Readers Respond -- Duffy shouldn't get a bad rap

Just keep babbling, Paul James Baldwin ("Community Commentary -- "It's

time to get the Disney-style boaters out of the water," Dec. 16). I have

piloted a Duffy around our environs many times in 2001, and the only

problems have arisen when nonelectric boats have not used common sense,

let alone the rules of the aquatic road.

Allow me to enumerate three instances for you:

1. Cruising west toward the turning basin, 15 feet of clearance

between my starboard and the docked boats, a sailboat from Orange Coast

College's sailing docks with an adult male and two children aboard

overtook me to starboard and midway announced that he was going to tack

to port and I should give way.

2. Again, cruising in the channel past the Coast Guard dock heading

for the Balboa Island Bridge, a young shore boat operator from Bahia

Corinthian Yacht Club cut in front of me from my port side. Reverse in a

Duffy is governed and one cannot stop on a dime; evasive action was

necessary and no recognition of the situation was apparent from the shore

boat operator.

3. And finally, rounding the marker pole at the tip of Bayshores, I

was almost broadsided by an inflatable cutting the corner from my

starboard. My running lights were on, his -- if he had any -- were not.

Many Duffys are skippered by those who pay attention and are

nautically knowledgeable. I'll bet if you fire that flare gun, it will be

a Duffy who will respond to ascertain the emergency you are experiencing.


Balboa Peninsula

Baldwin must have gotten up on the wrong side of bed when he tried to

link uneducated boaters with Duffy boat operators and further recommended

that all boat operators be licensed. The two are separate issues, and I

will only comment on the first -- his attack on Duffy boat drivers. I do

not own nor have ever owned a Duffy boat. I do not know any owner or

employees of either of the Duffy boat rental companies or the

manufacturers of Duffy boats. I do know that Duffy boats are quiet,

nonpolluting and normally can't go faster than the 5 mph speed limit in

the harbor.

As Baldwin knows, the Orange County Sheriff's Department has a

responsibility to oversee boat operators in Newport Harbor. Many boaters

have marine radios and can be in immediate contact with the deputies who

are out in the harbor 24 hours a day if an operator appears to be

operating his or her boat illegally, irresponsibly or under the influence

of alcohol.

Irresponsible boat operators come from all types of boaters.

Whether an operator knows that the front of the boat is called the

"bow" or that "port" means left is not the issue. The marine laws have a

lot to do with common courtesy, as well as specific actions that must be

taken in specific situations. I have seen stupidity, ignorance and

rudeness from every type of boat and operator, licensed or not.

It is my understanding that Duffy boat rental companies require

operators to read rules and sign off on each one before leaving the dock.

Baldwin is wrong to single out Duffy boat rentals, unlicensed boat

operators or any other single person or group of boaters for bad or

ignorant behavior.


Newport Beach

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