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Crab pot markers: A navigational hazard?

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Crab pot markers: A navigational hazard?

Old 06-17-2007, 12:50 AM
  #1  
Joe
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Default Crab pot markers: A navigational hazard?

Out in Charleston (SC) harbor today in 20-30 feet of water--LOTS' of crab pot markers. My favorite are those painted DARK GREEN. I ran over one and didn't know it, til I heard it hit my hull and saw the scratches it left when I got home.

Shouldn't this be illegal? They are in the main channel, in "deep" water. What are the fines for just cutting the rope to the trap? I can only imagine the damage it would do were it to get wrapped up around my prop. And there are DOZENS, if not more of these things, in the middle of the channel. What can we (as boaters) do about it?
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Old 06-17-2007, 01:22 AM
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Default Re: Crab pot markers: A navigational hazard?

I have the same problem in Hilton Head, last time I was coming back in the dark I hit one that was right in the middle of the channel. Not sure how but it damaged the wheel, luckily the rope didn't get wrapped all around the shaft. So I get to pay the diver to come change wheels and to send those off to be reworked... yeah I wasn't happy. I guess his loss was the $30 pot that he won't get back.

I don't have a problem with them crabbing, putting them in the middle of the channel I do have a problem with. They aren't supposed to do that but its obviously not enforced. It is however against the law for you or me to tamper with their gear. Some of them even put tar on the rope to discourage people from pulling their pots... that makes it even more fun to try and cut the rope off your wheels.

I guess all you can do is complain to the local dnr or sheriff, whoever patrols the most in Charleston.
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Old 06-17-2007, 05:23 AM
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Default Re: Crab pot markers: A navigational hazard?

You Charlestonians aren't the only mariners who have to run crab pot minefields. The pots are all over Chesapeake Bay, making it a gamble to voyage at night and even in the day if the markers are dark. The only protection you have is caution, running in deep water (not an option when returning to the marina), and having a rope cutting device on your propshaft (which means you have an inboard engine and prop shaft -- not an option for people with I/Os or outboards).

We also have unlighted (illegally so) fish traps to contend with. They are also fun to run into.
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Old 06-17-2007, 05:53 AM
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Default Re: Crab pot markers: A navigational hazard?

Think about it. Why would a crabber put his pots in a channel knowing the buoys are going to be cut off and the pot is lost?

In all probability the pot and buoy were dragged into the channel by a boater not paying attention to what he was doing.
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Old 06-17-2007, 05:56 AM
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Default Re: Crab pot markers: A navigational hazard?

It is my understanding that crab pots are not supposed to be located in a navigational channel per CG regs. But, guess what, they are there anyway. It is probably an enforcement issue or rather a lack of enforcement. Go to Maine this time of year and you'll really see alot of lobster pots. Puts the crab pots to shame...however, I don't recall any in clearly marked channels.
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Old 06-17-2007, 06:06 AM
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Default Re: Crab pot markers: A navigational hazard?

reds - 6/17/2007 5:53 AM Think about it. Why would a crabber put his pots in a channel knowing the buoys are going to be cut off and the pot is lost? In all probability the pot and buoy were dragged into the channel by a boater not paying attention to what he was doing.
I would have to disagree with you, at least for the OBX NC area

You see the crabbers laying their gear in the channels . . . the traps were not pulled there by boaters not paying attention
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Old 06-17-2007, 06:23 AM
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If it is a true channel, buoyed by the Coast Guard or law enforcement of the area, then the crabber should be reported.

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Old 06-17-2007, 06:26 AM
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Default Re: Crab pot markers: A navigational hazard?

Wilmington is the same. The ICWW if full of them, albeit mostly towards the edges. It is a pain, but we manage to weave in and out of them.
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Old 06-17-2007, 07:08 AM
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Default Re: Crab pot markers: A navigational hazard?

reds - 6/17/2007 6:53 AM Think about it. Why would a crabber put his pots in a channel knowing the buoys are going to be cut off and the pot is lost? In all probability the pot and buoy were dragged into the channel by a boater not paying attention to what he was doing.
I work in a marina and watch the crabbers put the pot in the channel and at the entrance to our marina at the end of the jetty. When pots drifted into the marina after a storm I tried to return them and they wouldn't even speak to me. It was like I wasn't there.So now if they venture in, I keep them. There's no talking to them. We have one guy that painted his buoys black.
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Old 06-17-2007, 07:33 AM
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Default Re: Crab pot markers: A navigational hazard?

They're heavy here in west central fl as well, I almost hit a dark green one on the way back in on Friday, missed the props by inches...., we go out at around 4 a.m., I'm shocked we've never hit one on the way out that tagged a prop...I think the grady hull is so heavy that it must push them off to the side....because I know I've had to steer hard every single time we come in at least once or twice to miss them...., and we're on the same route going out....I've been lucky so far (knockin on wood).., only hit one about 20 years ago in a robalo with twin black maxes...., we were turning about 4500, the props sheared the rope and it went flying up between the engines and that was it...no more crab trap...it didn't wrap or anything....luck I guess. But I hate the things.
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Old 06-17-2007, 07:52 AM
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Default Re: Crab pot markers: A navigational hazard?

