Topside2

Kayak Etiquette/Law Question

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The other day I was fishing from my boat near some structure (a bridge).  I was away from any navigational areas...off on my own and minding my own business.  I was standing in the bow of my boat and casting towards the bridge about 50-60 feet away.  Along comes a group of kayakers.  They clearly saw me fishing, and promptly paddled between me and the bridge.  Of course, they scared away a bunch of stripers in the process.  There was plenty of calm water and space for them to go around me.

 

I am curious whether this is a matter of boating etiquette or a legal issue?  Does a boat engaged in fishing enjoy any specific legal protections regarding interference or right of way in Maine marine waters?

 

 

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Highly doubtful.   Anyway, who would enforce it?    

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Posted (edited)

Fishing etiquette, nothing legal.  And you can't expect weekend kayakers to have a clue about fishing etiquette, even many fishermen don't...

 

That being said a shot over the bow with a pogy snag is a very compelling GTF away from me message...

Edited by Roccus7

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5 hours ago, Topside2 said:

The other day I was fishing from my boat near some structure (a bridge).  I was away from any navigational areas...off on my own and minding my own business.  I was standing in the bow of my boat and casting towards the bridge about 50-60 feet away.  Along comes a group of kayakers.  They clearly saw me fishing, and promptly paddled between me and the bridge.  Of course, they scared away a bunch of stripers in the process.  There was plenty of calm water and space for them to go around me.

 

I am curious whether this is a matter of boating etiquette or a legal issue?  Does a boat engaged in fishing enjoy any specific legal protections regarding interference or right of way in Maine marine waters?

 

 

Happens to me all the time.  When I let them know they are intruding on my rec space they usually just laugh at me.

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They either are unsure of what they did wrong or did it with intent or without care? If you think it's worth it to engage (politely), they may listen for the next time. Some people really don't know and may benefit from a little friendly edumacation! 

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9 hours ago, Roccus7 said:

Fishing etiquette, nothing legal.  And you can't expect weekend kayakers to have a clue about fishing etiquette, even many fishermen don't...

 

That being said a shot over the bow with a pogy snag is a very compelling GTF away from me message...

These kayakers were participants in a kayak outfitter course  and were being lead by "two of the best instructors on the east coast."  This according to the owner of the outfit when I asked for a little courtesy after the incident.

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Posted (edited)

9 hours ago, Topside2 said:

These kayakers were participants in a kayak outfitter course  and were being lead by "two of the best instructors on the east coast."  This according to the owner of the outfit when I asked for a little courtesy after the incident.

All the more reason for the pogy snag damn close to the bow.  A-hole should know better and could have used the situation to help educate the newbies about simple estuarine etiquette.  I hope you gave the owner a warning about the repercussions for any future events...

 

My local kayak rental group leaders stay well clear of boats fishing.  When I'm parked next to one of my favorite rips, they always pass out of the line of fire, and even have totally changed course when I was hooked into a large fish in the middle of the channel... 

Edited by Roccus7

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On 8/17/2022 at 6:29 AM, Roccus7 said:

All the more reason for the pogy snag damn close to the bow.  A-hole should know better and could have used the situation to help educate the newbies about simple estuarine etiquette.  I hope you gave the owner a warning about the repercussions for any future events...

 

My local kayak rental group leaders stay well clear of boats fishing.  When I'm parked next to one of my favorite rips, they always pass out of the line of fire, and even have totally changed course when I was hooked into a large fish in the middle of the channel... 

You are lucky to have a kayak company that recognizes the need to share the water.  The owner of our local company responded to me with a dissertation about credentials, tenure, professional associations and what he perceived that I did wrong. No acknowledgment of any potential fault on the kayakers' part.  A sure sign of trying to defend the indefensible.  I left no doubt with him that if they cut me off again, they'll be met with a very spirited response. 

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1 hour ago, Topside2 said:

You are lucky to have a kayak company that recognizes the need to share the water.  The owner of our local company responded to me with a dissertation about credentials, tenure, professional associations and what he perceived that I did wrong. No acknowledgment of any potential fault on the kayakers' part.  A sure sign of trying to defend the indefensible.  I left no doubt with him that if they cut me off again, they'll be met with a very spirited response. 

Surprised you didn't get chastised about your carbon footprint...

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You have the general hunter/fisherman harassment laws in both ME and NH, but I doubt that would hold up in this case unless you could show the kayakers were trying to mess with you on purpose. 

