Can't We All Get Along???



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  • Can't We All Get Along???


    posting this in the power boat forum because i would like to get some input from you internal combustion types regarding "rules" of the river.

    i canoe. don't have anything against powerboats per se, but i do admit a real dislike of airboats. well, some airboats. those without any kind of muffler system, so that one can hear them coming miles and miles and miles and miles away, and, then, leaving for miles and miles and miles and miles...

    mostly, i canoe on rivers that don't see power boats. but, there are exceptions. the gulkana, for one.

    my experience of when the worlds of internal combustion and muscle combustion meet have been, almost without exception, polite.

    but, one day while heading down the gulkana we got passed by a boat heading up the gulkana. it wasn't a particularly narrow part of the river and since we were on the outside of the bend when the powerboat appeared we scooted over even closer to the shore, leaving, what i believe was way more than enough room for the boat to pass us "inside" and not even be close to shallow water.

    instead this fellow blasted past us, literally, within arm's reach. and, considering i'm in the center of my canoe, that put's the two vessels much less than an arm's reach between them. i'm an experienced paddler and riding the wake was of no consequence for me. however, another canoe in our party had a more difficult time. from what my buddy told me it sounded like the two boats passed even closer.

    now, in 30 years of canoeing in alaska this is the first and only time i've experienced such a thing. if i was in the lower 48 i'd expect it more often. but, it got me to thinking...

    my question then is, what if anything do responsible power boaters expect or hope that canoeist will do in a passing situation?



    ps—a second question, is it really so tough or detrimental to stick a muffler on airboat? (i realize that much of the noise must be coming from the prop. nonetheless, i've heard "quiet" airboats, so something must be able to be done.)

  • #2
    Gulk, I have wondered often what is the best way to pass a paddler. I give as much room as possible, but my real dilemma is that if I slow down, I create more wake. I feel bad if I don't slow down, but at the same time, the faster I am going, the less wake a make. As paddler, do you understand that fast equals less wake with many river boats? What do you want us to do when passing besides waving and giving as much room as possible?


    • #3
      One not about your story was that you were on the outside of the corner. That is the deepest part of the channel which is likely why you came as close as you did. Many things could have come to pass to cause this situation to come about besides just a rude boater (god knows there are plenty out there). It is possible that he didn't see you untill too late to come off step and make room so he just drove around you. It is highly likely that his pucker factor was in over drive as well hoping he didn't colide with you! Every situation is different but if you are drafting shallow and can stay out of a the deep channel along the outside of turns it would improve your odds of avoiding a similar situation. One thing to keep in mind when a boat goes by under power is that jet boats don't turn without the throttle on!


      • #4
        meeting canoes

        I have almost 30 years paddling and power boating in Alaska too. I have had some unsettling times when paddling on the lower Gulkana in the past where paddle and motor traffice starts to mix. I try to be responsible for my wake, be it on rivers or ocean. I don't have a problem shutting down when I see paddlers. I try to do so far in advance so as to wake affect them as little as possible. I keep an eye on paddlers when they might be affected by other power boats in busy areas, especially sea kayakers, who around here in Juneau may be a way off shore, inexperienced or young and often not exactly equipped for an ice water dip. When I spent more time canoeing, I always appreciated it when power boaters slowed down and exhibited courtesy even if their wake may have been larger. It sure seemed smaller. It just demonstrates courtesy to the paddlers from their point of view and helps to create goodwill.


        • #5
          Hi There What You Are Hereing On The Airboats Is The Props And If Not Mufflered The Engine, If Its An Aircraft Motor Your Hereing Both On The Automotive Engines You Can Put Reduction Units On Them To Slow The Props Down And Put Bigger Props On Them Witch Lessens The Noise But Like Any Boat Its Like A Hole In The Water To Do That Type Of Upgrade. So There Is Less Noise You Are Talking Six To Eight Thousand Dollars On An Airboat But You Gain Push And Less Noise But It Costs Lots Of Money. Thats Way You See Some Boat That Our Not To Bad And Others That Our Loud Its All Got To Do With Money. Skip


          • #6
            We're on the Chena a lot and there are just a bunch of paddlers out there. I throttle back before I get to them and then watch in the rear view mirror to make certain that everything is ok. What drives me nutz is the group of two or three floaters who spread across the river and act as if there is no one else around. Also it would be great if they would stay towards the shallow side. The guy who cut inside you is irresponsible and probably causes trouble for everyone where ever he goes.