They are everywhere here but they don't really bother me much. I hooked one around the outdrive once and just cut her loose.
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Old 06-17-2007, 08:32 AM
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I have been complaining to my representative here in Va for years and to no avail, I hit one IN the channel once and the haulout , propwork was over 700 bucks.....try to find the owner and then prove it was in the channel after it wraps your wheel like a cage, re-bar weights and all..

The law here is the crabbers are not allowed to place a pot in the channel, BUT once past the outermost marker, they are free to create a minefield. That of course renders the rules of the road moot as people must dodge the pots.
They are IMMUNE from prosecution and EXEMPT from civil liability......how would you like to have that going for you?
I even wrote a simple change to the law that my guy said was great, it forced them to allow a "fairway" into every harbor leading from the main channel. No pot could be closer than 50 yards from a line established by the navigation buoys out to the main channel. It also established the fact that mariners have a right to make port [especially at night] unencumbered by obstructions to navigation, an obvious safety issue, but of course he never addressed at the house of burgesses, they being much more interested in passing ridiculous licensing bills in the name of safety....give them an actual safety oriented idea and they bow to crab lobby special interests.....

We boaters vote in greater numbers and represent much greater impact on our states economies than these arrogant "waterman" who get treated as some sort of endangered species from the past.

You can sue them in some cases, but how do you recover damages from somebody whose assets are an old wooden boat and some chicken wire?
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Old 06-17-2007, 08:43 AM
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Default Re: Crab pot markers: A navigational hazard?

The worst I ever saw was about 15 years ago in Gloucester. The entrance to the harbor was wall to wall lobster pots. some of them marked by an empty 2-liter soda bottle! There was no way around - just go a little quicker and hope the hull would push the aside
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Old 06-17-2007, 09:02 AM
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Default Re: Crab pot markers: A navigational hazard?

capndick - 6/17/2007 8:32 AM


We boaters vote in greater numbers and represent much greater impact on our states economies than these arrogant "waterman" who get treated as some sort of endangered species from the past.
My neighbors are waterman. They are not arrogant. They are very good people.
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Old 06-17-2007, 10:53 AM
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Default Re: Crab pot markers: A navigational hazard?

makosteve66 - 6/17/2007 9:43 AM The worst I ever saw was about 15 years ago in Gloucester. The entrance to the harbor was wall to wall lobster pots. some of them marked by an empty 2-liter soda bottle! There was no way around - just go a little quicker and hope the hull would push the aside
If you ask a lobsterman here about pots in the channel he'll tell ya: "The lobsters don't care"! And that's about all you need to know. The ones with the soda bottles are mostly left by responsibleboaters who became tangled andcut-up the buoy. Lobster gear is expensive and though lobstermen are territorial and will cut-loose someone's gear who set them in "their spot",they do work hard for a living. The "minefield "of pots is one reason having a notched transom is an advantage. It's a whole lot easier clearing a tangled prop with both feet on the deck!
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Old 06-17-2007, 12:17 PM
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Default Re: Crab pot markers: A navigational hazard?

capndick - 6/17/2007 8:32 AM
We boaters vote in greater numbers and represent much greater impact on our states economies than these arrogant "waterman" who get treated as some sort of endangered species from the past.

You can sue them in some cases, but how do you recover damages from somebody whose assets are an old wooden boat and some chicken wire?
Who is the arrogant one?
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Old 06-17-2007, 12:20 PM
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Default Re: Crab pot markers: A navigational hazard?

I'm glad I don't have to deal with it.. But if I was in a clearly marked channel and a pot was in my path, I might have to move it out of the way or set it free so it does not pose a threat in the navigable waterway.

There are rules, boaters have to follow and there are rules watermen have to follow.. Both should do thier part!

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Old 06-17-2007, 12:33 PM
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Default Re: Crab pot markers: A navigational hazard?

Well, one of the local crabbers around here not only puts his pots in the channel, but when he puts his boat in at the ramp, he blocks the ramp while he throws all his spoiled bait and dead crabs from yesterday's trip into the water at the ramp.

When he comes in, he gets his boat on the trailer, but before his wife pulls the rig up, he takes a bucket and spends ten or fifteen minutes rinsing down his boat and wetting thr crabs he has caught.

BTW: He takes his big old dog with him that doesn't stop barking the whole time. Even on the river the dog is barking at the birds that follow his boat.

BTW #2: His wife is fat and ugly. And neither apparently speaks English.
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Old 06-17-2007, 12:38 PM
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Default Re: Crab pot markers: A navigational hazard?

Ron,

You know the phone number to call to put and end to it I'm sure... I've been blocked at the ramp waiting to retrieve for almost an hour before. I made a call from the water, the police came and resolved the issue in short order.

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Old 06-17-2007, 12:46 PM
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Default Re: Crab pot markers: A navigational hazard?

StingerII - 6/17/2007 11:38 AM

Ron,

You know the phone number to call to put and end to it I'm sure... I've been blocked at the ramp waiting to retrieve for almost an hour before. I made a call from the water, the police came and resolved the issue in short order.
I guess you're talking about the city police, not the DNR. Their guy parks his truck and trailer in front of the "No Parking" sign while he's out on the water.

I would welcome police presence at that ramp - cars without trailers in trailer only spots, abandoned boats in parking spots, people blocking the ramp while they try to figure out why their boat won't start, blocking the ramp while they load their coolers, etc., wakes near or even between the docks, on and on. Some folks just don't care about anyone but themselves.
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