SOME YEARS AGO, ON A FINE SATURDAY morning in May, my hus- band and I drove down to our boat with the intention of spending the weekend cruising the Chesapeake Bay. It was to be our shake- down cruise of the season — you know, that one you look forward to and plan all winter? Our previous summer’s boating season had
been cut short by major problems with the port engine, which had taken to billowing black clouds of smoke whenever we turned it on. This season, after large
wads of cash had been imparted to diesel mechanics, we were nervous the problem hadn’t quite been resolved. So there was a lot riding on this first weekend.
After spending the previous weeks scraping and bottom painting, commissioning the engine,
splashing the boat, filling the tanks, and settling her into her summer slip, finally it was time for the
first foray of the season, and Ed and I planned to anchor out that Saturday night and cook under
the stars in gorgeous spring temperatures.
We spent an hour or two undoing canvases, loading weekend supplies, and getting portable electronics reinstalled. Just as it was time to cast off the lines, I went hunting for the
stowable chart table we used on the bridge. Diving under the canvas on the back deck, I made
WATCH OUT, THE WILDLIFE IS COMING TO GET YOU!
Waging war on the critters that take a shine to your boat can pose big problems By Ann DermoDy
an unsettling discovery. Inches away from
my nose, my widening eyes met another’s.
We had a stowaway. I dropped the canvas in
fright, then lifted it again, slowly. She sat there
still as a stone. Mouth
to bill we were less
than a foot apart. No
doubt about it, there
was a duck aboard,
and judging from the
elaborate nest she’d
created for herself, she
had no intention of
going anywhere fast.
I’m Irish, so superstition is a given,
and I didn’t want to
risk bad karma with
our already limping
PRACTICAL BOATER | TIPS & TACTICS
Don’t let drop-
pings remain in
the sun on Lexan
and other hard
by the sun on the
dark spots can
cause crazing in
the plastic under
the spots. P H
70 | BoatU.S. magazine AUGUST | SEPTEMBER 2014
Birds, and other wildlife who focus on
making your boat home, can be surprisingly difficult to deter. But don’t despair,
we’ve got some solutions for you.