Boat captains, deckhands and others take precautions due to high temperatures
With triple-digit temperatures, the heat “is no joke”, and boat captains, deckhands and guests in the area are feeling it and taking precautions.
“I’m watching…I keep an eye on them,” Captain Ken Bolden of Just-B-Cause said of his deckhand and customers.
Bolden said if he saw his customers on the back deck start to sit down, he would run to another spot.
“I give them a chance to calm down,” he said.
“I’m spoiled rotten. I have AC upstairs,” Bolden said of her closed deck.
Elijah Yates, who was working on the Bolden Bridge last Thursday when the temperature reached 100 at the docks, said he carried a pack of 24 bottles of water on trips for anyone who might need it.
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Keith Priddle of Kentucky, who was fishing the Maximus, an open boat, said, “I’m ready to jump in the pool.
Priddle said they were doing fine on the water and brought a cooler full of drinks, but were definitely feeling the heat.
“It’s just hot,” said Captain Phillip Blackburn of the charter boat Backdown 2 as the deckhand cleaned up the day’s catch.
“There was a little breeze on the water,” Blackburn said.
But when there were none, Blackburn said they took out the decoys and moved around to try and stay cool.
The Backdown 2 also has an enclosed cabin for customers.
“We try to keep it ice cold inside,” Blackburn said.
Customers aboard the Backdown 2 were from Louisiana and said they stayed hydrated on the water.
Captain Matthew Champion on the ChampionShip has an enclosed cabin for fishermen, but the upper deck for captains is open.
“I’ve got a box fan in my face,” Champion said, noting that it was a little cooler offshore than at the docks.
As for customers, “they should be comfortable…they have air conditioning inside,” Champion said.
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Deckhands spend most of their day on the aft deck.
“The heat is no joke,” said deckhand Dominick Symonette, who worked on the deck of the Al-Lin on Thursday.
“It was warmer today…calm, no wind. I was just sweating,” Symonette said.
On Monday, Captain Jason Rogers of The Great Escape said “it’s really noticeable” about the high temperatures.
Rogers said he encourages his clients to bring plenty to drink to stay hydrated.
“I’m holding my ground and trying to keep them in the shade as much as possible,” he said.
Cory Moore and son Graham from Atlanta stepped out on the Only Way on Monday and said, “It wasn’t too bad…we were able to get inside for the air conditioning.”
“That’s what saved us,” said Tom Stewart, deckhand on the Only Way.
Charter fishing boats and fishermen aren’t the only ones feeling the heat.
The deck guys who help load the pontoon boats at Luther’s Pontoons are also warming up.
“We have a misting fan that helps out and once in a while you jump in,” said Jake Schultz, who is in his sixth year working at Luther’s on the Port of Destin. “I don’t know what it is…but it’s hot.”