Top 10 Failures Of Boating Courtesy

By Ted Peck - June 1, 2009
Nothing puts the pin in a fishing party hog faster than being forced to contend with discourteous boaters. Natural Resource organizations in many states-Wisconsin included-require young boaters to successfully complete a boating safety course before piloting a watercraft. I think all boaters should be required to show proficiency in boat operation. Further, course content should include information on boating courtesy beyond what is required by law. Some discourteous boaters are simply ignorant of unwritten rules out there on the water. Some are aware but operating on their own agenda. A few are intentionally obnoxious .

If you're a new boater and really want to do the right thing, please read on. If you are one of those folks who belongs to the other two groups, may your rude behavior come back at you from those of the same ilk every time you leave the ramp.

Following is a look at my "top 10 boating faux pas" list , ranging from the mildly annoying to what it would be like to lose salvation and end up in hell.

10. THE PLOWING WAKERS: Most folks know that you should slow down when passing between a group of other boaters. This means leaving no wake as you pass. Slowing down just a little so that your boat "plows" thru the water is more disruptive to somebody who is trying to fish than flying past with your boat on plane and leaving less wake.

9. BOZO BANDLEADERS: If the music of nature isn't good enough for you, fine. But please don't enlighten me with your musical tastes or sports updates. Voices carry over water. Radio and CD noise carries even further. If you MUST bring canned noise along , how 'bout playing "Here comes the Clowns" so everybody knows what's coming.

8. TUNE CHANGERS: The first boat to arrive at a fishing area gets to dictate how others arriving later should fish. If the first boat starts trolling counterclockwise, you should too. If the first boat anchors up, back off a respectable distance and drop the hook. The only excuse for anchoring in the midst of trollers or trolling among boats anchored is if nine out of 10 voices in your head agree that its your world and all others are just living in it.

7. SHORELINE SNEAKERS: If anglers in another boat are obviously working a stretch of shoreline or reef , pass by behind their backs without leaving a wake . Navigating between somebody's boat and where they are casting is something an Illynesian would do.

6. SHORELINE HOPPERS: Bass tournament anglers are famous for sliding in to fish a shoreline just ahead of your boat , even though a deployed trolling motor and being clearly underway indicates your intentions. If you must work a given stretch of shoreline, go to the far end of your chosen course and come back towards the other boat, taking care not to be a "shoreline sneaker" when meeting and passing the other boater.

5. DOGGERS: If somebody is already fishing a spot when you arrive, stay far enough away so they can continue to fish the way they were fishing before you arrived on the scene.

4.PRO-ANGLER WANNABES: Boaters who excuse rude behavior with "I'm in a tournament " know better and are just being jerks . Unfortuantely, too many tourney anglers think being a jerk is part of being a tournament angler.

3. JET SKIS: Too bad the DNR will never go along with my plan to treat jet skiers like upland game with a limit of three daily with no weapon larger than a BB gun, Dardevle spoon or slingshot.

2. LITTERBUGS: Virtually everyone knows littering is wrong . Why are our waters and and shorelines still covered with litter ?

1. RAMP CAMPERS: A boat ramp is for launching a boat . Not rigging a boat for launch, loading gear or casual conversation. When boating alone your rig should occupy the ramp site for no more than three minutes. When boating with a buddy, no more than one minuteĀ….same goes for taking the boat out of the water.

If I am destined to an eternity of hell and damnation, my time will be spent at a boat ramp. A boat ramp is for launching boats. Period.

Author Ted Peck
Ted Peck
Cap'n Ted Peck has over 30 yrs. guiding experience, specializing in multi-species fishing on Pool 9-10 of the Mississippi from Genoa, Wi. to Prairie du Chien. Cap'n Ted is a pro staffer for Lund, Northland Tackle, MinnKota, Bill Lewis Lures, Evinrude, Uncle Josh, HT Enterprises and Custom Jigs & Spins. When not guiding Cap'n Ted communicates the outdoors experience via newspapers, magazines, TV, radio and through seminars. This work has taken him all over the midwest, Canada and beyond... but he always returns to the upper Mississippi which he considers the most diverse fishery in North America. Click here for more info on Ted's guide service. Cap'n Ted's new book Mississippi Musings with the Old Guide is a personal account of his long career as a professional fishing guide on Old Man River.