High temperatures have people working waterfront jobs taking precautions

Tina Harbuck
The Destin Log

With temperatures hitting triple digits, the heat “ain’t no joke,” and area boat captains, deckhands and customers are feeling it and taking precautions. 

“I’m watching … keeping an eye on them,” Capt. Ken Bolden of the Just-B-Cause said of his deckhand and customers. 

Bolden said if he sees his customers on the back deck start to sit down, he runs to another spot. 

“I give them a chance to cool off,” he said. 

Jake Schultz of Luther's Pontoons cools off a bit Monday afternoon with their new misting fan. Schultz has working the deck for Luther's for six years and says this summer is a hot one.

“I’m spoiled rotten. I’ve got AC upstairs,” Bolden said of his enclosed bridge. 

Elijah Yates, who was working the deck for Bolden last Thursday when the temps hit 100 at the docks, said he’s been taking a 24-pack of water along on the trips for anybody that might need it.

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Keith Priddle of Kentucky, who was fishing aboard the Maximus, an all-open boat, said “I’m ready to jump in the pool.”

Priddle said they did OK on the water and had brought a cooler full of beverages, but was definitely feeling the heat. 

“It’s just hot,” said Capt. Phillip Blackburn of the charter boat Backdown 2 as the deckhand cleaned up the day's catch. 

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“There was a little breeze on the water,” Blackburn said.

But when there wasn’t, Blackburn said they put the lures out and moved around to try to stay cool. 

The Backdown 2 also has an enclosed cabin area for customers.

“We try to keep it ice cold on the inside,” Blackburn said. 

The customers aboard the Backdown 2 were from Louisiana and said they stayed hydrated while on the water. 

Capt. Matthew Champion on the ChampionShip has an enclosed cabin for the fishermen, but the captains bridge up top is open. 

Cory Moore and his son Graham of Georgia said it wasn't too bad on the water fishing, especially with an option of an air-conditioned cabin aboard the Only Way.

“I’ve got a box fan in my face,” Champion said, noting it was a little cooler offshore than at the docks. 

As for the customers, “they should be comfortable … they’ve got AC inside,” Champion said. 

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Deckhands spend most of their day on the back deck. 

“The heat ain’t no joke,” said deckhand Dominick Symonette, who was working the deck of the Al-Lin on Thursday. 

People try to beat the heat in Destin Thursday as temperatures hover around 100 degrees.

“It was hotter today … calm, no breeze. I was just pouring sweat,” Symonette said. 

On Monday, Capt. Jason Rogers of The Great Escape said “it’s definitely noticeable” about the high temps. 

Rogers said he encourages his customers to bring plenty to drink to stay hydrated. 

“I hold-up and try to keep them in the shade as much as possible,” he said. 

Cory Moore and his son Graham of Atlanta went out on the Only Way Monday and said, “it wasn’t too bad … we got to pop inside to air conditioning.” 

“That’s what saved us,” said Tom Stewart, deckhand aboard the Only Way. 

The charter fishing boats and fishermen are not the only ones feeling the heat. 

The guys at Luther's Pontoons on Destin harbor are in the sun non-stop but stay covered in sunscreen and cool off in the water on occasion.

The deck guys that help load up the pontoon boats at Luther’s Pontoons are heating up as well. 

“We’ve got a misting fan that helps and every now and then you just jump in,” said Jake Schultz, who is in his sixth year working at Luther’s on Destin harbor. “I don’t know what it is … but it’s hot."