Nautical and Marine
Slogging to Windward
SHAME ON SNAME
can always be emailed to: email@example.com
Much like the
appearance of the Crocus in spring or the Swallows yearly return to
Capistrano, the periodic old chestnut promoted by SNAME comes puppy
footing in. You can think of
it as project: "IF IT AIN'T BROKE, BREAK IT!”
– The crying need for PE certification for those who design small boats.
In other words:
Anybody who designs or draws plans for small watercraft, even an
eight-foot rowing dinghy, should be a certified Professional Engineer
(preferably a SNAME member too, I guess) by the state in which he draws
the dinghy. The caveat being;
anyone not knuckling under to the dictates of SNAME AND the government by
designing a dinghy for someone else to build, can be subject to
prosecution (and persecution) under the laws and regulations of the state.
SNAME (Society of
Naval Architects and Marine Engineers - www.sname.org)
is the wanna-be all encompassing Marine Industry steering group
fundamentally dedicated to self-preservation (as are most professional
groups). Beyond staying in business and thusly providing a cushy existence
for their officials and home office staff, SNAME seems to believe that
more restriction and nepotism is what's needed here in the "land of
the free and home of the brave"--this despite the fact that little
solid evidence exists for such an assumption.
Lest you think
that I'm operating from a subjective position, couched in misinformation,
let me point out that for several years while in training, I WAS a student
member of SNAME. Frankly, I
found it's influence and assistance as applied to small craft design of
little value. Moreover, the
meetings and symposia were watching-the-paint-dry boring and like the
other "professional engineering society type organizations" I
have been involved with over my career, SNAME is more or less ineffectual.
So, the reason for
this column and for the interest in the subject is that in recent issues,
WoodenBoat Magazine has published material both about this PE push on
SNAME's part, and also commentary by an apparently self-appointed SNAME
spokesman named Andy Davis, a student member.
If you haven't
read these issues, I strongly suggest that you get up to speed by doing
so, and then reread this column.
has a right to his opinion, but he's been given creditability and quoted
in WoodenBoat Magazine as referring to small craft designers not PE
Certified (and I assume not SNAME members) as "lunatics and
Davis has such a view of the men and women who, for the last couple
centuries, have been successfully designing the majority of boats which
have been doing a good, safe workmanlike job of plying waterways of the
world. Worse, he's advocating
excluding about 95% of all small craft designers practicing today and/or
recent historical greats--people like Bob Perry, Bill Garden, George
Calkins, Ed Monk, Ted Brewer, Sam Crocker, The Herreshoff Family, Phil
Bolger, Jean-Marie Finot, Tom Wylie, Norman Cross, Winthrop Warner, Weston
Farmer, Colin Archer, John Hanna, Charlie Mower, Jack Giles, John
Illingworth, Dick Newick, Olin Stevens, Frank Kinney, Bruce Bingham, Bruce Farr, Bruce King, Ken Hankinson et al, et al, et al.
These are designers I can think of off the top of my head.
Give me a few more minutes and I could fill a page or two. Nevertheless, these are the LUNATICS AND AMATEURS to which
the well-known and respected Andy Davis is referring--the vast majority of
whom are not PE's and not SNAME dues payers.
What Davis and
SNAME are really advocating is: "Let's
make throwing the baby out with the bathwater a public policy.
Let's ignore talent, creativity, interest and enthusiastic ability
in favor of an ingrown Old Boys Network--a private club.
Let's justify it by a simpering, insincere, unnecessary appeal to
the public good in the destructive, current oppressive vein of
"protecting everybody against everything".
Let's give the lawmakers an excuse to expand the bureaucracy".
The purpose of all this? Power
and Control for the boys in the band, plain and simple.
Why do I say this
there is no need to take such a proposition seriously.
There is no reason to change the traditional system, which is also
the current system. The
system works fine. I know it would probably come as a surprise to SNAME/Davis
that even a few of the small craft designers operating today have figured
out how to work a Personal Computer--amazing, huh?
One other thing;
Chuck Paine, Graduate Engineer and world class small craft designer has
pointed out that far from improving the picture and helping the economics
of the U.S. Marine Industry, what SNAME is promoting would bring about
damage to the business we currently enjoy by saying:
"If this ISN’T a world wide standard--and believe me, Hong
Kong ain't gonna do this--then new construction will go immediately to
On a less
grandiose scale, you can also bet that eventually, Melvin Gohard of
Yellowknife, Ohio will have to consult with SNAME and Big Brother before
he starts building a plywood boat for his kids in his garage—unless
boatbuilding in your garage or backyard has been made illegal in the