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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
First the conservationist have a go by getting rid of copper in antifoul, then sulphur in fuel followed by protecting so many anchorages in the guise of conserving grass or the lesser know pink spotted sea horse.
Then there are holding tank regulations.

I would imagine that round the world the effluent floating out to sea and the emission from factories coming down as rain are far more harmful.

Countries such as Greece then throw in another tax specifically against boaters.

Chandlers seem to think of a price and then double it and add 12.

Is it that the leisure boating industry is an easy touch and they know we will accept all these things or are they right. Should we do more to protect grass and sea life, and accept the high prices and taxes for what we enjoy doing?
 

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It was reported this week that about 20% of China's arable land is polluted from factory and human waste. As you suggest, what doesn't get trapped on the land gets washed out to sea, likely in far greater quantities. Look at the "dead zone" plume at the mouth of the Mississippi - from a country which DOES have environmental regulations that are sometimes enforced. We need to do more to clean things up, not less. Boaters are not the sole culprits, but their mobility can mean that they don't vote in the places that make the rules. There are also relatively few boaters, so regulating them doesn't stir up huge waves of voter discontent.
 

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This has been chasing me since the 60's. Back then, when the farms and factories up the rivers in California were spewing all sorts of really serious toxins like DDT and mercury into the rivers, which fed SF Bay, they were already blaming the yachts for the majority of the bay's pollution.
When I left Ft. Lauderdale, they were trying to pass a law requiring hard line sewer connections for boats in the Las Olas Isles area, even though raw sewage could easily be seen seeping from the isles into the canals from the broken sewer lines.
We have always been the target to deflect scrutiny away from big business and it's economically efficient pollution.
Sailors and boaters in general like to think of themselves as individuals, and this leaves us with no single voice to lay the blame squarely where it belongs, with big business and it's waste. We were some of the first to use biodegradable products, long before it became the popular thing to do; after all who likes to soil their own nest?
For 50 years I watched them force things like holding tanks on us in areas with 6' to 10' diurnal tides, blaming us for all the pollution. I doubt it will stop any time soon, at least while the almighty god, money, controls the conscience of America.
 

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I should start by saying that I am not unsympathetic to your lament. That said, and in the spirit of a good discussion, I do have a few comments based on my personal views and experience.

First the conservationist have a go by getting rid of copper in antifoul, then sulphur in fuel followed by protecting so many anchorages in the guise of conserving grass or the lesser know pink spotted sea horse.
Then there are holding tank regulations.

I would imagine that round the world the effluent floating out to sea and the emission from factories coming down as rain are far more harmful.?
You're right....how lawmakers in some states can go after weekend sailors who pump a few gallons overboard and ignore municipalities that dump tons of sewage is beyond me....but maybe they start at the point of least resistance and move on up the sewage chain from there.

Re the sea grass...in many places where sea grass is an issue (and here I'm thinking of primarily of the Caribbean where charter boats seem to be everywhere), local governments or local entrepreneurs have put in mooring fields to "save the turtles". Some times the purpose of the rules restricted anchorage are designed to put money in the pockets of local mooring operators, but in others it is a genuine effort to help out turtle and conch populations that depend on sea grass beds for forage. For example: on the east end of St. Thomas the local government has installed moorings at Christmas Cove. The moorings are free. I've snorkeled through most of that mooring field and can testify that dragging anchors play havoc with the sea grass beds. They don't call them "plow" anchors for nothing.

Where the density of boaters is high the impact of marine heads and anchors is a bigger problem than you might think.

Countries such as Greece then throw in another tax specifically against boaters.
Ask Willy Sutton why people rob banks? Same applies here. Europeans who have expensive yachts they keep in Greece are seen as a source of income by local politicians -- and an income that doesn't ask their constituents to pay the tax.

Chandlers seem to think of a price and then double it and add 12.
This is partly due to the economics of serving a relatively small market for boating products coupled with the relatively specialized nature of "marine grade" products, and partly because of the general view of the relative wealth of yacht owners. (You know the saying: If you have to ask how much it costs, you can't afford it). It's also a function of the mentality of boaters who after spending tens, if not hundreds, of thousands on the boat are less likely to sweat the small stuff. Boys shouldn't complain about the cost of their toys.

