That time of year is here again when everyone is hitting the water to do some hunting and fishing. I hope everyone uses good sense in making their decisions and also brings along a reliable form of communication. I spend a lot of time early and late in the Sound, and one thing I've noticed over the years is the number of "Pan, Pan" calls I hear from the Coasties. Everytime, I've responded in some manner, only to find out that someone failed to let their wife know they decided to stay a couple of days because they were having a good time or the weather wasn't good enough to travel. The most recent was last fall when we cut our hunt short and joined a helicopter, two cutters and three other vessels running a grid pattern to find an overdue boat, only to find out that they were holed up having a good time. Needless to say we were pretty upset that our plans were interrupted, and all these unnecessary calls are starting to make me reluctant to jump in and change my plans to help some knucklehead who doesn't need help.
Responding to these types of calls puts others in jeopardy and ties up government resources. Let's save the pan pans for those times when someone really needs help, we all know that trouble can happen to anyone regardless of experience or what type of vessel they have. Do your part and file a float plan and stick with it, and have some way to let your wife know you really are ok and just "waiting on weather" to get back to the old salt mine.
Good luck to everyone heading out this spring, be safe, and have a good time with family and friends. Oh, yeah. Give the guys already hunting an area a little room, too.