Florida Guide Association February 2017 Newsletter From the Crow’s Nest – By Florida Guides Association President, Captain Charlie Phillips: The crow’s nest is the highest point on a vessel and used as a lookout point. As the president of Florida Guides Association (FGA) I plan to be on the lookout for hazards as well as opportunities that affect our organization. This column will be used to communicate my observations to you. Please feel free to share our newsletter with any of your friends that may also believe in our mission to protect Florida’s fishery resource to the benefit of recreational angling.
“…no victory dance and no congratulations…”
You know what my dream job was a young man? Going to surprise you I bet, I wanted to be the guy up in the wheelhouse running a big tugboat. From the time I was a kid I have been fascinated watching these small but extremely powerful watercraft pushing enormous ships, pulling massive barges in and out the Cape Fear river where I am from.
The tugs go about their job with a great sense of pride in what they do, but also quietly and without much fanfare. They are painted simply, not bright and elaborate. No “look at me” graphics, no fancy chrome or parts just for show on her bow. Nope, she has a powerful engine, strong back and lines that won’t part under strain. That is what she was built for and that is what she does. Day in and day out you will find the tug always there to assist and do the work required to keep the fancy cruise ships, car carriers and container carriers moving.
Sitting at the NACO conference in Gulfport MS, I was watching 2 tugs work a container ship into a berth. Watching those captains use their boats, pushing and pulling, tide, wind and tonnage all piled up against them, but they kept at it. These two tiny boats never gave up and never backed down until they had accomplished what they were sent to do.
When the job was finished, they picked up their lines and went on to assist the next ship coming into dock. No celebration, no victory dance and no congratulations – just the quiet professional who took pride in their work and never grew tired of getting started on the next important job.
It struck me watching those tugs work that ship that the Florida Guides Association is very similar to the humble tugboats working the waterfront each and every day. We are captains and guides in all ports who unite as one to ensure our voice has the power necessary to tackle most any job thrown at us. We go about our duties with a quiet ability, we know our industry, we know our customers and we are always on station ready to serve when needed.
This year is stacking up with issues all thru the state and nation. Issues with the Everglades National Park, manatee zones, Critical Wildlife Areas, uber boats and a host of others are going to be faced by the FGA this year. We must ensure we are ready, our engine powerful, our heaving lines able to take the strain and, above all, we are working for our captains, our customers and of course for the fisheries.
The FGA is built around its membership, and it’s your participation, your support that fuels the machine, helping us grow, enabling us to represent and allows us to serve. Just like the humble tugboat at it again, meeting a huge ship coming into port, the FGA is on duty for 2017 and ready to assist!!
Thank you all for your support of our mission. Talk to you next month.
Capt. Charlie Phillips


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