 

That's a frustrating situation, and if it were just some tourists in rentals with no clue that would be one thing, but guides actually taking them in that proximity to you is obviously not right. That said, as a kayaker I have been on the other side of this - cut off from areas I was actively fishing or buzzed/waked by boats that didn't need to come so close. Maybe that kayak company has a bad attitude towards boaters in general from similar experiences, not that it excuses their behavior in any way. 

1 hour ago, Topside2 said:

The owner of our local company responded to me with a dissertation about credentials, tenure, professional associations and what he perceived that I did wrong.

What did they perceive that you did wrong, out of curiosity?

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3 hours ago, drmevo said:

You have the general hunter/fisherman harassment laws in both ME and NH, but I doubt that would hold up in this case unless you could show the kayakers were trying to mess with you on purpose. 

 

That's a frustrating situation, and if it were just some tourists in rentals with no clue that would be one thing, but guides actually taking them in that proximity to you is obviously not right. That said, as a kayaker I have been on the other side of this - cut off from areas I was actively fishing or buzzed/waked by boats that didn't need to come so close. Maybe that kayak company has a bad attitude towards boaters in general from similar experiences, not that it excuses their behavior in any way. 

What did they perceive that you did wrong, out of curiosity?

They claimed that I was fishing in a navigation channel.  The bridge I was fishing  bridge is literally right in front of my family cottage and I  know it like the back of my hand. I have been fishing this spot for well over 50 years and it is not remotely near the navigation channel. It is an entirely legit place to position a boat and to fish. Next, they claimed that it wasn't clear that I was fishing.  I don't know how it could be any clearer as I was first fighting and landing a fish, then casting from the raised deck of my open center console boat the entire time I was in their view.  Plus, the water was calm and there was ample room for them to avoid me.  Then, I had the audacity to ask for a little courtesy.  I think that the instructors simply weren't paying attention.  By his defensive, accusatory communication with me and a complete inability to admit any fault, I have come to the conclusion that the owner of the company is a true dink.  By-the-way, I kayak fish too. 

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Sounds familiar.  I used to get very upset about kayakers intrusion.  I have thought of retaliating with similar behavior but that is not the answer.  In the end, I just take a deep breath and tell myself that I am a lucky man to be there fishing from my boat on the coast of Maine.  Then I go home and rant to my wife who is a kayaker.

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I recently had a couple kayak right along the shore of an island I rowed to.

 

They see I have a few lines in the water and am actively casting and still proceeded to go right through it all. Thing is they were waving and asking if I caught anything. They meant well but were fairly oblivious - most kayakers are because they by default have the right of way over a boat with an engine.

 

It's possible they had no idea they were running interference, probably a situation where a kind word explaining the situation works better than an angry response. But I'm leaning they did know but ignored that because causing you a mild inconvenience would be an inconvenience for them to steer their group around you with a wide berth.

 

Legally speaking, have the right of way and you must accommodate them.  It sucks, but nothing really worth getting worked up over imo.

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The experienced guide aught to have known that not only is that poor etiquette, but he/she was also putting his/her clients in danger in proximity to flying hooks and sinkers.  That said, I too have been cut off and waked by boats, while in my kayak.  I've also had charters park their boat right in front of me, or drift way too close to me while fishing a jetty.  I've also had paddle boarders paddle right past me and way too close, while fishing the beach.  People either don't know or don't care.

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Posted (edited)

I think the moral of this all comes back down to etiquette while on the water. I know I have a boatload (no pun intended) of stories in a boat, while fishing, in a kayak, at night, etc. I'm sure most of us have. 

 

Best we can do is to try to share the water and promote good ethics / etiquette. For some, they just don't know and if appropriate, educate them nicely / with respect. For those that are going to ignore or intentionally go out of their way to being arseholes, make sure to report them, expose them, and highlight their disregard for safety or impact to others that matters. Their brand damage will reflect on their behavior and attitude, accordingly.  

 

To the OP, it might not hurt to share your interaction with the tour service to whatever local authorities are at your disposal. They likely will not take any immediate action but the complaint would be logged. If any related issues ever come up in the future, you would be helping with providing information that could contribute to future complaints/investigations.

 

I say all of this as someone that has had a lot of rage all of my life and often took things to a level they did not need to. I to this day still wonder how the yuppie yacht that swamped me while in my kayak got all of those stains off of their hull and canvas enclosure. My intent was only to leave behind a bunch of stinky bait on deck but the crowds of hundreds of seagulls dropping creamy turds all over that hull and fabric had to have been worth it. OK, I might do that again if ever needed but I'm done with arguing with people. 

Edited by NHAngler

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