Harken Derm

Managing the playing field

Published on June 11th, 2019

Here are some update regarding the waters we play on and protections for those that use them:


• Florida passed a new law to protect consumers from buying damaged, destroyed, or stolen boats. Similar to how Carfax identifies if a car has been in an accident and who the rightful owner is, the improvements to titles created by Florida’s law add significant consumer protection, helping boaters avoid unwittingly purchasing a stolen or previously damaged vessel. Plus, the new law helps protect all dealers – including the small, family-owned businesses – from being saddled with an unsellable craft. Full report.

• Scientists announced the annual Gulf of Mexico “dead zone” – a region of oxygen-depleted water off the Louisiana and Texas coasts that’s harmful to sea life – will be the second-largest on record this summer. This year’s zone should be about 8,717 square miles whereas the average Gulf dead zone is about 5,309 square miles; the record is 8,776 square miles set in 2017. A dead zone occurs at the bottom of a body of water when there isn’t enough oxygen in the water to support marine life. Also known as hypoxia, it’s created by nutrient runoff, mostly from over-application of fertilizer on agricultural fields during the spring. Full report.

• A new law in Texas requires certain boat operators to be physically connected to a boat’s emergency cut-off switch, commonly known as the kill switch, and use it when someone is thrown off board. The bill was called “Kali’s Law,” after 16-year-old Kali Gorzell who died in a 2012 boating accident in Port Aransas, Texas. The teenager fell off the boat and struck the propeller. Full report.

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