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cozzene

Boating in the "Narrows"

18 posts in this topic

I have observed on too many occassions what I consider very dangerous boating in the Namakan and King William Narrows areas . . . specifically excessive speeds in areas of limited sight. Just because you are familiar with these spots and know the "channel" shouldn't give you cause to go full throttle thru them. Others not so familiar tend to take the "center" leaving little or no room to maneuver away from oncoming speeding boats whipping around one of the corners! Your time passing thru these areas might increase 2 minutes if you are at a reasonable and safe speed . . . failing to do so could mean an eternity for someone. Use your heads, guys . . . 2 extra minutes isn't worth it.

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I'm not looking to step on any toes here, but maybe I can give some safety suggestions for both these narrows. First off these are what are called navigational channels, meaning you have to go through these to get from point A to B, so nobody should be sitting still in the middle of them, so if you feel the need to fish there do it well off to the side(namakan narrows)My family has owned land on the east end of namakan for 75 years so were very familer with both these narrows. Starting with king williams, this narrows needs to be treated like a four way stop, if you see an on coming boat you need to decide if your going to get there first if your unsure and want to be safe throttle down off plane and that will signal the other boater to proceed through on plane, if your fishing close to the mouth, do not dart out in to the boat channel before making sure it's clear, by slowly peeking around the corner. In late july I couldn't believe this guy was fishing right against the east rock wall in the middle of the channel with his small child in a 14 ft boat there's 200,000 arces to fish in, you have to have some common sense.

Now namakan narrows on the south end S curves isn't as bad, but like the poster said if your not familer with the depth you tend to stay in the middle, and that will give another boat plenty of room to get by, but it's when they wonder completely on the wrong side of middle channel they need to pay more attention to there driving than the trees. And this goes for the fishermen, Ive fished in nam. narrows my self and I know you can her boats coming so just don't sit in the middle move off to the side. As far as taking two minutes longer to get somewhere it may not seem like a big deal to some, but there's people on crane that make a living running canoers up to lacroix (darrell scott and the andersons)for a couple names, might need that extra time if they want to get back before it gets dark. I'm am by no means saying to run 50 miles an hour through these areas, but we don't need to be putting either if every one pays attention.

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What you say is very true Mark, except when your doing 2o-25 miles per hour thru there and a 20' boat with a 250 on it goes blowing past you wide open in the same direction!

I hvae seen some pretty scary and dumb things happen in the Narrows and i have only been going up there for the past 4 years!

A little courtesy and common sense go a long way, but common sense ain't so common these days.

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My post had nothing to do with fishing in "Narrows" . . . . it soley refered to navigating thru them! The "S" curve at the South end of Namakan is practically a blind curve, and no one can hold to their side of the channel going full throttle around them, unless their 25HP perhaps; and the "Charter" boys seem to be the ones most in a hurry! They should have left 5 minutes earlier if they are afraid of the dark.

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First of all, what mark has said about these being navigable channels is 100% correct - it has been this way since this area was this first settled for trapping and commercial fishing, through the logging days, and now during tourism commerce. Like Mark, my family has had a home/cabin on the east end of Namakan for almost 75 years. Like many people, we use these waterways as highways if you will, to get from point A to point B.

We all use the same water and need to respect the water and one another's use of it accordingly. This water is a travel route for most, fishing grounds for a few. When using the water for whatever purpose, people need to be conscious of themselves as well as others. Elementary boating skills need to be practiced, especially when there is such disparity in how people use the water and what crafts are being used. Right of ways need to be observed. All boats, big/small, fast/slow need to observe the right of way of others and adjust courses accordingly. As much as a fast boat needs to adjust for a small/slow boat, the small/slow boats need to observe the right of way of larger/faster craft adjust course accordingly. Common sense boating skills here - if that is not practiced and understood, those boaters have no right to be on the water.

As for the south end of the Namakan narrows, there is plenty of room to safely navigate this passage at 30 mph or more. Even in low water there is plenty of water to swing out and observe whether the path is clear. If not, there remains time, water, and space to adjust accordingly and observe a right of way of another boater.

