View from the Marina

Published in the April 2011 Issue April 2011 Ask The Expert Barb Hansen

During the political season in America you'll find politicians running around with grease guns promising to lubricate every squeaky wheel. But have you noticed, they never offer to lubricate the squeaks coming from the recreational boating community? And why is that exactly?

Maybe it's because we boaters don't squeak. We're self-reliant types. You know the drill. I can still hear my parents, "Take personal responsibility. Don't buy what you can't afford. Save for the future," and all that.

So, I've been thinking, maybe we should start squeaking.

We need an organization. Call it, what?

How about The Nau-tea-cal Party?

It would be based on boating principles. All members would be expected to remain self-reliant and not spend more than they have. It would also be based on the principle that so long as our elected officials are throwing our money around then they should splurge on us, too.

Compared to what other squeaky wheels demand, we boaters won't ask for much.

For starters, how about a little positive recognition? I propose a National Boating Holiday. This would be a summer holiday. All employees, not just government workers, should get a paid day off to go boating. Wait. Make that a two-day national holiday.

Instead of spending billions to bail out the auto industry, our politicians could declare that they will not let any boating company fail. Because, where does it say that bailing out an auto company is better than saving a U.S. boat company?

Washington doesn't realize it but the country suffers from a huge postal delivery problem. As it stands now the USPS does not deliver to people who live on their boats. If the USPS can deliver bulk mail advertising to a citizen who lives 200 miles from nowhere it can surely deliver to a boat moored out there in the harbor.

If politicians can spend billions of dollars to pay farmers not to grow something or to reward them when it doesn't rain, let's squeak until they give some of that lubricant to marine stores and waterfront restaurants to subsidize some of our favorite things.

Of course, we need to do something for the children. If high schools can teach Drivers Ed, then by golly let's squeak for Boaters Ed. We could have a Department of Boating with such programs as No Boater Left Behind.

There is so much to do for the children, not just nationally but at the state and local levels. In St. Louis, Mo., they're offering parents $900 to enroll their children at one public school. Why not offer parents another $900 to enroll their children in a course about why boaters make better citizens?

Oh, and let's demand a Boaters Tax Free Week. All boats, boating gear, boat and fishing charters, accessories, boating clothes and boat shoes would be sales tax free. I just love those cute boat shoes in all the bright colors. But I digress.

Commentator Glenn Beck last fall put on a rally on the Mall in Washington called, "Restoring Honor." Well, there are no citizens more honorable than boaters.

Okay then, let's organize our own citizens rally called, "Restoring Fiscal Sanity" and invite mariners from around the world to gather in Fort Myers, Fla., in a show of solidarity.

We'll dump tea in the harbor, pour rum in our cups and sing R E S P E C T by Aretha Franklin.

Hey, we could make it into a robo-call that rings in the home of every politician when he or she is eating dinner.

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