Boating Buttheads

BeezleBub, WP nephew Andrew, and I headed out on The Boat this morning. Our mission was to go over to Lakeport on Paugus Bay and gas up at the marina with the lowest gas price on the entire lake.

In that, we were successful.

However, during our travels on Lake Winnipesaukee we came across an above average number of clueless and/or rude boaters.

First, we came across at least three boaters in the cove where we dock the Official Weekend Pundit Lake Winnipesaukee Runabout that obviously don't understand what “No Wake” means. For those of you out there who aren't boaters, “No Wake” means proceeding at a speed that leaves no wake behind your boat, or 6mph, which ever slower. Some folks have a strange idea of what constitutes a wake and what doesn't. The easiest indicator that a boater is leaving a wake behind them is when the waves from their passage causes boats tied up at docks to slam against the docks when those waves hit.

Next, while cruising along the north side of Governor's Island we had to take evasive action when a boat approaching us from the port (left) side at high speed. I don't know if he/she didn't see us or was under the mistaken impression that they didn't have to yield the right of way to other boats, but in any case we were forced to give way when it was our boat that had the right of way. It was up to them to change course. But this is one of those incidents where I'd rather give way rather than be right...dead right.

After that we came across a couple of men fishing. That in itself isn't unusual. But the fact that their bass boat was sitting at the entrance to the Weirs Channel, forcing boats entering and exiting the channel to maneuver around them, was. While they were perfectly within their rights to be where they were, it was both rude and dangerous for them to be there. But that didn't bother them one bit.

Then, as we were following another boat through the Weirs Channel, one of the passengers decided it was a good time to break out his fishing rod and started fishing. On his second cast he got a hit and started playing the fish. This didn't bother me. The fact that the guy reeling in the fish wanted the owner of the boat to stop dead in the middle of a heavily traveled waterway did. What was this moron thinking? Or was he thinking at all?

Once at the gas dock we proceeded to fill the tank of the Official Weekend Pundit Lake Winnipesaukee Runabout, taking on 27 gallons of gas. Once the tank was full and the gas cap tightened, BeezleBub started the blowers while I paid for the gas.

For those non-boaters out there, blowers are a very important piece of equipment. Blowers are used to vent gasoline fumes from the interior of the boat. Unlike cars and trucks, gas fumes will accumulate in the engine compartment. Cars and trucks don't have this problem because the undersides of those vehicles are open to the air and the fumes can escape. (Gas fumes are heavier than air, meaning they will flow to the lowest point). In boats, the gas fumes have no place to go, so they build up in the engine compartment and bilges. Blowers will remove those gas fumes, venting them to the outside air. Once the blowers have been running for a few minutes it is usually safe to start the engine.

Apparently, one unfortunate boater found out the hard way that not using the blowers after fueling their boat is a really bad idea. When the boat's owner started the engine, fire erupted from the engine compartment. The boat fire is under investigation, but I think the investigators will find that either he didn't run his blowers after gassing up, or he didn't run them long enough before starting the engine. In either case, his boat was a total loss.

One of the last things that we witnessed was yet another boater blowing right through a well marked No Wake zone. The boater in question either a). did not to see the buoys that marked the beginning and end of the zone; b). didn't know what the buoys meant; or c). didn't give a damn. The problem is that explanations b) or c) were more likely than a).

For now we have to deal with some of these boating buttheads. Some can be educated about their boating faux pas. Others plain don't care.

To quote one of my favorite philosophers, ”Ignorance can be cured with education. Stupidity can't be fixed and is the only universal capital crime.”

Too true.

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