If You Build It, Regulators Will Come

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Ahoy!

Last Wednesday was a sad note for some boaters, as lobster season concluded on March 21 in Southern California until next October.

I love to eat Panulirus interruptus, and this year the recreational divers and fishermen told me that it was an average season for catching the bugs along our coast. So, I am curious if this was a good season or not for a lobster in everyone’s pot.

A question that begs for an answer is how big of a boat can you restore in your backyard without being an eyesore to your neighbors? An 8-foot Sabot would seem to go unnoticed, but what about a 72-foot sailboat? The sailing vessel Shawnee is being restored in the backyard of Dennis Holland on Holiday Road, and a judge has ordered him to move the boat from his property by April 30.

I do like the notion of people restoring older vessels, and the boats look great sailing across the water. Many boat projects have been completed in backyards because having to pay storage-yard fees can make some projects too expensive. There are other issues that can affect the neighbors such as view, noise, and dust from woodworking.

So the judge made his determination that the boat must be relocated, and now the Shawnee will have to find a new home for the completion of the repairs. Wooden boats are slowly disappearing from the harbors, mainly because of the vessels’ ages, and fiberglass has replaced wood for building hulls. There something mystic about being aboard an old wooden ship, from the sound of the swells slapping the hulls to the distinctive smells when down below deck.

Maybe another shipwright with yard space will consider taking on this project and help get the boat back out to sea. Our area has lost our boat builders, who have moved to the high desert or to the east side of the country where regulations are not as burdensome to their businesses.

An update to my March 16 column, where I mentioned that Dan Richards, president of the California Fish and Game Commission, was under attack by environmental organizations who were trying to oust him from his position. Richards, who is an active angler and hunter, was being unfairly attacked for participating in a legal hunting trip in Idaho.

The organizations initially demanded that Richards resign from his position, and then the groups lobbied state legislators to remove Richards from office by a vote. However for now, the organizations have backed off the hunt to have Richards removed from office, but there will be more to this story as you can expect bills or rules of conduct to change.

Tip of the week is do you know you can read the actual ocean conditions on the Internet from numerous weather buoys floating out in the ocean? There are a few different sites and different formats of the buoy’s information that post hourly, such as wave height, wave direction, wave periods, wind speed and direction, wind gusts, water and air temperature. I use NOAA’s website at http://www.wrh.noaa.gov/lox/ for weather and sea conditions. The site also has radar, satellite, forecasts, and warnings that apply to the ocean and land. You can click on the map of Southern California for weather information at any specific location.

There are graphs of the past few days that help you predict if the conditions are increasing or decreasing, plus you can look back to see what the conditions were when you were there. The buoy information is being used for wave modeling forecasts, and I use the buoys daily to track the conditions. My favorite is www.lajollasurf.org/buoylist.html where you can select the West Coast, East Coast or the Gulf Coast to see current conditions, and it is always interesting to see what the conditions are around the nation’s coastlines.

And don’t forget: Tune in to the No. 1 boating radio talk show in the nation, Capt. Mike Whitehead’s Boathouse Radio Show, broadcasting coast-to-coast on the CRN Digital Talk Radio syndicated network every Saturday at noon, Pacific Time and replayed on Sunday at 10 am Pacific. Join Chandler Bell and me as we talk about “all things boating.” You can find the station listings, cable TV channels, live streaming on the Internet, and now available are apps to listen to the show for your iPhone, Blackberry, Itouch, Android, Palm, and Windows Mobile at www.BoathouseTV.com or www.BoathouseRadio.com.

And don’t forget: Tune in to the No. 1 boating radio talk show in the nation, Capt. Mike Whitehead’s Boathouse Radio Show, broadcasting coast-to-coast on the CRN Digital Talk Radio syndicated network every Saturday at noon, Pacific Time and replayed on Sunday at 10 am Pacific. Join Chandler Bell and me as we talk about “all things boating.” You can find the station listings, cable TV channels, live streaming on the Internet, and now available are apps to listen to the show for your iPhone, Blackberry, iTouch, Android, Palm, and Windows Mobile at www.BoathouseTV.com or www.BoathouseRadio.com.

Until next week, Safe Voyages!

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