วันอังคารที่ 29 กรกฎาคม พ.ศ. 2551

Free Boating Safety Class Coming in August

Reported by: KARK 4 News

The Arkansas Game and Fish Commission in conjunction with the U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary announces a free Safe Boating Class on August 19th & 21st.

The class will be held at the Arkansas Game & Fish Commission, #2 Resource Drive, in Little Rock.

The two part course will begin at 6 PM and last until 9 PM on Tuesday and Thursday. The boater will learn skills necessary to give the student adequate confidence and knowledge in operating a vessel successfully and safely.

Topics covered will include boating rules of the road, legal requirements for boats, boat handling, practical seamanship, docking and other subjects designed to provide a strong foundation for operating pleasure crafts.

Arkansas law requires anyone born after January 1, 1986, be certified by taking a Safe Boating Course before operating a water craft on Arkansas waters. Regardless of age, everyone involved in boat operations is encouraged to participate in the safe boating training to help avoid accidents on the water.

Most insurance companies provide a discount to boat owners who successfully complete the boating course.

The Boat Arkansas certification is recognized nationally. Individuals interested in enrolling can do so on-site or call Joe Zehler at 501-834-6993.

วันอาทิตย์ที่ 20 กรกฎาคม พ.ศ. 2551

Advance to the Past: Fishermen Start to use Sails

Commercial fishermen in the UK are reverting to wind power in response to soaring fuel prices, as skippers rig their boats with auxiliary sails to cut the amount of diesel they use.

The move comes as a new generation of vessels is being developed that will rely almost exclusively on sails.

Higher fuel costs threaten to force many fishermen out of business. The price of the red diesel the industry uses has doubled in less than a year, while fish prices have remained relatively stable.

Deas, chief executive of the National Federation of Fishermen's Organisations, said a number of skippers were now using sail power to help them travel the long distances between port and their fishing grounds.

'Skippers are putting on foresails while steaming to fishing grounds offshore,' he said. 'The whole cost structure of the industry has shifted so dramatically as a result of fuel price rises, and in response, vessels are looking at what they can do to reduce costs.

'Fleets are going to have to find ways of reducing fuel dependency. Everyone is looking for the optimum steaming speed and people are looking at a whole range of measures, including sail.'

วันศุกร์ที่ 18 กรกฎาคม พ.ศ. 2551

Gibbs To Set Up Shop In Detroit, Finally Build Aquada Amphibious Car

After the announcement earlier this month that Saleen is teaming with Gibbs for development and manufacturing work on their amphibious Gibbs Aquada, news comes down Gibbs is setting up their corporate offices in the Detroit Suburb of Auburn Hills. After a ten year development cycle, a million man hours of work, and $100 million invested in the project, the final steps are being taken to put the automotive platypus into production.

When the boat-car debuts, it'll be the first major amphibious civilian vehicle since the Amphicar went to market in 1961. The three seat Aquada will be able to hit 110 MPH on the street and about 40 MPH or 35 knots on the water and will sell for about $85,000. Production location has not be set yet, but Michigan is also high on the list for that one as well. We're just wondering how the insurance companies would handle water damage on an amphibious car.

วันเสาร์ที่ 12 กรกฎาคม พ.ศ. 2551

Closures & Layoffs (July 6-12): Sinking Ships

Seven weeks ago, we reported on troubles in the boating industry, specifically Brunswick Corp., one of the largest manufacturers and distributors of consumer marine products, planned to cease production of its Bluewater Marine brands -- including Sea Pro, Sea Boss, Palmetto and Laguna boats.

This week, Brunswick announced it was expanding that action and plans to close 12 of its 29 boat plants by the end of next year, cutting costs by $300 million versus 2007 spending levels. It could also mean the layoff of up to 2,700 employees.

"For the past several years, we have been implementing initiatives to fundamentally change our cost structure by reducing our manufacturing footprint, and leveraging purchases of common components and materials across our brands and operations," explained Dustan E. McCoy, Brunswick's chairman and CEO. "In addition, we have addressed the prolonged downturn in the U.S. marine market by continually reducing production rates throughout our marine businesses, divesting under-utilized assets, exiting or divesting certain businesses, eliminating discretionary spending and reducing headcount. While these efforts have resulted in significant savings, the realities of the current U.S. marine market have caused us to step up the pace and magnitude of these efforts."

