Happy Father’s Day to all the dad’s out there in Blogland.
Today we celebrate the institution of Fatherhood. Hooray for Father’s.
Today a plea for boat ramp courtesy from a Father in the local neighborhood. We agree Josh. We can all do better on the water and at the boat ramps. Common courtesy is good. Politeness is good. Get in and get out. Effeicently and with pace.
Thanks Josh for the letter. And Happy Father’s Day to you!
Howdy. You guys have the most viewed website for the Mo. Perhaps you would consider using my story below for a blog post. Ignorance is out of control lately:
I spend a lot of time on the Missouri. Not as much as some, but more than most. I live in Cascade. I use the river to hunt, exercise my dogs, fish, float with family and friends, and I guide. Over the last few years courtesy has seriously deteriorated at fishing access sites. Part of the problem is innocent ignorance by new users and out of towners. I can generally forgive that and don’t mind helping or giving a word of advice when people seem receptive to it. I do think the river community should try and provide some education on boat ramp etiquette to folks whenever possible. What I have a hard time forgiving is when people that should know better fail to be courteous at ramps and on the river.
I took my 7 year old daughter fishing this morning. Since we normally only stay out a couple hours I often launch my drift boat at a ramp where I can go up stream and do row-arounds for a while rather than float. As always I pulled off to the side of the parking area to rig rods and prep the boat for launch. As we were getting ready a couple guys from out of state backed down the ramp with float tubes in the back of a truck. They unloaded right on the ramp and proceeded to rig rods and prep while blocking the entire ramp. A guide with his clients and I patiently waited for them to clear out so that we could launch. Eventually they moved and I launched, anchored off to the side, parked the truck, and was rowing away from the ramp in under 5 minutes. My daughter and I enjoyed about an hour and a half on the river before we headed back to the ramp. The ramp itself was empty of trailers and trucks but both sides were blocked. The left side of the ramp was occupied by a father and son preparing a raft. The raft was in the water and anchored. Coolers, oars, and other equipment were spread out all over the shore as they seemed to be contemplating fly selection. The right side of the ramp was blocked by a guide boat that had anchored just to the side of the ramp with the boat parallel to the shore. The guide and his clients were rearranging gear, rigging rods, and eating snacks. Luckily there is a good bit of gentle current in the eddy below the ramp that allowed me to easily hold the boat in place while I waited. With the flows at 11800cfs most of the shoreline had a steep drop off. It was going to be tough for me to find a shallow spot to anchor and I wasn’t about to ask my 7 year old to jump onto shore and hold the boat while I got out. Surely the folks on the ramp would be courteous and move so I could land. After 10 minutes or so of holding the boat I was getting frustrated and decided to beach off to the side of the raft. I backed into the shore and dropped anchor but had to jump out into hip deep water. The dad at the raft tried to help, but I was already out and secured my anchor on shore. I got my truck and trailer and backed down the ramp with barely enough room to miss the oars of the guide boat and the raft’s scattered gear. I had to row out around the anchored raft and wedge in between it and my trailer in order to jump out of my boat and secure the strap. One of the guide’s clients got a clue at this point and tried to help me load my boat. I didn’t say much besides a curt thank you but I was steaming on the inside. I pulled away and off to the side to secure my boat and seriously considered walking back down to have words with these guys, but thought better of it. I’m writing this now because I want to remind everyone that courtesy doesn’t cost a cent and improves everyone’s experience on our river.
As I mentioned earlier I don’t mind giving people that obviously don’t know better the benefit of the doubt. This just shows a need for education. However, those of us that spend lots of time on the river and especially guides and outfitters need to hold ourselves to a higher standard. You don’t have to listen in on many bar room conversations to hear someone complain about guides, outfitters, and all the pressure on the river. Anything that serves to divide the ranks of river users can only harm everyone’s enjoyment of our resource.
Here is a few gentle reminders to help us all respect our fellow floaters and get more enjoyment out of our days on the Mo:
Park somewhere out of the way to do all your boat prep before backing onto the ramp.
Move your boat far enough from the ramp to allow others to launch and land while you park your truck and trailer.
If you want to sit in your boat to rig rods and prep other gear, row a little way from the ramp and drop anchor to do it.
Courtesy is free. Be conscious that your actions can affect others.