less likely that consumers can be kept in the
dark about such problems. A quick Internet
search will usually result in numerous postings from other owners.
A MOMENT FOR REFLECTION
At the end of Homer’s epic poem, “The
Odyssey,” when Ulysses returns to his home
on the island of Ithaca after two decades
of adventures, he vows to walk far enough
inland with an oar over his shoulder until he
meets someone who doesn’t know what an
oar is. Thus, he gives up his life roving the
wine-dark sea and settles down, in what is
possibly literature’s first portrayal of retirement.
Like Ulysses, in a few weeks I, too, will
retire from a career that has involved boats —
26 of those years as Consumer Affairs director for BoatU.S. Although my adventures
haven’t been nearly as exciting as those of the
Greek hero and, certainly, none has involved
a Cyclops or a (literal) visit to Hades, I’ve
seen my fair share of danger in the way of
unsafe boats and engines, conflicts in the
form of consumer disputes with the marine
industry, and extraordinary people, both
CAROLINE AJOOTIAN, WHO RETIRES THIS MONTH AFTER 26 YEARS as BoatU.S. Consumer Protection Bureau director,
sailed on Long Island Sound and the New England
coast as a child growing up in New York. She later
worked at her family’s wooden boat shop and as a
newspaper reporter and photographer.
The mother of three children (and grandmother
of one) lives in Oregon’s Willamette Valley with her
husband, David Stein, a marine biologist who stud-
ies deep sea fish. Retirement means she will have
more time to ride her horse, tend her large rose
garden, and travel with David.
boat owners and industry folks.
In my time “covering the waterfront,”
I’ve written hundreds of articles about good
boats and bad, scams and scoundrels, repairs
and redemption — celebrating in print when
companies go out of their way to do the right
thing. By fighting for our members, and writing about it, I’ve also had the good fortune
to play a small role in the evolution of the
marine industry and recreational boating.
Much has changed during the past quar-
ter-century and, while recreational boating
had some dark days, in the aggregate, much
of that change has been for the better. By
putting pressure on manufacturers, BoatU.S.
Consumer Protection has had a hand in
many important industry improvements. But
our job is never done. As I leave my post,
I’m pleased to hand the wheel over to a
formidable Consumer Protection team, led
by Charles Fort and administered by Debbie
Schaefer. Charles and his team will continue
to do their best to stand with boaters, and
champion your cause.
Leave your worries behind.
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