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Spent the weekend with my six year old boy in Port O'Conner TX. Wasn't bowfishing, just line fishing for reds and such. Last night, we went for a walk near the hotel, The Inn at Clarks. An airboat came in from a fishing trip and we walked up to talk to them and see how they faired. Very nice people. They were showing my son a flounder and a ray etc. and I showed them pics of big alligator gar I've shot over the years nearby. Then the boat owner said, you might want to move back a little bit, when I load the boat "it can get a little breezy." So we moved back about 30 or 40 feet or so. We were on the pier to the right of the boat ramp. Now I've been in air boats, but never been behind one while it was loading. This one was huge. Had to have been one of those 1000 plus HP models. Well, when he hit the gas to put it up, my son was literally thrown back into me and we both were blown into the railings. Another bystander (female) was also blown back. Had the railings not been there, we would have fallen off the other side. Had my son been knocked the other way into the water, he could have drowned before I knew what was going on because this was an incredible event that lasted for several moments, and he can't swim yet. I didn't have his life jacket on him, we were just on a late night walk after a day of fishing and he was holding my hand. Anyways, it scared the crap out of him (us). I was actually a little embarrassed since I had no idea the power an airboat has when you're behind it. I wasn't angry at the boat owner since he did give us sort of a warning, but I'm guessing either one of two things. One, he's a total A$$hole and knew that would happen, or two, he's a new airboat owner and had no idea the power of that boat to do such a thing to anyone behind it. Otherwise, his warning would have been more serious and he would have assured no one was anywhere near the back of that boat before he began loading. All in all it was pretty cool and funny (we have a story to tell that's for sure!), since no one got hurt. But sitting in the hotel last night, I kept thinking about the outcome if my son had been blown the other way into the water. Scary stuff man. Regardless of the airboat operator's actions, I should have known the danger. It's all on me.

Lessons learned: Never be behind an airboat when it's loading (or otherwise). Priority one, teach my son to swim ASAP (tried last year but he just wasn't ready and wouldn't listen or cooperate).

So basically, having been around bowfishing for 30+ years, I had no idea the danger of that. So please everyone operating one of these or anyone fishing around one, be careful. I'm sure that's common sense for most of you, but somehow, I never picked up on that over the years (just a dense Marine I guess). Maybe because they didn't use to be so big and so powerful? I know now!!
 

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I hate anyone near me at loading, but I do not load like that!
I back trailer down and have them back up while I am pushing up!
Then hook and stop fast to push it up on trailer!
 

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I hate anyone near me at loading, but I do not load like that!
I back trailer down and have them back up while I am pushing up!
Then hook and stop fast to push it up on trailer!
Yeah, that guy was a jerk. You don't have to load like that. An airboat can be loaded like a normal boat for the most part (back the trailer in far enough that you don't have to stand on it). But for a lot of guys its their chance to stick their chest out and show off their horsepower. I am always considerate of those around the boat even if only for their ears. He did barely warn you but he was still a jerk.
 
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