It is early morning and I am on my way to the launch site for a redfish tournament. I am stopped by the local constabulary and given citations for speeding, no tail light, expired tag, failure to yield, and reckless driving. So, I file a lawsuit against the folks that are hosting the tournament because it is, quite obviously, their fault! I would never have been in that situation were it not for the fact that I was heading to their tournament. Therefore, they must be responsible. Right?
Everything about that entire scenario is wrong but it brings to mind the absurdity of saying that the tournament organizers are responsible for anything else that you or I do on the water. It is a ridiculous concept because these are all independent choices made by individuals and only those individuals are responsible for their own actions.
The tournament organizers have been browbeaten into believing that they are responsible for any mishap if they don’t make us wear life jackets and lanyards. Really? Well then, what about when I blatantly run over another boat or drive recklessly and injure another person while in the tournament. Is the tournament responsible? No one is really sure, are they? Why not? Because when the tournaments take on the responsibility of mandating safety rules then, in my opinion, they are responsible for ALL the safety issues. So maybe they will soon mandate that we are all to become certified captains that have passed every safety course in existence.
Hopefully by now you have begun to join me in seeing the absurdity of the whole scenario.
It is simply part and parcel of the “no blame” attitude that permeates our Millennial-esque society. Someone must be to blame but it couldn’t possibly be the person who made the decision and choice to act in the way they did. Certainly, it is not my responsibility if I smoke two packs a day for forty years, get cancer, and die. No way. It is the fault of the government and the tobacco companies. They should have prevented me from being stupid.
The same goes for tournament organizers. To make it a hard and steadfast “rule” that I wear a kill switch lanyard and a life jacket is absurd. And, by doing so, they DO take on a certain responsibility for those actions. However, if these items were a “recommendation” instead of a “rule” it clearly becomes the choice of the angler and therefore the responsibility of the angler to enforce those rules on his/her boat - or not. After all, is a captain not lord of his vessel without exception?
These same anglers will go on the water hundreds of times a year. Who is responsible for their behavior all those times? They either learn and utilize safe habits or they don’t. Mandating such behavior is not only silly and meddlesome but reverses the responsibility for a behavior pattern (like smoking being someone else’s fault).
I would submit to you that tournament organizers would be wise to alter their perspective of their responsibility to the anglers that participate in these events. In my mind, tournament coordinators are responsible for nothing other than defining the rules of play, choosing a venue, collecting and holding the cash, providing an accurate measuring and weighing station, ranking the participants by performance, and disbursing the funds – that’s it! Nothing more.
When a group makes it compulsory that you sign a disclaimer that they are not responsible for any bad thing that happens to you and then mandates that you behave in a certain manner, there is an inherent conflict from a legal and logical perspective as to who is responsible for what. Whereas, if the organizers said, “we recognize, endorse, and recommend all these safety behaviors but all these items are the anglers responsibility”, and THEN you sign a disclaimer, it is crystal clear that YOU are the responsible party should anything go awry.
Furthermore, I would like to see the anglers take on the responsibility of policing their own actions and being responsible for same. When I am on the water, my boat is my castle and I am the captain of my boat and the king of my castle.
I am responsible!
by Gritter Griffin
America - the 1960’s.
The Cold War is in full swing. Khrushchev promised to bury us. The Cuban Missile Crisis ended. And, the US government is sending agents all over the country to subject high school students to nefarious testing procedures.
Well, ok, maybe not so nefarious but it got your attention didn’t it?
The truth is that various agencies (like the CIA) were looking for the brightest young minds in the country. The plan was to bring these brainiacs into various government agencies to develop the technologies that would keep America ahead of the curve and in first place in the techno race. They tested tens of thousands of students with IQ and math exams and invited only those that tested “off the scale” into the program.
Glenn Shurr (standardmapping.com) was one of those.
Glenn was recruited into a well-known agency (which shall remain un-named) and began a career that would span decades. He was a little reticent at first but then the recruiter said, “Well, son, you can go to work for us and stop Commies or you can go to Nam and stop bullets”.
It was a done deal.
Glenn began his career in the analyst department by working out algorithms for solutions to computer programs. Later, he began working in computer design and utilization. He was specifically interested in image processing and management.
Fast forward to the 1980’s.
