Will Obama bring about smooth sailing?

In today’s historic inauguration, president-elect Barack Obama shed the latter half of his title and became our nation’s 44th president. He enters office during an uncertain time both domestically and globally, as economies fizzle and international tensions swell. Citizens from Kenya to Calcutta will watch with anticipation as Obama’s presidency unfolds with a hefty agenda. No matter what their
Author:
Publish date:
Updated on

In today’s historic inauguration, president-elect Barack Obama shed the latter half of his title and became our nation’s 44th president. He enters office during an uncertain time both domestically and globally, as economies fizzle and international tensions swell. Citizens from Kenya to Calcutta will watch with anticipation as Obama’s presidency unfolds with a hefty agenda. No matter what their occupation, they hope this new leader will address their personal agenda, and sailors are no different.

Former president George W. Bush laid a strong foundation for ocean conservation last month when he created the largest protected marine area in history. Though Obama has yet to address recreational boaters directly, his policies are also sure to affect all breeds of sailors. His economic policies coupled with the value he places on science and recreation will affect not only our nation, but our sport as well. Here’s what sailors can expect from our 44th president:

A Stronger Economy

His biggest undertaking could be sailing’s biggest catalyst. As people regain financial confidence, as Obama anticipates they will, sailors will again be able to put their money into recreation. Simultaneously, an improvement in the middle class could only mean good things for the boating industry where, according to the NMMA, the average boater makes $100,000 a year. Boatbuilding itself is a largely domestic industry so more water sports could help to stimulate our economy.

More renewable energy

Obama’s economic stimulus package called for a doubling of alternative energy. On board, this could mean improved propulsion and battery systems. At sea, it could mean more wind farms and more offshore oil rigs, energy sources Obama said he’d be willing to include in a “broader package of energy measures.”

Stricter Fuel Standards

An avid watersportsman from ocean-locked Hawaii, Obama is an advocate of lowering green house emissions to promote healthier seas. He hopes to increase fuel efficiency standards to 40 miles per gallon in the next ten years. Cleaning up our emissions is always a good thing, but the NMMA is lobbying Congress to ensure the new standards don’t inconvenience the 300 million Americans who tow their recreational vehicles.

More Research

The president promised to support government-sponsored research to “reverse the damage being done to oceans and coastal areas.” In a 2008 science-based debate, Obama promised to fight for cleaner oceans and coastal areas because he believes they are “American treasures.”

His presidency has hardly begun and already Obama has an ocean of exciting challenges before him. We’ll see how his course pans out.

Related

Meridian-X-Spin_2

MOB: A Whistle in the Wind

Mark Wheeler went overboard a few minutes before midnight. He was in the middle of Lake Michigan, 30 miles offshore in 40 knots of wind. As he fumbled for the lanyard to inflate his lifejacket he watched his racing sailboat, Meridian X, disappear into the night at more than 18 ...read more

TOTW_PromoSite

SAIL's Tip of the Week

Presented by Vetus-Maxwell. Got a tip? Send it to sailmail@sailmagazine.com Slapper stopper  When I came on deck at 0800 to hoist my colors on a visitors’ mooring recently, there was an awkward slop running in. This doesn’t trouble my Mason 44, which has a traditional counter ...read more

Tilly-1

Gear: Tilley Polaris Hat

A True Blue Tilley Sailing is all about fun in the sun, but it sometimes doesn’t take long to get too much of a good thing, especially when on a prolonged cruise or offshore passage. Enter the Tilley Polaris, the latest lid developed by iconic Canadian hat-maker Tilley. ...read more

Sand-TOWEL_MODEL-3

CGear Sand-Free Beach Towel

Sand Be Gone! The summer is hot and full of terrors—not the least of which is the sand that sticks in your beach towel in the hopes of a free ride back to your car or boat. Fortunately, there's now the CGear Sand-Free Beach Towel, engineered in polyester to not only dry quickly ...read more

01-Blowup-Tiwal2_sailing-(3)

Gear: Tiwal Inflatable Sailing Dinghy

Blow-up Boating A few years ago, the French company Tiwal arrived on U.S. shores with that most improbable of products, an inflatable sailing dinghy that actually sails the way a boat is supposed to. Now, nearly 1,000 Tiwal 3’s later, the company is back with its Tiwal 2, an ...read more

Koozy

Gear: 22 Below Koozie

Killer Koozie For all that sailors love the warmth of this time of year, that same warmth can also wreak havoc on their otherwise icy-cold beers. (Unless, of course, you drink them very, very fast. But we won’t go there.) To help deal with this terrible hardship, North ...read more

Cool-Specs

Gear: Gill's Race Fusion Sunglasses

Wicked Cool Specs Is there anything in the world of sailing more fun than a cool pair of shades? Heck, no! And it would hard to find a cooler pair than these new Race Fusion specs from longtime weather-gear manufacture Gill. In addition to looking great, they include a number of ...read more

North_new

Gear: North Sails Waterproof Pack

A few years ago, North Sails made a big push into the apparel business with all kinds of sharp-looking button-down shirts, shorts and fleeces. That doesn’t mean, though, that the North Sails Collection isn’t still plenty practical, as is evident in its new roll-over waterproof ...read more