This weekend could be the busiest of the year on the waterways. Make sure you look alive.
I am running a tiller-steer boat this year and it has made me more aware than ever out on the water. With a tiller-steer motor, you are in the back gripping the throttle and steering with your hand. You always need to be on the lookout.
The closest I've been to being in a boating accident was about 10 years ago while running my 20-foot Lund Alaskan (with tiller steering). I had picked up a group at Madden's Resort and was meeting and greeting and heading to the fishing spot. One of my customers said there was a boat, and sure enough, there was a paddle boat right in my line. If I hadn't been warned, I'm not sure what would have happened.
Accidents can happen in the blink of an eye, and I am thankful that I haven't been involved in anything too serious. But, as these lakes get busier and busier, I realize I need to become more aware.
I am always standing up and looking around, making sure the coast is clear. Wheel boats (counsel steering) are faster than most tillers, but you have a clear line of vision, which is nice.
I am writing this article in hopes that people stay tuned to what is happening around them on the water. The Jet Skis will be whipping around, the anglers will be doing their trolling, the pontooners will be doing their tooling, the sailors will be doing their thing, the cruisers will be doing their thing and the zippers will be zipping around, so make sure that you give everyone their space.
The boat ramps will be busy and some will be putting in their boats for the first time of the year. Bring your patience and maybe lend a hand (or at least offer) if you see someone that needs it.
I had a man ask me about powering boats onto trailers. His comment was that we build a big pile of rocks as we load our boats onto our trailers. This is true, and he has a great point. What can we do about it? I would say to back the trailer in a little deeper and give the motor a little less juice and then crank her up. I have been trying to make a conscious effort to ease off the throttle a bit. Maybe this will help prevent some of those prop dings.
This weekend, we need to fly the caution flag and American flag and be thankful that we are still able to do almost anything we want in this country of ours.
WALLEYEDAN Eigen may be reached at (218) 839-5598, email@example.com or www.walleyedan. com.
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