FYI: April 2002 Page 2

FYI - April 2002
FYI — April 2002
By Brad Dunn
 More of this Feature
• Part 1: Keeping Up Our Guard, On Shelves
• Part 2: Manatee Life Guard, and more

 Related Resources
• News/FYI Index

Manatee Life Guard
It’s not exactly Baywatch, but a new standard for protecting manatees is calling for a new kind of lifeguard.

After last year’s Offshore Worlds powerboat race in Key West, Florida, many boaters were concerned that not enough was being done to prevent manatees from wandering into the race course and endangering their own lives as well as those of boaters.

Now, as the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the American Power Boat Association (APBA) weigh new standards to protect the sea cows, all powerboat races will be required to post a "manatee watch" person, who monitors the waters throughout the event from a helicopter. If the watchperson spots a manatee anywhere near the track, the race will be delayed until the course is declared clear.

While plans for additional manatee lifeguards are being discussed, the APBA says the current watch program not only ensures manatee protection, but also allows for a safer racing environment without adversely affecting the race.

Headed to Court?
You may recall that in last month’s "Lead Line" editor-in-chief Richard Thiel revealed that The Hinckley Company had warned a number of companies to stop building boats that it felt looked too much like its Picnic Boat line. Since then Hinckley has filed suit against eight builders and dealers who it contends are violating "trade dress," by building boats that look so much like Hinckleys they confuse consumers. The eight are Alliance Marine, for the Italian-built Daytripper 40; Annapolis Sail Yard, LazMar International, Monaco Marine Group, and WellFound Yachts, for the Turkish-built Vicem 50; Belkov Yacht Company, builder of the Belkov Express; San Juan Composites, builder of the San Juan 38 and 48; and Capitol Yacht Sales, for the Australian-built Avalon 38 (sold in Australia as the Palm Beach 38). Donald Campbell of San Juan Composites told Soundings Trade Only, "We completely disagree with [Hinckley’s] allegations and are vigorously defending ourselves" and contends that Hinckley is simply trying to "eliminate competition." No court date had been set at presstime.

Lack Michigan
With water levels at their lowest in 35 years, Lake Michigan is starting to be hazardous to the local boating industry’s health.

This year’s dry, mild winter has quickened the decline of the water level, which since 1997 has dropped some 40 inches. At presstime, levels were already more than 13 inches below the yearly average. As the lake shrinks, the height of fixed docks increases and some boat ramps become inaccessible. Moreover, sandbars get larger and overall depth is reduced, creating hazards to navigation.

Normally at this time of year, the lake gets a water boost from the winter thaw. Compounding the lack of snow, temperatures stayed well above their normal levels this winter, and almost no ice formed on the lake. Usually 60 to 70 percent of Lake Michigan is covered in ice during the winter, a phenomenon that prevents water from evaporating, according to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

New Yorktown
In a move to draw more boaters–and their wallets–to Yorktown, Virginia, local legislators are planning a major waterfront renovation plan that could bring 150 new jobs and $3 million annually to the area.

The Yorktown Harbor project, which at presstime had not yet been approved by voters, is a $20-million effort to attract a flock of new businesses and tourists. With federal funding a proposed dock would extend about 350 feet from the shore and accommodate anywhere from 40 to 50 boats. (Maximum boat size has yet to be determined.)

Once the dock is built, county leaders say they will introduce generous incentives to attract coastal cruisers, including one proposal that offers boaters free dockage for up to 10 days.

Previous page > Keeping Up Our Guard, and More! > Page 1, 2

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

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