Politicans are hell bent on killing boating as we know it.
These are the best times ever for the boating and recreational boating industries. Hell, boats are sliding out of salesrooms, new people are being introduced to the water, and the used boat market is as tight as a fresh clam. You'd think all of us in the business would be happy and looking forward to many more years of success and expansion, right? Wrong, bilge breath! The fact is, these are some of the shakiest, scariest times the industry has ever seen, as we are slowly being strangled by regulations destined to kill the boat industry.
Most of this is being driven by tree huggers, wacko "green" groups worldwide composed mostly of unshaven (even the women!), long-haired, underachieving geeks whose goal in life is to bring the lifestyles of everybody down to the level of their old, rusty Volvo. If they can't own a boat, nobody should own a boat. Since they are far better organized than recreational boaters who just want to get out and enjoy the water, they have our phony politicians' attention. That's the basic problem here, and it will get worse. Al Snore advocated all of us riding bikes to work while he got ferried around by the Air Force and a fleet of limousines. Let's look at just a few of the problems we are now facing.
ManateesBack in sailing ship days, sailors mistook manatees for beautiful mermaids. Folks, did you ever look into the face of a manatee? These sailors had to be either very drunk or extremely hard up. Anyway, manatees are a big problem in Florida thanks to manatee huggers. Oppressive speed limits are being imposed up and down the ICW, and land development will be severely curtailed even though some studies show that the manatee population is growing.
Did you know that manatees are not indigenous to Florida? They were imported from the West Indies (for what, pets?). Why not round up all the manatees and ship them back to the West Indies where they can live in peace and quiet? (Does this make me a manatee racist?)
Greedy lawyers want to protect the public from being killed by propellers. These sleezebags are pushing for legislation and organizing class-action suits against boat and engine manufacturers, which will leave victims with some compensation while they (the lawyers) become Trump wealthy.
The U.S. Coast Guard has documented just eight fatalities caused by propeller strikes over the last three years, an average of 2.7 deaths per year. For this we need class action? Let's face it, most of these accidents are caused by stupidity on the part of the operator, the swimmer, or both. Hell, car doors are huge scissors that can maim and kill. Should we legislate against car doors and go back to open buggies?
This article originally appeared in the January 2003 issue of Power & Motoryacht magazine.