A close-up look at a fishing opener boating collision

Shown here is a boat was involved in a collision on the fishing opener. Fortunately, the occupants saw the other watercraft bearing down on them and got out of the way. This is a good reminder to pay attention to your surroundings on the water.

We were just gathering for dinner on the Minnesota walleye opener when the first emergency response vehicles zipped past the cabin. They pulled up next to the lake, just down the road from us. After that, it was a steady stream of first responders, firetrucks, and passenger vehicles. We started waving down the passenger vehicles and letting them know they weren’t going to get anywhere and that they should turn around.

Word traveled through the gathered crowd that there had been a boat collision. Anyone who has spent time on a busy lake on a beautiful fishing opener probably isn’t terribly surprised to read those words.

The story that I learned was that a fellow in a tiller-steered boat was having trouble getting his boat on plane and because the bow was lifted so high, he couldn’t see what was in front of him. Unfortunately, what was in his path was a family in their own boat, fishing away. From the sounds of it, the family saw the boat bearing down on them and either ducked or jumped, which may have saved them from serious injury or worse.

It was a bright, sunny day and the collision happened in the afternoon. In other words, you couldn’t pick a better time to feel safe on the water. But it happened anyway, and it was a good reminder to pay attention not only to what you’re doing, but what others are doing. It seems that there are a few times each summer when those with the least experience piloting watercraft cover the most water. It’s reality, and it can be dangerous.

So pay attention out there and wear those life jackets.

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