Encountering a fishing boat while out on your vessel and making a large wake nearby is a common situation for many boat operators.
Here’s how to handle this situation responsibly and courteously:
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Maintain a Safe Distance
The first step is to give the fishing boat a wide berth. This helps to avoid running over any fishing lines that may be out to the sides of their boat or trolling behind them.
It’s crucial to maintain a safe distance and speed to ensure the safety of both vessels. As a rule of thumb:
- Pass at a distance of at least 100 yards to give the fishing boat ample space, or maintain a distance twice the length of the fishing boat.
- Pass at a safe distance to the right or starboard side of the other boat or the left or port side of your boat.
You may also like: How Should You Pass A Fishing Boat?
Control Your Wake
Be mindful of the wake you create and how it may affect other boats.
- When encountering an oncoming wake, it’s best to point the bow to the wake at a 30- to 45-degree angle. This helps to cross the wave diagonally and slide over the crest without getting airborne, which minimizes the impact upon re-entry.
- If you anticipate an oncoming wake that’s large enough to cause issues, steer your boat directly into the wake, come completely off plane, and slow to an RPM level of around 1,500. Then trim up to raise your bow as high as possible before the wake strikes.
- It’s also important to slow down to a speed that eliminates your wake. This ensures that you pass the fishing boat without disturbing their lines, nets, or fish. This speed varies for every boat but can be easily found by observing the water’s disturbance behind your boat as you sail.
Remember to communicate with the fishing boat to signal your intentions. Also, adhere to navigation rules and be prepared to adjust your course as needed. This helps to avoid obstacles and ensure a safe, respectful passage.
Handling Accidents: Running Over a Fishing Line
In case you accidentally run over a fishing line, it’s important to take immediate action.
- The first step is to stop your boat and assess the situation.
- If the line is wrapped around your propeller, cut the fishing line from the propeller until you get home. Then remove the propeller and clean the rest of the line off.
- If the line is not wrapped around your propeller, try to retrieve the line and any lures or bait that may be attached to it.
- If you are unable to retrieve the line, mark the location where you ran over the line and report it to the local authorities or the owner of the fishing gear.
Always remember to be courteous and respectful of other boaters and fishermen on the water.