AUGUST | SEPTEMBER 2014 BoatU.S. Magazine | 31
INDUSTRY LEADER IN 10-MICRON TECHNOLOGY
Increased levels of engine sophistication, coupled with
ethanol fuel blends, necessitate the use of a high quality
fuel filter. Sierra filters are engineered to offer the ultimate
in filtration, separation of water from the fuel supply and
provide maximum fuel flow.
their new Amazon Prime Air service. The
Amazon website claims that this is not science fiction, and once the FAA has produced
the appropriate regulations, Prime Air will be
a reality for its shoppers, and just one of the
online retail giant’s many shipping options.
Currently, the FAA permits limited drone
use. There are two ways to get approval to
operate a drone – either obtain an experimental airworthiness certificate for civil aircraft,
and demonstrate you’re doing research; or
obtain a Certificate of Authorization (COA)
for public use. Either way, you can’t fly them
over densely populated areas or transport
people or items for compensation.
The FAA is working on ways to properly
integrate civilian drone use into national airspace. Since 2009, 545 COAs have been
issued by the FAA, and in 2011 the organization chartered a rule-making committee to
examine the practice. The committee is also
tapping the Radio Technical Commission for
Aeronautics, a nonprofit volunteer organization that develops technical guidance for government regulatory authorities and for the
industry. To test these new guidelines, the
FAA selected six test sites across the country,
ranging from universities to airports.
PIE IN THE SKY
In the past decade, there was a mad dash to
create the best GPS chartplotter. That may
be morphing these days into the search for
the best boat drone. Someday, drones may
augment the VHF radio, satellite phones,
and ham radios of long-range cruisers by
intensifying signals and increasing commu-
nication range. Cruisers may utilize drone
images to navigate by water color in reef
passes known for quickly changing shoals,
or to preview navigating an inlet with wind
against the tide to see if it’s passable. Maybe
the day is just around the corner when we’ll
send up our personal drones to see if there’s
a good slip available at the next marina, or
as a traffic monitor to plot the best time to
enter high-traffic areas like the Cape Cod
Canal. The potential for all this is imminent,
but with rapid technological progress comes
unintended consequences. We’ll have to wait
and see how drone technology plays out – in
the skies, the legislatures, and with the FAA –
and BoatU.S. will continue to monitor how it
might affect your boating and fishing.
Nicole Palya Wood is a member of our BoatU.S.
Government Affairs team.
BOATU.S. GOVERNMENT AFFAIRS
With the strength of more than half a million members, BoatU.S. is the leading voice
representing recreational boat owners on Capitol Hill, before the federal agencies, and
around the state legislatures. Our mission is to fight unfair taxes, fees, laws, and regulations that single out boat owners and create obstacles preventing our members from
getting out on the water. Find out what’s happening in your state and how to get involved.
■ In May, BoatU.S. successfully rallied 5,800 boaters in Florida to fight impending legislation that would have gutted the state’s uniform mooring and anchoring pilot program.
■ BoatU.S. also alerted Washington state members of a new state Department of Ecology
proposal that would establish a no-discharge zone for all of Puget Sound (see page 18).