In regards to not knowing the channel and going slow, please buy a good map and/or hire a guide. You have a personal duty, for your own safety and the safety of others, to know the water you are traveling - especially in a well traveled and established waterway. Unless you check into Canadian customs and travel in Canada, the main MN waterways have many of the hazards well marked. These "channels" are most often very wide with lots of safe water away from the very center. Boaters have an inherent duty to know where safe water is and is not, regardless of what speed they choose to travel, epsecially in a well traveled waterway. I'm not suggesting people rocket around in unknown water, I'm simply suggesting that people know the water they are traveling in. Going slow in unknown water is a good way to keep you lower unit intact but is not the best way to learn that water. Especially in a heavily traveled waterway, it is not the safest way to travel.

I'm all for people enjoying the beauty of the north woods but it needs be done so in a safe and respectable way that accounts for the interests of all. Boat safe, observe right of ways, and use common sense. Oh yeah, be sure to catch a few fish too...

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I'm with Cozzene on this one. Just because these are navigational passage ways and one knows the water doesn't give one the right to blow through these narrows and scare the bejesus out of someone who is erring on the side of safety. I'm curious and wonder how many accidents and injuries have occured or been caused in these areas by avoidance maneuvers or lack of time for same? Is there any data or are any records kept on this? I think if one needs to blast through these areas ( especially the bottlenecks and blind turns) to save a few minutes getting from point A to point B then they're the hazard and not the waterway!

Just my .02

Stizo

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.

d.roy:

I might be missing something here, but I couldn't disagree with you more.

30mph is safer than someone erring on the side of caution? I just don't see it.

Many people who are unsure go slow in these spots and I've seen many canoes in those very narrows, why risk a tragedy just because you think you're a local?

With some of the above attitudes, it seems like a matter of time before someone is killed and these narrows become a no wake zone.

-Voyageur

.

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I guess the question that needs to be asked is, what do some of you consider a safe speed through these areas, I have a 20ft lund w/225 on it and can do well into the upper 50's but going through namakan narrows I do about 35, which I know is still faster than the average fishing boat can do, but I would never pass anybody in the s curves on the south end. And just to add another safe boating practice, my dad taught me when I was 12 (now 43) to always keep an eye on whats behind you so you don't slow down or turn if somebody is trying to overtake you, I don't know how many boaters I've followed up and down the lake were I never see them look behind them once. I did drift into the fishing category only because they tend to cause some of the close calls by were they place there boats in these narrows. Also under the near miss category I was heading north this summer through king williams and was less than 20 yards from the pinch when a guy came from around the east heading south and turned into the narrows, I was already in the middle and he proceeded to pass me side by side, who knew 2 boats could fit in there. So as they used to say on hill street blues, lets be safe out there. Hey roy you on the us or canada side.

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Quote:

.

d.roy:

I might be missing something here, but I couldn't disagree with you more.

30mph is safer than someone erring on the side of caution? I just don't see it.

Many people who are unsure go slow in these spots and I've seen many canoes in those very narrows, why risk a tragedy just because you think you're a local?

With some of the above attitudes, it seems like a matter of time before someone is killed and these narrows become a no wake zone.

-Voyageur

.


Perhaps I wasn't very clear in conveying what was intended in my post. I am not advocating or encouraging unsafe boating. I'm not seeking to risk a tragedy. What I'm talking about is safe boating on shared water so that many can enjoy this unique and beautiful area.

The safe boating I'm referring to is using common sense, knowing the water traveled, and respecting others who are using the water. I believe to be safe for our own and others sake, we all have a duty to practice this.

These waters are not metro lakes or rivers. There are many uses for these waters - recreational and commercial. From canoes, houseboats, pleasure boats, fishing rigs, to outfitters - we all use the same water and need to be conscious of one another. Watch out for others, be conscious of who is in front, to the side, and as Mark stated, who is behind you. If another boat has the right of way, honor it. If a canoe group is traveling in a narrow, drop the wake and give some space. Common sense and respect here.

In addition to right of ways and common sense boat handling, I also believe that boaters have a duty to know the water they are traveling - for their own safety and that of others. No one on these lakes wants to get the call of a stranded boater who has parked their boat on a reef - bad news. Of course it is safer to go slow in unknown water. Safer yet is to know the water prior to leaving the dock. Buy a good map, plan your route, ask the resort owner prior to leaving the dock about known hazards in the planned travel route, ask another boater for assistance, know and observe the markers...know the water. If you become unsure and travel slow, be aware of other boaters and observe their right of way. If you need to read a map, pull off to the side and/or ask for help. If someone gets lost on 494 they simply don't slow down to 10 mph or come to a complete stop while they find their way - common sense would tell you otherwise, this would be a disaster for many. To me, knowing the water is the safest way to go. If a boater is unsure, slowing down and being conscious of other boaters’ right of ways is the way to remain safe. I do believe though that not knowing the water is unsafe to begin with for everyone.

