As a fisherman I see the surface of
a lake as a place to sit in a boat or travel at
a slow rate searching for that record breaking,
tippet breaking, and story breaking monster.
Not so with many others, they see
the water's surface as a place to have fun at
a much higher pace. They are the speed boaters,
jet skiers, water skiers, and those other crazy
people who make life miserable for fishermen.
I see some conduct by boaters
and especially jet skiers as downright dangerous
to everyone on the lake. From Camp McKean [on
Kitsap Lake, Washington] where I worked this past
summer, I have observed jet skiers coming close
and trying to spray girls on paddle boats with
the jet stream from their craft.
Such conduct awaits just one
misjudgement - a parts failure or even the vortexing
of the jet pump to cause the craft to miss a turn
and cause great harm. It has been my observation
that it is not the machines, but it is the operators
that place these personal water craft in a position
of 'no way out.'
They make runs at one another,
turn without looking, cross in front of fast moving
boats, follow water skiers and watercraft at close
distances and turn into traffic.
I called 911 [emergency response] three
or four times during the summer but received no response from
the legal authority of the lake, the City of Bremerton, WA.
My next to last call was made on Friday,
September 4, 1998, when I informed the Bremerton WA, Police
Department the traffic was just crazy on the lake, and
it would be helpful if they could just make a visual showing.
I was told, "all extra Bremerton, WA, police were needed
to patrol the local Blackberry Festival."
About an hour later a jet ski from
Camp McKean guest dock took off parallel to the shoreline,
inside the no wake buoy line. The wake bounced a paddle boat
that a lady was getting into, throwing her into the lake.
Leaving her little girl screaming in fear alone in the
You don't know the feeling you get while
trying to calm a child while coaching the mother on how to
roll onto the dock with a life jacket on. When I finished
chewing out the jet ski operator he didn't have enough hips
left to hold up his belt.
I truly do wish that was the end of my
story, but just two days later, Sunday September 6, 1998, I
was informed a lady had been hit by a jet ski down at the
guest dock, and she was bleeding badly.
I grabbed the first-aid kit and headed
for the dock. It was in my mind this was probably a dock-
side incident. Just then I heard the sirens of the medic
After directing the medic team to the
dock I got my first look at the lady. I didn't feel too
well. Then her husband came up to me, put his arm around
my shoulder and said, "That's my wife."
He was weak and could hardly stand due
to stress and anxiety. Then I learned the accident had
taken place out on the lake. The lady had been struck by
a jet ski going at high speed. I walked over to the jet
ski where the driver, her brother-in-law, sobbing, used
my shoulder as a brace. This man could hardly stand on
This all really bothered me, but I
could take it until I saw her crying, grief-stricken
children. I had to leave.
Then I made my last 911 call to ask
the Bremerton Police to investigate a water-craft accident.
I truely believe I would give up
fishing that lake if it would only bring back the
children's mother. ~ TS