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Boating: Clearing the e-mail in-box

January 11, 2012
By boatguy Ed , Fort Myers Beach Bulletin, Fort Myers Beach Observer

The e-mail has been stacking up, and I need to force myself to either respond or erase. In this column, I will try to answer as many as possible that will necessitate brevity.

The most asked question has been about the perfect boat. I don't have an answer because I don't have enough information. Are you going to fish, cruise or try to combine the two, which never works out perfectly because wives hate fish blood on their carpet. My favorite boat is an unsinkable 23-footer with a single outboard and a small engine kicker or twin outboard with separate fuel tanks. Not too big, but able to go offshore in good weather.

Second favorite is the workhorse of pleasure boats, the deck boat. The flat, wide-open deck area of a pontoon boat, but the hull of a speedboat makes the deck boat the versatile winner. Just don't get fish blood on the carpet. That eliminates 52.3 percent of all the e-mail.

Twenty-eight percent of the questions were about restaurants? Granted, we "Dead End Canal Yacht Club" members love to go to waterfront restaurants but I don't write a restaurant column, even though I am thoroughly qualified. Some 72.6 percent of the restaurant questions were comments on certain restaurants, some of them I agree with while others are nit-picky. I have passed on a few of them to restaurants and some have been resolved but the majority has not.

I'm not sure the restaurants want to hear the bad but they love the good. Most of the good comments end up on their websites, none of the bad. Some 62.5 percent of the complaints are related to bad service but I'm not sympathetic to people who go to really busy places without a reservation and then complain the server never brought their drinks before the ice was melted. What do you expect if the line is around the block? Find another line. Same thing with the 'food was cold!' Gazpacho is supposed to be cold! If you have a comment on a restaurant, send it to me at and I promise to pass it on.

On the other hand, there are only three things that restaurants have to concern themselves: food, service and atmosphere. This sounds simple but if it were there would not be so many restaurant failures. Overcrowding and under-staffing are most of the problem with poor service, that and over using the phrase 'AAAY!' Some socioeconomic and foreign nationals are known to be poor tippers so wearing your Lederhosen may get you substandard service.

Most restaurant complaints were legitimate, and I passed them onto upper management. Only three times did I hear back from the patrons that the management contacted them and addressed the situation to their mutual satisfaction. Twice the patrons were compensated with another meal, and once they were given a gift card. That doesn't mean that others weren't satisfied, I guess it's easy to write when you're mad but not so when you're happy.

There are several restaurants that are actually unhappy with some "DECYC" members. As hard as it is to believe one or two are banned outright, but we won't go into that. Several others are sick of hearing our insightful suggestions, and I have cautioned certain members not to continue. Starting a restaurant is a passionate endeavor and most owners have deep emotional ties to their decor, menu and operations. We may think we have good ideas but stop it! I can visualize one restaurant owner smiling and nodding as she reads this. I'm easy to please, cold Pabst Blue Ribbon, succulent wings and seltzer with lots of ice and a few green olives for my wife!

Back to the e-mail: 12 percent of e-mail letters concerns the best power package, i.e. motor, for our area? I have strong feelings about this one, and I'm not afraid to express them. For me the best is an outboard motor. The outboard isn't perfect but the simple fact that 99 percent of it can be raised out of the water is a winner for me. The ease with which the engine can be worked on and/or removed is another big plus and convinces me that it is perfect for smaller boats. The downside is higher fuel usage and noise but the four-stroke engine has solved most of these problems. But forget to maintain it, and you're in for big bills.

Inboard diesel engines are great for big boats. Inboard/outboards are my least favorite unless they are kept out of the water, on lifts or in storage barns. Even then they are subject to dramatic, unforeseen cooling system failure when the steel risers fail. I recommend removing and inspecting the risers every two years to prevent disastrous engine failure.

Last, but not least, about 3 percent of the letters/e-mails concern the "Dead End Canal Yacht Club." Most want to know about how to join and I try to answer most. The club is a bunch of local boaters who love the water, fishing and going to waterfront restaurants with our significant others. Membership is around 50 and growing. Social memberships are available, and we love adding boaters and non-boaters who want to be boaters to our roles.

Boatguy Ed is a a retired bottom paint manufacturer. His wife now makes the paint, Super Shipbottom, He was a volunteer on his Son's TV show, Boater's Treasure TV until the Groupon clones drove the restaurants to give up on half priced coupons and television advertising. Send all comments to



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