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Recent entries


Through the Lens

Pokémon Go and Boating: Three Tips from BoatUS

Thu, July 14, 2016

A Pokémon Go “gym” is located next to the iconic BoatUS Buoy at the recreational boating association’s national headquarters in Alexandria, VA

I’ll be the first to admit - I really have no clue what the whole Pokemon Go craze is really all about. I’d just as soon shoot myself in the foot as play any of the mobile or electronic games. Not my cup of tea. But what I can gather from others this Pokemon Go business is at least getting people outside and up and moving. Although - I’d rather they were actually looking at the natural world around them, rather than at a screen on a mobile device.

I also have to admit I find it a bit unsettling to read the reports of the number of accidents that seem to be happening while folks are absorbed in finding some mythical electronic creature. That said - I didn’t even consider the implications for boaters and people on the water until the email from BoatUS hit my inbox this afternoon.

According to BoatUS, the reality-game-meets-exercise app currently taking the nation by storm, “Pokémon Go,” now has 21 million users every day – reportedly the most successful mobile game ever in the US. The game features characters called Pokémon that players capture in the real world using a combination of GPS and augmented reality. That also means that Pokémon-mania has also come to the water and with it, BoatUS, the national boating advocacy, services and safety group has three tips for playing Pokémon Go while boating:

1. Be aware: The US Coast Guard reports “Operator Inattention” as one of the five main primary contributing factors in accidents. When searching for a “water type” Pokémon such as     “Magikarp” ( I have to ask is a Magikarp anything like a flying silver???) on a waterway, let the first mate or friend handle the cell phone while the captain keeps a safe lookout.

2. Watch cell phone battery use: Users report the game eats up a smartphone’s battery charge. With many recreational boaters today relying on their cell phones for communication, it would be wise to bring along a spare charger, or use battery saving mode. BoatUS also reminds boaters that only a VHF radio can summon emergency help from the closest rescuers, ensuring the fastest response.

3. Have fun: The BoatUS National Headquarters in Alexandria, Virginia offers a Pokémon “gym” located next to the iconic BoatUS Buoy at 880 S. Pickett Street. At lunch, some BoatUS employees can be seen playing the game. (Insider’s tip: The yellow Pokémon Go BoatUS Marine insurance underwriting team often battles other BoatUS departments, and for a limited time, free boat insurance quotes will be available to all players.)

Even though many have encouraged me to give it a try, I think this is one fad / craze I will probably sit out. I’m more happy hunting for real creatures! How about you?