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Save Our Sharks: Sailors for the Sea

Category : Legislation

This guest blog is by Jim Abernethy, renowned underwater photographer and pioneer in shark encounters without a cage. For decades he has interacted with the world’s most notorious sharks, most of which are labeled as “dangerous species”. He is best known as a crusader for their protection. His award winning marine life images are often featured in top photography magazines such as Wet pixel and Nature’s Best Photography. While running shark expeditions his business has hosted many of the worlds top nature filmmakers and magazines such as Imax, National Geographic, BBC Wildlife and the Discovery Channel. Abernethy lives in Palm Beach, Florida. You are invited to visit his website at www.scuba-adventures.com.

Courtesy of Sailors for the Sea.
jim abernethy swimming with sharks
Sharks today are facing the threat of extinction. It is estimated that nearly 100 million sharks are needlessly harvested from the ocean each year. Scientists believe that if sharks become extinct we will essentially destroy the delicate balance that is necessary for the survival of thousands of marine species! Severe depletion of certain species is already revealing devastating effects in some areas of the world. Allowing the marine ecosystem to collapse is not an option for mankind. Considering the fact that at least one third of the oxygen we breathe, and a large percentage of the food we eat, come from the ocean, immediate change from present day practices must be mandated if we are to ensure a healthy future for all. We have the knowledge and means to implement prudent restrictions, but will we actually make the changes necessary to avoid an otherwise imminent environmental quagmire?

As a nature photographer, conservationist and owner of a live-aboard dive ecotourism business, I have lived at sea for the last decade; I spend the majority of my life underwater. Diving with large predatory sharks in their natural environment (without a cage) has allowed me to witness firsthand the true and gentle nature of these animals. What is also remarkably evident is the serious decline in their numbers. While my passion to observe and photograph sharks all over the world continues, it is undoubtedly becoming more challenging to find them. As a photographer and filmmaker, I strive to bring their beauty and magnificence to those who would otherwise not experience these awesome creatures up close; all in the hopes of inspiring more people to advocate for their survival. Most people only see sharks through the lens of the media that perpetuates the misconception that they are man-eating monsters. The truth is, we pose the greatest threat-not just to sharks, and marine life in general, but to our own existence on the planet. When we continue to exploit the ocean’s resources, instead of coming to a place of appreciation and ethical stewardship, we harm ourselves the most. Preservation of our biodiversity not only demonstrates vision, it protects the natural resources so essential to our own survival. Sharks are not dispensable.

There are roughly 500 known species of shark and they have graced this planet for nearly 415 million years. Yet today, sadly, only ten percent of the large predatory sharks remain worldwide-only three are protected by restrictions on international trade (the basking, whale and white sharks). Like mammals, most sharks mature late in life and only produce a few offspring; too often sharks are harvested before they have had a chance to reproduce. Present day fishery regulations, primarily designed for bony fishes, are not adequately protecting sharks. Species such as the great white, hammerheads, tigers, bulls, lemons, and oceanic whitetip sharks are likely to face extinction in the not too distant future unless a resolution for their preservation is demanded by the public and enforced by governments worldwide.
shark and diver
As mentioned in my new book, Sharks Up Close, the primary offenders to shark populations are the fisheries that provide catch for the Asian delicacy, shark fin soup. The shark fins are cut off, then the fish is thrown back and left to drown. Because this occurs at sea, few people are aware of this inhumane routine. Can you imagine the public outcry if anyone could remove the appendages of selected land creatures (such as dogs), only to leave them in the street to die? We protect many national treasures by designating them as parks, but sadly we do very little to protect pristine offshore regions. At the time of this writing, while the Gulf coast is suffering incomprehensible damage from the BP oil spill, less than .5 percent of the world’s oceans are under some sort of protected status. According to leading conservationists, at least twenty percent of the world’s underwater areas should be protected as a marine reserve-the Gulf coast is a prime example of a location that needed those safeguards in place, for environmental and economic reasons. Palau is the first nation to designate an area as a “shark sanctuary”, and it is my hope other nations will follow this example.

