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Old 01-31-2019, 06:59 AM
Senior Member
Join Date: Oct 2014
Location: N.E. CT
Posts: 2,587

Originally Posted by USCG Safe Boating D8 View Post
Ned, let me tell you a little story here. I used to be a commercial fishing vessel safety specialist. My primary function in that job was conducting safety exams on commercial fishing boats. One day I was checking a mackerel boat. Commercial king mackerel are normally harvested with trolling gear. Sometimes a fairly extensive set. Many of the boats are run by one person.

As I was checking this particular boat the captain pointed to his fishing day shapes and said "how do you like those?" He had built them himself and had done a great job. I told him that they were some of the best homemade shapes I had seen, but they weren't required. I asked him if his gear restricted his ability to maneuver. He told me that it didn't really, but he liked them for several reasons. His lines extended pretty far aft of his boat and he wanted the shapes as a warning to other boats since he often fished where there was a good bit of recreational fishing activity. Most of the mackerel boats have a steering and control station on the back deck so that they can maneuver while they are fighting fish. This is particularly important when there is only one person on the boat. They will often leave their boats in gear as they pull fish in on one of their lines. This captain told me that while he may not be restricted in his ability to maneuver, if he was flipping a fish on board, he wasn't going to maneuver.

Obviously from a safety standpoint there's a lot to cause concern in that picture, but from his perspective it made perfect sense that he wanted to display the day shapes. In some cases the captain of the boat will have to make a judgement call on lights and shapes. In this captain's case, I think it was a good decision.
Very well stated, thank you. I can understand that captain’s decision.
The concern I had was this instructor telling inexperienced people that as soon as they dropped a line over the side they were the prívilaged vessel regardless.
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