Friday, September 16, 2016

Rules of the Water


As I love to do this time of year, I packed the kayak and headed to the coast. I was actually going for work reasons, but figured I may as well bring the kayak along since the commercial photoshoot would only take a few hours.
The storms brewed and dumped massive amounts of rain in a typical summer microburst manner. It only delayed the inevitable though. There would still be fishing.
Because I was shooting in Wilmington, I made my way to the boat ramp at Wrightsville Beach and put in there. There were not many trucks and trailers at the ramp. I have seen days when you would need to park over a mile away but with the storm that just passed and it being a week day, it appeared the boats either never went out or came in early.
The weaving waterways are popular for both big boats that head out to deeper oceanic waters, inshore and nearshore fishermen, jetskis and kayaks and paddleboards. In fact, over the last three years I have never been there and not seen multiple paddleboarders standing on the surface of the salt water.
I try to be careful when I am in these types of waterways. Whether in a boat, on a jetski, or paddling the sit-on-top, the last thing I want to do is get in the way of others. There is a good reason to do so.
But on this afternoon, I noticed two paddleboarders working the middle of the canal. I had given pause as a 28-foot fishing boat was coming in from the Masonboro Inlet. The paddleboarders continued their pace, up until the moment the fishing boat began blaring the horn.
I have seen this around the port at Morehead City as well. Not with paddleboarders, as this is not about a particular type of technique that a person uses. The port wall is a popular place to bottom fish with the gray trout, sheepshead, croaker, spot, black sea bass and other species that dwell in the 50 feet deep water.
There are also large ships and barges that use the basin for shipping and work. Tugs are docked and constantly move other boats and barges and dredging platforms in and around the water. Another of my favorite places to fish from the kayak, but I must always be on alert of my surroundings and what is going on.
You see, on the water, the biggest boats have the right of way. You cannot expect a tug boat with a barge in front of it to maneuver around small anchored fishing boats. The smaller boats have to be on the lookout when anchored, trolling, or moving in general. Not only is it etiquette, it is law.
Really small vessels such as paddleboards, canoes, and kayaks such as the one I use, while not as fast as the larger boats and ships, can maneuver quicker as well as travel in just inches of water. We do not have to think about obstacles underneath.
The larger vessels do. They have to stay in certain channels. While the vessel may be able to turn quickly in open deep water, they cannot do so in these other locations.

2 comments:

  1. Very good advice. I live in S. CA and I see a lot of people on paddle boards and kayaks not paying attention to very large boats coming into the harbor. Common sense is often not common unfortunately.

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