August 24, 2010

Beware the barnacles

(Come back every Monday, Wednesday, Friday for a new Mainly about Boats column.)

IN THE WAKE of the Great Egg Recall, the Food and Drug Administration is warning boat owners that certain species of barnacles may now be infected with a virulent strain of salmonella. Widespread reports from marine repair facilities on the East and West Coasts indicate that groups of affected barnacles — known as barnacella — produce acids that can damage wooden and fiberglass hulls.

Twenty mysterious sinkings, originally blamed on polyestermites, have now been ascribed to barnacella acid that ate through the boats’ hulls under water. More sinkings are expected as the disease spreads.

Insurance companies are warning that barnacella sinkings are not covered under the terms of regular yacht policies. “Even if you have an all-risks policy, we regard this as an Act of God, and therefore we reject liability,” an industry spokesman said.

The FDA urged boatowners not to panic. “Only wood and fiberglass boats whose hulls have barnacles will be affected,” the agency said in a press release issued late yesterday. “We are devoting our full resources to investigating this unfortunate outbreak. Meanwhile we recommend that all boat owners inspect their bottoms for barnacles and boil them if necessary.”

Today’s Thought
Whatever befalls in accordance with Nature should be accounted good.
— Cicero, De Senectute

Boaters’ Rules of Thumb, #87
If it ain’t broke, break it before you fix it.

“I saw you smash that clock, sir, I’m arresting you for killing time.”
“Nonsense, officer, it was self-defense. The clock struck first.”

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