Author: John K. Fulweiler

The Boating Barrister

Glass Bottom Boats: Socking it to the Coast Guard (Sort of!)

By John K. Fulweiler

On the Harper Valley PTA, you’ve got the married Bobby Taylor asking for dates, teetotaler Shirley nipping the gin, Miss Jones cavorting, Mr. Baker’s secretary having to leave town, and that other fellow drinking too much at Kelly’s bar. But their Peyton Place lifestyles made it ridiculous they were upset with Mrs. Johnson’s short skirts and she socked it to them! It’s a good song written a long time ago and yet that current still flows strong….

The Boating Barrister

Strange Seas: Nautical Know-How You Don’t Know

By John K. Fulweiler

The Ethiopian calendar runs seven years behind ours which isn’t all that interesting, but learning that Rastafarians and Ethiopia have a connection sort of is.  More later. I’m writing this in Florida on a little island off its western edge. It’s the middle of March and Florida right now is sinking under the weight of tourists scrambling to wring the most out of a week “with the kids.” It’s a gruesome affair for everyone and if you haven’t had…

The Boating Barrister

BoatHacker: Things You Don’t Need, But Will Want

By John K. Fulweiler

The New York Times has this newish aspect called Wirecutter; to me, it’s a riff off what Lifehacker.com and some other sites did by considering and commenting on consumables for which one’s desire far outweighs any need. Still, the tone/tempo of its writing is for someone who likes words and beats and chords and harmonies, fun to try and replicate. Its reference is also a nice vehicle to share some opinions on things salty. We like classic…

The Boating Barrister

Flawed Law: A Captain McNoodle Guest Column

By John K. Fulweiler

Call me Captain McNoodle. Some weeks back John asked I write this column because he’d be in trial. I said no problem ‘cause John’s a good guy alright. Anyways, I don’t have his spit and polish, but I’m better with the boats and so John thought me writing down how I see boating law would be good. I’m not Dickens so much, but John said questions/answers would work and he said he’d put his comments (italicized) in…

The Boating Barrister

Suits for Sailors: Lawsuits I wish I could file

By John K. Fulweiler

I like depositions and trials. I like the clarity that comes from the pressure. But to pepper questions in the boardroom or press a witness in the courtroom, you need a lawsuit. We file lawsuits for yachties, merchant mariners, passengers and anyone else injured working on or around the sea…but that doesn’t mean a maritime lawyer can’t dream. Here are some lawsuits I’d like to file if the opportunity arose; I call these “suits for sailors.” The…

The Boating Barrister

The 49-Year-Old COLREGS

By John K. Fulweiler

As much as I like all of sailing’s possibilities, clutching-in twin diesels with overly pitched props is a feeling that’s hard to beat. To pirouette a sportfisherman outside a crowded marina so the tower cants to one side, to bury the throttles in reverse building a crest of white water and then to lay sixty-feet of hull neatly against the dock’s edge is a thrill I rank very high. Twin screws coupled to naturally aspirated diesels will…

The Boating Barrister

Ones, Zeros and Sailboats: How Not to Live

By John K. Fulweiler

You can get high these days without the trek and effort of yesteryear; make crypto-currency bets with million-dollar upsides and acquire non-fungible tokens capturing the artwork of tomorrow. Beer gets delivered via an app. Order a car online and it’ll be in your drive the day after next. Lobsters arrive on the porch with a text. There’s no paper menu; just scan this QR Code. Order it on Amazon, complain about it on Quora and sell it…

The Boating Barrister

Boating Havoc: Three Ways to Avoid a Salvage Claim

By John K. Fulweiler

It used to be when I’d slip past the breakwater and into the inner harbor on some paid gig, I’d turn and gesture back at the sea. It seemed she never made anything easy. Same thing with planes except it wasn’t the blue sky, but the plane I’d flip off. Fact is, in my youth I developed a sense that between gravity and the ocean, one of them was always trying to off me. Nowadays my relationships…

The Boating Barrister

I’d Rather Be Sailing: Regrets from the Shore

By John K. Fulweiler

The New England boating season is short. For those of us still on the hard, you can hear a murmured chorus of doubt and regret. There’s the fellow next to me with the repowering project stooped over an Atomic-4 he’s removed and planted under his boat. He doesn’t say much. The enthusiastic college kids in the corner have a daysailer they’ve stripped of paint and hardware and now stand around looking forlorn and uncertain of the next…

The Boating Barrister

Sharing the Commons: Avoiding Legal Pratfalls

By John K. Fulweiler

Habits are a funny thing. You’ve got decent habits, like a black coffee with two sugars and a float plan with a fuel reserve. And then they’re the bad habits like those Marlboro Reds, wearing your COVID mask under your nose, and open water trips with a single outboard and no float plan. Sometimes a mariner’s innocent habits can lead to disaster. Yup, your nautical patterns might chart a course straight onto the legal shoals, making it…

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