Word with...Capt. Dana Sinclair
Thanks to the
exposure she gets from her boating-instruction company, Nautical Wheelers
Yacht Services & Instruction, Capt. Dana Sinclair has dealt firsthand
with numerous personalities in the boating world. She teaches everyone
from young children to older couples who just bought their first cruiser
how to boat safely. When she’s not working on the water, she lives
on it aboard her 42-foot Chris-Craft in Mermaid’s Lair in Tampa Bay,
Florida. PMY recently caught up with Sinclair to talk about life as a
Q: First, what
influenced you to pursue a career in boating?
it was my dad who taught me everything; he got me into boating when I
was a kid. When I sold my hardware store a few years ago, I decided I
was too young to retire. I’d always been part of the Manatee County
Power Squadron, and I just thought I’d take it a little farther,
get my license and start a business.
Q: Your company
focuses on teaching boating basics to beginners. What’s the hardest
thing to teach?
most common problem new boaters have is a lack of patience. They want
to do everything fast: First they want to leave the dock fast and get
out on the water. Then they want to dock the boat fast and get to the
bar. They get frustrated when they can’t dock right away. But docking
is a slow procedure. The first thing I try to teach them is that safe
boating takes time.
Q: Do you have
any tricks to teach people how to dock?
kind of corny, but I teach all first-time boaters how to dock with “Bob”
the buoy. Bob’s got 20 feet of rope with a weight at the bottom.
We throw him out in the water, and we pretend that he’s the dock.
It’s a great way to gain confidence easing yourself closer to an
“imaginary” structure, without the fear of hitting anything.
Q: What advice
would you give someone starting off a new boating business?
A: If you
get into any kind of service business, get to know all the harbormasters
in your area. That can help you a lot. I think the most important thing
is to stick with what you enjoy; that’s really all that matters.
Terrorists, Now Money Launderers
Since the September
11th attacks, boat dealers across the United States have had to check
a customer’s name against a list of known terrorists or face severe
fines. Now they may have to start fighting money launderers as well, thanks
to the U.S. Patriot Act.
In 1988 the government
labeled all sellers of planes, cars, and boats as financial institutions.
Like banks and casinos, these businesses are generally required to perform
rigorous antimoney-laundering practices, such as verifying customers’
identifications and reporting any suspicious activity to federal authorities.
Until now, boat dealers have enjoyed an exemption.
In October, however,
the Treasury Department announced it was considering dropping the exemption.
If so, any boat dealer that doesn’t perform the required checks faces
civil and criminal penalties totaling up to $61,000 per violation and
up to ten years in prison. The dealership itself could also face a fine
of up to $1 million.
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