FYI: March 2004

FYI — March 2004
By Brad Dunn
 More of this Feature
• Part 1: Crossed Connections, Things We Like, and more
• Part 2: A Word With.., and more

 Related Resources
• News/FYI Index

Crossed Connections
Try to report an injured manatee in Florida, and you might end up being exposed to a different kind of wildlife.

That’s what dozens of boaters discovered in December when they dialed an 800 number in the hope of saving a manatee, and instead were connected to a tawdry sex-chat hotline. Rather than being asked the location of a wounded sea cow, they were urged to supply a credit card number so they could join a party line and chat with “fantasy girls.”

The snafu occurred when the Florida Fish & Wildlife Commission dropped the 800 number it had long advertised for manatee protection and failed to adequately notify the public. Weeks later the number was bought by Intimate Encounters, a Philadelphia-based sex-chat company.

The mix-up “makes us look really bad to the public,” wrote Elsa Haubold, who heads the Florida Marine Institute’s manatee program, in an official statement. She said the embarrassing situation “only adds to the levels of frustration felt by our field staff and FWC dispatchers.”

Overnight the Save the Manatee Club launched a PR damage-control campaign, announcing the new toll-free number for reporting dead or injured manatees (888-404-FWCC). The group says word about the new number is out, and more boaters are using the hotline.

Apparently, Intimate Encounters has made a marketing scheme out of purchasing old agency hotline numbers. The company reportedly has taken over 800 numbers formerly used by the World Wildlife Fund, Alltel customer service, the conservative journal Policy Review, and even rape crisis centers in Maine and Arizona. A spokesperson for Intimate Encounters did not return a call for comment.

Despite the embarrassment felt by the state’s Fish & Wildlife Commission, agency spokesman Henry Cabbage jokingly commended Intimate Encounters for its marketing strategy, telling reporters, “You’ve got to admire the American spirit when it comes to figuring out a way to make a buck.”

Number of gallons of diesel that the fastest fuel pump at the Bahia Mar Yachting Center in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, can pump in one minute, according to the marina. That means a 20,000-gallon tank can be filled in about 2.5 hours, as opposed to more than 20 hours with older pumps.

Things We Like
If you can’t take your yacht to Bali, bring Bali to your yacht. Executive editor Diane M. Byrne saw this thatched-roof, all-teak gazebo at last September’s Monaco Yacht Show. Custom-made by a France-based company appropriately named Honeymoon, each structure takes about three months to design and build and is delivered with cushions covered with Sunbrella fabrics of your choice. If the thatched roof isn’t your speed, you can also request canvas, wood, or even copper. But it all comes at a cost, of course: Prices start around $13,500. Visit for details.

March Calendar
11-14. The Spring Boat Show in Fort Myers, Florida. (954) 570-7785.
11-14. The National Capital Boat Show in Chantilly, Virginia. (804) 425-6556.
19-21. The Floating Boat Show in Anacortes, Washington. (360) 299-9255.
19-21. The Boat Show in Pensacola, Florida. (251) 478-7469.
19-21. The Maine Boat Builders Show in Portland. (207) 774-1067.
25-28. The Boat Show in Palm Beach, Florida. (954) 764-7642.
26-28. St. Augustine Boat Show in St. Augustine, Florida. (843) 762-3997.

Next page > A Word With...Michael Moore, and more > Page 1, 2

This article originally appeared in the February 2004 issue of Power & Motoryacht magazine.

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