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Boating: Loud meetings rarely draw importance

March 7, 2012
By boatguy Ed , Fort Myers Beach Bulletin, Fort Myers Beach Observer

The "Dead End Canal Yacht Club" has two types of meetings. An official meeting takes place on the canal and is open to regular members. After a time, social members in good standings are welcome too, but the business meetings are mostly boring club stuff. With all the caveats placed on regular meetings -no swearing, no talking religion, no politics and depending which member is the official meeting host or hostess, no beer- those meetings are poorly attended.

The best "Dead End Canal Yacht Club" meetings are those conjured up by a mutual telepathic symbiosis at various local waterfront establishments. This sounds very 'techie cool' but it's basically accomplished via cell phone by a few leading 'happy hour' advocates. "Where R U??? R U going to Big Game, Matanzas?'' Some of our members are increasingly savvy about smart phone operations. They can speak a question into it just like Mr. Scott did in the 'original' Star Trek, "Computer, computer....." Not me!

Holidays are a great time to improve all of your tech skills because the grandkids are here, and they love to show how much smarter they are than the grandparents. Sometimes that backfires if the "G-pas" don't feel the love when they reach for their goodbye money. Sorry!

We've been overwhelmed with I-phones and the like. We have one new member who is also a new boater who shouts unfamiliar terms into his phone during the meeting. It's some kind of audio inquiry that comes back with an answer. "What is a transom?" You just have to love 'em or take 'em offshore fishing and not bring 'em back!

I'm not sure how much this contributes to the recent increase in noise that intrudes into our informal gatherings. A low rumble punctuated by shouts and chirping laughter isn't good for concentration by small groups of 'hearing deprived' people. A large portion of our older members use hearing aids and these devices can be confused by the overwhelming amount of background static. It comes from people who can't hear either, so they insist on talking as loud as possible!

During the recent holiday, I was so pleased by the young mothers admonishing their young children to use their inside voice. That almost always works with young children that don't need a nap. Possibly, we adults should listen to our daughters and granddaughters and use our inside voice when we are inside? A nap might help, too!

There are places where some of our members are reluctant to go because of the noise, and there are places that are "hearing friendly" which are usually open air. The solution to pollution is dilution! Think about that? The Japanese nuclear accident was horrible but I saw a government official mouth those same words in response to what could be done.

Let me describe the perfect hearing friendly spot. A great view usually distracts many potential 'over-talkers'! Those are people who are not really listening but just waiting to talk but who are to impatient to wait until the other person has finished. In my scientific research of this subject I have discovered that 73 percent of 'over-talkers' are female in gender. Which surprises me because we don't have that many female participants in our meetings.

The second most important aspect of the "hearing friendly" watering holes is open air on at least two sides or the ability to open large windows therefore allowing the noise pollution to dilute into the surrounding atmosphere. Prime example is Doc Ford's upstairs. When the weather is cold and the windows are closed it is very loud and hearing unfriendly. Just by opening the windows, the problem is mostly solved. Downstairs at the dock, no problem, it's a real favorite for one of our more discerning members, Pensacola Jim.

I may have just had an epiphany. If you confine the 'noise beast' it will grow and grow until it is all consuming. If we could all sit in the open air and use our inside voices and not ask the manager to turn up the sound on the 18 televisions then we wouldn't suffer from the real harm that noise pollution causes like elevated blood pressure and decreased libido. It is a proven scientific fact that fewer people have intimate relations after being bombarded with noise pollution. Maybe the real loud ones aren't interested anymore because the noise has destroyed the need.

In that vane, I am amazed that the state of Wisconsin can repopulate itself after the thundering noise level at a recent Fort Myers Beach 'Wisconsin Day.' At the upcoming Michigan, Pennsylvania and Ohio days at the Big Game Waterfront Grill, observe the quiet ones sneaking off early. Why, I can only surmise. I refer to scientific data and those beach blanket movies of our youth.

The 'Dead End Canal Yacht Club is now on Facebook! Post pictures of your unofficial 'DECYC' waterfront meetings and 'like' us on your way to official, unofficial membership status. Don't prescribe to the Groucho Marx theory that he'd never belong to a club who'd have him as a member!

Boatguy Ed is tall, slender and a distinguished-looking middle-aged man, not the guy in the picture. If you have a comment or complaint send an e-mail to but never accost the person who mistakenly looks like the column's photo.



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