The first in a series of answers to notes sent to us via social media and the website:
Dear Nana & Quaket,
I have a protocol question. We often take our boat out of the pond into the Sakonnet. When we are under power going under the bridge-we are always dodging fishing lines that are cast down the middle of the waterway. Are fisher people responsible to pull their lines up when a craft is passing under the bridge?
Dear Concerned Boater,
You are 100 percent right. Fisherfolk all need to lift their lines out of the channel, or move them aside, and properly yield to boat traffic especially if their fishing lines have fouled the main channel (usually the center of the bridge). Nanaquaket is a small channel and a small bridge and the only way out of the pond. Protocol would dictate that boaters would slow to a reasonable speed to allow fishermen time to lift and move their lines, and that fishermen would make every effort to do so promptly.
We would expect that in the circumstance a fish is on the line at that moment, that boaters would allow time for the fisherman to retrieve her catch.
If it's clear to the fisherman or boater that the other party does not understand this etiquette our opinion is that it is totally appropriate to call up or down to or from the bridge (we hope with a minimum of expletives) and attempt to bring the other party up to speed. It is important to communicate when protocol is not followed in order to pass on the traditions and the protocol. There's no other way for it to happen than to talk to each other. We've seen boaters cut lines, and we've seen fishermen lob sinkers at boats. We're hoping we don't see either at Nanaquaket!
Dear Concerned Boater,
Strangely enough, mid-channel is not always the best place to catch fish at the bridge, but you will always find anglers fishing mid-channel! For those that would like to fish mid-channel (sometimes that IS the best place to fish), you are correct, it is proper etiquette for anglers to clear their lines. A short horn blast on approach to the bridge by boaters is appropriate, courteous, and should be reciprocated by anglers clearing their lines and giving a friendly wave. That’s how it’s “done,” but of course you'll always find some anglers and boaters that don’t get the memo. I’ve found it best to lead by example in these cases, and your question indicates you're a conscientious boater looking to do just that.
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