Another major concern is the unsafe consumption of sharks because of the toxic levels of mercury found in them. “There is no known safe level of mercury”, according to World Health Organization. High levels of mercury may cause impairment of vision, speech, hearing, memory, and may also lead to sterility and sexual dysfunction. Outside of harvesting “poisoned” sharks for their meat, their existence is also threatened for the following reasons: fishing tournaments, commercial fishing by-catch, habitat destruction, and pollution. Some people believe shark cartilage supplements can cure diseases or heal ailments; it should be noted, there are no scientific studies to support this claim.
tiger shark and diver
Many steps need to be taken to replenish shark and fish populations. As individuals, we can have a big impact on how business is done by being a conscientious consumer and only supporting sustainable fisheries. New regulations for fisheries-from the state level to worldwide-need to be put into place before it is too late. Better care of marine habitats and water quality is also key. Every effort makes a difference; from instituting marine reserves to private citizens signing petitions in protest of shark fishing tournaments. While “catch and release” is better than killing the fish, some species are unable to survive the trauma; especially true for larger species of shark. Global warming is of course also linked to the well-being of sharks.

It is our actions that have directly, and indirectly, caused them such harm; now it is us that must save them. John Sawhill said, “In the end, our society will be defined not by what we create, but what we refuse to destroy.” We are their only hope; future generations of sharks, and people, are depending on us.

We can all make a difference:

  • Join organizations like SfS that work to protect our oceans
  • Boycott shark products and businesses that produce them, such as Shark Fin Soup; Shark liver oil (squalene) based cosmetics and creams — Preparation H for example and many face creams, lip balms, etc. Endangered deep water sharks are targeted for their liver oil, and plant based alternatives are equally if not more effective; Nutritional supplements like shark cartilage and shark liver oil. Scientific evidence does not support the health claims of these products.
  • Shark Jaw Souvenirs
  • Reduce, Re-use, & Recycle
  • Support “shark-friendly” officials such as US Senator John Kerry – Sponsor of S. 850: Shark Conservation Act of 2009; US Delegate to Guam, Madeleine Bordallo – Sponsor of H.R. 81: Shark Conservation Act of 2009; and Senator Clayton Hee who authored and introduced the historic SB 2169 to Prohibit the Sale, Distribution and Possession of Shark Fins in the State of Hawaii. This bill has passed the House and Senate and is expected to be signed into law within the next month by Governor Linda Lingle.
  • Sign petitions that strive to PROTECT sharks from overfishing & pollution
  • Fundraise for non-profit organizations such as: Shark Savers – http://www.sharksavers.org; WildAid – http://www.wildaid.org; Shark Foundation – http://www.shark.ch; Iemanya Oceanica (Adopt-A-Shark) – http://www.iemanya.org
  • If you fish, please practice “catch and release” and only fish for sustainable species

Learn what sharks are really like by going on a shark encounter with a reputable shark diving operation. Visit www.scuba-adventures.com to learn more about shark encounter expeditions.

One Year After Oil Spill, Conflicting Views on the State of the Gulf

Category : American Sailing Association, Legislation, Safety, Schools

gulf rainbowIt’s been just over a year since the world watched in horror as millions of gallons of oil bloomed in the Gulf of Mexico, the result of a catastrophic explosion at the Deepwater Horizon oil rig, and since then the fast-moving waters of the news cycle have swept those images far away from the national consciousness. However, for anyone who lives, works or enjoys the splendors of the Gulf, one question looms: Has anything been learned?

At the six month anniversary of the disaster, we at the American Sailing Association wrote an update on the clean up effort. How far have we come since then? Well, a lot of clean up has been done. We know the sailing is as good as ever, and ASA schools operating on the Gulf Coast are open for business. Tourists and outdoors enthusiasts (including lots of sailors!) are returning to the area in droves, which is great for everyone concerned. But what about the ecosystem as a whole? And are we protected against another such event?

The Twitter feed of BP (the company largely held responsible for the spill) would have you believe that things are heading in the right direction. The feed is relentlessly positive (a gushing well of positivity?), posting regular updates such as:

  • “See the signs of wildlife at #Gulf Shores Public Beach, #Alabama today”
  • “#BP is reviewing how they reward employees to reinforce “safety first” behaviors”
  • “Frank Patti Jr., who’s been fishing in Pensacola, FL for decades, is calling local shrimp safe”

Certainly, some real progress has been made, and BP’s money has made a difference. However, not everyone is buying into BP’s rosy view of the future. Bestselling author and Miami Herald columnist Carl Hiaasen recently published a scathing editorial, asserting that, “The beaches have been cleaned, but miles of once-fertile marshlands in Louisiana remain goopy and barren. Elsewhere, the shrimp and fish are rebounding, but samples show elevated levels of petroleum-based hydrocarbons. Nobody is sure how much of the BP oil remains suspended in the dark depths, or the long-term effects on marine life.”
sunset
Hiaasen goes on to argue that “little has changed. Another major blowout could occur in the Gulf today, with the same harrowing results. On that point, the experts agree.” He says that the government agency overseeing oil drilling, previously hopelessly corrupt, has been reformed and is now merely underfunded and inexperienced. Finally, he describes the U.S. Congress as “disinterested.”