Is it that the leisure boating industry is an easy touch and they know we will accept all these things or are they right.
I presume you're speaking here of the rule makers. In some things they're probably right -- in others they're shameless, overreaching hypocrites.

Should we do more to protect grass and sea life....
Yea, probably.

...and accept the high prices and taxes for what we enjoy doing
That's up for each of us to decide, isn't it?
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
It is strange and sometimes a total misconception to think all boat owners are wealthy. Some certainly are and good luck to them.
There are also others like ourselves whose home is their boat. We live on very limited incomes often from savings or pensions.
For people like us being able to live this life is getting harder and harder. Where we could anchor we now have to pay for buoys, where we could cruise we now get taxed.
Some would say we are coming to the end of a free ride?
 

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before we get on this tirade again.. I am old enough to remember when Marinas -did- smell like sewerage plants due to all the boats just dumping their crap over the side. It was extremely nasty and I am glad it is gone.

However, if they are going to start small.. they better be prepared to go big too. I know around here they are proactive and have been eliminating septic tanks right, left, and centre.. a lot of people are upset they have to pay the city now to flush their toilets.. but I would rather have all that stuff channeled down to the main treatment centre and taken care of than just sitting in a tank and decomposing.
 

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I am going to leave most of this thread alone for now but I wanted to comment on the price for 'marine' equipment.

While it is true that some stuff is exactly the same, for many products there are real and substantial differences between hardware store and marine equipment. Often things that are not obvious on the surface and make the products much more expensive. Combined with low manufacturing volume, slow turnover, a small market and it is pretty easy to see why prices are pretty high. But in my experience profits are also pretty low compared to most retail outlets.

A good example is the 'stainless' light fixtures you can buy from lowes or home Depo. In reality these are tin with a stainless look. Exposure to sea air deposits salt crystals on them, and you immedialy have a galvanic problem. Conversely the stainless light fittings at a chandlery will be solid 304 or 316 stainless and should never have this problem. The wires in the Lowes fixture are thin, unthinned, and non-compliant with marine standards. The ones at the Chandlery will be at least 16 gague, tinned, and ABYC compliant.

Do you need a 'marine grade' light fixture? Up to you, but there is often a difference even if you can't see it.
 

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before we get on this tirade again.. I am old enough to remember when Marinas -did- smell like sewerage plants due to all the boats just dumping their crap over the side. It was extremely nasty and I am glad it is gone.
Really? How come I've never whiffed the nastiness in the marinas in Canada? Many of their boats don't even HAVE holding tanks, and the rest often don't use them.

MedSailor
 

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OK, and, yes, things are not what they used to be. A major reason: there are simply a lot more boats - power and sail - everywhere. We were in the BVI in April 1988 and nary a boat in sight, and only a half dozen at the Baths.... I also agree that fairness would dictate that major polluters be equally treated (if not prioritized) and that any cost associated with that be reflected in all the retail prices we pay now (a different economic debate alltogether...)

As to cleaning ourselves up, I will quote from the 6th Edition of Bahamas Bound by Skipper Bob - it dates to 2006, I believe and (hopefully) things have changed:

"Remember the warning about swimming in Elizabeth Harbour [Georgetown]. With 500 boats dumping their black waste directly overboard, you should not swim in these waters."

If these conditions still exist now, I am curious to see what complaints we might see coming when everyone has to raise anchor once a week to go to a pump-out, or have the pump-put come alongside - and pay $10 or $15 for the privilege of swimming from your transom...
 

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Firstly, the smelly issue. I live on an island that is normally pristine and very beautiful. We have a number of beaches that are glorious with amazingly clean water. Over Christmas and Easter, the foam on the breaking wavelets onto the beach are a little more foamy and the water a little more cloudy. Only the boat owners who anchor there go in the water because everyone living on the island knows that the water will be putrid with 200 or more boats flushing urine into the bay. I'm embarrassed to say that I used to one of those boat owners and I used to flush urine away in those bays so I know that it's true.

