Word with... Paula Wikoff
Paula Wikoff and
her husband, Terry, run the popular Lakefront Motel in Cooperstown, New
York, just one block from the Baseball Hall of Fame on the southern end
of gorgeous Otsego Lake. A few years ago, she decided to pursue a lifelong
dream of running a tour boat from the marina outside her motel. She hired
a boatbuilder, got her captain’s license, and launched the 50-foot
Glimmerglass Queen in the spring of 2003. PMY recently talked to Paula
about her first season on the water.
Q: Was it difficult
to get your dreamboat built?
A: Well, I had a very specific vision of what she would look like,
but I had never dealt with boatbuilders or naval architects. After shopping
around all over the country and doing tons of research, I found the best
builder for our project right here in New York: Scarano Boat Builders
in Albany. They crafted exactly what I wanted: a flat-bottom, barge-type
boat that carries 47 guests with a three-person crew.
Q: How your maiden
A: Actually, it was pretty traumatic. After we went out and had
returned to the dock, we saw two people flailing in the water and their
abandoned boat going in circles at about 20 mph. As we were backing up
to help them, we lost an engine due to electrical problems. When we finally
reached them, I remembered my man-overboard drills: We pulled around,
tossed them life rings, and got them out of the water. Fortunately, their
boat ran out of gas before it hit anything on shore.
Q: Overall, how
was your first season on the water?
A: It was
incredible. We got far more customers than we imagined. We were lucky.
Otsego Lake is such a gem; such a beautiful place to be out on the water.
It’s really underused by the people who live here as well as people
passing through. It’s a great way of showing people the beauty of
the lake and surrounding area.
Q: Do you get
a lot of baseball fans on their pilgrimages to Cooperstown?
yes. And after they go to the Hall of Fame, they usually realize that
this town is a great place to visit by itself. Of course, we get all types
it like to achieve a lifelong goal?
people always say, “Find your bliss.” I used to wonder what
that means. Now I know. I wake up every morning and look forward to the
work I have to do that day. It’s truly a labor of love.
Yes, the U.S.
Coast Guard saves lives. But now it’s also saving trees. The always
environmentally responsible agency has done away with printing out its
Local Notices to Mariners (LNMs) and has moved its entire navigational
communiqués system to the Internet.
You may have noticed
more space in your mailbox in April; that’s when the Coast Guard
implemented its cost-cutting electronic initiative. The service, which
provides up-to-the-minute safety information on all U.S. waters, has been
free to any boater who subscribed. It’s still free, but now the agency
e-mails a PDF directly to your account.
The Internet-only operation
not only saves taxpayers’ money, it also speeds up the delivery of
pertinent navigation data so all boaters are armed with the most accurate
information when they set out for a cruise.
You can subscribe to
the LNMs by logging on to the U.S. Coast Guard Navigation Center at www.navcen.uscg.gov/lnm/default.htm.
Got an interesting
boating story for this column? Write to FYI,
Power & Motoryacht, 260 Madison Ave., 8th Fl., New York,
NY 10016. Fax: (917) 256-2282. e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org.
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