I am simply advocating for the safety of everyone and for people to plan ahead and know the water, use common sense, be aware of and respect others, and observe right of ways. It has been done safely this way for decades and can continue in this way for many more visitors to come. Make it a safe and enjoyable experience for everyone.

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Wow! Not to bash anybody, but just because you don't know your way around and are a little scared of certain areas why should the rest of us cater to you? What about the other way around? I could complain about the same things, i.e. boats parked in the narrows fishing, or a slow moving boat right in the middle of the narrows. Both of these situations could cause an accident for a boater who knows his way coming around a corner. My family has been going up to crane since the late 40's. I've seen pictures taken back in the early 50's when my Dad was still in diapers of them camping on My Island for 4-6 weeks straight. My Grandpa used to commute back to Virginia from My ISland for work and then go back up after work. He taught my Dad how to navigate these lakes, and my Dad taught me. I'm just sick and tired of today's society where the loud and outspoken minority has to try to convert the quiet and content majority to come down to their level. As far as slower speeds being the safest, I disagree. You have much more control of your boat up on step than you do off of plane, plus you draw much less water on plane than off. So my advice is for you to watch these people that know the channel and learn from them. Understand that you don't just drive straight throw these channels, but you swing wide and take a look around the corner before entering the corner. This is especially true with King Williams. As you are heading towards the narrows north bound, you can see straight through the narrows and are able to identify if a boat is coming towards you. Once you reach a couple hundred yards out you swing way left to see towards customs if another boat is coming from that direction. Then before you enter the narrows you swing back right again and do a final visual before entering the narrows. The only real dangerous part is when boats are coming into the narrows from the little Vermilion/Loon river direction. But if they are doing it right, which 99% are, they should be swinging right to take a look through the channel before they make their final turn into the channel. The problem occurs when people think they are in car and start cutting corners instead of swinging wide around them. Long and short is, learn how to drive the channel or learn to deal with boats going by you on plane.

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Here we go again, every so often posts on this subject come up. To the first timer it may seem strange the way boats fly through these areas, but one quickly realizes that's just the way it is. Has been for years and will continue to be so, kind of the "law of the land" (or water in this case) so to speak.

There's a lot of water to cover and people put the hammer down and go, they're not going to slow down for you.

I agree with Johnny, good advice.

Compare it to, say, driving in California. People either drive 90mph or are stopped. Do you think they're going to change the way they drive just for you?

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Love to hear all the chatter and I agree with the boys in front of me. I have been lucky enough to have been visiting the area for over 20 years, we stay on the Canadian side and leave out of the Ash river. Every year or every trip for that matter there is someone who is up on vacation sitting in the middle of the narrows or right at an end blocking things up. It is a channel for navigation used by people trying to get somewhere. Personally for my group it is a 30-45 min boat ride to the cabin anyway so a little extra speed goes a long way. Really long way when the ladies are with. But the fact is that its people who are inexperienced and love to complain that will try and ruin it for the rest of the world. For as long as I have been on this earth people have been ripping around on the waters of nam and kab and crane and I hope it never changes. Don't be stupid about it and that goes for both sides but for Pete’s sake don't complain about people who just know what they are doing, it you don't know learn and please. I can’t wait to hear more about a bunch of rookies trying to make the narrows a no wake zone.

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I'm heading up there in mid september camping/fishing. (first trip up there) Plan on going out of ash river. when everyone here is referring to the narrows is that basically the whole area between kab and namakan? Was actually planning on camping in that stretch if I could find a open spot as I was hoping it would be a bit more sheletered if the widn picked up that time of year. (looks to be a couple decent camp sites in that area)

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No they are referring to the far east end down where Nam, Sandpoint and Crane meet up. If you have "never been" it is an awsome, beautiful thing to see! I have been told it is about 55 miles (I am guessing) from the west end of Kab to the south end of Crane. I have only made the trip once but plan on doing it again once I save up the gas money. LOL

