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Boating: Spring break, tourists, time change and batteries

March 21, 2012
By boatguy Ed , Fort Myers Beach Bulletin, Fort Myers Beach Observer

It finally arrived a couple of weeks ago Daylight Saving Time, hooray! "The Dead End Canal Yacht Club" members are joyous. We get another hour a day to use our boats and, with the arrival of Spring Breakers, more reasons for us to cruise along the shore looking for co-eds in distress!

It's a well-known fact that sun and alcohol affect the ability of young people to swim or even stay afloat. We're just doing our part.

It is a dangerous past time, too! I'm not sure how much safety instruction is given to the renters of jet-skis, but I doubt it's much. Sure they're fun but there are rules to follow, but we've seen every rule in the book broken a dozen times a day. The worst thing is having intoxicated college students getting seasick while riding. Let's move on.

The near confluence of time change with Shrimp Fest, St. Pat's Day and Spring Break was unintentional, but the effect was hard on car drivers. I always expect to see some Arab sheik smiling from a tent erected along San Carlos Boulevard while our creeping cars burn up thousands of gallons of oil he sold us. Sadly, my family and I and club members are forced to go away from the canal during the day. It is a struggle to return home.

If more businesses would move onto the river and away from US 41, a tremendous amount of time could be saved. Currently, I have about the same respect for Congress as I do for the Fort Myers Beach City Council members and the Lee County Commissioners. Very little is the right answer!

I know that the bridge onto the beach can't be widened without taxing the rich more, and we all know the answer to that proposal. We all know that Estero Boulevard can't be widened without destroying part of the tax base. Which means we're stuck with an unsolvable situation for three or four months a year. Yet, even in the off-season, the traffic is slow and erratic because first time visitors search for 7000 Estero Blvd. the moment they come over the bridge.

Who ever heard of an island without mileposts? Not me and unless you were beamed down from the planet of the Amazons, I bet you noticed that there were no mileposts on Estero Boulevard. "Let's see, Mildred, our condo is at milepost 7.2 so there isn't any reason to drive 15 mph all the way down the beach from the Sky Bridge, aye?"

How about erecting some message signs along San Carlos, like they have along I-75 that inform drivers about hazards ahead or gives travel times to the next exits. Our traffic computer system is capable of signing, "Thirty five minutes to top of sky bridge from this point!" It could estimate fuel usage, too! How many gawkers and sightseers would turn around and go home or take US 41 to Naples instead of the beach road? I should run for office, but I like myself too much!

I won't complain to loudly because life is good and in a few weeks it will get better when our beloved snowbirds go home. For five months, all I've heard from strangers was, "Where are you from?" Now the biggest question is, "When are you going home?" I'm not being flippant; you will be missed and we look forward to having you back.

Then came St. Patrick's Day, but the traffic was still horrible so the traditional Irish corned beef and cabbage dinner came from waterfront eateries. A few of our members had to play golf off the beach, and they waited out the traffic at the Bayside Bar and Grill on the way back. Good food, music and a Guinness or two made up a very sedate day.

Now to a serious point: Most of us leaped our clocks forward one hour last week. I'm sure there are a million car clocks that were suddenly displaying the correct time. On the other hand there probably a million excuses for being late made by the terminally tardy. Everything is right in the universe except there are dead batteries in smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors in homes and on boats.

Who among us doesn't have a smoke alarm in our house? Still the news media, in all their glory, love to stand outside a burned-out shell of a house. They try looking sad, with a half smile on their face, while reporting on the heroic efforts by family members, neighbors and firemen who tried to rescue trapped victims. Unless my dog was smoking in bed (ha ha), he'd wake up the dead if a fire broke out.

Carbon Monoxide is a colorless, odorless, and tasteless gas that is often called the silent killer. Rascal, my dog, would be in a body bag just like the rest of us if the house or boat were inundated with CO. On boats, the main causes are idling engines, improperly vented generators, space heaters and back drafts while motoring. A carbon monoxide detector should be installed in accommodation spaces on your boat or in your home! Don't delay. Change those batteries, now!

Boatguy Ed is a retired marine manufacturer, He is a past commodore of the "Dead End Canal Yacht Club," a local television producer and an avid boater. Visit the Facebook page of the "Dead End Canal Yacht Club" and 'like' it for a prize of insignificant value!



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