!! MAYDAY !!

   Just got off the phone with Lieutenant Fred Soriano, Chief of Inspections with the United States Coast Guard, San Diego. He says Coast Guard will be licensing all boatmen who carry passengers and inspecting all craft that carry over six people. Soon. Like REAL soon.

   We asked why this has to happen. Itís the law. What law? Heíll fax it to us. Why now, after all these years? It had been overlooked due to its remoteness. No longer. Coast Guard is in better shape now. Should have done this a long time ago. Itís overdue.

   Who, we asked, made this decision? The Commandant. In Washington. Admiral Krmak. Itíd be a lot easier for everybody if you didnít do this, we said. I know, he responded, chuckling. Itís a long way from San Diego. But we intend to regulate all rafting in the entire country. Weíve just finished with Black Canyon [below Hoover Dam].

   Has the Park Service been doing an unsatisfactory job with regulating this? No, he responded, thatís not the problem. Itís the law.

   How will we be tested? We want to adapt the Park Service testing, and, if itís okay with them, have them do the testing at Lees Ferry. There will be a fee.

   How much? Not much.

   Heíll be coming to Flagstaff shortly to meet with us, outfitters and NPS. In the mean time, if any of you know anyone in Washington that could maybe let the Coast Guard know that now may not be the time to initiate a costly, redundant nationwide program that is already being more than adequately covered by another government agency, get after it. As Bruce Babbitt said last fall, when speaking about a cooperative effort with the Department of Transportation, ďLast time I checked, we both worked for the same guy.Ē