On this last point he is supported by a New York Times op-ed reporting that “Congress is pushing in exactly the wrong direction…to accelerate the granting of drilling permits in the gulf…” It’s not all doom and gloom, though, according to the Grey Lady: “Congress aside, there has been a surprising amount of progress, thanks largely to the hard work of thousands of people and the extraordinary resilience of nature. More than 99 percent of the gulf has been reopened to fishing, jobs are returning, and the Interior Department has tightened oversight. Yet without Congress’s help progress will slow and many crucial tasks will remain undone.”

A Fox News report quotes “oil industry insiders” as saying, “We have the technology to drill safe.” Further reading of the article reveals that what they mean by “safe” is the ability to better kill a well after there has been a leak or accident of some kind, not the ability to avoid accidents altogether. The Fox report also quotes anti-drilling organizations arguing that, “It’s not a matter of if there’s another accident, it’s a matter of when.”
turtle
Who do we believe, and where does the truth lie? It’s hard to say. There seems to be a dearth of independent analysis–most of the “experts” seem to have an agenda, such as those working for the oil industry, where there is an obvious financial incentive to declare the disaster over and future drilling safe.

This issue is especially concerning for our many fine sailing schools who rely on the Gulf for their livelihood, and who are open for business. We’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments!

Driving on your cell phone

Category : American Sailing Association, Legislation, Safety

Cell phones and driving don’t mix–and that goes for driving a boat too. Recently USCG crew members were involved in two boating accidents due to the skipper’s use of a cell phone while operating the boat. And I’m not talking about kissing fenders; there were several serious injuries and one death as a result of these two accidents. If the vigilant Coast Guard is having these kind of problems texting while driving, I’m sure the rest of us are just as much at risk.

The USCG has already issued guidelines about cell phone usage, but the National Transportation Safety Board urges them to take it a step further. The NTSB issued two recommendations this week regarding the use of cell phones and other wireless devices aboard boats:
1. That the USCG should “develop and implement national and local policies that address the use of cellular telephones and other wireless devices aboard U.S. Coast Guard vessels,” and
2. That the USCG should “issue a safety advisory to the maritime industry that (1) promotes awareness of the risk posed by the use of cellular telephones and other wireless devices while operating vessels and (2) encourages the voluntary development of operational policies to address the risk.”

The problem is that cellular communications, especially in coastal boating areas, can function an excellent and readily available backup tool in the event of loss of radio communications. I don’t know many people who wouldn’t want to bring their cell phone sailing–especially considering all the navigation and weather apps available now. But if you get a phone call while sailing, do you have the discipline not to answer it? According to their release, “the NTSB believes that to reduce distraction and improve the operational safety of vessels, the use of cellular telephones and other wireless devices by individuals in safety-related positions should be strictly limited during vessel operations.”

“The use of wireless communications devices while operating vehicles in any mode of transportation poses an unacceptable distraction,” NTSB Chairman Deborah A.P. Hersman said. “State governments and federal regulators have been acting to combat these safety hazards and we urge the Coast Guard to do the same.”

Could we be moving towards no cell phones while boating law? SHOULD we be? How would you feel if you were ticketed for taking a call on your cell phone while driving your boat?

Ocean Vs. Plastic

Category : American Sailing Association, Legislation

Whereas the Great Ocean can lick three layers of antifouling paint right of the bottom of your boat and deteriorate your huge zinc plates within a matter of months, her mighty forces are nothing against the permanent, inflexible strength of plastic. As much as I would like to see the ocean batter away at plastic like she does at everything else, it takes hundreds of years for her to get a winning edge of the stubborn stuff. In the meantime, plastics take their nasty toll, weakening the ocean and her inhabitants. The ocean’s taken several knockouts–images of the Pacific Garbage Patch, for example, are like a boxer bleeding profusely in the corner of a ring. BUT, the ocean’s a helluva fighter, and she can still resurrect.

The saddest thing is, the ocean shouldn’t have to be fighting plastics at all.

