Tuesday, October 03, 2006

"The purpose of politics is to gain power"
(Professor Goff, UWM, 1959)
The control freaks are at it again
(No picture due to blogSpot's wonderful uploader)

There is talk on the Milwaukee Yahoo site about "problems" that large boats are having with kayakers. "We can't see them," is one complaint. Apparently we are an obstruction when they back out of their slips...and so on. (I am hoping JB will address this issue on his blog as he has great insight and knowledge in this area).

Suggestions have begun to be posted including having kayaks sport orange flags similar to what bicyclers do on the highway. To all of this I offer this pithy observation: It' s all Bull.

I sailed boats for 30 years and in that time have backed out of slips with hulls over 40 feet long. In addition, I had power boats and have backed out of that same slip with 50 foot hulls. The slip I had, by the way, opened onto the "shipping lane". That is, all boat traffic in the basin passed by my transom, and I had to back into that traffic. Want to know my little secret, the one that kept me from ever hitting another boat or not seeing one too small (such as a kayak)?

I looked before I backed out. I actually turned around and looked left and right, just like when I cross a street. If there was a dinghy going by (same size as a kayak), I saw it, and a pole 1/4" thick with a flag blending into the breakwater would not have made that dinghy any more visible to me.

There some issues with jet skiers and the like. They really moved fast and came out of no where. And they saw me just fine. Usually, they were out there to go over my wake, and I had no problem with that. My biggest problems were always with other large craft whose skippers clearly did not know the rules of the road.

I don't want a stick attached to my kayak. I don't want a stick that might poke me during a self rescue or obstruct me from making it onto the back deck. And, why the hell should I need one? After all, when it comes to bigger boats, I..in my kayak...am the one at risk.

Lake Michigan is about 85 miles across at the Milwaukee level. It is a huge body of water. 99% of kayaking takes place near shore where large boats don't go. But in this era of more-legislation - is-better, someone wants to make a law to cover that 1% problem, a law that should be superceeded by good judgment and knowledge. Maybe it's time to test those skippers of large boats to be sure they know what they're doing. Now that's a piece of legislation that would give some governing body real power.

Or instead, we could all just
Paddle safe...


Buncher said...

Common sense. What a novel idea!

leslie said...

I can only imagine going over in 4 feet of water and trying to roll with a five foot flag, now stuck in the lake bottom, on my kayak. Put the beer down and look.

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