            • #7
              like LuJon stated.

              I've never been on the Gulkana but on the Kenai I know that the water in the deepest part (where you stated your position was) of a turn/bend is where you MUST be in a power boat (I've experienced "interaction" with the bottom by cut shorting a bend!). Sometimes we're running a mere few feet from the shore, and to cut power in a bend is just not feasible mostly.
              Why not just stay to the "shallow" side of bends if there's a chance of meeting power boats and visibility around the corner is not good? I know there's knuckleheads out there so I would think an ounce of prevention would be good medicine.
              Don't think you'll have much luck changing the "tune" of airboaters; they've got rights too. (I'm not an airboater).
              Check out Quickwater Adventure water taxi/transport services:


              • #8
                When I started air boating I found it was hard to see other jets and airboats. I changed the color of the cage and put a light hi up on the cage to be seen. From a moving boat it is very hard to see a canoe, if not impossible, you guys have no lights and your low in the water and make no effort on your part to be seen.

                I hate making noise as much you hate hearing it and if I could fix the problem with out spending thousands of $$$ I would.

                I’m not a real smart person, I do think I have common sense and common sense tells me if I heard a boat any boat, and I was on a river I would get out of the way. The next time you hear a boat think of it as your mother telling you to get off the road, a car is coming, a car is coming, a car is coming, a car is coming.

                You ask the question “Can’t we get along” Yes we can but we need your help by doing everything you can to help us see you.

                Is that too much to ask?


                • #9
                  left or right hand turn?

                  The rules of the water help to alleviate these types of issues. Though not always, if followed, you will minimize the chances for such an occurrence.
                  When traveling a river, stay to the right in the direction of travel. If you can not, you must yield to any other boat, muscled or motored. In the situation you described, if you were in a left hand down river turn, and were all the way to the right bank, you were in the correct place. Otherwise, you were not. Keep in mind I was not there to see other river hazards such as sweepers or alligators. Canoes and kayaks are highly maneuverable. It is easy to stay on the right side. The lazy way is to cut the corners.
                  Downriver boats have the right of way at all times, again, muscled or motored. Keep in mind that muscled boats always have the right of way.
                  With that said, when I float I take into account the width, depth, and "style" of the river. I also think about the type of boats I will encounter. If the boats are all deep water type vessels, and the river gives me plenty of room in the shallows, that is the place I tend to float. I do keep in mind my responsibilities as outlined above. If I am in the wrong place, I paddle hard to move to the right place and give boaters the chance to be successful. After all, being right and being injured or wet just does not seem to be a good trade off.
                  As a powered boater, I try very hard to yield to the "little" guys. I have no desire to scare or anger anybody. Most of my experience is on the Chena in terms of floater/boater interaction. I can't tell you the number of times I have come around the corner to find the river wall to wall with floaters. They leave absolutely no place to go. Even though I do have the right to run, I have the responsibility to shut down, and ease past them.
                  While that may be frustrating, I do not let it bother me. We are all out having fun, and if we do not "police" ourselves, then somebody else will.
                  If you wonder which "side" I might be on, I currently own 3 motor boats, one PWC, 3 canoes, and 2 kayaks. I guess to balance that out I still need a raft and an airboat.


                  • #10
                    Ah, this reminds me of the encounter I had with an airboat driver on the upper Chena. My family and I had pulled up on a gravel bar to cook dinner one summer evening. A really loud airboat went up past our gravel bar and we thought nothing of it. Then, down he came. His prop/engine was really loud so we covered our kid's ears with our hands as he went by. Thje driver was wearing ear protectors. The guy turns around downstream and roars back up to us and starts yelling obscenities about us, our kids, our parents and the point was that if we didn't like his noise, we could stick it up our anal pores and go straight to hell. Quite an experience of "sharing" the river and one that I like to share with everyone.

