I’m back from vacation, and it’s like returning to a different world. How much things have changed in the past couple of weeks.
First off, my heart goes out to the victims of Hurricane Katrina. I believe we’ve only begun to see the extent of this tragedy. I expect there will be huge impact across the country in the coming weeks, months and probably years.
The rise in gas prices has already put a chill on boating for many of us. What last year was a $60 trip to the pump for that fishing trip is now more like $130 – and it there’s no end in sight to the increases. Couple that with so many of the guys going after Football tuna, which has many burning the gallons they would in a week of solid striper fishing in a single day, and you can see there’s a serious monetary impact on our sport. How about the charter captains? These guys have in many cases been booked for some time for trips in the next month and a half, and the price was already fixed. The fuel cost is coming right out of their pockets. Remember that if you’re chartering and tip liberally.
Lastly, as many of you know, my boat went down on the second day of my vacation, with Jacob Kasper and I in it. How many times have I written about boating safety? At least 3 times a year for the past ten years, yet we went into the water with virtually nothing. No flares, no radio (we were carrying two) and only one life jacket (I had a cushion). Five seconds and we were in the water. You can read all about it in the thread on the RT forum located here. I’ll leave you with a few tidbit’s I’ve learned:
- Take nothing for granted and live each day to it’s fullest.
- No matter how good we think we are, it can happen to us, hence we should be properly prepared.
- Carry a waterproof VHF radio with a good charge, that you know is in good working order, in a pocket where you can always get to it. Think about tying it to a lanyard so you absolutely can’t be separated from it.
- Wear an inflateable pfd – it’s te only way to be sure you won’t be the odd man out in the game of musical life preservers.
- Test your gear – that means inflate that pfd once a season or so to make sure it works, to make sure you know how to make it work, etc. Take the flare kit out and fire off one of those practice rounds – you’ll be the better for knowing how it works, and if the practice round is bad, then you can assume all your rounds are bad.
- 3 rounds for the flare gun is no where near enough when the chips are down – but that won’t make a difference if you can’t even get to your flare kit before you hit the water. Accessibility is key – you can’t use them if you don’t have them.
- Do the airline safety speech before leaving the dock. Make sure everyone knows where the safety gear is, how to get it, and what to do in an emergency. Yes, some of your buddies will give you a hard time. Better a hard time at the dock than in the water later!
Get out there and get into some of those fish!