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BoatU.S. puts complaint database on the Web

The BoatU.S. Consumer Protection Bureau has launched an online nationwide database of consumer complaints and safety information for BoatU.S members. Previously accessible by phone or fax, the database contains thousands of reports on boats, engines, accessories, dealers, marinas and related services. The information is reported by boat owners, the Coast Guard, manufacturers, marine surveyors and marine technicians.

In addition to registering new problems, BoatU.S. members can search the database by boat or engine make, model, year, hull identification number or serial number, or by the type of problem. The database also has been used by the Coast Guard to issue defect recall notices.

Boaters can sign up for a BoatU.S. membership on the site at a special online rate of $14, a $5 savings. www.boatus.com/consumer

Newsletter for forgotten boats won’t be forgotten

Bone Yard Boats, the 9-year-old national newsletter that helps find owners for “forgotten, abandoned, but worthy boats,” has a new owner and publisher.

Founding publisher Ginger Marshall Martus is retiring and sought someone to carry on her labor of love. Dozens of people expressed an interest, Martus says, but she finally selected David F. Irving of Charleston, S.C. Irving, who is 42, was selected for his previous publishing experience and “a genuine reverence for boats and the nautical life,” as well as his computer knowledge. (His career is in computer consulting.)

Originally from Marblehead, Mass., Irving and his 13-year-old son, Dillon, cruised from Massachusetts to South Carolina, where he, his wife, and two children settled. The family boat is Codgie, a 31-foot Sea Ray.

Irving plans to create a Bone Yard Boats Web site to accompany the newsletter. The next issue will be published this fall.

For information, contact Irving at Bone Yard Boats, P.O. Box 831, Charleston, SC 29402. davidfirving@yahoo.com

Hurricane tracking while Web surfing

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration has introduced a new way to follow tropical storms or hurricanes online.

NOAA Storm Tracker, www.storm tracker.noaa.gov, contains live links to advisories, tracking maps and satellite images of a particular storm. It also includes links to data from ocean buoys, affected airports and the latest high-resolution satellite imagery of a tropical storm or hurricane.

Storm Tracker is designed to open a new, smaller browser window when launched, allowing the user to continue surfing the Web while following the progress of a storm.