Originally Posted by Pete the Cat
As someone who lives here in Maine, some more advice for folks who cruise: you might want to invest in a shaft cutter
for lobster pots. I am not advocating that this substitute for vigilance, but some lobstermen have no problem dropping pots in the center of narrow navigation
channels and frequently pots get dragged into deeper water and buoys are submerged and unavoidable. The two part shark toothed kind of cutters seems to be what most folks use here--easy to install and no maintenance
. My first choice when snagging is to try to remove without cutting--which usually works but the water is cold and occasionally there is no option. If you boat sails
with the shaft in gear
, putting it in neutral if you snag, will often unload the pot without cutting.
I will also put in a plug
for a couple of the best stops for reprovisioning and touring on the Maine Coast: Belfast and Castine. Both have some of the best anchorages
areas, grocery stores close by, free town docks, water, fuel, pumpouts, great scenery and historic areas, and very few lobster pots in the vicinity. For some reason, a lot of cruisers seem to not come this far up the Bay.
Hi Ray! Good running into you last season up at Ilesford. Saw your boat at Scott's place, I think, as there are not to many T-37 fins out there.
I have a slightly different take on lobster pots and line cutters..
As an ex-commercial lobsterman I can say with 100% certainty that I would MUCH rather have you cut one of my pots then to drag it across six other strings causing a massive tangle that myself and six other guys will now need to spend a few hours untangling and fixing and then buying
hundreds of feet of new line that we had to cut out of the tangle. Been there done that. Sailors & boaters who think they are doing you a favor by trying to untangle a pot rather than cutting it actually cause MORE HARM than good.
When strings of traps are laid out by lobsterman they are always all laid in one direction depending upon the local you are in. In one bay it could be North to South and in another East to West etc. etc..
We do this so we never lay across another string of traps. For every two pot buoys you see there are six to ten + traps connected to it on the bottom. When sailboats snag a pot on a shaft or rudder
, and think they are doing you a favor by trying to get it off without cutting it, they are usually not.
Wire traps are LIGHT WEIGHT and dragging ten of them is no problem for a boat with sails up or one in wind and current. Often times what happens is the boat drifts, and drags the the string across a few others. This makes a HUGE, HUGE mess!!
I used to run pot buoys on both ends of my strings as most all fisherman do. Not once did I ever loose both ends at the same time. Could it happen? Sure anything is possible but very, very unlikely. Replacing a pot buoy is FAR cheaper than loosing 300 feet of warp to a tangle and the time in man hours involved in re-rigging and re-stringing them..
guys may not feel this way but that is my take as someone who used to do this for a living. Every time I was in a tangle I was wishing my buoy or someone elses was just cut. I still used to get about 60% of my pot buoys back after they washed up. If in good condition I would re-use them.
All that being said I actually detest line cutters, had one made by Evolution in Rockland, ME, and they are VERY, VERY dangerous. Trust me they DO NOT always cut floating line, which we have lots of up here in Maine. I have also had Spurs and they too DO NOT always cut the line.
When, not if, you need to dive on your prop to cut away fouled line you WILL want a set of wire mesh oyster
shucking gloves or you could certainly wind up with a massive gash like I did. Might as well stick your hand into a bucket of razor blades when you are diving
in lumpy seas to free a line that the serrated "line cutter" did not cut. These devices seem to cut attached buoys ok but floating line, like we often see pulled back into the bay during spring tides, are not always cutable before they strop the engine
In my experience the serrated type of cutter is fairly useless and the pizza wheel
even more useless. They do not always cut the line, been there done that and have the scars from the stitches on my WRIST to prove it. I was damn close to the main "suicide" artery so it was damn scary and coupled with being hours from the nearest hospital..well....
Sorry to be so blunt but those things just do not work well enough to keep you from diving
100% of the time. They most often do work but when they don't and your diving on the prop you run a huge risk of being sliced & diced and the risk of serious injury.
I no longer have a shaft cutter, scrapped them, but do have a hook knife on a pole, a wet suit, dive knife with lanyard and a thick dive hood
to prevent head bangs in lumpy seas. I've also split me head open when the hull
came down on me. This was diving on a tangle when I had Spurs.
I never even felt the slice to my wrist, these things are SHARP. The water was so murky and the current so strong I also never even saw the blood until I cam back onto the boat five minutes later. Had I sliced the artery I could have easily passed out in the water..
best investment for snagged pots I have made is the hook knife from Sailors Solutions...
Just my .02 worth of caution.