Boating Angling Safety Tips What Not to Do

Mr. Haphazard KING
Sport Fishing Boat Safety Precautions

When Mr.Haphazard King is on the water, get out of his way!
Can’t figure out why no one wants to go fishing with you.

The old adage, “haste makes waste” is so very true. This is even more disturbing when both of the aforesaid occurs at the most unexpected and inconvenient time.

Murphy’s Law states that “what can go wrong will go wrong and at the worst possible time.”

I have experienced that law more than I care to relate. What’s very troubling, however, is that some people never learn from their mistakes no matter how many times the same situation repeats itself.

Inevitably, to anglers, it seems like the worst possible scenario of Murphy’s Law almost always strikes on a fishing trip.

For example, have you ever heard of or observed the fellow that made all the necessary arrangements with his fishing buddies, fueled his boat, mapped out the course, brought all needed tackle and supplies, and set out on the road towing his boat to the destination of his choice.

As the vehicle and boat makes it’s way down the road, everyone is quite jovial, considering there are no phones to answer and nothing important to bother them. Exciting conversation is being exchanged about how the big one got away last trip out, when suddenly a loud bang is heard, and the driver finds himself wildly struggling with the steering wheel in order to control the vehicle. When he slows down enough to bring the vehicle to the roadside, he finds out that the “may-pop” tire on the trailer finally lived up to its name. No problem, he thinks to himself, assured by the recent purchase of a new spare tire and rim.

Full of confidence, he assures the rest of the crew that “it won’t take but a few minutes and we’ll be back on our way!”

Nonetheless, his positive attitude soon turns sour as he begins anxiously looking for a jack that will lift the trailer axle, knowing that his car’s bumper jack won’t do.

Totally disgusted, he reasons to himself, why did I not think of this before? But, let’s speculate for a moment that this gentleman had a suitable jack. Where would he be if the vehicle’s lug wrench didn’t fit the trailer lugs?

Of course, the answer would be no better off than before. What makes the situation more pathetic is the fact that this was not the first time this had happened.

Fortunately, most do learn from such mistakes, but it is the hardest way to learn.

The scrupulous person will almost always discern a potential problem, and then take action before it’s too late. That means while he learns from his mistakes, he will go even further by making adjustments to deter future misadventures. One way to do this is by mentally going over every detail before it ever occurs. That is, picture yourself preparing for the fishing trip from loading and towing the boat to the actual fishing on the water and include some possible mishap scenarios that could arise. Next, see if you are prepared for them. Then make necessary adjustments to overcome each as they might present themselves. Of course a side from that, local governmental authority helps prompt one to do what’s right for the benefit of all involved by enforcing certain laws – like having life vests, a throw ring, flare kit, fire extinguisher, etc.

Putting simple remedies off until later generally result in major breakdowns and headaches.The key here is don’t put it off, especially if you know it’s needed, do it immediately. It’s good practice to take every possible precaution and leave nothing to chance when it comes to the safety and maintenance of your equipment. An ounce of prevention is well worth a pound of cure when out on the water.

Never think because you can’t afford to make a repair on something broken or on the brink, you have good reason to ignore the problem and plan a trip anyway. Murphy’s Law has pounced on those with such philosophies, causing them to reevaluate matters under precarious situations – like while being towed in.

Why risk a breakdown and possible injury or loss of life? If the boat, motor, tow vehicle, or trailer are in possible need of repair and you can’t afford it at present, stay home! Having a trailer wheel, for example, fly off while in route to the fishing grounds is not a pleasant situation. Trailers that are dunked into any kind of water need to have their wheel bearings serviced yearly. Don’t think because you have “Buddy Bearings” that this prevents wheel bearing damage. This helps prolong bearing life but it does not totally stop water intrusion. 3

On the other hand, the sensible angler makes a list after each trip of what is in need of repair or on the verge of breakdown; constantly inspecting after each trip areas of concern. His boat stays ready, never waiting until the last minute to make repairs or adjustments that might hold up the trip.

It’s no secret that most would rather fish with those who are well prepared and organized, since the odds are in their favor of getting to their destination and back, both safely and in one piece. The prepared person is easily recognized: ice chests secured and strategically located, rods uncluttered and conveniently stored, tackle boxes off the floor, and perishable goods properly chilled and dryly packed along with iced-down canned beverages. Bringing bottled drinks or, for that matter, any glass container aboard a boat is welcoming a disaster.

Ironically, such an individual becomes a target of abusive insults like “fanatical” and/or “ridiculous” because of being cautious and organized.

“By whom?” you may ask.

By none other than his exact opposite: Mr. Haphazard King! He is easily identified, but occasionally not right away.haphazard_small Sometimes it may take a few fishing trips, which could well be at the risk of your life and that of others.

