FYI: December 2003 Page 2

FYI — December 2003
By Brad Dunn
 More of this Feature
• Part 1: Tilting at Windmills, Things We Like, and more
• Part 2: A Word With.., and more

 Related Resources
• News/FYI Index

A 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 boating instructor.

Q: First, what influenced you to pursue a career in boating?
A: Well, 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?
A: The 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?
A: It’s 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.

First 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.

Previous page > Tilting at Windmills, and more > Page 1, 2

This article originally appeared in the November 2003 issue of Power & Motoryacht magazine.

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