by The Anonymous Deckhand
I didn't really want to bring this up but I can't let it lay any longer. It's the issue of drinking and and getting stoned on boats. Now I don't want anyone to misunderstand me here at all. When I'm not working I like to fish and I will usually have a couple of beers while doing so. I enjoy a glass or two of wine with a good meal, and a cocktail when I'm home and relaxing is appreciated too. In that respect I'm really no different than many of you.
I don't know, maybe it's because I've been doing this for a while. Maybe I just had to clean up the heads one too many times this season after someone puked in them, or in the galley, or below decks on the floor, or even worse in their bunk. It's easy enough to get sick on a boat for some folks, and I have sympathy and respect for anyone who knows they might get sick and goes fishing anyway because they love it that much. It just seems that a few of you really need to think about easing up a little. And it's not just while you're on the boat, it's also before you have even boarded. Seeing and dealing with people who get on the boat "fully loaded" is never a good way to start a trip. The skipper doesn't like it, the crew doesn't like it, and especially on an open party trip, the rest of the passengers don't like it much either.
Sure, we all like to have a little fun. But how much is really too much? There are a lot of tailgate gatherings in the parking lots before trips of all lengths. It's always good to greet old friends in anticipation of a trip and have a cold one or two with them as well. When it gets to the point though that people can't walk down to the boat without falling down and getting hurt, well, that's a bit much. On top of that the thing no one really wants to mention is that drinking in the parking lot isn't even legal. Yeah, we all know the local PD as a rule doesn't do or say much about drinking in public unless things get a little extreme. Lately that has been getting to be the case, particularly during the high part of the season.
When fishing is good and the parking lot is filled, tempers can get a little short and adding too many adult beverages to the mix doesn't help at all. Then there are the broken beer bottles that are seen littering the parking lot and sometimes even the sidewalk after someone commits a major party foul. Not good at all! It's more than just unsightly, it can quickly become a safety issue with all the folks around wearing flip flops or sandals or even bare feet. Yes, using cans instead of bottles would help with this, but we all know that is not the point. The point is that you are getting ready to get on a boat. A moving platform that is travelling on an often unstable surface making staying on your feet difficult at times for even those who haven't touched a drop. On top of that you are also using a lot of sharp objects which don't care if you're just having fun or not. If you make a mistake with them they are unforgiving, and we don't enjoy digging hooks out of you or the other passenger you may have stuck with one.
Yes, most every boat I know of sells beer on board, and some will even let you bring your own or even a bottle. Heck on charter trips, if there is a special request most boats will even stock a desired brand of beer for you! But we also hope that you'll use a little personal restraint in the amount consumed. We can of course cut you off if needed, but we'd rather not unless it is absolutely necessary. To be honest that's because we know that if we mess with your good time you likely won't leave a tip and not want to come back. Even worse, you might have an online fit and tell everyone what a bad time you had on a particular boat and do it's reputation harm for no good reason. Maybe we as crew need to have a little more guts about this, I don't know. I do know that I'm tired of wondering if people are OK to drive home after a trip. I also got really tired of saving people from themselves a long time ago. There have even been incidents of people going over the side at night because they were too drunk to stand on deck. This needs to stop before anyone is lost. It almost happened on a couple of boats this past season. A good time simply isn't worth almost dying over.
Then there are those who need to smoke their "seasick medicine". Some of you just can't seem to get on a boat without it. You appear to think that you're fooling everyone by going in the head for a hit or two, but that old familiar smell is always there afterwards. While we don't appreciate it going on, most of the time little or nothing is said by the crew or the skipper for the same reasons we don't usually say much about the drinking, and because we don't really enjoy stepping on anyone's good time. However we do hear about it from other passengers who don't appreciate it either. As with the excess drinking, this is a "damned if we do and damned if we don't" situation. If we say or do something about it, word gets around and some will have hard feelings about it and not want to fish with us. On the other hand if we do take action, a different crowd will likely feel the same way. We just can't win here at all.
The thing is that there are other considerations regarding smoking weed on the boat. To begin with it is illegal, even more so that drinking in public! Most of you have been fishing enough by now to have heard the "zero tolerance" speeches given before a trip leaves. You're also made aware that although you may have a medical scrip for it from the state, that doesn't mean anything at all to the Coast Guard if a boat is boarded for any reason. On any boats fishing south of the border your medicinal scrip means even less! All the Mexican navy has to do is find your stash and decide that everyone needs to be towed into Ensenada and the skipper or owner could even have their boat confiscated over this! To me, your needing to get stoned while you fish is not worth that kind of trouble at all for anyone concerned! Please leave the weed at home.
If this started to sound like a rant, well maybe it was. But I had to get it off my chest and it needed said anyway. Let's all try to have a little more responsible good time fishing this coming season. It will be a lot more enjoyable all the way around.
Good fishing to you all,
The Anonymous Deckhand