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Thread: Kenai River safety issues and 50-horsepower. . .

  1. #1
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    Default Kenai River safety issues and 50-horsepower. . .

    Commenting on a proposed need for mandatory boater education for users of the Kenai River:


    Guide #1:
    "Good work, ——!

    This is useful info, and with the amount of usage that the Kenai now sees each summer, very much needed. I know there were several accidents last summer (one quite serious) and LITERALLY HUNDREDS of near-misses! Personally, I rubber-necked and drove defensively all day-every day due to inexperienced operators who don’t know the basic rules of the road.

    In all honesty, it’s become quite scary out there during peak season. For this reason, I believe that starting with a requirement that only targets younger operators, even though it would be easier to get initially implemented, is not the answer. The bottom line is that operating a water craft on a fast, shallow river that has intense traffic on it is not for the beginner boater, regardless of age.

    Eager for the thoughts of others on this committee, ——"

    Guide #2:
    "I'm with —— on wanting everyone to be required to take a boating safety course and would add all boaters - even those running oars. Many drift boats are now fishing the middle and the same problems exist there with folks having no clue about the rules of the road.

    Even the Upper Kenai is having issues with boaters lacking the skills to operate safely and getting into trouble. We had to rescue a boat off an island this summer when a guy slammed a tree, broke an oar and washed up on the island. He hitched a ride out and called us to go get his boat for him. We see folks cartwheeling down the river every day and it is a daily occurrence to have to rescue someone at the take out because they can't land their boat safely at Jim's. Then they back their trailer way out*into the river right in front of a boat coming in to land. There have been many accidents - fortunately no serious injuries so far.

    So, yes, let's try to implement a required course for all users on the entire system.

    If we have to phase it in to make it a go, then let's do that. Mabye in 10 year instead of 5 year increments starting with the largest age group."




    How, in the name of common sense, can anyone, let alone DNR seriously propose raising horsepower limits to 50 on the Kenai? If the river is as dangerous as described by the guides above—both members of Kenai River Professional Guides Association—at 35-horsepower, how much more dangerous would it be at 50-horsepower?


  2. #2
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    Thumbs down Another slap in the face for Joe fisherman

    Come on now. None of these guides were ever "inexperienced operators" or "beginning boaters". They were instant experts of the Kenai. We know they always follow the rules of the road, and have absolutely nothing to do with the safety problems on the river. In fact, they're so safe amongst the chaos that they can handle more horsepower. Right?

    I say these "holier than thou" guides give up a seat every trip to help educate what they call inexperienced, beginning, cartwheelers who don't have a clue.

    Clearly this is another attempt aimed at getting the private angler off the river.

    If safety was sincerely a concern, the guides wouldn't be pushing for more horsepower. They would be concentrating their efforts on other more obvious things, like limiting their numbers.

    Very disappointing.....

  3. #3
    Member Sierra Hotel's Avatar
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    Wink Let me throw some gas on the fire . . .

    I note that the guides mentioned requiring all boaters to take the classes, not just private boaters . . .

    SH

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    Default Not for all - Kenai River boaters only

    Sierra, who are they kidding? This isn't state-wide for all boaters. This specifically targets the Kenai River user, particularly those "lesser" folks. I am offended at the way these guides pointed their fingers. It's one more PITA requirement that discourages average Joe fisherman from getting out on the Kenai. It's one more program someone's going to have to administrate and pay for. And it isn't going to solve the real problem.

    This state, like the majority of 27 other states, has never required adult boating ed. If the river is in such a safety situation that we need to change the entire state boating laws, then something needs to be done about these groups like KRSMA who have let it happen. Increasing hp certainly isn't the solution. That is what KRGA and KRSMA should be spending their time discussing.

    BTW, if I'm not mistaken, all guides have already taken the commercial six-pass ed which I believe includes the rules of the road, although you'd never know it by watching them on the river. So no skin off their backs.

  5. #5
    Member alaskachuck's Avatar
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    Default

    Ok so I, 26 year resident, boating around 20 of them up here. Every where from the su, to the yentna, kenai, willow, cook inlet. res bay. Running everything from a 20 fot jet boat to a 38 foot cabin cruiser, a canoe, a zodiak, and now my cataraft. So these "people" are gonna force me to take a boaters safty course to use the upper kenai in a non motor area where i dont even have to register my boat as it has no motor. Good god is there not something else they should be addressing. Just my thought
    Grandkids, Making big tough guys hearts melt at first sight

  6. #6

    Default Top end speed...

    would be a very minimal gain with an added 15hp. Maybe 3-4 mph. Not to mention that most folks that care about their motors don't run them at WOT, but instead will use the extra power to get up quicker, and then back off the throttle to get to a comfortable cruising speed.

    I think the Guide bashing has gotten out of control on these issues.

    I spend 45 days a year on the river as a non-guide and I will tell you that 90% of my conflicts if any, come from private anglers.

