From the Helm . . .
March is winding down as this is written, the days definitely longer and a bit warmer. Many captains are putting the final touches on engine overhauls and other final maintenance as boats are readied for an April launch in many areas. If inspections are needed this year, make sure the inspecting officers are notified well in advance.
The DNR’s proposed new license fees have generated a lot of discussion over the past several weeks. Many of you responded to our on-line survey several weeks ago, giving MCBA valuable input on how best to represent the membership in Lansing. If legislators approve of a license increase, the DNR will be holding a number of public hearings in April and May to allow for public input. If you still have questions at that time, attend one of these meetings and make your voice heard.
Low Great Lakes water levels dominate boaters’ conversations statewide. The historic low water levels have prompted Lansing to authorize emergency dredging funds for a number of the state harbors. Forty-nine of the 83 identified for emergency dredging, totaling more than $21 million, now await final legislative approval, which is expected at any time. The dredging is expected to be under way as soon as the ice is gone. .
MCBA’s Annual Conference will be held this year at the Crown Plaza Hotel in Grand Rapids the weekend of October 25, 26, and 27th. More information will follow in the summer newsletter, but try and get these dates on your calendars now.
MCBA took a full-page ad in the 2013 Fishing and Hunting Regulations Booklet (see page 3), thanks to a great offer from the DNR. Our main objective was public exposure for MCBA and secondly, to see how much new business it might generate for our captains. We will conduct a survey at the end of the charter season for your opinions and determine whether or not to run the ad in 2014.
MCBA was invited to attend the two new Cabela’s “Grand Openings” in Saginaw and Grandville during March. This gave us a great opportunity to build a working relationship with the “World’s Foremost Outfitter” and increase our visibility to the general public. It has always been one of my major goals to aggressively promote MCBA and our professional captains to the fishing public and boating and fishing industry as well. Thanks to the hard work by our new show chairmen, Captain Rich and First Mate Linda Haslett, we have also added a big show in mid-May at the fairgrounds in Cheboygan. It is already filled with over 250 vendors. Rich and Linda, by the way, could use a couple of “donated charters” for our scholarship promotions and would welcome some captains donating some part of a day to help out. You can contact Capt. Haslett at (248) 225-8330.
Our next board meeting is at 1000 hours, Sunday, April 28th at the Doherty Hotel in Clare. Contact your Lake Directors if you have concerns you want addressed. Captains and mates are welcome to attend, but I must know within the next week or so if you plan to attend so I can arrange for the appropriate size meeting room. I can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org
One final note: if a captain donates a charter, it’s imperative he or she follows through with the trip. That didn’t happen in one case, and when the people who had won the charter complained to MCBA, one of our board members, volunteered to make sure the people got their rightfully deserved trip. We are a professional organization, and when a captain acts less than professional, it reflects on the entire organization.
Be safe on the water and always treat your clients as you would want to be treated. A little respect and courtesy goes a long way in fostering a strong public image.
Captain Terry Walsh
President – MCBA