Pilar Martinelli, one of our lingcod fishermen, sent us this story about fishing as a family. Pilar describes the joy of including her toddler on their commercial fishing journeys!
I find that most people are puzzled, worried, or shocked by the idea of taking a toddler on a working commercial fish boat, but for the Martinelli family it’s nothing other than normal… or at least that’s what we want our son to grow up believing. That is just what we do. We are a family that fishes for a living, so of course we would all be out on the boat together. Stressed, worried, or concerned? Not us. Just a little crazy and determined to stick together as a family.
This was year two for us taking baby along. Last year, at four months old, mobility wasn’t a factor. We were mostly concerned with making sure Rex got long enough naps. This year it was how to keep our curious toddler from shutting off the freezers and autopilot. We had our work cut out for us – and all I can say is thank goodness for doors and duct tape!
Up in the wheel house, it is a Disneyland of switches, controls and computer monitors. Rex was fascinated by it all, grabbing and pulling at anything he could get his hands on. Within minutes of being on board, he had turned the main computer off, and the first day of fishing brought Bruce back inside to see why his freezers had shut off. Oops! Needless to say, duct tape quickly became as indispensable as fishing hooks, hoochies and Perlon line aboard the Tantrum.
We did our best to keep Rex contained to either the galley or wheel house with our homemade baby gates. They did the trick for the whole two weeks we were out there… until one day, they didn’t. The last day we were on board, our little determined boy figured out how to heave himself over the bottom gate, climb the two stairs, and open the door to the deck. If only I could have captured that satisfied smile!
Next year it will be bigger gates, solid locks, and stronger tape to keep that little boy from causing mayhem on deck. We will have to get creative! However, the extra work it takes to keep him safe and out of trouble, comes back ten folds in the laughter he shares with all of us on board. Smiles from Rex are the best distraction for the frustration that often comes with rough seas and slow fishing. Nothing like a baby on board for crew morale! He’s a keeper!
Baby on Board – Fishing is a Family Affair!
[email protected] - May 24, 2019