Unfortunately,this is the individual who never learns from his mistakes. To him, Murphy’s Law is a fact of life. His mishaps are often prompted by being too over-frenzied and impatient about getting out on the water to fish, no matter what, how, or when. He’s generally not a stupid person and knows better, but hasn’t given any thought to the possible outcome of any given situation – sometimes not even after it’s happened.

This is the type of person that most normal thinking individuals would refuse to go with on a fishing trip, even if mother-in-law was staying over. Of course, the only ones that might acquiesce to the invite are those with suicidal tendencies.

Mr.Haphazard King is also the kind of person that will fish so relentlessly and competitively that he will go without eating, drinking, sleeping, or relieving himself. Oftentimes he will criticize others for not doing the same, as if they have some type of abnormality.

He likes measuring the success of a fishing trip by how many ice chests he’s filled up and by such verbs as “slaughtered,” “knocked out,” “murdered,” “massacred,” “waylaid,”etc.

It’s really hard to understand why Mr. Haphazard King enjoys fishing at all. He fishes with such intensity that you would think that his family’s lives are dependent on his catch. The amazing thing about him is that he seemingly never does get tired, even on overnight trips, fishing non stop.

Mr.Haphazard King is also infamous at administering shock treatment. In fact, he’s an unsurpassed specialist at it. Like when on the long haul back home towing the boat – as it flings various pieces of neglected hardware over the highway – he nods off barely missing oncoming telephone poles and tractor trailers only to abruptly awake and reaffirm to his hysterical passengers that he’s okay and under control, no need to worry.

And just in case you haven’t noticed, Mr.Haphazard King is the world’s greatest fisherman. If you don’t believe it, just ask him. He’s always catching something, but never seems to get his lure back without breaking his rod or line. Grunts and groans frequently accompany such display, along with frantic reeling and pumping – only to find out that he’s snagged on the bottom.

If that were not enough, he likes to turn the boat’s deck into a dangerous obstacle course, mush like “Fear Factor” challenges. Time and again his crew stumbles over fishing poles and tackle boxes which are haphazardly pitched on the floor and in the cabin where spare clothes and sleeping bags may top off the disarray, followed by various bags of chips and bread. He may even shove a large ice chest full of ice in there, too, with the drain plug left unchecked, so that the cabin gets flooded with ice water with ever wave encounter. And if you’re really fortunate, no fish have been thrown in it yet.

If the ice water flooded cabin doesn’t help dismiss the idea of resting, watch out for the twisted forest of rods and reels – complete with leaders and pre-sharpened hooks – heaped up on the bunks like cord wood on a log cabin’s floor.

Mr.Haphazard King’s boat is easily recognized, boasting many large ice chests, and he has every intent of fill each to the very maximum, including the food chest if occasion arises. Mr. Haphazard King is notorious for dispensing with everyone’s food and drink to make added room for more fish. Many that have gone with him have even started a rumor about how they just can’t get use to their soft drinks warming on a hot summer deck, nor to using the bait net to retrieve their waterlogged sandwiches from among the fish.

Once one comes to know him, his objective becomes very clear: get out and fish like there’s no tomorrow. And, let’s not worry about the clamoring noise in the engine, the battery that always seems to be dead after every launch, the alternator on the tow vehicle that has been a cause for having to be jumped-off for the past month, nor the trailer fender and bunker boards that fell off in transit. He really is a unique fellow, for he has doubtlessly added new meaning to the term “maintenance free.”

Another thing Mr. Haphazard King rarely bothers with is a weather radio. No, I take that back. He does consult the weather forecast but usually when he is 20 or more miles offshore and caught in lightning-riddled thunder storms and 8 ft. seas.

You might have seen Mr. Haphazard at your locale boat launch; you know the only guy going out in the most life-threatening weather (i.e. small craft, gale, or hurricane warnings). There may even be a 50/50 shot that, if threatened with weapons and mutiny, he might be persuaded to wait for such dire conditions to subside before venturing too far from the marina.

Clearly, Mr.Haphazard King is a real person, a “reel” character. You have no doubt been on a fishing trip with him or at least heard about him to some extent. In any case, you can definitely identify with some of his activities because all of us, whether we’re will to admit to it or not, have a measure of Mr.Haphazard King in us.

The question is, however, are we willing to make adjustments, particularly where safety, conservation, courtesy, and preventive maintenance come into the picture? Upon self-examination, we will find that there is, without a doubt, room for improvement.

In any event, if you happen to come across Mr. Haphazard King, for the safety of you and yours, get out of his way!

Picture Caption:

Mr.Haphazard King: If you see him on the road, water, or boat launch, get out of his way!
(picture by Gwendolyn Frazier)