    Yes there are alot of guides on the Kenai. It's only because there are a few hundred thousand tourists chomping at the bit to get on the river.

    Institute a few harvest restrictions on those Kings (like c&r only) and the demand will fall of, which will mean less guides.

    Lastly, I agree completely that a course should be mandatory for boating the Kenai. I had to rescue three different boats this season for various reasons, but all three occasions were the result of inexperience on fast current with sweepers along the banks after motor failure.

  7. #7
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    Smile But, but, but. . . .

    Quote Originally Posted by Sockeye Charlie View Post
    . . . I agree completely that a course should be mandatory for boating the Kenai.
    1) Should such a course cover only the Kenai River or should it cover all the state's waters?

    2) Should such a course be offered anywhere besides here in the Kenai/Soldotna area (consider Alaska residents who use the Kenai but live elsewhere in the state)? If so, where? How many times per year?

    3) Should nonresidents be required to take such a course before renting a boat or using their own watercraft?

    4) Should such a course be more than, say, a one-day, one or two hour affair? If so, how long?

    Finally, it is beyond dispute that any increase in speed increases safety risks. More speed equals less safety. Appreciate the feedback on your rescues. . . DNR needs this type anecdotal information to prevent going ahead with increased horsepower on the Kenai.


  8. #8

    Default Good questions...

    And I don't really have an answer in how to implement a course.

    I can say that I think it would be most benefitial to have it mandatory Statewide, rather than for just the Kenai.

    I'd like to clarify, that the rescues I mentioned were not the result of HP, but were a result of inexperience, or lack of preparedness. One group had oars with oarlocks after their main motor failed and noone knew how to row!

    As far as increasing HP equating to less safety, well...sure I would have to agree.

    But I also think it is a guise to hide behind at this point....

  9. #9
    Moderator Daveinthebush's Avatar
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    Default Statwide

    Make it state wide. It might help prevent some of the circus clowns that infiltrate the saltwaters during silver season in Valdez.

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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Sockeye Charlie
    would be a very minimal gain with an added 15hp. Maybe 3-4 mph.
    This is typical down-play. With safety issues on the River, how can any increase in speed be justified?

    By the way, exactly what size/type/brand of boat are you talking about that only goes 3-4 mph faster with a 30% increase in power? Many boats out there are going to fly with a 50.



    Quote Originally Posted by Sockeye Charlie
    I think the Guide bashing has gotten out of control on these issues.
    Well, the guides are complaining about safety and Joe fisherman, but I don't see them addressing safety issues brought on by their own proposal to increase horsepower and speed. I don't see them complaining about the countless safety issues they contribute themselves, like ignoring the rules of the road, backtrolling in the navigation channels, clogging the boat launches up, making huge wakes that nearly swamp smaller boats, cutting other boats off, running without lights, running while distracted or talking on cell phone, etc. I see them trying to implement special regulations on Joe fisherman that will obviously push him further from the River than he already has been pushed...all while ignoring regulations they should be putting on themselves. Add in the, "I'm superior" mentality seen in the original post above, and they (in general) don't deserve much respect.


    Quote Originally Posted by Sockeye Charlie
    I spend 45 days a year on the river as a non-guide and I will tell you that 90% of my conflicts if any, come from private anglers.
    I have no idea about your personal "conflicts". I'm sure we all have stories. But as far as safety goes, in my life's experience on the River, the guides are the biggest contributors to safety problems.

    I'll never forget watching two guide boats collide on a corner during a special fishing event. One of them had Senator Ted Stevens aboard, who went to his knees. Yes, I said Ted Stevens.


    Quote Originally Posted by Sockeye Charlie
    Yes there are alot of guides on the Kenai. It's only because there are a few hundred thousand tourists chomping at the bit to get on the river.
    Exactly! The well-being of the River has nothing to do with it. God help us if satisfying every tourist is the goal.


    Quote Originally Posted by Sockeye Charlie
    Institute a few harvest restrictions on those Kings (like c&r only) and the demand will fall of, which will mean less guides.
    Are you seriously suggesting managing guide numbers by means of managing the fishery?


    Quote Originally Posted by Sockeye Charlie
    Lastly, I agree completely that a course should be mandatory for boating the Kenai.
    Why just the Kenai? Why not the Big and Little Su, Yukon, Tanana, Chulitna, Copper, Naknek, Kasilof, etc. Who is going to administrate and pay for it? Who is going to enforce it?

  11. #11
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    Default not going to happen

    ADF&G is opposed to this for just the Kenai (talked with them yesterday), the cost to implement is too great, and DNR and DEC are working on bigger issues.

    What this does show is that the guide committee at the KRSMA board is out of control. They provide no facts - just like the 50 hp discussion - and make a recommendation that impacts others but not them. So the guide bashing is deserved as long as they keep bringing these self serving proposals up.

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