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It's Just Common Courtesy

One Insignificant Kind Gesture.... 

Article by:  Harry Denegre, President, Lake Martin HOBO's

I was reading a post on a Lake Martin Boaters Facebook account the other day. The original post was someone stating their opinion about boats creating wakes, coming too close to other people's docks and seawalls and causing damage. I read the post and quickly scanned the comment section. As you would suspect, there were differing points of view. Some were supportive. Some were opposing.

I was struck by the total lack of acceptance of opposing points of view and outright hostility towards the people writing comments. It did not matter which side of the topic the commenter was on. The hostility was open and active. This made me reflect on my own thought process. How I react to opinions different from mine. I will admit I came up a little short of the expectations I had of myself.

Getting back to the Facebook post, it concerned the person's point of view about boat wakes and the damage the wakes create. They felt boat owners should be responsible for damage to another person's boat, dock, or property caused by boat wakes. The writer mentioned the past and current legislation attempts to address this issue. Wake boat owners and bass fishermen had an opposing point of view from those of the property owners.

I thought "There is no surprise here." The surprise was the open hostility and senseless comments from both sides of the discussion. Both sides should be able to discuss this issue without hostility and come to some common ground. Both sides should compromise so that each side is satisfied and still be neighbors, friends, users and protectors of our beautiful Lake Martin.

My mother and grandfather taught me about what they called "Common Courtesy". In practical terms, it is the Golden Rule. Somewhere along the line, many of us have lost the practice of using it. Common Courtesy seems old fashioned. It seems to have gone to the same place as "Common Sense".

I thought Common Courtesy would be a good thing to write about. Maybe I can get some of you to take a minute and reflect on it. I intend to look at my thoughts and actions. All of us may want to take stock of our thoughts and actions and how we interact with others.

The definition of "Common Courtesy" is about making the world a better place with one little seemingly insignificant gesture at a time. Kindness goes a long way to making others happier and it easily spreads.

Seems like a pretty simple definition and not a difficult assignment for all of us.

All of us boat owners should pay attention to our wakes. If you are in a cove, go slow until you get out to big water. Our wakes can cause damage and erosion. We should work on being respectful and courteous.

As property owners, we should be mindful we do not own the water. Fishermen are allowed to fish near and under our dock structures.

If your neighbor is driving their boat near your dock or boat and creating wakes, go speak with them as a neighbor and ask them to be mindful of your boat and property. Ask them to slowdown in your cove. If you approach them respectfully, most people will be respectful of your wishes.

Bass boats go out of our cove at full throttle. There is no reason for this speed. Being 1 minute later will not matter in most cases. I understand the Bass Tournament rules and the timed tournament, so please do not use this excuse. Professional Bass Fishermen do not do this. Only the Wannebes. Most Bass fishermen are respectful.

Lake Martin is a public lake. Being public, does not mean you can do anything you want to. All of us need to work on being courteous to each other.

Boating Do & Don'ts

hese are some things we all can do to begin being more courteous:

Do help a boat in distress

Do invite a boat to your dock when a storm approaches

Do offer directions for someone lost on the lake

Don't play music loud.

Don't use foul and obnoxious language.

Don't create wakes in coves, near swimmers or structures.

Legislation cannot fix this issue. That is up to us and our common courtesy for each other.

It begins with one insignificant kind gesture......


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Dadeville, AL  36853

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