Glenn had now retired from agency work and reconnected with a high school chum. This was another brainiac who had been working in the government for a different agency. They reached out to old contacts and then worked together to build an image processing system. They sold this system and business to the government but maintained a relationship with the agency that purchased it.
Glenn was an avid fisherman and often lamented the fact that there was no accurate mapping system for the maze that was the Louisiana marsh. He got lost all the time. The existing maps were completely inadequate and were no help at all. Then, one day as he was bemoaning the fact that he was once again lost in the marsh, he looked all around at the endless view of sameness - and began to think about using aerial imagery for maps.
He began using “resources” from his past and acquired aerial images of the ‘downriver’ area. This expanse of images included Venice, the Wagon Wheel, and the various Passes. The difficulty came in stitching all the images together to create a single image to use as a map. But, with his background in image processing, it wasn’t long before the first Standard map was born and released in 1986.
The map was a huge hit and was soon followed by other areas of the Louisiana coast that were popular fishing destinations. These hard copy, laminated, maps would become the mainstay of mapping for the Louisiana marshes, bays, and bayous and remain so until 2010.
The years encompassing 1986-2010 were spent sitting down for hundreds of hours with charter captains, tournament anglers, shrimpers, crabbers, marina owners, bait shop operators, and weekend fishermen. He asked them all what they needed to navigate the areas in question and wrote down everything they told him. Then he added these items to his maps. He used the common, local names for bayous, bays, ponds, and rivers. He added coordinates for specific points, so anyone could find major landmarks. The task was immense and required that over 200 individual hi-res photos be reviewed, edited, and then stitched together to create a single map.
Some people would later say, “Hey, that looks just like Google Maps”. Not so, my friends. Glenn was creating these images 13 years before Google was even a company!
For several years Glenn had realized that his maps could make a huge difference in the mapping technology of GPS units. He also knew that the most important aspect of continuing his cartography quest was the development of the electronic side of the industry. He reached out to all the GPS manufacturers to explain his idea and process. He said to them, “If you will just give me the tools I can build your systems”.
Then, in 2010, Lowrance reached out to him and the second part of the journey began.
Now, it was time for Glenn to spend untold numbers of hours in the Lowrance computer and simulation labs creating, testing, and re-testing. The result, which continues to be refined and improved, is the electronic map cards sold by Standard Mapping today.
Glenn’s goals have broadened.
He now wants his maps to cover every lake, pond, river, and creek in the US. He wants his maps to be on every GPS platform which makes them available to every angler from the pro to the weekender. This will allow every angler and boater to safely navigate to and from their favorite fishing areas.
I asked Glenn to tell me about some of his favorite memories from the early days. One of the things he talked most about was the colorful characters he met along the way and the stories that are behind the local names of the waterways. Once, while at Joe’s Landing on the Barataria waterway, he witnessed two locals get into a heated argument and nearly come to blows over the disputed name of a favored area.
He truly enjoyed his years of travel among the watermen of Louisiana. Many of his fondest memories in the building of his company was getting to hear all those stories and legends firsthand from the patrons and workers of the dockside bars, marinas, bait shops, boats, docks, and cafes.
His hard copy maps are still in production and are used by many anglers. But some of the older versions have become an art form of sorts. They can be seen adorning the walls of cabins, camps, restaurants, bars, and marinas all over southern Louisiana and beyond.
The people that Glenn thanks for his success are legion. He lists all the local tackle stores, bait shops, recreational anglers, marinas, and commercial fishermen that provided the information and supported him all the way. He is especially thankful to the leadership of Lowrance for their early recognition of the potential and for putting in the hours and hours of R&D work to get it done.
Glenn Shurr on being Glenn Shurr – “I love life. I love people. I’m the greatest grandfather in the world and I’m one hell of a poker player. I am kind of happy go lucky but I’m also very competitive. I like to see people succeed and just live life to the fullest”.
Glenn’s final thoughts and advice – “Take a kid fishing - especially a teenager. I’ve never seen a kid become a thug or get in trouble with a fishing rod in his hand”
SCOOP ALERT! April 6, 2019 - Garmin has reached an agreement, in principle, to use the Standard Mapping chart format. You can expect to see the introductory card by the first of the year 2019.