Catalina Island News

The Smell Test

Afishinados Charters

I have been chasing a lot of ghosts through some dark tunnels this spring.  Most of my efforts have been to get others to do their jobs so that I can do mine.  Doing the right thing has apparently never been more difficult than in today’s world.

It might be about motivation. 

Friday I mailed $250 to a gentleman in Florida whom I do not know, have never met and may never speak to.  The cash was enclosed to get him ‘motivated’ to do a task on my behalf.  Deciding how much to send was tricky.  Without his help, I am stuck in a USCG do-loop with no end in sight.

Vessels engaged in ‘Coastwise’ trade (charters) must be USCG-documented.  In order to secure the required ‘Coastwise’ endorsement, there must be ‘evidence’ the vessel was constructed in the U.S. 

Although every such vessel (SportCraft) ever made over 40 years was built here, the company went out of business in 2009 and with it all records of ‘Build Evidence’.  Uh oh.

I need the actual builder to sign a document certifying such, or no document and thus no charter service.

After more than a month of sleuth work, I have found a man who knows the man who could sign this document, but for the last 3 weeks I have not been able to secure the paperwork through him.  That stinks

I sent the $250 ‘to compensate any persons involved for any costs or inconvenience’ with my plea to send me a U.S.-built Certificate.  This morning I got an email suggesting the task would be completed this week.  Roses!

I get that fact that we are all very busy, in fact it seems as though we are all busier than ever.  I think it is because of the extra paperwork (taxes and fees in disguise) required to be in business today.

Many of my customers are jealous of my lifestyle.  They see me living in paradise and driving boats on a beautiful twilight cruise in search of exotic creatures like flying fish, or heading out on an early morning fishing trip.

I cannot disagree, this is the fun stuff and I do feel fortunate to be here doing what I do for a living.  It is just all of the other stuff that takes the fun out.

Cummins is a huge engine manufacturer.  I have purchased at least 10 of their motors in my boating life.  At $40,000 to $80,000 dollars, these are not cheap pieces of equipment. 

If you have followed my columns this spring, you already know that Afishinado had a brand new Cummins motor blow at 372 hours after a bearing failed.  Cummins ‘fixed it’ rather than replace it although they never found the ‘root cause’ of the failure.  That stunk.

At 1404 hours, the motor failed again, and again the bearings were involved.  I have battled Cummins over the last two months trying to get them to replace my motor with a new one while they were trying to determine ‘the root cause’.

And here is where things get weird.  Apparently, if Cummins cannot find the ‘root cause’, the motor is not covered by their warranty.  What!? 

Let’s take a good look at this to see if this passes the ‘Smell Test’.

If the company that built the motor cannot figure out why the motor failed, it is not covered by warranty.  That is a mighty big loop hole, large enough to drive a Mack truck through it.  I smell a rat!

One would think that a product ‘Warranty’ is there to cover exactly these mysterious things, or else the word, and the promise, mean nothing.

Cummins has finally agreed.  The motor they sold me is a stinker.  A replacement motor (without a new warranty) is to be sent, but I have to pay for shipping and installation because they could not find the ‘root cause’ and thus this is not a “warranty replacement”.

Not exactly roses, but better than stepping in one of the many piles left along Hogsback Road by dog owners who are not doing the right thing…but that smelly topic is for another column.

By Capt. John King
Capt. John runs Afishinados Charters and Catallac Tours – 888-613-7770 -