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LETTERS “Freedom of the press is limited to those who own one.” H.L. Mencken

In its continuing endeavor to share its press, SOUTHWINDS invites readers to write in with experiences & opinions. E-mail your letters to editor@southwindsmagazine.com BOATER URGES OTHER BOATERS TO LET BUSINESSES KNOW THEY SUPPORT THEM I completely understand why you want to boycott towns and businesses that seem to support local law enforcements’ “Gestapo” tactics. However, the problem with boycotts is that the businesses don’t know who you are. Your absence makes you invisible. Besides, local businesses are our allies. Local government is the problem. What I have found works better is to make up business cards on my computer that on one side have my business information and the other side, I print: BOCA CIEGA YACHT CLUB MEMBER, Gulfport, Florida BOATERS MEAN BUSINESS $ $. We found you only because of our BCYC membership and we wanted you to know that. SUPPORT PUBLIC WATERWAY ACCESS BEFORE IT’S TOO LATE! In a friendly way, of course, I give these to every business I enter or do business with in Gulfport as an opener to dialogue. What I have found is a real eye-opener. The vast majority of the businesses I talked to had little or no knowledge of waterfront issues, nor did they have any idea how much of their business comes from boaters. There was not one business that did not want to increase their sales through boaters. I explain to them that I live in Seminole, own an art gallery in Dunedin but have kept my boat in the Gulfport Marina for the last 11 years. They begin to see the value of boaters when I tell them I’ve spent thousands of dollars in Gulfport and over the years brought hundreds of people to town that, like me, would not have come to Gulfport if it wasn’t for boating. The other way to make a difference is to get involved with local environment-friendly groups. We are extraordinarily fortunate in Gulfport to have Al and Cindy Davis, founders of Gulfport Water Watch, who have taken on the huge task of public education in these matters and whom we support as much as we can. If your community does not have a water watch group, form one, attend the city council meetings and become known. Boycotts do not work. Education does. Matt Maloy S/V HideAway Gulfport, FL Matt, Thanks for your letter and your support. A card is a good idea, and the South Seas Cruising Association came up with the idea of Boater Bucks (available to download and print out at www.southwindsmagazine.com/ourwaterways.htm) to hand out to businesses. I don’t totally agree with you on boycotts not working as a generalization. Boycotts don’t work against businesses and groups See LETTERS continued on page 11 8

October 2007

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