to reasonable activities.

6. I haven't fished much in years, although I do have a license this year. I know enough not to troll across a main channel impeding boat traffic. This is something that can be unavoidable in early spring fishing, but there is less recreational traffic at that time of year anyway. Recognize that common sense goes a long way.

7. I also recognize that kayakers and canoeists have special situations to deal with out on the open water. They both tip due to their narrow width, and they are both very low to the water. Hence, I realize that on busy weekends, I run the risk of not being visible to larger craft traveling the lake. Common sense tells me that many boaters tend to slow down when they see me in a kayak or canoe, which makes matters worse because their wakes are larger. Therefore, being a very cautious person, when in such a craft, I stick to shoreline routes where powerboats are not a factor in my journeys.

8. Whenever I am on any body of water, I realize that I appreciate clean water. I do not allow trash of any kind to be thrown overboard, or on land anywhere. I also have a PP, use it

9. I know for certain that when I'm anchored, I don;t want to listen to your 2,000 watt stereo blaring whatever 300 yards into my ears. Respect that this is not a private party, it's a public resource. If you acted like a rowdy drunk in a public park, you'd be arrested and/or ejected. Same situation for the lake.

10. Always pay attention. The accident that happens is usually the one you didn't see coming. There are no highway markers or stop lights, boat traffic comes from all directions in a 360 degree area. Look far ahead to see a wider view angle, and occasionally, peak to the sides or behind to see if anything's going on there.

11. Everyone likes the passive resultfulness of seeing the stars at night by boat, or just moon gazing on a calm night. It's an incredible feeling for sure. You MUST have your lights on, and preferably not be IN THE MIDDLE of the lake while gazing. If you turn off your lights, you may very well be run over.

12. Try to help people. Whether at the dock, anchoring, at the boat launch. Not everyone has the natural ability nor the experience to be perfect, nor has anyone ever succeeded in being perfect. The more people you give assist or training to, quite possibly the more pleasurable your own boating life will be.

13. Just be careful out there, and respect all other boaters. If every boater put themselves into the other boater's shoes, (so to speak), perhaps courtesy would reign supreme. Maybe not, but I find that courtesy and respect can be contagious. Maybe not everyone will catch it, but these are good things to do anyway.

Lastly, I was hoping (naively I admit), that previous threads would trend towards a positive focus on solving issues. Boaters everywhere can, and have been, very effective in assisting LEO's and other organizations, as well as other boaters. If there is an issue impacting people in one particular area, all boaters can join to try and solve the problem. Perhaps we can eventually head in this direction. I truly hope so.

These are my own personal rules for trying to be a good boating citizen. The examples are for examples only, not to get into nitpick debates about technical matters.

Without resorting to polls, I would venture a guess that at least 98% of those that engaged in debates on this thread section and others, are at least as courteous as that, and probably more so. I also think that courtesy and respect is what unites the majority of boaters, regardless of any law or divisive issue. Some on this subject have been better than myself at focusing on this than myself, regrettably.

Thanks you to those that contributed posts that got me back on track.
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