Regarding the Pilot's article about two bottlenose dolphins,
apparently a mother and her calf, near the Coast Highway bridge in
the Back Bay ("Dolphins nose about the bay," Aug. 12), it is thought
they were there to feed. To have dolphins come into the harbor is
indeed a rare occurrence and is causing quite a commotion.
In the past (OK, way in the past) whales strayed into the harbor,
which also brought out the curious. A group of observers in a Duffy
electric boat "unwittingly" broke up a school of fish that the
dolphins were feeding on, according to the story. I hate to say it,
but there are a lot of unwitting types out there cruising the harbor
in Duffys. It sure doesn't help that anybody without any boating
experience can rent a Duffy.
Newport Beach is now Disneyland, and Newport Harbor is the new
Jungle Cruise. I am out on the harbor often, and it is a jungle out
there. But instead of hippos and alligators, we have Duffys and
dummies plying the waters. Why can't a "boater" who has never
operated a vessel before be given instructions about little things
like something called right-of-way or boating courtesy? Oh, I've got
a good one. How about that they be instructed to pay attention?
Most people on Duffys are too busy mixing their drinks or pointing
at the houses to see other boats in the harbor. Now, I know I will
get hate mail from Duffy owners in the harbor, and the rental firms
that rent the Duffys out will be offended and go on the offensive.
But I don't care, because this is a serious issue that needs to be
addressed now before there is a bad accident caused by an inattentive
Duffy operator, and the lawyers get involved.
The next thing you know, the city of Newport Beach will be getting
sued. Not all Duffy operators -- and I use Duffys as an example of
many boat operators in general -- are bad and inconsiderate boaters.
Many Duffy owners are aware of waterway rules and common courtesy,
but overall it is a Duffy with dummies that brings my utmost
defensive boating skills to fore.
PAUL JAMES BALDWIN