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Captain's corner


© St. Petersburg Times, published May 23, 2001

Courtesy at a boat ramp can go a long way in making everyone's day on the water enjoyable. Many boaters -- including commercial fishermen, guides, weekend warriors, casual cruisers and family picnickers -- share the public and private ramps. Here are a few things to remember to help everything go smoothly:

The ramp is first come, first served. Pay attention to others around you and wait patiently. There may be a line on land and in the water, as boats are putting in and coming out. These lines must mesh. Your actions on the ramp should be quick and concise. Your crew should know its duties ahead of time so yelling directions and miscommunication can be avoided.

The ramp should not be used for loading or unloading ice chests, fishing rods or life jackets. Neither should you take tie-down straps on or off, or plug in lights. These things should be done in the parking lot or to the side. Your time on the ramp should be only a few minutes. If you experience motor problems or need to wait for someone, try to move your boat to the side or out of the way.

- Capt. Brent Gaskill charters the Summer Vacation out of St. Petersburg and can be reached at (727) 343-1765 or by e-mail at

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