On April 22, 12 boaters graduated from the Maritime Radio Course held at Lakeland. This is important for boaters since a certificate is needed when operating a VHF radio.
This is the time of year when boaters harass marina operators to get their boats into the water. Four or five calls per person is common. The local saying here is that the Sound is clear of ice within a week of April 21st. 2012 broke the belief with an early break up. Some boats were in the water on the first day of Spring. It looks as though 2014 will break it the other way.
So: Before planning on early season boating remember: The early bird gets the worm. The second mouse gets the cheese.
The early boater gets to boat alone. Silence and still water can be delightful but first boaters can be subject to the floating debris left after the ice is gone. This can range from planks and trees limbs to docks that have broken free.
The first mouse, the one who gets onto the bay before a strong wind has blown it clear of this debris, can have some dangerous experiences. Planks torn from docks, their four inch nails sticking up, can damage the smooth underwater hull of a boat. There is nothing like skimming along through an early Spring fog and having a tree, branches and all, loom out of the mist in front of you.
Then there is the ice. It doesn’t all melt overnight. An invisible skim of ice can do quite a number on a boat too. And if it does and your boat is sinking, who are you going to call who can possibly get to you any time soon? I do boat in the early season. My rules are simple. Carry the seven or eight items you must as demanded by law. Boat like you will never need to use them. Boat carefully, one hand for the boat – one for yourself, and make no mistakes. Or wait ’til things warm up some.