MAX EBB to the soft plastic rental 'yaks." "And how much do you have to pay in dues to your outrigger club?" I asked. "It's $150 a year, normally, but I do enough maintenance work and teaching to get a deep discount. It's the only way college students like me can afford to get on the water. After I graduate, then maybe I'll be able to buy a boat, but we also have some older retired people on fixed incomes who can't afford their own equipment." "That's why you should give them a grant next year," said Lee, directing her comment to the Boating and Waterways person. "Right!" said the paddler. "Then we could offer more low-cost memberships to people who have no other water access. We also want to buy a pair of dragon boats for our youth program, because nothing beats a dragon boat in terms of bang per buck." From the guy's expression, it was clear he didn't even know what a dragon boat was. "These are giant canoes," she explained, "powered by 20 to 24 paddlers.
Up to four times the capacity of the OC-6 outriggers, so you only need 1 or 2 grownups to keep 20 kids occupied." "And, like, I gotta admit," said Lee, "For city kids going on a one-time outing, it can be a better experience than a sail-
"Okay, okay," said the bureaucrat. "Don't take the economic stuff so seriously. It's only a questionnaire, not a policy statement. We just want to learn."
"Get them hooked on paddling first."
ou know, if you really have to show that this new focus of Cal Boating lines out economically," I suggested, "why not figure in the value of the health benefits from youth paddling programs?" "Or the hospital and health care costs related to high-speed boating accidents," added Lee. "I mean, like, any kid that's diverted from powerboats or PWCs into a human or wind-powered activity is one less basket case in the ER." "We are addressing the powerboat safety issue in a very direct way," said the Cal Boating guy. "We have solicited applications for a Cal Boating grant to fund a safety course for powerboats, waterskiing and personal watercraft. We recognize the high hazard and the high accident rate, and the answer is
ing trip. Paddling is something they can understand right away. The kids can be full participants with almost no practice. Sailing is complicated and scary. Better to get them hooked on paddling first." "Absolutely," confirmed the paddler. "Even a kayak requires lessons, and so do outriggers. Dragon boats are the dream come true of every municipal aquatics program administrator." "Except," quipped Lee, "because they are so cost-effective, Boating and Waterways won't be interested in funding a facility for them. Because they don't represent enough 'economic activity'."
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The April 2007 issue of the West's premier sailing and marine magazine.