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  1. Wingnut


    Rant begins now. Because July 4th was a mid-week deal this year, the towns on the upper Chesapeake saw the wisdom in staggering their firework displays enabling boat owners to attend several. We did Middleriver, Havre de Grace, Rock Hall, and Great Oak Landing. I could have done 5, but I avoided Baltimore and Annapolis on the 4th as I did not wish to deal with the ultra heavy boat traffic in the darkness. OK, all is good as I've been running this area at night since 1973 and have never saw the need for GPS, and I have good night vision which we all know is critical when you are not utilizing radar. Navigation aside, the shows were all decent, and the fire that started on the surrounding grounds in Rockhall became bigger than the actual display, so I hope no real damage was done. Show started with zero wind and super hot, and ended with high winds and big rollers coming back up the bay. Not fun, but doable. Now comes the source of my irritation. As boats arrive at sundown, the Marine Police and Coast Guard are working the anchorage looking for kids without vests, anchor lights, overloading, and obvious BUI. When the show ends, they gather in a corner out of the way and watch the floating mass attempt to find their way home. In many cases you will see a single boat acting as the flag ship as the fleet follows him through the shallows. In Havre de Grace channel is narrow so I picked the guy that was first on plane and was staring at the biggest chart plotter and he nail it, my ticket to deep water. What is different than in past years is how many boat owners have affixed high intensity LED bar lights and the like to their radar arches and/or the hull themselves. Saw a pontoon with twin halogen headlights. In years past, if you used even a hand held spotlight for a few extra seconds, you were stopped and lectured. What changed? Last night I was first out of Great Oak, and I saw a few forming up in my wake and it became obvious that they were looking for a tour guide. I glanced back to see what my spacing looked like and two of these boats had bright lights ablaze, one of which had a light bar all the way across his arch like he was running the Baha 1,000. Tow miles later, they are still on my tail. I'm sure these Mutts could see fine, but for the rest of us normal people you really had to discipline yourself to not look in their direction for even an instant. It's been a moonless period and there are no population centers here so no city light reflection and at times if you turn your dash and navigation lights off, you can't even tell the boat is in water. You can hear it, but you won't see it making night vision the imperative. Other than BUI, I don't wish a ticket on anybody but what changed in the past year that now makes it alright to light-up the waterway? Rant Complete... W