I spend a lot of time on the water, fishing and gathering information for my books. There is hardly a day that goes by that I don't find myself getting irritated by other boaters or personal watercraft operators who seem to feel that when they are operating a craft, everyone else must give way to them. I have learned to tolerate this lack of consideration for others most of the time but on holidays like this one, the level of ignorance reaches dangerous heights. Add to the problem a hot summer day with bright sun and some alcohol and you have the formula for desaster.
What in the world has happened to intelligent people having common courtesy for their fellow man. Has the "me" generation really taken over our national culture? I understand that when I was young I was taught to open doors for women and people older than I was, and that has now dissappeared. Those habits that change with time are understandable to me because they have always been a sign of progress as the generations move forward. But a total lack of consideration for other people, in favor of doing whatever makes one happy, will never settle in my head.
I have had young people speed by my boat while I was fishing, and they actually cheered because they came so close to my boat that they cut my fishing lines. I had one man in a sailboat cut accross the rear of my boat, hooking my lines and pulling my rods overboard, and then claimed that he had the right to do that because he was not under power. Sail boats indeed do have the right of way when not under power, but that does not apply when the sail boat is to your rear.
I have on occasion blamed the problem on the youth of many of the boaters, but I have witnessed many times, a boat load of young people with an adult driving, doing very dangerous things. Showing a bad example in this way is part of the problem. If it's good for the adults then it's good for all the kids.
Unfortunately I do not have the solution to this problem. Requiring safety courses for all boat and watercraft operators would apear to be a partial solution, but then there is the problem of enforcement. On large water bodies, enforcement is nearly impossible. Unfortunately I believe that this is simply an example of the direction that our American society is moving and it is not a direction that I like. I have decided that the only thing that I can do is try to continue to set an example for the young people and try to find ways to make that example stand out so it is noticed. Perhaps if we all try we can make some progress toward a more compassionate future generation.