Newport Harbor the new 'Jungle Cruise'

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

Newport Beach

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