With the imminent opening of the demersal fishing season, coupled with the fact that to date it has been a good season for crayfish, throw in the expected holiday influx, we can expect a hectic time both at boat ramps and on the water, so it is worth a friendly reminder of how to manage the situation, shown some etiquette, avoid incidents and keep the stress levels down. I know some boaties who don’t even bother going out during the ‘silly season’ and if they have had a good crack at it before and after this period, then good luck to them.
Rigging and derigging bays are exactly that, so not cool to park in front of the launching area and proceed to get your boat ready, holding everyone up. Having a launch plan with crew ready to go will minimise time and ensure no unforeseen dramas. Motor checks beforehand are critical, as nothing worse than launching only to find the motor won’t start or steering seized and then have to retrieve again. And when returning to the boat ramp, there is nothing quite as rude as a skipper who jumps the queque while others have waited patiently. Then you are out on the water at last, fishing on one of your favorite spots and along comes another boat, passes within close distance and you know they pressed the waypoint button. Worse still they proceed to set their sea anchor and drift right over where you are fishing. I know no-one owns the ocean and sure you can fish a few boats on some spots, but it is not the best way to make friends.
So you waited at the boat ramp for an hour to launch your boat, patiently watched a skipper setting up right in front of the ramp, had other boats pinging your fishing spots all day, did it tough chasing the elusive 50cm Dhufish for Christmas lunch or dived all day for the 76mm crayfish and then the same skipper pushes in front of you while waiting to retrieve. You finally pull up the ramp and a Fisheries Officer is there to check your catch, only to find that in your rush to feed the family the Dhuie is actually 49cm and you have forgotten to clip the tails on the crays. To top it off, Department of Transport are also there, your skipper’s ticket is at home, no rego sticker on the boat and flares are out of date. All of a sudden you are the donkey Skipper.
Sure, the above is an exaggerated situation, but none of it has to be your story. Boating, fishing and diving require good preparation and yes there are plenty of rules to get your head around, but look what the ocean provides back in return. When the pressure is on, throwing a hissy fit will not improve the situation and quite likely cause you to stuff up. Some people work on the Karma theory, which worked for me one day. A guy jumped the queque on me while launching at Gracetown, flashed a cheesy smile, freely admitted he had done it, but justified it because he was in a hurry to go fishing. So was I, but apparently that was irrelevant. I just smiled back with no comment, but it was hard not to smile again when he powered back ten minutes later, as the bungs weren’t in. This week’s photo shows marine rescue members at last week’s flare demonstration. More news on flares in next week’s article.