We, as boaters, are a far cry from being a passive audience in this fight: we are the ONLY ones in the position to start picking off plastics from the ocean’s back. ASA’s President, Cindy Shabes, was disgusted this morning that she gathered three plastic bags, a bucket, and some styrofoam on a brief afternoon sail this weekend–why is there that much garbage floating in the water? Sailors, use your boats to help win the ocean’s fight against plastics.

Here are a some excellent links about sailors doing just that. I hope they will inspire you to take your boxing gloves along next time you go sailing.

Sailors for the Sea: “What Any Sailor Can Do”
Plastiki: David Rothschild’s awareness-raising voyage in a plastic sailboat
The Rozalia Project: A “trash-hunting mothership”
Save Our Seas: “The Plastic Bag Man”

U.S. National Ocean Policy

Category : American Sailing Association, Legislation

In 2009, President Obama declared June National Oceans Month, recognizing that “From the abyssal plains of the Pacific to the shallow coral reefs and seagrass beds of the Florida Keys, oceans support an incredible diversity of marine life and ecosystems.” He also created the Interagency Ocean Policy Task Force to write recommendations for promoting conservation of our oceans, coasts, and Great Lakes.

I assume that the–ahem–little oil spill put a fire under that Task Force, so on July 19, 2010, they released their final recommendations. The recommendations are beautiful and Utopian, and the hopeful part of me pushes aside cynical thoughts of budget constraints and antagonists. The final recommendations set forth the first ever National Policy for Stewardship of the Ocean, Coasts, and Great Lakes. And although it hasn’t yet passed into law, it’s trilling to read: “It is the POLICY of the United States to: Improve the resiliency of….Support sustainable, safe, secure, and productive access to and uses of….Respect and preserve our Nation’s maritime heritage, including our social, cultural, recreational, and historical values….Improve our understanding and awareness of changing environmental conditions, trends, and their causes….Foster a public understanding of the value of the ocean, our coasts, and the Great Lakes to build a foundation for improved stewardship.”

Furthermore, the task force unanimously supports the United States accession to the Law of the Sea Convention (which I was shocked to learn we hadn’t adopted yet). The Law of the Sea Convention “sets forth the rights and responsibilities of nations to prevent, reduce, and control pollution of the marine environment and to protect and preserve resources off their shores.” Hm. Now that might have been a good thing to have in place before millions of barrels of oil were floating around our coasts.

Although our National Ocean Policy may be horrifically late in coming, it’s better late than never. If they can accomplish what’s set forth in these recommendations, the world could be a better, bluer place.

Thou Shalt Not Dump Oil

Category : American Sailing Association, Legislation, Weather

Boaters are well aware that it is strictly illegal to dump oil at sea. We’re all required to have “Discharge of Oil Prohibited” placards in our boats and receptacles for containing any oily waste. We know that the fine for dumping oil is in the neighborhood of $10,000 and perhaps some jail time. It’s at the top of our commandments, right up there with Thou Shalt Not Dump Plastics.

It makes sense that so many boaters are involved with the cleanup efforts in the wake of the BP disaster. With somewhere between 94 and 184 MILLION GALLONS of oil now swirling around the Gulf of Mexico, I’m a bit dumbfounded. BP should owe in the vicinity of one to two trillion dollars (assuming they’re charged $10,000 per gallon). Jailtime is clearly in order, according to our oil discharge placards. Now that there’s (FINALLY) a cap on the busted rig, which appears to have stemmed the leak, we can start to make progress on getting rid of the oil for good.

Courtesy of Frank Trigg

Frank, a professional captain based out of Los Angeles/Long Beach, is currently working in Louisiana on oil spill cleanup. Captain Frank was looking for work in the beginning of June and mentioned as much to a former employer, one of the many maritime businesses supporting the efforts in Louisana and Mississippi; within three days Frank was hired as a temporary captain in the Gulf and flew down on the 24th of June.

Captain Frank is based in Belle Chasse, just south of New Orleans, and his work site is approximately 70 miles from the oil spill. He is captain of an 80-foot Shallow Barge Skimmer, which consists of a 35-foot push boat and two 45-foot barges that carry their equipment. There is no protection from the elements other than a small canopy–and their greatest daily concern is hydration. With temperatures in the 90s and humidity just as high, the crew is urged to drink half a quart of water hourly plus three bottles of Power Aid over each twelve-hour period.

So far, Frank says, “We have not seen any oil. Boom has been deployed around the marshes as a preventive measure, and the three barges are there to scoop and skim any oil that may be present. So far we have gone out and anchored all day.”

