Issue: July 2002
Play Nice

I've noticed an encouraging trend lately on the Bay. (That's what we journalists are supposed to say-that we've noticed a trend. Disturbing trends are best, but any trend will do). I think boaters maybe are learning to be . . . well, nicer to each other. Oh, don't worry, there are still plenty of careless and downright belligerent boaters out there, such as the man who apparently had his head up his manifold when he rocketed past us in the Severn River last Sunday, leaving all manner of havoc in his obscene wake. The boating world is no different than the rest of the planet; it possesses a healthy population of bog scum. What's important to remember, though, is that bog scum doesn't favor only powerboats. Or jet skis. Or sailboats.

And some boaters, it seems, are this close to figuring that out. In our annual Best of the Bay survey, we ask for any free-floating boating opinions that the respondents might like to share with their fellow CBM readers. Every year we get comments something like these: "Sailors are arrogant idiots" and "Powerboaters are arrogant idiots." Isn't it good to know you do have something in common? Any marriage counselor will tell you this is a critical first step toward reconciliation. This year's crop included the following observations: "Cigarette-style super speed boats . . . simply represent arrogance bordering on mental illness." And this: "If there were just fewer sailboats!" And let's not forget "the self-righteousness of sailors who invariably have their auxiliaries running and their sails furled for the entire season."

So this is it? Powerboaters forever dissing sailors as tree-hugging ragbaggers so cheap they'd rather go to the library to read Chapman's than fork over the 45 bucks to buy it for handy onboard reference, (which explains why they're constantly zigging and zagging in front of said powerboaters with no apparent working knowledge of simple Rules of the Road)? And sailors promoting the theory of horsepower's inversely proportional relationship to manliness, viewing powerboaters as dimwitted pigs who are single-handedly depleting the ozone layer with their wanton burning of precious fossil fuels as they throb their way around the waterways, swilling brewskies and mowing down small surface-dwelling creatures, including kayakers and one-design sailboat enthusiasts? Does that about cover it?

No, maybe not. Because there was this comment: "There is room enough for everybody. Courtesy is contagious." And-Debate about power and sail "I've owned both. Just get on the water and enjoy it." And this: "I love beautiful boats-power or sail."

Amen. In the interest of world peace, or at least its equivalent here on the Bay, I have a suggestion for the summer: Get over it. Next time you think about tacking your Righteouswind 30 right in front of an oncoming fisherman, or plowing your Megamouth 45 by some sailor out with his kids, consider the words of the late John Lennon regarding instant karma. Think about the other guy for once. Now that would be a trend worth noticing.