Non-motorized crafts such as this have the right of way over motorized boats, but that rule isn’t always adhered to on Saratoga Lake, according to some. Photo Submitted.
continued The boat was about 20 feet in length with approximately a 15to 20 horsepower motor. It was enough to cause a “substantial wake” and close enough to make McAdam feel “very nervous” that something bad could happen very quickly.
McAdam approached the fishermen, intending to ask them to be more courteous and aware of the boat, but a shouting match ensued.
“They claim they had the right of way because … the student athletes weren’t in a sailboat and they insinuated that we didn’t have any right to be out on the creek or the lake. It’s been kind of a common scene … in the past. It’s definitely not everybody. In general, the community at large is very accepting of the team,” he said.
Disputes rare, but serious
McAdam and all of the coaches try to avoid situations like this one, and he said they are very rare. He said such encounters happen perhaps once a season, but added one serious accident is one too many.
“It is (a concern) in that our rowing equipment is relatively expensive; our hulls are right around $30,000 to $40,000 each, and there’s nine young people in the boats – especially this time of year when it’s kind of cold and the water is kind of chilly. If they were to all of a sudden to end up in the water, it could become a dangerous situation very quickly. Most of the time it’s very safe,” said McAdam.
“Wakes around non-motorized boats, whether they’re kayaks or sailboats or whatever, it’s not just an issue of equipment, it’s also an issue of danger to the student athletes that are out on the water, whether they’re in high school or college,” he added.
Eric Catalano, executive director and varsity coach of the Saratoga Rowing Association, said “a little bit more information about the rules of the road” would be helpful to the general public.