WCO Report for Erie County 08/18/2010: Erie area, PA,
WCO Report Posted: August 17, 2010

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Posted by DWCO Randy Leighton on August 17, 2010 at 21:12:42:

August 18th, 2010

West Erie County, DWCO Randy Leighton, rglerie@msn.com


Good fishing continues on Lake Erie with many limits of perch and walleye coming in. Perch have been heavily schooled north of the Point at Presque Isle in 60 to 62 feet of water and North west of Walnut Creek in 52 to 55 feet. Walleye fishing has been best in the coldest parts of the lake. 70 to 74 feet North of the Point and in 65 to 75 feet Northwest of Walnut Creek into the second trench. Current Lake Erie Water Temperatures off Toledo are 76 degrees, off Cleveland, 76 degrees, and off Erie, 77 degrees.

Celebrate Erie 2010:
If you are in the area and are looking for alternative entertainment to perhaps rough lake conditions or weather. Join us when Downtown Erie will come alive August, 19-22, 2010 as wonderful sights, sounds and smells take over State Street from 4th to 12th Streets.
This is the largest family summer event in the city and combines the Arts, Music, great food, and a wealth of Downtown events and activities. This year the event will take over State street from 4th street to 12th street. The gala fireworks display over Presque Isle Bay takes place Sunday Night at 9:30 PM. The view of hundreds of boats dotting the Bay combined with the largest fireworks display in the area is breath taking. A marked safety perimeter around Dobbins Landing will be maintained by area law enforcement during the fireworks display. Boater cooperation will be appreciated. With a two-block 'Kid's Zone' as well as access to a wide array of arts, crafts, culinary and cultural offerings, this year's event will be one of the best ever.

For more information on this great weekend and for a weekend schedule go to Celebrate Erie 2010

Help on Lake Erie: So there you are are with a few friends, trolling the trenches 8 miles off shore on Lake Erie. The fishing is great, and it couldnt get any better when you notice that all is quiet except for the jibber jabber of your friends and the buzz of a battery powered bait bucket....the engine has stopped and you realize you are adrift. You and your friends pull in the gear and frantically try to assess the problem. You crank the engine but nothing. All of your friends have exhausted you with their arm chair advice and all you can do is to keep trying until the battery is dead. Then it hits you squarely that mechanical failure has put you in need of assistance. Now what do you do?? Hopefully, you have a marine radio, and the battery has not died. Not a bad reason for having a hand held as a back up. Marine radios, although not required, are highly recommended on Lake Erie or any large body of water.

First and foremost is to remain calm and assess the situation. If possible, now is the time to anchor. A drifting boat can be hard to find. If available, record your GPS coordinates and have them ready when the call for help goes out. A number of factors will affect your next course of action. Mechanical failure is typically not a "Mayday Call" unless wind and wave conditions have you in a distress situation or if there is a risk of leaking fuel or fumes. If you are in distress, Mayday calls are placed to the USCG along with the use of your visual distress signals. The USCG monitors channel 16 on the Marine Radio. If you haven't already, now is the time for you and your passengers to put on your life jackets. Of course you have prepared for this knowing that it is a legal requirement to have a wearable PFD on board for everyone. Take control and insist that your passengers do so...remember you are responsible for your boat and the safety of your passengers. In many cases you may be with in distance of another vessel that could render aid, but before having a stranger tow your boat, consider the situation. Am I in immediate danger?, or rather than risk damage to someone else's boat, would it be wiser to call for professional help or to have the good Samaritan call for you. Towing can be risky to both vessels especially in the rough waters that Lake Erie can dish out. In the Erie area, Lake Shore Towing is the professional service for these situations. This is in not and advertisement, but a simple statement that they are the are towing facility. The Coast Guard or PFBC should be second and third choices for mechanical failures if there is no immediate danger and typically in a non emergency or non distress scenario, both the Coast Guard and the PFBC, incl will normally turn the call to the professionals offering to stay with you if they are in the area, until the towboat arrives and you are safely underway. If you do not have a marine radio, phone numbers for Lake Shore Towing and the USCG should be kept in your cell with 911 used as a last resort. A call to the the Walnut Creek Access Area Office will be received but the office staff is only in a position to relay the call and perhaps add delay to the situation.

Lakeshore Towing is based out of the Wolverine Marina along Dobbins landing, centrally located along the Pennsylvania shoreline. They monitor Channel 16 on the Marine Radio 24/7 or they can be reached by phone at 814-453-6387. These folks and other similar services have the right equipment for all conditions, and are the most experienced in rendering aid to a disabled boat. They know how to handle the situation in all types of wind and wave conditions. Once you have made contact with the towing service you will want to be ready with helpful information as to your situation. Your location preferably from electronic coordinates or at least an approximate visual location, a good description of your boat and the number of passengers, and what type of mechanical failure will all be needed. Drop anchor, to maintain your position (a good reason to have plenty of anchor line on board) and if you are adrift or unable to anchor, so advise the towing service. Follow the towboat's instructions as ordered...they know what they're doing. The towing service will walk you safely through the process and maintain contact with you until you are in safe harbor. Now, the next time your battery dies, you run out of fuel or your inboard throws a belt you will be better prepared to handle the situation.

Boat Ownership - Keeping It Yours:
The following provides in depth detail and information in securing and safely guarding your watercraft against theft and vandalism.

Across the nation, as recreational boating continues to gain popularity, more and more boats, trailers, equipment, electronics and personal items are stolen each year. Most of these crimes are committed by amateurs who, when tempted with an easy opportunity, can't resist the temptation. Remember the old adage that locks are just a means of keeping honest people honest. This certainly applies to boating. You would be surprised at how often, when strolling the fuel dock, you will find a boat that has pulled up for fuel, or ice or refreshments, just sitting there unattended with the keys in the ignition or, worse yet, idling away. Or even if the keys aren't present you might see a hand held VHF radio or a pair of expensive binoculars just lying in the seat or on the dash. What can you do to make sure that your boat stays in your possession? Read on for tips on security.