Secondly the marine equipment issue. I made a decision not to spend $700 on a Magma marine barbecue. Why would I when there was another stainless barbecue alongside it for $320? Well, the cheaper unit is made of 304 stainless (not stated on the pamphlet) and tarnishes to brown in a matter of weeks while the Magma is made of 316 and stays beautifully shiny. And this concept is true for most honestly "marine grade" equipment. But it does draw my attention when I can buy the exact same yacht braid (by name) from the camping shop for 2/3 the price of the chandler. Or Trojan batteries for 1/2 the price from the golf cart vendor. Or Sika products for significantly less at the local hardware outlet. So yes, I do believe chandlers charge more on a lot of things

I suppose that is how the chandler manages to keep an assortment of 250 different Harken fittings and other pieces of specialist kit in stock for years on the off-chance that I may need one of them every 6 months.
 

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before we get on this tirade again.. I am old enough to remember when Marinas -did- smell like sewerage plants due to all the boats just dumping their crap over the side. It was extremely nasty and I am glad it is gone.

However, if they are going to start small.. they better be prepared to go big too. I know around here they are proactive and have been eliminating septic tanks right, left, and centre.. a lot of people are upset they have to pay the city now to flush their toilets.. but I would rather have all that stuff channeled down to the main treatment centre and taken care of than just sitting in a tank and decomposing.
A properly working septic system does a much better job of handling the waste, and at a much lower cost than a municipal system(s). Nor does it break down and "leak" 9,900 gallons each time, so as to avoid the penalties.

Now, IF the municipal systems were effective, ran full time, and were up to date in technology....perhaps in the next life.
 

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before we get on this tirade again.. I am old enough to remember when Marinas -did- smell like sewerage plants due to all the boats just dumping their crap over the side. It was extremely nasty and I am glad it is gone.

However, if they are going to start small.. they better be prepared to go big too. I know around here they are proactive and have been eliminating septic tanks right, left, and centre.. a lot of people are upset they have to pay the city now to flush their toilets.. but I would rather have all that stuff channeled down to the main treatment centre and taken care of than just sitting in a tank and decomposing.
There's alot in New Jesey that smells; not sure its from the boaters.

What's wrong with septic tanks? Handled local, straight back into the ground where the water came from. Ohh, That's right; it's better to flush that waste water out to the sea. If you believe that it's "treated" before it goes out, then drink a glass for me. I've seen what treated water comes out like. While relatively clean; it still packs a nutrient punch. Contributes greatly to those lovely blooms.

.
 

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A properly working septic system does a much better job of handling the waste, and at a much lower cost than a municipal system(s). Nor does it break down and "leak" 9,900 gallons each time, so as to avoid the penalties.

Now, IF the municipal systems were effective, ran full time, and were up to date in technology....perhaps in the next life.
It all comes down to (over)crowding. A remote latrine is no problem, but a concentration of human waste in a crowded city has (thankfully) resulted in elaborate sewage systems. Even so, it seems to take forever for some places to stop dumping raw sewage: Halifax, Nova Scotia, comes to mind, and it is of course ironic that boats would go to a pump-out there, discharge black waste into the municipal system that subsequently flows untreated into the ocean (just not next to your boat... and so, that is some sort of difference as in our of sight, out of mind).

As to being a target for all sorts of fees and regulations, again, increased popularity is part of it. In the 70s it was still quaint, romantic, special to go cruising and you could still be a welcome, even feted visitor wherever you showed up. Just as "on land" we are subject to ever-more and sometimes kafkaesque or byzantine regulations, we are being followed onto the water. It is our vast, modern society at work.

Try to worry about it as little as possible, and enjoy your sailing to the fullest!
 

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In the military they train commanders to recognize an untenable position for what it is. An old lobbyist once told me to "never confuse the facts with the issues," after I pretested a scientifically rigorous defense of an unpopular position.

* The rules are the rules with holding tanks. You are never going to succeed in defending your right to poop in the water. On board treatment systems won't sell.

* Anchoring restrictions are generally about the view. The best we can do is make certain that as a communicate we are ship shape and quiet. They will get less sympathy arguing that a well-kept sailboat is no hansom.

* Eventually we will probably lose the copper issue. Thank goodness for some leading states that will help the market develop products.

* No one said you had to shop in a chandlery and have the marina do the work. Shop the competition.

And yes, everyone things sailors are rich. Relatively speaking, on the average, we are. That should be obvious, young dingy sailors aside (most of them will be rich when they grow up... again, relatively speaking.
 

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Nothing special going on as far as boating goes. This is just an example of people not having a problem with regulations etc as long as they don't apply to them.
 
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