                    To be fair, later on that summer, we were doing the same thing and along came the quietest airboat I've ever heard. This guy had a slow prop and mufflers and pulled in to talk. He even offered us a ride and it was a blast! I share this experience with everyone too.

                    And I've been **** near run over several times by jet boats who "had to go fast just to steer". I understand the mechanics of jet boats. What I don't understand is the lack of concern about the possibility of someone else being in the narrow and/or deep channel.

                    Funny how one or two bad apples can wreck the pie for us all. Pretty soon, these kind of incidences result in more rules and regulations to force the correct behavior.

                    That's too bad.


                    • #11
                      never been on the gulkana but ive been on the little su in a canoe and its hairy at peak fishing times. i ran a gumman with a 4 horse and if i heard anyone coming i would either try and get in the shallows or tuck in behind a point depending on the situation. i was downstream and every person that went by did NOT slow down. i was prepared for every passing and it did not bother me but when im running my jetboat and come across a canoe if at all possible in tight situations i come off step. lots of people will claim that they cant but i have run the little su in a big inboard and you can come off step at about anywhere downstream but around the island. if the river is bigger and theres lots of room i give them as much room as possible and do an outside turn around them to push my wake towards the opposite bank of the paddlers. im sure i have pissed off a few paddlers but not intentionally and any paddler that plays on motor boat rivers must be aware and prepared for encounters and vise versa. being on the little su in a small craft it was handy to hear them coming. ive also been on jim creek in a canoe and all airboats i came across politley came off step untl we got past each other.theres was an airboater at the mouth of jim creek that pulled over in the channel and i attempted to go around and got stuck in my sportjon. im sure he didnt know i was there behind him and he had every right to park where he did but what amazed me was he sat and watched me and my three kids push and pull on my boat for at least and hour without even thinking of lending a hand. finally three canoeists came paddling down and got me unstuck .


                      • #12
                        So the general consensus seems to be slow down even though I make a much smaller wake than wehn I'm on step. I can live with that. I do agree though that especially on the Chena, the paddlers need to have a little courtesy for us motorheads and as was already said, not spread out across the whole river. The same goes with the folks in inner tubes and whtever other else they might find that will float. I don't have a problem slowing down but weaving my way through a slolom course of paddlers makes a trip from Nordale to Pikes for dinner less than enjoyable. I wouldn't say "let's get along" just work together a little so we can all enjoy a day on the water. That's what it's all about anyway, having a good time.
                        " There's a fine line between fishing and standing on the shore like an idiot" - Steven Wright


                        • #13
                          fishin_ak, I agree. I can slow down and not leave as big a wake. And I agree that the floaters need to be responsible too. Coming around a bend and seeing the whole darned river full of floaters isn't a good deal.

                          I once came upon two female canoists who were holding champagne glasses, pinkies out, as they drifted down the middle of the Chena in a bend. The had a nice spread set up in the middle of the canoe, no life jackets, all prim and proper, noses in the air, paddles stowed, etc. I ended up making a big wake trying to avoid them. And received laser glares for my troubles. There's all types on the river, isn't there?


                          • #14
                            I saw an led combo nav/stern set up in one module on a 4ft. facing forward with white on top for 360 vis. well above the water line. Yields about 100 hrs. light per set of batteries. Very light and portable...clamps to seat or gunnels. Will probably get one for my one man cataraft. Not much bothers this little craft but if I ate a speeding jet because he didn't see me it would likely be my last meal.:eek:


                            • #15
                              just remember

                              Just remember, you are responsible for your wake and any damage it does. Yes you do make more of a wake if you slow down to a point. But idling you don't make a wake. Some times that's what you have to do.
                              An opinion should be the result of thought, not a substitute for it.
                              - Jef Mallett


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