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Old 08-11-2013, 05:57 PM   #1
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Default Bad experience Put in Bay "B-Dock." Need input.

I need your guys' input on a situation I ran into over the weekend; one that took me, as well as my passengers and everyone around us, by surprise.

Bear with me here...it's a long one.

I had three other people on board yesterday (girlfriend, dad, stepmom) morning around 8:30-8:45am heading north to Leamington when our plans changed, and we went to Put in Bay instead. Our plan was to be there all day. It's a busy place on the weekends; that's a given, but we were coming in early and don't need a ton of space.

Let me preface this by saying that I have grown up coming to PiB; for the last 5-6 years it has been on a boat of my own at least 2-3 times a summer, and I have rarely radioed in for a dock unless it was extremely busy. Most of the time we get a dock or raft off, sometimes we dont...oh well. And yesterday morning, it wasn't as busy as I figured it'd be yet.

I always pull into B dock first out of default. Yesterday morning was no different. It was about 9:00am or so, and there was very little action- no dock hands at the end of the piers, etc. there were plenty of boats rafted, but also plenty of potential spots. I see a 26-28' or so SeaRay pulling out from an open spot on the main wall/pier. Perfect, right? My boat is pretty maneuverable, so I figure I can slip it right in front/behind the other boats there.

I gave the guy plenty of room getting out and away; there was no-one else coming in behind me and very few if any arriving in the harbor at the same time.

I was able; with very little assistance, to put my boat exactly where I wanted it- no drama. Was feeling pretty good about myself. I figured we'd tie up and I'd settle up with the dock hand or office, as usual. It's a great day already.

Riiiight about then, it turned very sour. I'm concentrating on getting the boat tied off safely, when we see and hear someone running down the dock yelling "WHOA WHOA WHOA; WHO TOLD YOU TO DOCK THERE?!" All of us; as well as a few nearby boaters who were on their decks nursing hangovers, were a little stunned. This guy came down the dock running, guns blazing. One of us replied, "no one; we saw a spot open up, and took it- can we have this dock for the day?" People around us are starting to watch this shit show unfold...

The guy replies in an incredibly offensive tone "NO YOU CANNOT HAVE THIS DOCK; THIS IS MY DOCK! WHAT GIVES YOU THE RIGHT TO COME IN HERE AND STEAL IT?"

My stepmom replies "Really? Do you really have to be like that?"

Dickmaster...I mean dockmaster...replies "YES I DO; HOW WOULD YOU LIKE IT IF I CAME INTO YOUR HOUSE AND STOLE YOUR STUFF? Yes; he really did say that- virbatim.

He continues (EXTREMELY fired up) by saying "DON'T YOU HAVE A RADIO?! DO YOU KNOW HOW TO USE A VHF RADIO?!" Most of us are speechless at this point and the two guys that were sitting on their swim platform watching this had to look away because they were laughing at the guy.

It all became a blur to me at this point; we weren't even fully tied off, no fenders out, etc.

My dad said "We were going to come up and settle up with you; can we just have this dock?"

Dockmaster says; still fired up, "NO; YOU CANNOT HAVE THIS DOCK. I SUGGEST YOU GET OFF MY DOCK RIGHT NOW!"

There were more words, but it was honestly a blur and I don't remember it all. My head was spinning.

By that point, all four of us are totally disgusted. I cannot stress enough how bat shit crazy this dockmaster was being. I mean like out-of-nowhere, fly off the handle and shoot the place up kind of crazy. Out of ALL the times I've been to PiB; even at B-Dock, on jam-packed days, I have NEVER ran into something like that. If the place is full, or a dock is reserved, somebody lets you know, and you don't dock there...no big deal. No hurt feelings.

We couldn't get out of there fast enough. I was wound up like a snare drum and had to calm myself down big time.

Since we were going to be on the island all day, we decided to tie off a mooring ball (new for me). It ended up working out fine, and there was PLENTY of them left. A very low drama, easy experience by the way.

I'm staying quiet just maintaining my composure, winding myself down. The other three in my party were quite upset over it. I'm quietly formulating a plan how to handle this situation. I'm a very non-confrontational, conscientious person by the way, but I get pretty wound up with things like this.

As we were walking uptown; we are coming up on B-dock, and girlfriend says "There he is...there's the guy!" I whip out my iPhone and get the camera ready on zoom mode from across the street; snapped a picture as I was walking. I want to remember this guy. He sees me and yells out from across the street "THE NAME IS JOHN GALVIN IF THAT HELPS!!!" I reply with "IT SURE DOES; IM GONNA OWN YOU. HEY...I FIGURED OUT HOW TO USE MY RADIO, AREN'T YOU PROUD OF ME?" That was the end of it; I didn't pay attention to any of his replies, but they kept coming.

