When I see a boat owner struggling, I often wonder if they will make it through the day.
Most problems seem to occur when the captain of the good ship lollipop is barking orders and trying to dazzle others with his brilliance.
I refrain from interfering until the situation dictates otherwise. This is usually when Captain America is entertaining guests, his girlfriend is on board or he has had a bit too much liquid libation.
During these conditions, I let the party rule their own. I admit there have been times the offer was extended before it was requested. This occurs when the safety of the individual or others are in jeopardy, which at times has caused a bit of a stir.
Looking back to the boats I have owned and shared over the years, my learn-as-I-go attitude could have been more costly.
That first docking maneuver was a disaster -- I managed to soak my fishing partner and pull the ladder off the dock. It being an older dock in need of repairs was not a factor at the time.
I have it down pretty well now. Let's see, up is forward -- back is reverse. The red handle is the throttle, and the black handle shifts, or is it the other way around?
My first boat nearly sank before it left the dock. I left the drain plug out and had the bilge pump not come on I feel certain the insurance company would have had a few questions.
Another factor that could easily have caused my demise was speed. Horsepower and boat size were not monitored as strictly as they are now. Faster meant bigger motors, which were placed on small boats. One hundred and forty horses pushing a 15 1/2-foot, high-performance, broad-beamed missile was my carriage.
At full throttle, from a dead stop (what is often called the hole shot), I had to look around the hull to see what was in front of me. When the boat finally came on plane (leveled off), if you were not holding onto what was near and dear to your heart it was gone.
But the game was tournament fishing, and high-powered boats piloted by narrow-minded people was normal. Age, cost and a the constant reminder that some of my actions were not well received have brought change.
Although my bride often states I have gotten older, she reluctantly admits I lack maturity whenever boats, shiny metal objects or fishing is involved.
Update from Bob Martore, SCDNR, Office of Fisheries Management, Marine Resources Division:
"We replaced four missing reef buoys last Thursday and Friday in your area: Fripp Island, Hunting Island, General Gordon, and Eagle's Nest. We also dropped five reef balls on the General Gordon site. Fishermen and boaters-If you run across missing buoys or markers please inform the SCDNR office at 843-953-9303.
Although recent rains may have postponed a few trips, it was needed. Hot weather will be here soon and things have a tendency to become less tolerable for fish and fishermen alike.
Presently spottail bass, flounder, trout, sheepshead, dolphin, grouper, wahoo, bluefish, w whiting, drum, tuna, shark and a variety of other species are taking the hook.
Great meals, friendship and the wonders of the lowcountry become paramount when June arrives. I can't think of a better relationship between man and nature than what occurs right here in our own backyard.