IS there anyone who doesn't have Internet access? It seems to me that every meeting I've attended lately has added a spot on its sign-in/attendance sheet for noting one's email address, and very few people leave it blank.
A look at boating
I also have noticed for some time that readers responding to this column nearly always do so via e-mail rather than the U.S. mail. And most of them also mention visiting the Star-Bulletin's outstanding Web site at http://archives.starbulletin.com in their message.
With this in mind, it occurred to me that Water Ways readers might enjoy seeing a short list of Internet Web sites I consider great places to look for boating-specific information.
As an excellent place to start roaming boat-oriented Web sites, I would recommend what has been referred to as the "Mother of All Maritime Links."
http://www.boatlinks.com provides a well-maintained site with hot links to virtually every nautical site on the Web.
Another extensive, but more commercial site is http://www.boatus.com, which is maintained by the Boat Owners Association of the United States. Browsing there can help you find a used boat, get tips on safe boating, look for insurance packages, and, of course, join the association.
An additional all-purpose marine Web site is http://www.yachtworld.com where you can browse through its boating yellow pages and its lists of boats for charter or sale. It also has a boating library and a boat forum.
If buying or selling a boat is your interest, finding its true market value can be done on-line at http://www.bucvalu.com. This site is based on the "BUC Used Boat Price Guide," the marine version of the auto world's "Kelly Blue Book."
In our state, with the smallest number of registered boats in the nation, it isn't always easy to find the boat of your dreams, or a buyer for your boat. For a larger selection, take a look at http://www.internetboats.com where you can peruse a listing of over $100 million worth of vessels of all kinds, or add your boat to the list.
Finding parts for older boats can be difficult in Hawaii, so what could be better than to be able to shop for new and used parts worldwide via the Internet? At http://www.marineparts.com you can search through an e-catalog of more than 400,000 parts and accessories from nearly every marine manufacturer.
For most mariners, keeping track of the weather is a part of your daily routine. Now, with the help of the Internet, you can augment the National Weather Service reports by browsing one of four Web sites.
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration has a general weather site at http://www.nws.noaa.gov/data.html and a more storm-specific site at http://www.nhc.noaa.gov that is put up by its National Hurricane Center.
The U.S. Coast Guard's site at http://www.navcen.uscg.mil/lnm gives current "Local Notice to Mariners" as well as archived editions.
Up-to-the-minute weather reports and related maps can also be found at http://www.accuweather.com from a private-sector company called AccuWeather.
Two of the best Web sites that focus on boating safety are put up by the U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary and the U.S. Power Squadron. The first site can be found at http://www.cgaux.org and has an easy-to-use "What's New" page. The second presents information on the squadron's safe boating classes.
These are just a few of the many marine-oriented Web sites I have come across. If you have a favorite, please let me know and I'll do another column on "Readers' Choices" in the future.
Ray Pendleton is a free-lance writer based in Honolulu.
His column runs Saturdays in the Star-Bulletin.
He can be reached by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.