Thank you, Bayliner and Catalina--an editorial
07 August 2009 | Among the Masses
We really hate to carp about the "good old days," because there are a lot of folks out here cruising that were doing it when we were still in elementary school. We can only imagine how THEY feel. When we first visited Nanaimo, it was on Charlie's parents' Spree II back in 1971. We negotiated the dreaded Dodd Narrows at slack water at 5:20 in the afternoon on a day in early August. An hour later, we arrived at the commercial basin and found plenty of room to moor. Try to imagine doing that nowadays.
The fact is, of course, that the "doubling time" for Earth's population is down to under thirty years so there are more than twice as many people on the planet now as there were in 1972. And if the same percentage of them own boats as did back then, there would have to be twice as many boats up here as there were back then. But it's worse than that.
We feel we can thank Bayliner and Catalina for that. Now of course we have no hard statistics to back up this opinion, but we'd suggest that, in 1972, a much smaller percentage of the general population were boat owners. Bayliner and Catalina have done for boats what Henry Ford did for the automobile: cranked out a zillion and three boats a year, well-built, and reasonably priced. Now every doofus with a bit of disposable income can afford a boat. And they're ALL up here during the first two weeks of August.
Even that might be tolerable if all of them knew what the hell they were doing. But there's a sizeable number of them that think "seamanship" has something to do with sexual activity. Good example: the moron in a small outboard we heard on the radio today talking to the Coast Guard and demanding that they come and help him because he'd run out of gas! And where was he? Tied up to some dock a short distance from the Petro Canada fuel float in Nanaimo harbor! The Coastie operator tried to get him to get off Channel 16 and over to 84, their working frequency. He claimed he "had 16 and that was it." Finally, she got him to call her on his cell phone to clear Channel 16. Then she put out a "marine assistance request," asking any vessel in Nanaimo that could assist, to please do so. A couple of boats responded.
Soon the idiot was back on 16. "I'm still waiting," he said, somewhat arrogantly. "The boat that came to help me only had diesel." (We are NOT making this up!) He apparently felt that someone was supposed to come out and deliver his fuel to him. It was all we could do to keep from grabbing the mike and suggesting that he get out the PADDLE that the law requires he carry, and start paddling his sorry ass in the direction of the fuel dock. We heard some comments on the radio later that indicated that others who had been listening shared our opinion.
So here's to Bayliner and Catalina (and yes, some other manufacturers as well). Thanks for making boating accessible and affordable for the masses. Please don't do us any more favors.