Mark It:
Permanently mark or engrave your boat, your trailer, all your equipment, electronics and personal items which you use regularly on your boat with your vessels hull identification number (HIN) and/or your driver's license number. Your boat of course, unless manufactured prior to 1972, will already have a HIN on the transom. Permanently mark your driver's license number in a location that is not readily accessible or noticeable. The same should apply to the trailer. Perhaps mark your boat's HIN and your DL number on the underside of the tongue or axle. As for your equipment, electronics and other items, use some method of permanently marking them as well.

Be sure to keep a copy of your boat and trailer registrations at home in a safe place. It is also a good idea to take a hull rubbing of your HIN. Take a sheet of thin paper and tape it over your HIN number on the transom. Using a soft leaded pencil, rub back and forth across the number lightly until in shows up on the piece of paper.

Record It:
Make a complete inventory of your boat, trailer and equipment. List all electronic gear, binoculars, outboard motors, PFDs, fishing equipment etc. by brand, model, and serial numbers if available. Also record your boat by make, model, registration and HIN number. Be sure to record the license number of your trailer.
Keep this master inventory list at home and keep a copy for reference in a hidden place on your boat in case you find something missing.

Photograph or Film:
Take pictures or video of your boat, trailer and equipment from all angles. Keep copies at home in a safe place. Perhaps alongside your insurance papers.

Alarm It:
Consider an alarm system. Self-contained systems are inexpensive and can be purchased at most any radio shack, electronics or marine store. Be sure to choose a system specifically designed for boating use. The damp and constantly moving marine environment puts demands on the alarm system requiring special sensors and properly protected location. Systems not designed for marine use may malfunction or report false alarms. Be sure, if you have an enclosed cabin, to include a smoke detector in your alarm system.

Secure It:
Boats should be covered and secured as completely as possible. Ignition switches should be locked and additional steps such as installing a hidden "kill switch," hidden fuel shut off or removing motor parts such as the coil wire should be considered.

Boats on trailers are easy crime targets if thieves can just hitch up and drive away. Here are several ways that you can help prevent that:

If possible, store the boat and trailer in a locked garage, secured boat storage facility or mini-storage warehouse.
Keep the boat well inside your yard, preferably out of sight.
If possible, turn the trailer around so the it is "nose" in rather than out.
In a carport or driveway, park a vehicle in front of the trailer, blocking easy removal.
For any type of outside storage, remove at least one wheel from the trailer.
Use a high-security chain and quality lock to secure the boat and trailer to a fixed object such as a tree or post.
No matter how you store your trailer, get a trailer hitch lock.
Some trailers are available that allow you to remove the forward part of the tongue which contains the hitch.

Store It:
Obviously your best bet is to remove all equipment from your boat and store it in the garage or other secure area. Make sure you lock hatches and opening ports. If your boat doesn't have them, or they are broken, you can purchase hatch locks at any marine store. When possible, valuable and easily removed items should be secured below deck in a locked compartment. Lockers should be equipped with non-removable hasps and hinges and secured with padlocks. Lock outboard motors and fuel tanks to the boat. When your boat is left unattended, close the window curtains if you have them so people can not "window shop."

If your boat is kept in the water at a dock, consider chaining it to the dock. Also, get to know your marina neighbors and form a marina watch group.

Report It:
What should you do if you are a victim of marine theft? Immediately report your loss to your local law enforcement agency, the United States Coast Guard if on federal waters, your insurance company and the marina or storage facility manager. When a loss occurs, the ability to positively identify property is crucial to its recovery and the the prosecution of thieves and dealers in stolen goods.

By following the above suggestions you can reduce the risk of loss of your boat, trailer or equipment by theft. You should also exercise caution when buying a boat or running across a "good deal" on equipment. To avoid problems, match the HIN listed on the title and registration to the one on the boat. Inspect the HIN on the transom to be sure it has not been altered in any way. (Also, contact the manufacturer to see if a second, duplicate HIN was placed on the vessel or equipment in an inconspicuous place.) And, if you think that pair of $500.00 binoculars is a real bargain at only twenty five bucks...well remember that saying, if it is too good to be true...
Boat ownership, keeping it yours, courtesy of boatsafe.com

Local Weather:

Wednesday Night...Mostly cloudy. Lows in the lower 60s. North winds around 5 mph... Becoming southwest after midnight.

Thursday...Partly cloudy. Highs in the lower 80s. South winds 5 to 10 mph...becoming southwest in the afternoon.

Thursday Night...Partly cloudy. Lows in the mid 60s. Southwest winds 5 to 10 mph.

Friday...Partly cloudy. Highs in the lower 80s.

Friday Night...Becoming mostly cloudy. Lows in the mid 60s.

Saturday...Mostly cloudy with scattered showers and thunderstorms. Highs in the mid 80s. Chance of rain 40 percent.

Saturday Night...Mostly cloudy with a chance of showers and thunderstorms. Lows in the mid 60s. Chance of rain 40 percent.

Sunday...Partly sunny with a chance of showers and thunderstorms. Highs around 80. Chance of rain 30 percent.

Sunday Night...Mostly cloudy in the evening...then becoming partly cloudy. Lows in the mid 60s.

Monday...Partly cloudy. Highs around 80.

Monday Night...Partly cloudy. Lows in the mid 60s.

Tuesday...Partly cloudy. Highs in the upper 70s

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