Memorial Day Weekend is here! The local boat ramps and waterways will be active with fisherman and recreational boaters no doubt. Today also concludes National Boating Safety Week. I would like to familiarize you with a few boating safety tips and some boat ramp etiquette as well.
Boating with the family is a great time, but do make sure that anyone operating a vessel has taken a mandatory boating education course. This course is required by all individuals born on or after January 1, 1988. Information can be found online at www.MyFWC.Com.
Please make sure that there is a Personal Flotation Device (PFD) for all passengers. When out on the water, please be courteous of other water craft and of course, those fisherman. When meeting another water craft head-on, steer to the right and pass like cars. If overtaking another water craft, you may pass on either side, but you must keep clear. If you are about to cross paths with another vessel, the craft on the right should be allowed to continue at the same speed and direction, and you must alter your speed and direction to pass safely behind. Following these guidelines will help avoid collisions.
Remember to carry a fire extinguisher, have an anchor for safety measures if your boat becomes disabled. Know your body of water or take a map or GPS. Make sure your vessel is registered to the proper owner, especially if boating alone and you fall overboard. Use your navigational lights if there is restricted visibility and between sunset and sunrise. Carry a sound making device such as a horn or whistle or use flares to notify other boats in the area if you become distressed. And finally please boat responsibly and don’t consume alcohol if you are operating the boat.
When you are at the ramp launching your boat, practice good boat ramp etiquette. Prepare for your trip in a staging area or better yet, before you leave home. Do not block the ramp making your final preparations. Check your batteries, fuel level, crank the engine all before you arrive as well. This just might save you some unnecessary aggravation. Once you get your boat in the water, move it off to the side to allow others the use of the ramp as you go park your vehicle.
Toho Marine Wednesday Night Shootout results for May 17: Winning the jackpot for the first time this season was the team of Mark Lundgren and Charlie Harrelson. Their 21.65 pounds 5 fish limit was anchored by Charlie’s 9.02 Trophy Catch! Way to go Charlie!! Coming in second place and on a recent winning streak was the team of Skip Stowers and Mark. Their 5 fish totaled 19.79 pounds, also anchored by another Trophy Catch of 8.54 pounds. And rounding out third place was Joe Clements and Dustin Tindall with 19.36 pounds. A fourth place was even paid out last week to the team of Terry Seagraves and Paul with 17.12 pounds. Leading the Denali Rod Big Bass giveaway for the month so far is 9.48 pounds.
Next Saturday is the Help Our Heroes Tournament out of Joe Overstreet ramp. If you are reading this, you missed the signup deadline. But you are welcome to come out and watch the weigh-in. This event is hosted by Toho Marine and Outdoors of St. Cloud and is a very successful annual fundraiser. Also next Saturday and Sunday are License free Salt Water fishing days. Enjoy the long weekend, stay safe and tight lines friends.