Just to continue the theme of boating safety as we approach spring later this week, not only does the Coast Guard Auxiliary perform free vessel safety checks, but they have an active education program for beginners and more experienced boaters alike. In fact, the basic course “About Boating Safety” is required for all boat operators born after January 1988.
This basic class is an eight-hour course and covers topics that include types of boats, boating laws, required safety equipment like fire extinguishers and life jackets, safe boating practices like filing a float plan, navigation, boating hazards and more.
Currently, there are two basic classes scheduled Saturdays, March 28 and May 9 at this time unless postponed due to the current CORVID-19 crisis. Classes in county are held at the Coast Guard Station off of Coast Guard Road in Emerald Isle.
A higher-level course is also offered, “Boating Skills & Seamanship”. This is a course that extends over a six-week period and goes into more details about selecting your boat, trailing your boat and boat handling. It also includes details on rules and regulations on the water, such as reading aids to navigation, right of way.
I know many of us rely on our GPS, but they can fail, so one of the sections is an introduction to navigation, reading and plotting charts, use of your compass and dead-reckoning navigation. And I know we all rely on our cell phones, but you really need a good boat radio and you need to know how to use it, especially in an emergency.
Some questions you may have about a boat radio: What are the different channels for? Which radio is best for me and my boating needs? Many of us anglers know that tying reliable fishing knots is critical. The same applies for safe boating. You should know all that safety entails, just as you know about knots, bends, hitches and securing your lines at the dock. This six-week course given by the Swansboro Auxiliary was scheduled to start Monday, April, 13 but has been put on hold because of the pandemic and will be rescheduled.
A relatively new course has been added to the auxiliary educational program in the last four years, “Suddenly in Command.” You can probably guess the focus of this half-day class. The captain becomes incapacitated, falls overboard or whatever, and now what do you do? In an emergency, passengers really need to have some basic skills on how to operate the radio, how to control the boat.
A little preparation can go a long way to avert a disaster when facing an unexpected emergency. For all these classes and others offered or rescheduled, go to www.swansboroaux.com. There is also a section that can list classes within or near your area and by entering your ZIP Code (http://cgaux.org/boatinged/class_finder/index.php).
Let’s give a thumbs-up for safe boating in 2020!
With the Bogue Banks and Topsail Island piers opening this past week and water temperatures in the mid to upper 50s with people getting out fishing, we have some real hard fishing data.
Of course, the trout bite still lives on as the biggest fish, 24 to 30 inches that is, and are being taken in the Neuse and New rivers in good numbers, and there are smaller fish in areas like Wards Creek and the North River. As with the last month, the upper reaches of Core, Back and Adams creeks continue to produce fish. I’ve also heard of fish along the Radio Island Jetty. On the other hand, I have also noticed that the trout seem to have moved out on the Highway 24 creeks back into the spawning marsh areas.
Along the beach and piers, the puffers and sea mullet bites are on. Late last week, the catches were double digit, both from Bogue Inlet Pier, with good catches at Oceanana Pier and on the Topsail piers as well. At Seaview pier, along with puffers and sea mullet, there were slot black drum as well.
Also, it’s probably a good time to work the Radio Island Jetty from your boat or from the public beach. And don’t forget the Newport River Pier which is alongside the State Wildlife Ramp.
A few weeks ago, I heard the spring run of false albacore was well offshore. Interestingly, over the weekend, the albies, and they were big fish, have moved in closer and being caught around Cape Lookout Shoals, along with some above-slot, big old drum.
The shad bite continues to be excellent in the Cape Fear River the Neuse and Tar rivers as well, and now the Roanoke River activity has bumped up nicely. The only warning is that the Roanoke is very low, exposing its boulders, so be careful is you go to the Roanoke.
Fishin’ is now on the upswing, so get out there and catch some fishies!
Cancellation Note: The Emerald Isle Sea Turtle Patrol’s annual orientation and new volunteer signup meeting, which was to be held Saturday at The Emerald Isle Rec Center, like many group activities, has been cancelled until further notice. For more information log onto: http://www.eiseaturtlepatrol.org/.
2) "Ask Dr. Bogus" is on the radio every Monday at 7:30 a.m. WTKF 107.1 FM and 1240 AM. The show is also replayed on Sunday morning at 6 a.m. Callers may reach me at 800-818-2255.
3) I’m located at 118 Conch Ct. in Sea Dunes, just off Coast Guard Road, Emerald Isle, NC 28594. The mailing address is P.O. Box 5225, Emerald Isle, NC 28594. Don’t forget a gift certificate for your favorite angler for fishing lessons or my totally Bogus Fishing Report subscription. Please stop by at any time and say “Hi” or call 252-354-4905.