I’m morally opposed to the death penalty, but I may be willing to make an exception for power boaters who don’t slow down for kayakers, canoers and paddleboarders.
This morning, for the second time in five years, an unthinking, uncaring and fool of a jack ass behind the wheel of a power boat went by me at close quarters and high speed in the White Oak River and turned me over with his wake. Luckily, I was in shallow water. I stood up and righted the kayak. But I lost my phone and, more importantly, the 17-inch flounder that I had caught earlier and put in a bucket in the stern. We had to eat leftovers for dinner. I’m not happy.
Not surprisingly, the boater kept going.
Five years ago, a bigger fool in a bigger boat went by me at even closer quarters and an even faster rate of speed in the Intracoastal Waterway. He flipped me in 14 feet of water. He, too, kept on trucking.
Unfortunately, these two boaters are the rule, rather than the exception. It’s the rare power boater who will slow down to a safe speed when passing a kayak. As a result, I generally avoid those waters frequented by power boats, especially on weekends during the summer when our waters are full of inexperienced boaters with coolers full of beer.
This morning, though, I was fishing home turf where few boaters venture. The water there is shallow, and the deeper channels poorly marked. Jagged and unseen oyster beds await to chew up fiberglass hulls steered by inattentive captains. But you’re never safe from the bozo in a boat.
To my boating friends here, let me urge as emphatically as I can: SLOW DOWN when passing a vessel whose only power of locomotion is a paddle. Give it a wide berth and keep your wake to a minimum. You are legally responsible for any damage it causes.
The boater this morning was zipping through an unmarked, historic channel that doesn’t appear on any charts. Only locals know about it. I’ll see him again in his 21-foot, white Carolina Skiff with the blue T-top and the 110 Yamaha four stroke on the back.
I’m Italian. We don’t stay mad for long, but we always get even.