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Thread: As the year winds down, here's an Alaska lesson I learned ...

  1. #1
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    Default As the year winds down, here's an Alaska lesson I learned ...

    This applies to operating a boat darn near anywhere ...

    Suppose you know the weather is supposed to be nasty in a given area and you're planning on fishing the north side of an island to stay out of the forecasted STRONG south winds. No matter how much your family, friends, clients, whatever implore you to head down to open water in the other direction because they want to go crabbing or fishing in a particular place ... tell ... them ... NO.

    Had a couple close calls this summer because I let myself be overruled on where to take the boat fishing. I've been going to Ketchikan for several summers, and while I'm not an expert, I do have a basic understanding of hazardous conditions up there. As far as I'm concerned from here on out, if I'm skippering a boat (my own or a rental), my word on safety decisions (including where to fish in inclement weather) is FINAL.

    Y'all can begin laughing now. We managed to lose an anchor, break two downriggers, lose two full spools of downrigger cable, and lord only knows how many downrigger balls (5 if I recall correctly). But, I wasn't there for the really big day. Everyone decided to traipse on down to Bostwick Bay with forecasted SE winds of 20+mph, even though I told them to head north around Clover Pass. It took them a couple hours to get back in ...

  2. #2
    Member fishNphysician's Avatar
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    A boat can have but ONE captain.

    If you can't deal with that, better find another boat to board.
    "Let every angler who loves to fish think what it would mean to him to find the fish were gone." Zane Grey
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    Member DRIFTER_016's Avatar
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    Yep, you better belive if I feel it's too snotty that I'll stay on shore rather than risk myself or my boat.
    When I was young I was stupid and would go out in any weather but wisdom comes with age.
    Now that I'm approaching geezer status I err on the side of caution.
    Plus I don't like getting the crap kicked out of me now.

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    Member 4merguide's Avatar
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    Gotta stick to your guns when you're the captain........
    Sheep hunting...... the pain goes away, but the stupidity remains...!!!

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    Supporting Member bullbuster's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DRIFTER_016 View Post
    Yep, you better belive if I feel it's too snotty that I'll stay on shore rather than risk myself or my boat.
    When I was young I was stupid and would go out in any weather but wisdom comes with age.
    Now that I'm approaching geezer status I err on the side of caution.
    Plus I don't like getting the crap kicked out of me now.
    Roger that!
    Live life and love it
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    Charterboat Operator Abel's Avatar
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    Yup, when it comes to safety, it's not a democracy. It goes the other way around, if someone calls uncle before me on my boat I'll respect their call, some guys just don;t feel as comfy in snotty crap like others do.
    Life's to short for an ugly boat

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    Member Bullelkklr's Avatar
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    I made a bad decision this fall on a duck hunt. my gut told me to call the trip the day before it was to be over. of course I wanted to keep hunting as much as everyone else, but I made the decision to stay another day knowing that 40+mph winds were called for in passage canal. couple that with an 18' overloaded boat. we made it, but there was some pucker factor involved. A captain has to stick to his guns.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Zeek the Greek View Post
    ...if I'm skippering a boat (my own or a rental), my word on safety decisions (including where to fish in inclement weather) is FINAL.
    I give them a choice. They can go along with my safety decisions or they can wait on the beach. Call me Captain Bligh, and I'll be proud.

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    Yes, but does it work the other way around?

    Let's say you're a very experienced captain. Lots of time on the water. Lots of experience in bad weather, difficult situations, and tough conditions. You've seen it all. Came thru safely each time.

    But now, you're on someone else's boat with a rookie captain. A hard-headed rookie captain, who believes he is always right, just like the above posts reflect. The weather gets bad and the situation is becoming dangerous. The hard-headed rookie is doing everything wrong. Folks are panicking. You know exactly what to do to get back safely. But you're not sure the rookie can do what it takes to bring everyone home. But, you're not the captain.

    Now read the above posts again. What is your response?

    This is not a theoretical example. Things like this happen, all too frequently.

  10. #10

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    You strung so many wherefores and whatifs, I'm not lawyer enough to sniff it all out.

    I'll boil it down real simple for you:

    ...you're on someone else's boat with a rookie captain. A hard-headed rookie captain, who believes he is always right....
    I ain't going to be on his boat. Period. If a guy has his head that far up his patooty, he doesn't need anyone with experience around him.

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    If I was on a rookie captain's boat, it would be clear early on that they may not be quite up to the extremes of the task, in that case I'd A: Let them know early and privately that I've got their back and if they have any concerns I'd gladly discuss them, or B: tuck tail and go home and don't get on that boat again.

    I'm a pretty conservative guy when it comes to being on the water and I'm still here because of risks not taken and have saved several other folks, literally, from the perils of the risks they did take. If my pucker factor is up and I know what needs done and the captain is flat out saying he's staying out there or making an obviously dumb call.......he can get my explanation when he wakes up. I'm all smiles and politeness......til I'm not.

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    I don't have a snap answer for this. I've certainly had times where I've yielded the helm to someone on the boat who was more experienced and qualified than I when things got hairy. If the person was that hard-headed, and that far out of his league, I'd probably tell him (as privately as possible) to move over before he got us all killed and he could chew me out once we were back at the dock.

    Actually, come to think of it, I've taken the boat from someone who was an idiot and about to swamp us by running the boat in full reverse INTO building seas. Turns out that's how he operates his pontoon boat back on the lakes at home - in reverse. But I didn't know that at the time.


    Quote Originally Posted by Cohoangler View Post
    Yes, but does it work the other way around?

    Let's say you're a very experienced captain. Lots of time on the water. Lots of experience in bad weather, difficult situations, and tough conditions. You've seen it all. Came thru safely each time.

    But now, you're on someone else's boat with a rookie captain. A hard-headed rookie captain, who believes he is always right, just like the above posts reflect. The weather gets bad and the situation is becoming dangerous. The hard-headed rookie is doing everything wrong. Folks are panicking. You know exactly what to do to get back safely. But you're not sure the rookie can do what it takes to bring everyone home. But, you're not the captain.

    Now read the above posts again. What is your response?

    This is not a theoretical example. Things like this happen, all too frequently.

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    Thanks for the responses. My point in raising the issue was to ask whether, and under what circumstances, it is okay to make an attempt to relieve the captain, if the safety of the ship/crew is at serious risk? Most folks seems to indicate that it is never okay to do that. But they assume that the captain is ALWAYS the most knowledgeable and experience person on the boat. But what if they're not? And the situation is serious? What is the best way to respond?

    Maybe there is no right answer. Maybe it depends on the situation. But regardless, my sense is the answers in the above posts are not entirely correct, and might lead to tragic consequences.

    I say this because I was once in a similar situation, in Alaska. Everything worked out okay (since I'm obviously still alive), but it was close.

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    Charterboat Operator Abel's Avatar
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    I did have budy in Ketchikan, it was his boat, he got nervous and wanted me to take over. I told him cowboy up, you're doing fine, "what if I'm not here and you get caught in this crap with your wife and kid"?
    Life's to short for an ugly boat

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    Member c6 batmobile's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bullelkklr View Post
    I made a bad decision this fall on a duck hunt. my gut told me to call the trip the day before it was to be over. of course I wanted to keep hunting as much as everyone else, but I made the decision to stay another day knowing that 40+mph winds were called for in passage canal. couple that with an 18' overloaded boat. we made it, but there was some pucker factor involved. A captain has to stick to his guns.
    You skippered the hell out of that rig though! I usually call it as well and will continue to do so. I can always come back and fish later.
    Makin fur fins and feathers fly.

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