Own a boat? Try joining BoatU.S.

Published 12:00 am Sunday, August 8, 2004

Last week’s column discussed the BoatU.S. Foundation and that groups environmental grants which promote &uot;clean&uot; boating.

As I read the published column in last week’s Sunday paper something dawned on me. I bet most people really don’t understand how important BoatU.S. is to recreational boating and what services they offer boaters in the Suffolk area. This made this week’s column easy – let’s talk about BoatU.S.

First off stop and think for a second about your particular hobby or passion? Let’s say you are a stamp collector. Chances are if you really get into new issues, plate blocks and first day covers, regardless of the country involved, you are a member of the American Philatelic Society (APS). What does membership in a national organization offer you? Consider some of the following. Besides an award winning magazine APS provides both the part-time collector and dedicated historian hobby specific information, opportunities to discuss their passion with experts and information on dealers offering products and services. The same types of services are provided to recreational boaters through BoatU.S.

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To begin to understand what 575,000 members have found appealing since 1966, lets look at what the organization offers:

BoatUS Magazine. This publication is one of the best in the world at addressing issues that are important to recreational boaters. The July edition looked at a number of important issues. These are some of the highlights from the magazine’s web site:

– &uot;Harbor Hindrances: Political conventions in New York and Boston at the height of the boating season may put a big crimp in waterway access this summer.

– Expert Tips from a 24/7 Cruiser: Author Tom Neale shares his hard won knowledge based on 17 years of living aboard and raising two kids while cruising.

– RX for Coral Reefs: Coral ‘doctors’ are doing wonders to fix reefs damaged by vessel groundings in the Florida Keys.

– Maritime Crossroads: A host of nautical museums and great facilities welcomes boaters to Hampton Roads, Virginia.

– EPIRB Test Report: When failures were detected on some GPS-enabled emergency beacons, the BoatU.S. Foundation helped fund a major test of different models which discovered a serious problem.&uot;

– Equipment Discounts: Who doesn’t like a good bargain? Membership in BoatU.S. includes receipt of a 1,000 page catalogue which offers huge discount. In addition there is an on-line store, which provides boaters the ability to save money in the comfort of their home or apartment. Not bad!

In addition there is a Consumer Protection Bureau which helps members in one of the toughest areas: resolving problems, according to the BoatU.S. Web site

&uot;involving warranty disputes, shoddy repairs, poor service, or misrepresentation by manufacturers. During the complaint process, we work directly with the manufacturers to help resolve your problems.&uot;

How about fuel or overnight slip fee discounts? BoatU.S. members are provided opportunities from cooperating marinas. Many are along the intercoastal waterway, some right here in Hampton Roads!

Membership also offers discounts in on water and on road towing. Some of the worst things to happen to recreational boaters are machinery problems which leave you dead in the water. BoatU.S. has partnered with one of the country’s largest towing fleets to provide superb response.

Finally, BoatU.S. offers recreational boaters something really important….a voice on Capital Hill. The organization monitors legislation and lobbies on behalf of the boating public against proposed legislation.

For the reasons I described above, and many more, BoatU.S. is a good organization to consider joining if you own a boat – any type of boat. For more information on membership go to their web site at: http://www.boat-us.com/membership/whatis.asp. Until next week…Boat Safe… and Boat Smart!