PUSH-BUTTON MAYDAY Digital Selective
Calling (DSC) VHF radios become available
in 1999, allowing users to send an instant
distress message by pressing a button. To
work, DSC radios must be programmed
with a Maritime Mobile Service Identity
(MMSI) number (offered free to BoatU.S.
members since 2001).
ULTIMATE POWER COUPLE
In 1998, David Smead, designer of the
smart regulator, co-authors with Ruth
Ishihara Living On Twelve Volts With
Ample Power, teaching us about AC/DC,
batteries, charging, electrical systems,
and everything we need to know to keep
our onboard lives humming. The book will
remain a marine bestseller through 2016.
9/11 NYC CITIZEN RESCUE After the
2001 World Trade Center attacks, a huge
armada of private and commercial vessels
evacuate more than 500,000 workers
from lower Manhattan.
BURN, BABY, BURN! After it was found to
be leaking from underground fuel storage
tanks and contaminating drinking water
supplies, the gasoline additive Methyl
Tertiary Butyl Ether, which adds oxygen to
fuel to help it burn more completely and
cleanly, is largely phased out around the
country in 2005 – to be replaced by …
E. T. PHONE HOME! In 1998, Motorola
unveils the first iridium wireless satellite
phone to provide global coverage, the
>>1998 BoatU.S. helps
create the federal
Grant Program to build
facilities for transient
its nationwide Life
life jackets for kids
and visiting crew, now
at 575 locations in
fights the spread of
invasive species with
the “Zap The Zebra”
– work continuing
in partnership with
state agencies and
the boating industry.
>>1998 The Atlantic
is formed, with
BoatU.S. a charter
member, to lobby for
ICW maintenance and
Assist & Towing
program; by 2016,
more than 100,000
boaters are protected.
acquires major West
Coast towing provider
>>2005 COST OF LIVING A 13-foot Boston
Whaler now costs $10,395 ($12,632 in
2016 dollars); a gallon of gasoline, $2.24
($2.69); a VHF, $215 ($261); median household income is $44,406/year ($54,486).
KVD KICKS BASS
Kevin VanDam wins
the first of four
titles in 2001, a
record he shares
with fellow pro
angler Rick Clunn.
VanDam is the all-time money winner
in the sport, having
collected more than
$5.6 million in bass
tournament winnings since 1990.
In November, 2003,
55-year-old Carl Ska-lak is the first to be
rescued after setting
off his Personal Locator Beacon (PLB). The
a 406-MHz satellite-tracking system, in
addition to a GPS locator, had become legal
just two months prior.
The small, portable
units, registered to
individuals before use
(and now available
for rent from the
for a nominal fee),
have since saved
ATLANTIC HURRICANES RAMP UP...
The 2004 Atlantic hurricane season
becomes the costliest on record (until
it’s surpassed the following year).
Collectively, five storms of 2004 – Alex,
Charley, Francis, Ivan, Jeanne – cause
3,270+ deaths and about $57.37 billion in
damage. Recreational boating losses and
damages total $680 million.
... BUT 2005 HURRICANES BREAK
RECORDS The 2005 Atlantic hurricane
season is (and remains) the most active
in recorded history, resulting in an estimated 3,913 deaths and $159.2 billion in
damages, about $1 billion of that to recreational boats. Hurricanes Dennis, Emily,
Katrina, Rita, and Wilma are responsible
for most of the destruction. In 2005, 28
tropical and subtropical storms form, of
which 15 become hurricanes and seven
strengthen into major hurricanes.
El Nino, the
most powerful in
causes widespread flooding,
changes kill an
percent of the
El Niño brings
La Niña brings