With troops like Frank’s fencing in all unharmed areas with hundreds of miles of booms, and the cap on the Deepwater Horizon rig in place and holding, there is cause for optimism. But the Gulf is far from stabilized. We will all be waiting with bated breath for the permanent relief wells to be dug, the cap cemented in place, and the beaches slowly combed clean.

Meanwhile, please consider how you can support the Gulf’s coastline economies. Aside from the environmental disaster, the oil spill has wreaked economic havoc. Reports from ASA schools all along the coastline are quite varied, but one thing is common–even when there is no oil present in an area, people’s incorrect perceptions cause them to avoid the Gulf altogether. Don’t let geographic ignorance be the reason you decide not to sign up for that sailing class. Who knew something as fun as going sailing could be a means of supporting the restoration?!

If you would like to get elbow-deep in the physical restoration efforts, please find a cleanup volunteer opportunity here.

Rescue Responsibility

Category : American Sailing Association, Legislation, Safety

The French government is poised to enact a bill that would require mariners to pay for their own rescues. In the wake of the world’s anger over Abby Sunderland’s expensive rescue in the Indian Ocean, they may have the bill timed just right.

But what does this mean for responsible cruisers? Accidents happen at sea, hurricanes are not confined to their weather “box,” and piracy occurs even in unexpected places. Calamity can befall even the most prepared and prudent cruisers, so where does this bill leave them? On the other hand, it seems to make sense to put limits on the extent to which the government will support any rash adventure. Consider Sail-World.com’s article about this stirring legislation.

I’m curious what everyone thinks about all this. Is there a solution that restricts unnecessary spending without penalizing those who are prudent in their undertakings? Being both sailors and citizens, we just might have the most balanced opinions out there–so let’s hear what you think!

Rules of the (Liquid) Road

Category : American Sailing Association, Legislation, Safety

“Bad LA traffic” is a stereotype that holds true even on the water. As a newcomer to Marina del Rey, I’ve been shocked at the throngs of boats that squeeze their way out of the jetties like a dense pack of bicyclists. It’s so crowded they’ve even got a traffic separation scheme inside the breakwall: a large middle lane for boats under sail, and two outer lanes for power-driven vessels. Way too freaked out by the zigzagging hubub to sail my boat out, I stick to the outer lanes under power, but remain constantly alarmed by huge sailboats reaching almost into my lane (and my boat) before turning a tight tack in the other direction.

Just thinking about Marina del Rey boat traffic during Summer Sailstice and Father’s Day weekend is enough to make me head for the hills. (Which I am in fact doing, but it’s for a wedding, not out of paralyzing fear of Marina del Rey.) But for those of you headed out this weekend–where ever you are–here’s a quick refresher on the Rules of the Road. Keep it in mind when you go sailing this weekend!

Safe Speed
Regardless of whether a speed limit is posted or not, Rule 6 of the USCG Navigation Rules states that every vessel shall proceed at a safe speed, meaning one where she can take proper action to avoid collision.

Pecking Order
Sailors are quick to remind motor-yachters that we have the right of way (all too often with a snarly flip of the bird), which is true. However, to be truly holier-than-thou, we must remember these points:
–A sailboat under power is a power-driven vessel. You’ve relinquished your “sailor’s rights” as soon as you turn that motor on.
–Any overtaken vessel has the right of way over anyone overtaking. This means that if you’re a sailboat overtaking a power boat (approaching from within the 135-degree sweep off her stern), you’ve got to make way for the other vessel, regardless of it’s propulsion.
–Ultimately, even if you have the right of way, just don’t hit anybody! the cardinal rule applies to everyone: Every vessel shall use all available means to determine if risk of collision exists, and shall make decisive action with ample time to avoid it (my paraphrase of four pages of legalese)!

The Sailing Subset
Regatta right-of-way intricacies aside, there are really only three rules according to the Navigation Rules when it comes to crossing situations between sailors:
–Starboard stand-on. Always.
–Windward give-way. Always.
–And if a sailboat on a port tack sees a sailboat to windward and can’t determine which tack the other vessel is on (say, perhaps, it’s flying a huge spinnaker out front, obscuring the boom), then she should give way to the windward vessel.

But I repeat, the rule that trumps all others is the common sense rule: Do whatever it takes not to hit anybody!