After that, my party walked thru the park and headed towards town. Time for a beer. We pass a park bench, and it happens to be one of the guys that witnessed the original fiasco. He was laughing and said "What the hell was up with that guy? I couldn't even watch!"

It took me a while to unwind from that, but we ended up having a great day despite the out of nowhere drama. Spent plenty of money, as we usually do, ate good food, had a few beers, and went home around 7:00pm.

Apologies for the lengthy post, but what are your guys' thoughts? What would you have done (or will do) in my position?



By the way, the picture of Richard Cranium (aka John Galvin) is below...


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Old 08-11-2013, 06:20 PM   #2
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What the hell did he mean "steal his dock"? Is it because you didn't call and get his permission prior to docking your boat? If that is the case I have just found a spot to dock the boat, go up and pay the bill or the dock master will come up to my boat so I can pay him and get my permission slip. I don't even remember what VHF channel they monitor, are you supposed to hail him on 68? Did he have the spot reserved for someone that DID call ahead? Did you happen to notice if another boat actually took the spot?

I gotta tell you that you are a better man than me because this would have ruined everyone's day and I may have ended up in jail. Are you going to pursue the situation? I don't even know who you would need to contact? Maybe they have changed the rules and you HAVE to call ahead of time now and he thought you were downplaying his authority? I know the dock masters get pretty a-holeish as the day wears on because of the belligerent drunks but I would probably be the same way.

Russ
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Old 08-11-2013, 06:25 PM   #3
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Wright it up to lessens learned about A holes who just can't communicate well. If it's his spot so be it. All he had to do was explain things. I'm sure then you would have understood. They are out there. (A hole boaters)
Glad or hope everyone had a good time.
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Old 08-11-2013, 06:33 PM   #4
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I avoid PIB like the plague for similar reasons. That being said, I do believe most boaters do call the dockmaster via VHF before docking.

Curious as to why Leamington plans changed? weather?
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Old 08-11-2013, 06:51 PM   #5
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Trip to Leamington from Sandusky / Marblehead area..

To the OP....next time radio the dock master before you dock and you will avoid these type of confrontations. I assume by B dock you mean the Crews Nest so you must be a member.
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Old 08-12-2013, 04:43 AM   #6
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Yes; my Leamington plans changed mainly due to weather. It was just easier to head to PiB than have a boat full of wet, unhappy people.

I have no idea what the guy meant about "stealing his dock." He's the dock master; I get it, but at least conduct yourself in a more professional manner and lose the little big man syndrome. Get off the power trip; life is too short. There was no action in the marinas at that time and no dock hands on the piers. I honestly don't think that dock was reserved; we watched from the Boardwalk Upper Deck and it was a while before anybody else came in to fill it.

I certainly won't argue that the radio would help avoid confusion; however, The majority of times I've ever gone to PiB, we've just putted in and out of the marinas and most of the time have found a dock or someone to raft off of. The times I haven't been able to, there's been a NICE person who plainly said "we're full," or "those are all reserved," etc. Ok; no problem. If we don't find an open spot somewhere, lets go to Kelly's.

And this was the B-Dock off DeRiviera Park, not the Crew's Nest. The public marina.

How am I going to pursue this? I'm not sure, really. I sort of wish I was a witness to it happening to someone else; with a shorter temper and less judgement than me, so I could watch someone make him eat his words. I'm just not like that; can't pull it off. The part that I can't wrap my head around is what on earth would make a guy SNAP like that on a potential customer? If I'm really THAT much in the wrong on something, explain it to me- I'll understand and leave. If the dock is reserved, ok no problem...I get it. if you're not accepting day-boaters, okay...I get it, no problem. You don't have to scream out your ass. I guess you had to be there; there were a few people watching and they were all giving the guy a WTF look. Supposedly this guy has been coming to PiB to be a dockmaster for 7 years or something. I'm SURE I've dealt with him before. I'd like to see the person who took a dump in his cornflakes and say thanks a lot pal.

Like I said; we ended up having a good, long day on the island, so the day wasn't lost.
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Old 08-12-2013, 07:15 AM   #7
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Call him up and ask him what the problem was.

See how he responds.

