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Thursday, June 14, 2012
By Toni Waterman | Friday, July 15, 2011
Jul. 18, 2011
Ski Condos in the Alps, beach homes in Costa Rica, yachts: Living a life of luxury comes at a price. A very high price. But there’s an increasingly popular way to enjoy the rich life: On a budget.
Brad Miller is a nautical natural. He’s been planted behind the wheel longer than he can remember. As soon as he could afford it, he bought his own boat, saying it was the happiest day of his life. But the honeymoon was short-lived. “I sold it and experienced the second happiest day of a boat owner’s life,” Miller said.
For Miller, the cost of owning the boat was weighing him down like an anchor.
“You know what ‘boat’ stands for? Break Out Another Thousand,” Miller jokes. “For the dockage it was about $3,500 a year and then there was about another $1,000 in the winter for storage and then all the maintenance.”
Like the time he blew a head gasket, setting him back $4,000 dollars. Frustrated and broke, Miller turned to Matt O’Connor at the Freedom Boat Club in Quincy, a members-only boating club.
But members don't own the boats they use at Freedom. Instead, they share them.
For a one-time membership fee of $5,500 and then monthly dues of $299, members have unlimited access to a fleet of boats, without the hassle of cleaning and maintaining a boat. There are 14 docked at Marina Bay in Quincy that members sign out online on a first come, first serve basis.
“You show up the boat is cleaned, full of fuel, detailed and ready to go. The staff is there waiting for you. They check you out, you get out on the water. Come back in, fill up the boat – enjoy your day,” said O'Connor.
Freedom has been at Marina Bay for six years and has since expanded to four other locations around Massachusetts. To keep up with a growing group of members, Freedom adds a boat for every six new customers.
The membership also gives access to Freedom’s 60 other locations nationwide, a perk Brad Miller says he used on a recent trip to Clearwater, Florida. “I called the boat club here and talked with the manager, told him what my plans were. Got down to Clearwater, walked in and it was the exact same thing. The boat was ready to go,” Miller said.
Since joining, Miller says he’s already saved thousand of dollars. The one drawback, says Miller, is that you have to give the boat back at the end of the day. “You don’t have the ability to just walk on the boat and go sleep on it at night. That’s probably the only set back, not have the full flexibility to just walk on whenever you want to,” Miller said.
Still, Miller says he has had some unique experiences.
“I actually went out and did my own little personal whale-watch. I went all the way out to stock bank and saw some whales, did some fishing on a 17 ft boat. It was great,” Miller said.
By Phillip Martin | Thursday, July 14, 2011
Jul. 14, 2011
BOSTON — The Charles River is a finalist for the prestigious International Riverprize, a $350,000 award for development and implementation of sustainable river management policies. Boston's famous waterway is in competition with the Mattole River in California and the Yarra River in Victoria, Australia.
But there was a time not so long ago when the Charles, named by England’s King Charles I after himself, was considered a 26-mile embarrassment. Indeed, the famous chorus “I love that dirty water,” from The Standells 60s rock song, is still a hometown classic.
Over time, both nature and engineering have painted the rust colored “dirty water” have repainted the “dirty water” green. And no one appreciates that more than Ralph Boynton, who manages Charles River Canoe And Kayak.
Boynton has been kayaking and renting kayaks along the river for 16 years. He feels a personal kinship to this river. He’s been swimming in it, and he’s excited about talks of opening more beaches on the river.
Just a few years ago, Boynton wouldn’t even think of swimming in the Charles.
“The crew teams that fell in would routinely get prophylactic tetanus shots,” Boynton said.
The notion of reopening beaches on the River is a measure of the impact of the $100 million dollar cleanup over the years. The Environmental Protection Agency worked with Massachusetts in the mid-1990s, vowing to make the river swimmable by 2005. Former Gov. William Weld even jumped in with his clothes on to show that there were no ill effects. But the Charles’ old reputation still lingers.
Just ask Sean Nyhan of Charlestown, who has stopped by with his wife Bridget to rent a kayak.
“Obviously it’s not even urban legend that you don’t swim in the Charles River and on a hot day like today it would be great to swim,” Nyhan said. “But obviously, I think if you’re local it’s known that you don’t swim in the Charles.”
So even if the Charles wins the International Riverprize, Massachusetts’ officials have their work cut out trying to convince residents that it’s not the same dirty old water.
By Luke Boelitz | Wednesday, June 22, 2011
June 27, 2011
BOSTON — If you want to swim in Bourne this summer, you’ll have to do it at your own risk.
Citing budget problems, the Cape Cod town is not hiring any lifeguards for their beaches this summer. The unprecedented cut, which was hotly debated (but not reversed) at a selectman’s meeting last week, is projected to save the town $75,000. It was voted through in May.
Donald Pickard, chairman of Bourne’s Board of Selectman, says the town has already laid off 15 people between the local government and the school district.
“Here in Bourne, we had to make some very difficult decisions and this was one of them,” Pickard said in an interview with WGBH’s Emily Rooney.
Pickard said funding lifeguards could not be the top priority for Bourne’s government.
“I mean, I certainly see the value of lifeguards,” Pickard said. “This was not an easy decision, but it came down to cost.”
Chris Brewster, the president of the United States Lifesaving Association, told Rooney the cost of leaving beaches unsupervised could be even greater that the money spent staffing them.
According to the Center for Disease Control, fatal drowning is the second leading cause of injury among children ages 1-14. Among those 50 years and older 65% of drowning deaths occurred in open water settings.
“It’s a decision to prioritize away from public safety in an effort to preserve other areas of city and town government and generally I think that’s an unwise thing to do,” Brewster said. “There is no safe alternative being left for citizens and tourists to avail themselves of.”
Brewster says that most communities, when faced with tight budgets choose one or two popular swim areas and staff those locations with lifeguards. He recommends this strategy for Bourne.
According the Bourne Courier, such a plan was proposed to the board of selectman. Veteran Beach Supervisor Judy Cox said that Monument Beach could be staffed with lifeguards for the entire summer for the cost of $28,000 dollars. Despite support from Town Administrator Thomas Guerino, the plan was rejected.
Pickard said that at this point there is no chance of funding lifeguards from the general budget. Although it is possible for a private donation to be directed through the town’s recreation department to fund lifeguards, the chances of hiring staff this late in the season are slim.
For now, the town’s legal council and insurance underwriters have given the go-ahead to open the beaches without lifeguards.
By JJ Sutherland | Friday, November 19, 2010
Friday, November 12, 2010