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Other boaters

Coach Mike

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Well here's a new one for me today. I have been boating, skiing, footing, and boarding for quite a few years now and we are in a busy waterway in Northern Illinois (Chain-O-Lakes/Fox River). I've seen a lot of boaters that like to get a close look at what the kids can do behind my boat ... usually it's from the side lines but occasionally it's some clown that decides to follow right behind the rider. This is a major pet peave for me and I have at times expressed it to the other driver when he finally decides to pass after the kid falls ... I guess I should be thankful that he can turn and did not run over my kid, right? Oh, I should also point out that we don't go out on the weekends when it's busy because the situation is compounded by the extra traffic, alcohol, etc. It does not have to be crowded to have this occur out here.

So here's what just happened. It's a beautiful day late in our season today and I decided to take the boat out by myself for about an hour or so - we live on the water too so I blessed there. I'm out in the river on the right third or so doing about 30 mph with not too much traffic around at the time and heard a loud pop - thought I might have had something come loose on the tower. I pulled up and turned slowly to the right to be clear of anyone else and a guy with his wife pulls up about 100 feet to my left. At first I thought he was seeing if I needed any help. I could not have been more wrong on that, as he starts telling me to look behind me before I stop because he was following me. When I pointed out that the guy in front has the right of way and he was in the wrong, he yells out "learn how to boat a$$hole" and speeds away. Sorry for the rant. Just a very nice experience that I had to vent a little.

How do others deal with boaters that follow you too closely, especially when you're pulling young kids? Jetskiers are another issue that isn't as bad as it used to be. Seems to me that the boaters are as big a problem or worse.

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Following behind a boat that's pulling a rider is one of the stupidest, most dangerous things you can do, not to mention illegal in a lot of areas. I can't believe that he got mad at you for stopping fast. He's a complete idiot and has no clue on the rules of the waterways, nor apparently the etiquette either.

I see too many people following behind me when I'm pulling my kids or wife. Whether it's my responsibility or not (it's not), I usually alter my course so they don't kill my rider if they fall. Then I'll make it known to the other boater I didn't appreciate them putting my rider in harms way.

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I will try to wave them off, being I can see them in my mirror. If that don't work, I will change my heading. If I am still being followed then I stop and have a word with the other boater. They eventually have to stop. A couple of times I even had to board their boat, because words did not seem to work. On todays crowded waterways you have to be aware of what is around you, even at six o'clock. There are just too many people out there that have no idea, and others that have no idea and think they do. If you doubt that, hang out at a boat launch on a late Sunday afternoon.

edit; I have been boating and skiing since 1963 and pretty much seen it all, although something new (to me) happens every now and then. Boaters never cease to amaze me.

Edited by electricjohn
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I have been boating since about 1972 and have seen some pretty stupid, unsafe things.

When someone follows too closely, i have our observer wave them off and be very 'loud' with the hand gestures.

If that doesn't work, i give the signal to the person being towed to "hold on tight" and we change course to get out of the front of the other boat.

When it is jet-skiers jumping the wake, i usually just stop and motion them to get away from us. That usually works.

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I've found myself in your situation several times. Really ticks me off....especially when I have riders. I do like others..... signal the rider to "hold on.... no fancy stuff".... and we take a new heading. Sometimes idiot behind decides to continue to follow. Insane.

As result, I keep an Air Horn in my cup holder..... to help in signaling the tailgaiting jerk. It's been used several times now.

(Note: The factory horns in our boats are useless..... especially when trying to signal somebody behind you. Having an Air Horn within immediate reach has helped me out.)

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The chain gets worse and worse each season. This is the first year I have not been on the chain one time all year. Usually, we ski the river in March/April and get out to a few Thursday night events.

Weekends are a totally different ballgame. Glad to hear you do not jeopardize your safety on Sat/Sun.

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If things get too crazy I try my best to get the person on the rope to safety and just stop, but I haven't really had this problem because my lake (Amistad) is not very crowded.

I always thought it would be hilarious to use a 3 man water balloon launcher tied to the tower to launch balloons at other boats following too close. I'm sure there would be legal ramifications but it would be damn funny.

And before I get flamed too hard, I know it wouldn't be safe and I could put an eye out...probably why I've never done it!

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Thanks for the replies. I'm still doing the burn on this guy's attitude a little. Should just be able to let it go but some things just stick a while ... stock market today should get me over it real fast Cry.gif .

Anyway, I pretty much do the same as you guys with moving over and signalling when possible. I do like the air horn idea and might consider the water balloons some day Whistling.gif

Hope the season isn't over yet with the weather shifting today!


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