Go from there.
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Old 08-12-2013, 09:59 AM   #8
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First of all unless it is during the week, simply avoid the public docks (A, B and C). The bulk of the people on those docks are there simply to party. While these docks are first come first served, it is widely known that the dockmasters hold spots for regulars. In their defense, they also need to plan accordingly and direct boats to spaces to maximize the available dockage based on your boat size. He probably got bent out of shape because he had someone he knew coming in to that spot. While you should dock where instructed and not simply tied up, no way that guy should have handled it in that manner. He should have simply directed you to a spot where he wanted you to go. The Park trust operates "B" dock so if you wanted to file a complaint that would be where to do it. For day dockage you can't beat the mooring balls, very easy and no concern over rafting or db dockmasters.
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Old 08-12-2013, 11:11 AM   #9
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First of all unless it is during the week, simply avoid the public docks (A, B and C). The bulk of the people on those docks are there simply to party. While these docks are first come first served, it is widely known that the dockmasters hold spots for regulars. In their defense, they also need to plan accordingly and direct boats to spaces to maximize the available dockage based on your boat size. He probably got bent out of shape because he had someone he knew coming in to that spot. While you should dock where instructed and not simply tied up, no way that guy should have handled it in that manner. He should have simply directed you to a spot where he wanted you to go. The Park trust operates "B" dock so if you wanted to file a complaint that would be where to do it. For day dockage you can't beat the mooring balls, very easy and no concern over rafting or db dockmasters.
A fair statement; and I agree.

That was the first time I've tied off the mooring balls; it was actually pretty nice. I could see a downside to the balls being if you WERE there on a mission to party, getting back to your boat could be an issue after the tender stops running or if you actually wanted to chill on your boat and be in the middle of everything.

Shoot; my first boat was a 20' Bilgeliner Trophy outboard; we used to trim the motor up on that thing and creep right up to the rocks, tying off the cleats on the front wall by the sidewalk! It was like having front row seats. I never expected a dock for free, never got any hassle either. I don't really have a party-all-weekend sort of boat, and I'm not a party-all-weekend kinda guy. Put in Bay is still a blast to go to, but there's enough douchebaggery going on with the visitors, which is sort of a given, but nobody should have to take it from the employees.
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Old 08-12-2013, 07:20 PM   #10
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Wowsers.. Sounds like one hell of an experience.

We were there over the second weekend of Xmas in July and the weekend after that, Bay Week. We stayed on A dock for Xmas in July and B dock for Bay Week. I hate the public docks but both weekends were guys' weekends so the public docks were a must for the rebel rousing that is a prerequisite during said weekends. That being said, we had a total blast at both A and B docks.

We never ran into the "dickmaster" you had your encounter with. All of the dock hands were extremely helpful and patient. I was actually surprised that they were so service oriented...especially given the weekends / crowds when we were there. Some people there get caught up in the craziness of the throngs of drunks and forget why they have a job.. Us (the throngs of drunks!)

That being said, I can totally understand people losing their patience at times during the crazy busy summer at PIB but if this went down like you said then I would not be happy either. I have had great luck with a follow-up phone call after a tense situation like you had. Try to find out who is in charge, the key is to get high enough on the food chain to find some one who gives a chit. Somewhere, someone gives a chit and when you find them explain your plight in a very tactful and professional manner. I imagine you will be made whole in one way or another. At the very least it will give you a chance to have your story heard.

If for some odd reason you do not get to someone that gives a chit...........I have had great luck with certified letters.

Also, the mooring balls are THE place to be. I love it out there. The water taxi is not a necessity at all if you have a dinghy.....with operating nav lights, all paperwork in order, all safety gear, and you're not drunk.
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Old 08-13-2013, 05:15 AM   #11
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There was no reason for the dockhand to confront you and the crew in that manor. sounds like you handled it well.
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Old 08-13-2013, 05:23 AM   #12
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I would file a hostile environment complaint after the verbal assault, if I was not in jail by then. I probably would have left the boat tied up to the original dock area and waited for him to touch me as I walked over to his boss. If I found no satisfaction at the first level, right up the chain of command I would go, including the local news.............
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Old 08-13-2013, 05:45 AM   #13
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There was no reason for the dockhand to confront you and the crew in that manor. sounds like you handled it well.
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I would file a hostile environment complaint after the verbal assault, if I was not in jail by then. I probably would have left the boat tied up to the original dock area and waited for him to touch me as I walked over to his boss. If I found no satisfaction at the first level, right up the chain of command I would go, including the local news.............
C-Dave; that's the thing, he WAS the dock-master, not a normal dock hand. I'm not really sure who their boss is.

KJ6- Believe me; I'm a "crafty" person and had all sorts of thoughts running thru my head. But; I had my parents and girlfriend with me, and am definitely not much of the fightin' type if it came to that, so I figure it was a better bet just to comply. It certainly didn't do any good trying to reason with him.

My original intent for posting my experience here was in a way to reaffirm myself; that yes, I did not follow the holy grail of boating checklists, but that it was early, not busy, and no customer should have to endure the tirade that we did. Perhaps a link to this thread sent to the right person might get some traction?
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Old 08-13-2013, 06:23 AM   #14
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C-Dave; that's the thing, he WAS the dock-master, not a normal dock hand. I'm not really sure who their boss is.

