The day after Christopher Tobey, a lobsterman from Kittery, Maine, drowned after his boat capsized on Mother’s Day, the reader comments in our Portland paper’s online edition exemplified the disconnect between fishing culture and some of the folks on the fringes of fishing communities.
Most comments left condolences for Tobey’s son (who survived the capsizing by swimming with the other crewman to a nearby island), other family and friends. But more than one person mentioned the perils of fishing in “bad” or “dangerous” weather.
Here’s the thing, there was a small craft advisory for Mother’s Day, but certainly no gale warning or thunderstorms. Christopher Tobey, who was 46 and had been fishing since high school, no doubt had fished through many a small craft advisory. On top of that, Tobey and his crew were fishing a special order for Mother’s Day. What small-town fisherman is going to say no to that?
Since I started working for this magazine 2 1/2 years ago, I’ve learned a lot about the tenacity of fishing communities. But it never ceases to amaze me how many people out there have no idea what the daily life of a fisherman really is — even folks who live in fishing towns.
In these media-saturated times, it rarely hurts to speak louder and more often.