A Boaters First Mate
Getting to know the great people at BoatUS Headquarters in Alexandria, VA, it didn’t take long to realize they love boating! They work very hard to protect the rights and safety of boaters and anglers!
I always heard great things about this boating association. Once a buddy had an outboard that blew up 3 times. BoatUS willingly got involved and put pressure on the manufacturer to replace the engine! They did and my buddy was the recipient of a brand new outboard! Less than 3 weeks later, that outboard company filed Chapter 11! Had BoatUS not pushed the company to take action to resolve their customer’s issue, my buddy would have been up a creek without an outboard!
Behind the scenes BoatUS has confronted boating issues. Last year it was the potential loss of GPS…a disaster for the boating industry. GPS units would have been rendered useless and new technology would have to be purchased, and some say it would not have been as precise as existing GPS. BoatUS activated its membership and the Government Affairs unit kicked into high gear to save GPS.
BoatUS builds the fishing line recycle bins fishermen see at just about every marina. BoatUS volunteers assemble these PVC containers! Thousands have been built and shipped across the country to prevent fishing line from ending up in the environment or around prop shafts of unwary boaters.
I had always wanted BoatUS insurance. Sounds silly to really want to be part of an insurance company, but hearing and seeing their activities and service made me want to join up! But they didn’t offer Charter Insurance. About 6 years ago, BoatUS entered the charter insurance market. They also beefed up their bass boat products including on-the-road and on-the-water towing packages at a no-brainer cost. They know bass boats, even covering lost tournament fees in some situations. The Weigh-To-Win tournament incentives program rewards tournament anglers who are BoatUS ANGLER members!
BoatUS keeps an eye on safety, providing resources and education, encouraging the use of PFDs. There are hundreds of PFDs on the market and laws aren't standardized across state lines. While required to carry TYPE I PFDs for each of my passengers, the law does not require wearing one for anyone over 16 years of age. Activities like fishing are difficult with the commercial orange vests I am required to carry. These bulky highly visible lifesavers are what I would have wanted if I had been on the Titanic. But fishing with one? Not hardly. So, I invested in some thin strap auto inflatable PFDs. They inflate when submerged and are easy to wear all day. However, they came with one considerable issue. They would inflate if left in a boat compartment, or in the heat and humidity of a truck, and they would inflate in the rain! Or worse yet, they would inflate for no reason at all! Since the bobbins had expiration dates, I could not stock any, running to West Marine to pick up fresh bobbins when needed.
I fished with a friend who had purchased the new Hydrostatic Inflation Technology auto inflatables from MUSTANG. These only inflated when “submerged” 4 inches! Not in the boat locker or truck and not even in the rain! Finally a solution to premature inflation! I have been using the new H.I.T. MUSTANGS for a month and I am excited every time I wear one. No more scrambling to hide them under a console when the rain starts or worrying about leaving them in my boat or truck. They have padding around the neck area and are more comfortable than the old school auto inflatables! Bass fishing pros across the country are using them now!
Boating safety starts and ends with a PFD. Wearing a PFD makes more sense and there aren’t any more excuses not to wear one! PFDs save lives and BoatUS continues to educate the boating members they serve.
Take a look at my latest BoatUS ANGLER DIY column - bringing a broken crankbait back to life!
Until next time, see you on the water. WEAR a PFD! I’m gone fishing.