KJ6- Believe me; I'm a "crafty" person and had all sorts of thoughts running thru my head. But; I had my parents and girlfriend with me, and am definitely not much of the fightin' type if it came to that, so I figure it was a better bet just to comply. It certainly didn't do any good trying to reason with him.

My original intent for posting my experience here was in a way to reaffirm myself; that yes, I did not follow the holy grail of boating checklists, but that it was early, not busy, and no customer should have to endure the tirade that we did. Perhaps a link to this thread sent to the right person might get some traction?
Your right, I'm Irish........
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Old 08-13-2013, 07:30 AM   #15
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Your right, I'm Irish........
Haha...nice, sometimes I wish I was.
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Old 08-13-2013, 12:55 PM   #16
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I've docked at B-Dock plenty of times and have normally had very good interaction w/ John. I do know that he does prefer to have boats call in over the radio on 68 and then they direct everyone where to tie up.

Normally the B Dock crew does a fantastic job of managing their space and even though they don't take reservations, they usually will try to plan for boats that have let them know that they are coming over so that they can maximize their dock usage.

Not sure why your event got so hostile, its unfortunate that it went down that way. John has been there for many years and is pretty much the head dockmaster.

I usually prefer B Dock over A and C since B docks funds the DelRivera park operation while A and C just line the Village coffers.

Odd part is that I actually joined the crew's nest w/ an R&S membership this year and have only docked there 1 time out of 6 trips to PIB and it was only for an afternoon. Two of our trips ended up at B Dock just to hang out w/ the partiers.
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Old 08-13-2013, 01:17 PM   #17
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I've docked at B-Dock plenty of times and have normally had very good interaction w/ John. I do know that he does prefer to have boats call in over the radio on 68 and then they direct everyone where to tie up.

Normally the B Dock crew does a fantastic job of managing their space and even though they don't take reservations, they usually will try to plan for boats that have let them know that they are coming over so that they can maximize their dock usage.

Not sure why your event got so hostile, its unfortunate that it went down that way. John has been there for many years and is pretty much the head dockmaster.

I usually prefer B Dock over A and C since B docks funds the DelRivera park operation while A and C just line the Village coffers.

Odd part is that I actually joined the crew's nest w/ an R&S membership this year and have only docked there 1 time out of 6 trips to PIB and it was only for an afternoon. Two of our trips ended up at B Dock just to hang out w/ the partiers.
I'd say the last 8 times out of 10 that I've been to PiB, I've been at B-dock and have never had an issue. Come to think of it; last Saturday off a mooring ball was the first time out of that harbor for me.

I was texting another boating friend about the confrontation while we were relaxing on the patio behind Frosty's and his response was "Talk to John on B-dock; he's the guy." Ironic that it was him that just went ballistic on us. That tells me it's not this guy's normal M.O.

Realistically speaking, I don't think anyone would last in that position for as long as he's been there if they came at everyone the way he did at us. And I'm fully aware that I'm just a speck of dust on Put in Bay's money-making machine. The guy was clearly having a bad, bad, awful day (which happens to everyone, of course), but in no way should that be MY problem. Not trying to be overly sensitive here; but honestly, how many different ways could he have handled it and still gotten his point across?

I've had my boat at Kelly's WAY more than PiB this year; we like it there a lot too, but when you want PiB, there's no substitute, and half the fun sometimes is being right there in the middle of it.
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Old 08-13-2013, 01:25 PM   #18
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A little tiff at the dock and it became a "blur"..."your head was spinning"...this is a joke right?
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Old 08-17-2013, 05:41 AM   #19
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I've never had a problem with John. I always radio in wherever I am going unless my friends are already at the dock waiting to help me tie up. Used to frequent B dock all the time, until we got shut out of a spot one weekend. Then I joined Park Place boat club. It's pricey, but you can reserve a dock and the shower facilities are second to none on the island. That makes for a very enjoyable weekend. Also, you don;t have inconsiderate people walking all over your boat, or a radio blasting at 3 am when you are ready to sleep.

I do miss the parties on B dock, always a good time!
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Old 08-22-2013, 07:00 AM   #20
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Too bad partner. The posts on this thread are interesting. Most boaters/fishermen understand this is an expensive pasttime, and that we pay a premium on everything from tow vehicles to fasteners to service. The expectation that comes with this is that we will be treated as customers (not kings, but not servants either) when paying for these luxuries (services).

I don't care who you are . . . dockmaster, dock owner, or high school first job holder; you don't insult customers. Full stop.

When I run into these fools, I find the best practice is to stand there and wait until Napoleon is done yelling, then continue with simple, monosyllabic questions and answers: "Where can I dock?" "When can I dock?" et cetera.

I've met the OP briefly, and he struck me as a nice guy; very amiable (like 95% of the humans that enjoy the water).

John obviously suffers from LIMs disease or other personality disorder; and it ain't "his" dock.
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