Florida Boating

Tuesday, February 21, 2012


By Barb Hansen
April 2011

The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) claims it can keep secrets, but I suspect it's just a matter of time before we start seeing full frontal scans of celebrities in the supermarket tabloids. Some probably won't mind. Well, hello again Paris.

I hope they publish only celebrity images. As you know, our privacy has never been a U.S. government priority. (Can you say WikiLeaks?) We all know that eventually a disgruntled TSA employee will sell his private collection of scans to the highest bidder.

TSA uses two kinds of full body scans -- neither produces flattering results -- and now I read they are considering a third type. The new type doesn't show your whole body from top to bottom, just the anomalies. Uh oh.

Anomalies. I hope they mean just harmful devices like bombs and box cutters. But just in case I'm adding this new TSA scan type to our growing list of air travel advisories, a periodic public service of your friendly charter boat outfitters at Southwest Florida Yachts (Motto: We Don't Scan.)

Air travel advisory number two is air traffic controllers who nod off on the job as one did recently working the night shift at Ronald Reagan National Airport, Washington, DC. Two airliners landed without permission from the tower. I doubt if the pilot even bothered to tell the passengers. I expect at least two pilots and one air traffic controller are looking for new work this week.

These air traffic advisories are our little way of pointing out the differences between planes and boats. If you subtract the time it takes you to get checked in and navigate security, air travel will get you from point A to point B faster than a boat but at what cost? Your dignity, that's what.

Now, contrast all that with another mode of transportation, the boat. Admittedly, a boat can't get you across the country as quickly as an airliner, but it will get you from our marina to a special relaxed place in your mind in record time.

Our charter customers like to cruise on the placid side of the Gulf of Mexico barrier islands like Sanibel/Captiva. There is no turbulence on this dignified flight path. There are no body scans, no insults to your dignity and no air traffic controllers who nod off.

There are no lines to get on board, no bags to check and no packing and unpacking once underway. There’s no waiting for a seatbelt light to go off so you can go to the bathroom. There is no middle seat. You won't go to war for an armrest. A kid won't kick the back of your seat. Your kneecap won't get shattered by the beverage cart.

As air travel becomes more onerous, remember that cruising with family-and-friends is one of the best ways to restore your dignity and zest for life.


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