Article Comment 

Serious boating accidents can be avoided with training


Special to the Dispatch



During the Bass Fishing League regional competition last weekend, there was a boating accident that claimed the life of one of the anglers. There were several different tournaments being held on the same weekend one of the boats from one of the other tournaments collided with a BFL contestant''s boat. 


The only details that I will talk about is that apparently one of the boats veered right to avoid the accident and the other boat veered left and struck the first boat. 


Boating safety rules were apparently not followed. 


In 2009, the Coast Guard counted 4730 accidents that involved 736 deaths, 3358 injuries and approximately $36 million dollars of damage to property as a result of recreational boating accidents. 


There are many people who operate boats every year on our waterway that have never even seen a safe boating guide. These are the people that also have never been properly instructed on how to use a boat or navigate a boat on a typical body of water. 


I see boats on the river system each week riding down the wrong side of the river with boats approaching. The rules are the same on the water as on the roads. 


If you are reading this article, stay on the right side of the water as much as possible. If you have a boat approaching head-on, veer right to avoid the on-coming vessel. If it is impossible to veer right, shut down until the boat passes. 


All boating accidents can be avoided. 


There was a NASCAR driver that said something on television one time after having an accident that has stuck with me for years and I believe that it holds true for boats as well, "We have a false sense that tells us that we can control a machine that can be uncontrollable." 


Boats do NOT have brakes. There is no possible way to make a sudden stop if something goes wrong. 


There are several fishermen and women that have had steering problems while driving a boat and found themselves losing control. Even boats that have had proper maintenance can become unsafe.  


It is our responsibility as boat owners, fishermen, and water sports activists to drive safely. Boats running at high speeds are just like cars; there is little room for mistakes. 


The Thursday Night tournaments, directed by Tony and Marian Parson, held their championship tournament this past Saturday with 21 boats competing. It was a beautiful day for fishing even though the fishing was tough. 


Will and Dusty Dupler won the event with 13.21 pounds and won the second big bass pot with 3.73 pounds. Lance and JD Jackson finished in second place with 10.23 pounds. Gene Brown and Eddie Armstrong took third place with 9.92 pounds. Steve and Rodney Moore finished in fourth place with 9.66 pounds and also won the big bass pot with 4.15 pounds and Josh and Ed Thrasher rounded out the top five with 6.90 pounds. 


The Parsons would like to thank the sponsors for their contributions in helping in a tough economy, The Boat Gallery, Performance Marine, The Fiberglass Shop, Wal-Mart, and Southern Lure Company. 


Next year''s season begins on April 14, 2011. 


The Parsons would also like to thank each of the fishermen and women for coming out each Thursday evening and making the trail such a success. 


This tournament format is a great opportunity for weekend anglers that normally do not fish tournaments to enjoy friendly competition and not spend much money. 


Kevin Forrester is the Dispatch''s outdoor writer. Contact him at [email protected]



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