A Man on the Moon and Your Boat

I will start with a question. What does the space race have in common with your boat and your harbor? Well  for one thing if you live in Southern California neither your boat nor your harbor would exist without the space race of the 1950′s and 1960′s.

A couple months ago I was standing with a customer admiring his new purchase hanging in our lift for survey. He asked me what it would take to get the boating industry moving again and I thought about an appropriate answer for a moment.  Then I replied,”you know your boat and this harbor represent the absolute zenith of the space race and without something like that, nothing will get boating in Southern California going again.”

Think about it for a moment. Every component on your boat is a bi-product of the space race. Materials, technologies, systems, the harbor itself can be traced to our efforts to land a man on the moon. Ironically, the owners of these boats were also beneficiaries of the space race through employment in Southern California. Machine shops, electronics factories and aerospace factories were the nurseries for all of our industries components.  In 1965, our aerospace industry was absolutely huge. So huge, entire cities were formed from the sage brush to house and entertain our states new industry.

Harbors were  dug out of wetlands to moor our new weekend hobby, boating!  Ventura, Channel Islands, Marina Del Rey, King Harbor, Newport Harbor were all enlarged or created before the creation of  Coastal Commissions and other governing bodies were even conceived,  There was tremendous demand for cheap and convenient berths for our new boats. All week long we worked in machine shops, factories, and countless other industrial feeder businesses supporting our nations manifest destiny to control the last frontier,space.

My own grandfather, an aerospace engineer, conceptualized and designed a system to score  the accuracy our newly formed ICBM technologies for his employer ITT. He called it the missile error scorer system. We call it GPS today.

So you see, if you want to know what is going to save the boating industry you need to look straight up. Maybe to Mars or maybe back at the moon. Because it doesn’t matter how much money we spend on the task because none of the money will ever actually stay on Mars silly, it will stay right here. This is because there arent Wall St bankers on Mars. There is just cold red dust, but the act of getting there will allow billions of dollars to fall all around us.  Right now, billions of  Renminbi are falling all over China in their nations effort to get a “celestial” on the Moon and then onto Mars.

Just realize for a moment that there is a lab somewhere on the outskirts of Bejing and in that lab is a technician that has spent billions of Renminbi on some new technology that isn’t quite right yet, but his/hers government believes in the idea and when success comes, trillions of Renminbi in benefits will fall throughout that lab’s circle of influence.  If you really want to be frightened just try to imagine the technologies they have’t quite mastered,yet. When these new concepts, materials, and technologies are finalized, their biproducts will leave us decades behind both technologically and economically.

Trust me, this is pure trickle down economics 101. All you need to do is research new boat and marina construction in China and you will see our past. 1960′s Southern California was a boating industry boom time and it has passed. Let us hope that we get a second chance at the Moon because now you know how important reaching for it is to our little industry.

About Andy Killion

Andy closed his boat yard business this summer and is now embarking on a new voyage yet to be plotted.
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