Keep your d@mn mitts off my boat! (Rant)

I had finished paddling, loosely strapped my surf ski onto the trailer, and walked to the bathroom. Upon coming out from the bathroom, what did I see but a loose dog beelining toward my trailer, because his idiot owner was standing at the boat knocking his knuckles on it. The guy and wife had been uselessly calling their (illegally) loose dog before I went in, and he must have seized the opportunity to play Gropie when I was indoors.

When I walked back toward the ski, the guy looked up but kept knocking the ski. No doubt if I had not strapped it, he would have lifted it. I said, loudly and not in a friendly manner, “Don’t lean on it.” He looked up again, whined, “I wasn’t leaning on it,” KEPT knocking, put his OTHER hand on the seatpad and then on the gunnel, and only a moment later did he remove his hands.

If it had been a bicycle similarly different-looking and more expensive than the “average” bike, nobody would touch it unless the owner gave permission. At least, that’s what I thought.

This was a guy in his 60s…my gen…the same gen whose parents taught us Look But Don’t Touch [other people’s stuff].

Or was that only a regional nicety? If you wanted to know more about a kayak or other possession, wouldn’t you wait to approach the owner, say hello, and ASK before grabbing?!


I might look closely but wouldn’t put a finger on it without asking.


If I get mad enough fast enough I end up nose (mine) to chin (theirs) with idiots like that. Very effective when I get hot enough to do it. I don’t always get mad enough quick enough though.

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You are right. You don’t touch other people’s stuff. I was taught the same as you. As Wolf says, curiosity would have had me looking closely but not touching. Maybe it’s just me but I would be looking at is from a distance that is beyond my reach so that my gaze couldn’t be interpreted as anything else.

Once I was at a put-in and walked back to the car to get my gear. When I returned a couple and their kids (guessing ages at 3-4) were all over my boat. One on the kids was sitting in it and the other was crawling over the deck shouting “I want to get it, too. It’s my turn!”

I was just shocked. I walked up and told the couple to get their kids away from my boat. Their turn to be shocked. They looked at me as if I had just insinuated that their Mothers had mated with Buffalos. The man told the kids, “You have to get out because that man doesn’t want you in his boat” . At that point the kid in the cockpit stood up and started stamping his feet and complaining. The other kid on the deck who hadn’t had his turn stood on the deck and started screaming.

I said, “WTAF! Control your kids and get them away from my boat”! Everybody was ticked off at that point. I was angry with the family. The young couple was angry with me. The two kids were angry with the world.



Kids were wrong but didn’t know any better. Parents were wrong because they should have known better.

Merits whatever language was required.


Wolf, looking is perfectly fine. When I am interested in something, I go over to it but stay more than arm’s distance away so nobody thinks I am fiddling with anything. It is simple courtesy.

Kids don’t know better, but with some kayaks (including mine), what happened to 3meterswell’s kayak would have severely damaged the boat, probably irrepairably. When I see scullers leave their shell even for the very short walk to their cars, I get nervous. Some of them do what I do: carry straight back to the vehicle without letting the thing touch ground.

Mouse traps—that’s it! Baitless but spring-tensioned mouse traps!

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I was coming back from the bathroom after a race and found another racer sitting in my surfski. It was sitting on the ground and the under hull rudder was sitting on a concrete retaining wall.

He should have known better, but figured it was okay because we were friendly. Never did get the rudder shaft quite straight again.

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Even if you were friends, he should have known not to sit in any boat with the rudder deployed, unless it was in the water. Sheesh.


Many members of the public have turned into pigs.
I seek out quiet places with few people around.
We usually travel with a group and always have someone around to look after our boats and equipment.
I have avoided solo trips because I don’t want to leave my boat and equipment.

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I’ve not had kids or people bother with my boat but at one park I’ve had folks allow their dogs to race around my boat and get sand in the cockpit. One dog peed on my boat. I now keep a cockpit cover on until I’m ready to enter the boat.

Key word WERE

Manners are in shorter and shorter supply as I age.

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Unbelievably bad behavior.

I keep a canoe at our pond on our land in the woods. Many years ago, I found 3 young men of my age in it on the pond. I told them to get out of it and leave or I would have the sheriff remove them. This was before cell phones. They said they grew up fishing the local ponds. I said not this one anymore. If I catch you, you’ll be charged with trespassing. I let the locals fish the pond for many years but got tired of picking up their trash. The man that bush hogs the open grassy areas is the only one allowed anymore.


I stored my old Tampico at the beach in Provincetown. I once found a little kid jumping on it! I yelled, they ran back to their parent who didn’t even care.

I’m glad I paddle with @Lillyflowers, if we have to hit the restroom before or after a paddle we always leave one person to watch the boats.


Several years ago, 80s I think, we camped at Jocassee . I only had my Folbot Super which we had to carry down a hill to the lake. That was a chore so I left it on the beach for our evening paddle.
When I came back there were 3 kids in it on the water, bouncing around.
I told them to get out which they did but one of the boys said they had asked a guy if they could use it and he said he didn’t care.
Lousy attitudes are not new.
Like everyone else here, I never leave boats or gear unguarded.

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We only have the one car set up for hauling both boats so we go to the put in and I load the canoe on its wheels and then place her rec-kayak on top and strap them together. All the other gear stays in the car we will bring back and we leave the boats like that for about 30 minutes while we move the car to the takeout. So far we have been lucky and no one has messed with anything.

The problem I have is I devised a way to load the boats solo and inevitably someone will offer to help seeing how heavy the canoe is and I will politely decline the help saying no I’m fine the loader is made for just a single user. They come in closer to watch and act like a spotter for a weight lifter and without a doubt at some point they figure if they help me it will be better and all it does is cause my level boat from going straight up to me having to counteract their helpful lifting and turns something simple into a mess.

I now tell them I got it and then tell them watch if you like but please don’t help. They still feel the need to help. I now get it ready and wait for a time when no one is around and then put the boat up.

I would be very annoyed with all the above stuff going on. Parents that don’t teach their kids better is a switch point for me.

I have many times offered help to people loading or unloading and when they say yes or no I go with their wishes. A few times maybe even more than a few I see people really without a clue as to how and secure a boat down. I debate to offer advice but seeing as I might be the person behind them when their boat becomes airborne I offer. Most of the time they thank me for teaching them the right way to do something. Sometimes they say no and I cringe and leave them to learn the hard way.

Some people seem to think everything is for them. Don’t know where you grew up. but in my MA neighborhood that’d be rude to the max.

They put some stress cracks in that as I recall. Nothing that made it not sea worthy but still that’s rude.

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A woman after my own heart.

That’s where I grew up, too. But it seems that people from other parts of the US also consider the described behaviors extremely rude.

I never would’ve thought someone in their 60s would act like that. Not even a wave or hello, just grab and knock. He is probably local to that reservoir, so if he even looks like he’s going to try more funny stuff, I won’t be half as civilized!

Entitlementality, the new etiquette trend!

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