Fishing & Boating News

On the Dock with Rick Smith

A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Lake

by: Rick Smith,

(Jan. 25, 2011 - Temple, TX) All of us have had some embarrassing moments associated with our boating. As they're happening the experiences don't seem humorous, but time heals all wounds, even those self inflicted. Today's article highlights some of the funny things that I've seen in my 50 plus years of boating and fishing.

Don't Yell at the Driver

A few years ago I managed the marina on Lake Stillhouse Hollow. For entertainment we only needed to watch the launching ramp on a busy weekend. One especially interesting event occurred while a husband and wife team was attempting to load their boat on the trailer after a day on the lake. The husband was in the boat and the wife was doing her best to back the truck down the ramp, but she was having difficulty keeping the trailer lined up straight. The husband kept shouting at the wife to turn the steering this way and then that way which did not help her concentration. The louder he shouted the more frustrated she became and it was evident to all watching that the lady was close to the breaking point as she screamed back at her husband. I decided to walk over to the ramp to see if I could help, but before I could make it, she got out of the pickup, leaving it in neutral. You can guess the rest as the trailer and truck rolled down the ramp into the water. The husband drove the boat hard into the trailer in an attempt to stop everything from sinking and proceeded to put the trailer bow stand into the boat creating quite a hole. The boat did not have enough power to stop the momentum so the truck and trailer continued down the ramp sinking slowly below the surface. Fortunately the boat continued to float even with the large gaping hole in the hull.

The husband and wife continued to scream at each other as to whose fault all of this was. Things quieted down by the time the wrecker arrived to pull out the truck, but I doubt that this couple enjoyed more days of boating or for that matter anything else together.

My Boat's Too Slow

I've heard this story told so many times I would believe it was an urban boating legend if I had not seen it for myself. One day while I was working the fuel dock at Stillhouse Marina a customer pulled up to the dock in a brand new Glastron boat. He asked me to look at his 100 hp motor because his boat would only go about 10 mph and he was told by the dealer that it would go 40 mph. I had him start the motor and it sounded just fine. I then suggested that we take it out for a spin so I could hear the motor run at wide open throttle. As we pulled away from the dock I noticed the boat did not steer properly and was putting out an unusual wave. I put the motor into neutral to make sure it was hooked up properly. When I looked over the transom I saw something under the boat almost touching the motor. On closer inspection I realized it was the trailer! I laughed and asked the customer about it. He said that the only thing he was told was to make sure he got the rig deep enough in the water when launching the boat. So he backed his car fairly deep into the water and then disconnected the trailer from the ball of the vehicle. Of course the boat floated the trailer nicely.

We motored back to the ramp and had a dickens of a time using the outboard motor to push the trailer far enough up the ramp in order to attach it back to the hitch.

Guess one man's common sense is not the same as another's!

So when headed to the lake remember to relax, have some fun and don't get too uptight when things don't go as smooth as you think they should. We all make mistakes, it's how we respond to them that makes the difference.