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Look Who's Talking

Lead Line — February 2004
By Richard Thiel

Look Who’s Talking
Where does a boater go to chat when it’s dark, cold, or rainy?
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What do boaters do when they’re not boating? Surely one of their favorite pastimes is talking about boats and boating. Look down any dock at the end of the day, and you’ll see agglomerations of men and women—many with a drink in their hands—embroiled in conversation, if not controversy. Edge a bit closer, and you’ll find any number of subjects being hashed over, from how to care for an engine to where to find an undiscovered place to drop the hook.

But where does a boater go to chat when it’s dark, cold, or rainy? A yacht or cruising club is a great place if you happen to be lucky enough to belong to one. For everyone else there’s the local waterfront watering hole, which is sure to be populated by a few colorful, if not necessarily knowledgeable, nautical types. But the environments of many such establishments aren’t always conducive to informed discourse, especially as the evening wears on.

I’m happy to announce a better and considerably healthier alternative for those of you who like to hash over maritime topics. PMY has just gone live with four online forums, which can be accessed through our Web site, www.powerandmotoryacht.com. Each deals with a specific subject—design and surveying, electronics, maintenance, and megayachts—and each is moderated by a PMY editor who’s an expert in that field. George L. Petrie, Ben Ellison, Capt. Ken Kreisler, and Diane M. Byrne, respectively.

For those readers who are unfamiliar with online forums, it’s a surprisingly simple concept. After you log on, you can search out any number of conversations, or “threads,” within each forum, or you can start a thread on a subject of your choosing. If you find an existing conversation that interests you, you can add your comments or just read what’s been posted.

An important aspect of this is the role of the moderator. Comments input by participants are not directed at the moderators, but are instead just “put out there” for anyone to respond to. Thus the moderators are not constantly online and so do not monitor everything as it is posted. They do, however, periodically check the site and read the discussions with an eye toward offering useful information or looking for anyone who is abusing the site. So, for example, Capt. Ken Kreisler might read a string about an engine problem and interject a comment based upon a bulletin he has just read, while not commenting on other threads.

The forums are open to anyone, and they’re free, but you do have to register. Fortunately, that’s painless. Simply go to www.powerandmotoryacht.com, click on the Forums link, and follow the prompts to the registration screen. You’ll find a series of required questions to answer, such as your user name and password (which you create), e-mail address, name, birth date, location, and boat information. Fill in the blanks and hit the “save” button, and as soon as you receive your confirmation, you can log on and start typing.

The best part of these forums, besides the fact that they’re free, is that if you don’t find a topic that strikes your fancy, you can simply create a new discussion based on something you are interested in. So in that regard, they really aren’t PMY’s forums, they’re yours. What are you waiting for?

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

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