"Retail unit sales of power boats in the United States have been in decline since late 2005; however, the rate of decline has been accelerating," McCoy added. "Industry retail unit sales were down 13 percent in the fourth quarter of 2007 and down 21% in the first quarter of 2008 compared with the respective year-ago quarters. Further, these reductions were recorded off of an already low base. Total unit sales of power boats in the United States in 2007 were at their lowest in more than 40 years."

"An uncertain economy, high fuel and food prices, slumping home sales and values, rising unemployment and other factors continue to erode U.S. consumers' confidence and are reducing their ability and desire to purchase discretionary items such as boats, and billiards tables and fitness equipment for their homes," McCoy explained. "For our planning purposes, we are not assuming that these pressures will abate any time soon. As a result, we are planning for an environment in which the U.S. marine market will be smaller in the near term, and we will resize our company accordingly. Our objective is to thrive and prosper while the U.S. marine market remains under pressure and to outperform when we see a rebound in demand."

Brunswick now plans to close four plants in addition to eight plant closures already completed or announced. Brunswick will also continue to reduce the number of models and option packages, focusing on those that are popular and clearly resonate with consumers.

"Our immediate focus remains on managing pipeline inventories at our marine dealers, as well as enhancing our solid liquidity at Brunswick," McCoy said. "We will continue to produce at rates below retail demand to lower pipeline inventories. A reduction in production rates also results, unfortunately, in the need for fewer workers."

The company said that it had notified employees that it would be reducing its hourly and salaried work force at certain of its marine plants by 1,000. Further work force reductions of approximately 1,000 hourly and 700 salaried employees across the company's marine business units and staff functions are still be contemplated as additional plant closures and consolidations and other cost-cutting measures are completed.

วันพุธที่ 2 กรกฎาคม พ.ศ. 2551

Recovery begins slowly for flooded river towns

The Associated Press
Tuesday, July 1, 2008; 7:43 PM

ST. LOUIS -- Some towns along the Mississippi River are beginning the slow task of recovery, even as water remains high.

With the river finally receding from near-record levels, the Federal Emergency Management Agency opened disaster recovery centers in the Missouri towns of Clarksville and Winfield on Tuesday.

The river is dropping as much as a foot a day in Clarksville and Hamburg, Ill., though the pace of the decline is expected to slow, said Ben Sipprell, a meteorologist for the National Weather Service. Many towns can expect the river to remain well above technical flood stage for weeks to come.

A few haven't hit high-water marks yet. The Mississippi was expected to crest 12.6 feet above flood stage in Chester, Ill., and 10.5 feet above flood stage in Cape Girardeau, Mo., both on Wednesday. No major problems were expected.

Up to 3 inches of rain was possible over the next five days in central Missouri, but there was no indication the rainfall would impact the crests.

The damage south of St. Louis has been minimal compared to that to the north. In Clarksville, even small signs of progress were met with enthusiasm.

A market under new ownership opened Tuesday to pump gasoline and sell groceries, services the town had been without for about a year, even before the flood hit.

"I had to go in and give them a hug," Mayor Jo Anne Smiley said.

Other shops in the town known for its arts, crafts and antiques won't reopen until perhaps August, Smiley said.

"The antique mall, you can only get to that by boat, and that's the biggest source of tax revenue for the city," she said.

The river continued to press against sandbag walls that protect the small brick buildings downtown. An estimated 14,000 volunteer hours were needed to build the barrier that was still being monitored around the clock. But officials said the receding river allowed for a paring back on the use of pumps and generators.

Five homes and two businesses in Clarksville remained cut off from water service, and another 35 homes were relying on bottled water.

FEMA spokesman Don Bolger encouraged flood victims to register for disaster assistance even if they have insurance. They could qualify for supplemental grants or low-interest government loans.