Sadly, there are times when the rules may fail you (such as when others don’t understand or comply with them). So, have a couple of defensive driving strategies in mind. I like to raise the other boat on the VHF to confirm the plan for the pass. I also make my crew ready to tack if approaching any close crossing situation, just in case. Whatever you do, don’t be pigheaded about the rules–protect your boat and yourself. You can raise any offenders on the radio afterward to give them a curt refresher on the Rules of the watery Road!

Have an excellent Summer Solstice, Summer Sailstice, and Father’s Day Weekend!

One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish

Category : American Sailing Association, Legislation, Weather


June 8th marks the annual worldwide celebration of World Oceans Day. This year, it’s also the 50th anniversary of Dr. Suess’s One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish. Go figure.

As boaters, we have a particular responsibility to care for our oceans. We learned when we were little to clean up after ourselves, put back when we take, and share the sandbox with others. We may have graduated to a bigger playroom, but our obligation is the same: to take care of our toys and keep it clean, so it will continue to be a fun place to play.

It goes without saying that the oceans need care, especially these days with things like–ahem–offshore drilling and other manmade effects wreaking havoc on the natural balance. It’s overwhelming to listen to NPR’s reports on the state of affairs in the Gulf, or see the sailing vessel Plastiki’s pictures of the “Great Pacific Garbage Patch.” (By the way, the size of that monstrosity is so widely reported because scientists can’t determine what “excessive” versus “normal” levels of garbage are in our oceans. What’s wrong with this picture?)

But the marine industry, and each of us as boaters, has real opportunity to affect the state of the world’s oceans. Choosing gentle products to clean our boats, observing dumping laws for trash and waste, avoiding destructive anchoring spots such as coral reefs, and hoisting those sails for clean energy instead of burning fuel are just a few of the ways we act responsibly. First one, then two, the red fish and blue, will continue to flourish under the stewardship of seakindly sailors.

Spread the word about the international celebration of World Oceans Day to help elevate public awareness and begin to change perceptions. Take pictures–both of beauty and destruction. Go snorkeling or sailing to refocus on the stunning, intricate ecosystems you’re responsible for. Thousands of organizations are participating in World Oceans Day celebrations; here’s a list of events around the country you can check out. Then use this international holiday to clean your sailboat with sea-friendly products. Sailors for the Sea compiled this excellent list of effective homemade green cleaning products to try on your boat.

Sailors, you’ve already got a head start on the program by harnessing clean wind for your primary propulsion! It’s a small, sensible step to continue supporting the oceans with sustainable cleaning products and practices. Have a wonderful World Oceans Day, with fair winds and healthy following seas!

Proposed Statewide Coastal Marina Permit

Category : Legislation

The California State Water Resources Control Board [SWRCB] is moving forward with a proposed statewide requirement that marinas and clubs with 10 or more slips and moorings obtain a state permit [termed a Coastal Marina Permit] and comply with many new requirements including extensive testing and reporting at a projected annual cost of hundreds of thousands of dollars.

The use of the word “coastal” in the permit name is a misnomer. The text of the proposal states that it would be required of moorings and marinas located not only along the coast but in bays, estuaries, and certain fresh water mixing zones such as the San-Joaquin Delta. The scope could also be expanded as the proposal moves forward.

RBOC is working on this critical issue in cooperation with allied partners including Bay Planning Coalition, BoatU.S., California Association of Harbor Masters and Port Captains, California Marine Parks and Harbors Association, California Yacht Brokers Association, Marina and Recreation Association, and Western Boaters Safety Group.

The SWRCB plans to conduct stakeholder workshops in March, to receive public comments in April, and to vote upon the permit in November of 2010. The exact dates, times and locations of the stakeholder workshops have not yet been set, but plans are for workshops to be in San Diego, Ventura, and Francisco.

What clubs should do:
• Become Familiar with the Proposal and Its Impact, through the attached call-to-action
and other pertinent documents posted at www.swrcb.ca.gov and www.rboc.org.
• Keep Informed of Developments and Attend Workshops as this information becomes
available, and speak out against this proposal.
• Distribute the Call-to-action and Sample Letter to your Club Members.
• Generate Letters and Emails to the Governor, the SWRCB, and State Legislators, to submit your written opposition to this proposal.

RBOC contacts for clubs desiring more information on
this issue are:

lenorasclark@yahoo.com
grglrlt@aol.com
djhpacifico@gmail.com
deviglobal@msn.com
cvyc06@gmail.com
chardaker@cox.net
rhyneharbor@aol.com