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Let's get "the point of the original post" straight once and for all! I, personally, am in the area for at least twice a year, for over ten years. Secondly, yes, there are some folks who fish in the middle of the narrows, and they should not be there because of safety reasons. Thirdly, knowing that there might be someone stupidly sitting in the middle of the channel, why in name of all common sense and reason are some folks trying to justify speeding thru there anyway? Do you have a death or accident wish that you are trying to fulfill???? Namakan Narrows is just about one mile long . . . going 45 mph means a 1 minute 20 second trip . . . going 20 mph means a 3 minute trip! If your wife can't wait to pee for an extra 1 minute 40 seconds, then God help her! And, while I'm at it, why don't you courtiously stop and tell the "rookies" the error of their ways instead of just letting them sit there waiting to get run over, or keeping you from where you hurridly need to go???? Don't call me a "rookie" . . . . just call me someone to trying to get some "cowboys" to cool their macho/manhood abit! And, for pete's sake don't go 60 mph around the "S" curves designated 30 mph with your pickup and rig on your way home! You wouldn't do that, would you???? Then again, maybe you would . . . after all, the highway is just another navigation route. And, "no wake zone"? Gimmee a break . . . it will become a no wake zone only after some people have gotten hurt because of stupidity . . . stupidity by either the "rookie", the "cowboy" or both. I'm betting "Both", and it could have been avoided. End of sermon!

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I have to add my two cents worth. The channel (area between navigational bouys) is for boat traffic. If you are fishing here, your creating a hazzard to navigation. The "rules of the road" should always be observed and practiced when upon any navigatable waters. If you do not have the proper knowlege necessary to operate your vessel in a given body of water and there is an accident for which you are at fault (were in violation of the "rules of the road") You are the guilty party and will be held responsible. (Ignorance is no excuse, it is assumed that if you are operating a vessel you know the rules and you know what you are doing) This includes things such are "having taken reasonable precaution", passing, overtaking or crossing properly and using correct signals. (that is what the horn is for but I have NEVER heard ANYONE use proper signals...or ANY signals for that matter) and displaying proper navigational lights. If everyone was required to take a safe boating class in order to operate a boat there would be alot less problems on the water. Having said all this, I can see no reason to run at high speed through an area with restricted visability and/or restricted searoom. This is what is meant by reasonable precaution. Like it or not the "trunk slammers" have every bit as much right to use these waters as do the folks who live here. The "locals" who use these waters regularly and know the possible hazzards that lurk in these waters are just as responsible for boating safety as the first timers (maybe more so cause they know better). O.K. I'll get off the box.

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e8551321.jpg

Have to agree that reduced speeds are necessary here, there too little room for taking any chance on what the other guy is going to do. Like it or not, there will be inexperienced boaters and the unfamiliar using these routes. After nearly being "T-Boned" while trolling on open mid-Kab water last summer by an inebriated operator who had passed out at the helm I have a greater awareness of the unpredictability of what the other guy might do over which I have no control. This discussion has been a good one, with several good comments on safety in these areas. History and tradition might include full throttle passage through the narrows, but history and tradition encompassed 14 to 16 ft aluminum (or cedar) boats and 10 to 25 hp motors, not 200 plus hp capable of speeds in the 50's or more. Try stopping or avoiding an imaginary object out on the lake at some time, then imagine if you guess wrong and that object moves in an unexpected manner.I traverse these narrows several times yearly, the first 30 years ago in a 14 ft aluminum boat/10 hp 1959 Johnson Sea Horse towing a canoe with all camping gear, several times with canoe only, and now mostly with a larger power boat. I find most operators to be careful and considerate, but I haven't been through during very busy times lately.I think low planing speeds are appropriate in most cases, slower if necessary. I drop down to hull speed (no bow wave)for canoes or kayaks and have twice in the last year been thanked by them for doing so. A few minutes time before hitting the wind and waves again can be a good thing. These pics show what we want to avoid: name on 1st boat is Temporary Insanity. Boat_Accident_Serious.JPG

2391522.jpg

Lets protect our traditions and avoid more regulation in the narrows by slowing down and being considerate. Safe boating and good fishing and camping to all!

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I would like to add that this neither of the boat wreckage pictures above are from the narrows being discussed here and are not directly relevant to what speed is safe/unsafe for the waters being discussed. Bottom line is know the water and practice safe boating. No one wants to see any pics like these on the crane/sandpoint/namakan chain - or anywhere for that matter. Time to head north - have a fun and safe holiday weekend!

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