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Extreme Boats Magazine Poker Run Article

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Old 11-10-2005, 09:36 AM
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Extreme Boats Magazine Poker Run Article

The article basically accuses poker runs of being "offshore races in disguise."

So what is the disappointment and outrage that is currently building in regard to Ron Polli’s story “Is SAFETY a Four Letter Word?” based on? The disappointment and outrage is based on subjective opinions and not the FACTS and the generalities applied to the Poker Run world.

Most poker run organizers that I know welcome suggestions and ideas to enhance safety put forward in a positive and progressive manner. This story I believe is an un justified attack on us as organizers as well as an attack on our sport.


If you would like to share your comments with Ron Polli or Extreme Boat Magazine, their email addresses are:



Ron Polli - [email protected]
Extreme Boat Magazine [email protected]

Best Regards,

Dave Patnaude

President

NJ Performance Powerboat Club

www.njppc.com



Is SAFETY a Four Letter Word? No but the word FACT is!

It is important to point out that most poker run organizers welcome suggestions and ideas to enhance safety put forward in a positive and progressive manner, not a subjective opinion that is not based upon experience and collective wisdom. This story reads more like a story from the National Enquirer instead from a performance boating magazine.

The Smoke On The Water tragedy was an event that hit home for all performance power boaters and poker run producers around the country. An example of true journalistic class and integrity was Greg Mansfield’s piece that was featured in Powerboat magazine the month that followed the tragedy.



The following are quotes from the story that appears in EBM:

Quote From The Story:

“everyone knows that the first boat to the predetermined destination gets the recognition for being the “fastest boat on the water.” If it is truly not a race then what is it? A high speed scenic tour? Ok, that sounds believable but only if there’s a boat that everyone follows and is not allowed to pass. If that were the case, most would agree, a Poker Run is not a race…but that is not the case is it?”

The Truth:

The truth is that it IS the case. The truth is that it does not take a rocket scientist to determine which boat could be the fastest at a poker run. When everyone is standing on the docks the morning of an event it is pretty clear who the fastest boats are. There are a few poker runs around the country that give awards for being the first boat to the card stop. The majority of poker runs conducted in North America do not promote this. Also the majority of Poker Runs conducted in North America do have pace boats either for the entire run or a good portion of the run.


Quote From The Story:

“No wonder Poker Runs are so popular with the high performance crowd. It’s all fun with no restrictions.”



The Truth:

The truth is that the majority of poker runs conducted in North America have written restrictions and guidelines that are given out with the Captain’s Kits at the events.

Quote From The Story:

“…it most certainly is a RACE. You can call it whatever you want, but when the green flag flies, the hammers drop to the stops and the race begins, at least to the first card stop.”



The Truth:

The truth is that all poker runs have a “speed” component. That is part of the excitement and thrill of the event. Do some boats want to “race” with some friends or other comparable size and powered boats? Absolutely, just like they do on a spontaneous basis on any given weekend day in most major power boating communities. Does this make it a RACE? Absolutely not.



Does someone in a Corvette on the highway who wants to “race” a Mustang for a mile or two on the highway make him / her a racer? The answer is no. Does this mean that there is as much inherent danger as if they were on a NASCAR track? The answer again is no.



Although we have the utmost respect for our friends involved in the racing circuit, the conduct of performance boaters in a poker run does not even come close to the same level of competitiveness on the racecourse. On the racecourse, racers are pushing their equipment to their limits to win. Examples of pushing the equipment to the limits is the number of spinouts, ejections and rollovers that occur regularly during offshore races. Do spinouts, ejections and rollovers that occur regularly during Poker Runs? Absolutely not!


Quote From The Story:

“who do we think we are kidding anyhow? Even insurance underwriters say “Poker Runs aren’t race – yeah right- wink – wink.“



The Truth:

The truth is that a Poker Run is an organized event where boat owners travel over a prescribed course and at designated stopping points, select a card. At the end of the run, the person with the best poker hand wins a prize. The major component of any Poker Run is the camaraderie and socializing that takes place before, during and after the event. Have you ever seen a race boat stop to help another team’s boat that has mechanical failure? Well, it happens all the time during Poker Runs because they are not RACES!


Quote From The Story:

“So if Poker Runs are actually races in disguise, what’s the difference? The only real difference I can see between a race and a poker run is that races go in circles in a confined area and poker runs from point A to B.”



The Truth:

The truth is that a person can invite his entire family on the boat for a poker run and a race boat cannot. We have seen entire families and children participate in poker runs together. Poker Runs are social events that are focused on safety and fun. If Poker Runs were so dangerous and just a race in disguise do you think a family would participate or even bring children under 18 onboard their boats? Absolutely not!



The tragedy at Smoke on the Water produced the first known fatalities in a sport that has been in existence for the last 15 – 20 years.



We pledge to our members and other concerned friends that we will continue to examine safety factors and enhancements and consult with experienced support groups that we can count on to make objective but practical observations and suggestions. All fatalities are an absolutely terrible thing. We hope and pray everyday that they do not happen in any sport. It is proven, however; that offshore racing is a much deadlier sport than performance powerboat poker runs are so we may not want to emulate the racing environment.


The bottom line is that the author did not do his research for this story and allowed a totally inaccurate and scandalously miss informative story to appear in print for the public to read. All journalists have a duty to live up to a code of conduct that includes truthfulness, accuracy, objectivity, impartiality, fairness and public accountability. The journalistic code of conduct was not followed in regard to this story.



We agree that poker run safety deserves media attention. Poker Runs have become extremely popular over the last five years. Over that period of time, Poker Run organizers have become more diligent and focused on safety and will continue to do so.



The Poker Run 10 Commandments, which were created by NJPPC member Chuck Sprague, have been a key tool in helping poker run producers have safer events. The Poker Run 10 Commandments were formed with the consent of Poker Runs America which was the first organization to institute strict safety guidelines at poker run events.





The Poker Run 10 Commandments are:



(1) Absolutely no alcoholic beverages until the Poker Run is OVER.

(2) All participating poker run boat occupants must wear PFD's

(3) Driver must wear ignition safety switch lanyard(s) while the boat is underway

(4) No sitting on top of the seats or on sunpads when the boat is on plane

(5) Break starts up into groups based on speed

(6) Medical/rescue personnel onboard at least one boat in every group

(7) No passing the paceboat

(8) Minimum separation of 100' fore-and-aft and 50' side-to-side between boats when on plane

(9) Written instructions/charts handed out by organizer with appropriate speed limit and safety notations.

(10)Strict speed limits in congested areas.



The Poker Run 10 Commandments are not the property of NJPPC. They were created for everyone in the sport and all are encouraged to follow and promote these guidelines. The Poker Run 10 Commandments have been adopted by many organizations including: Western New York Fun Run, Velocity Boat Owners Organization, Chesapeake Bay Power Boat Association and the Mid American Boating Association.



It is an absolute tragedy that John Desousa and Mike Scaffidi perished this summer in a tragic accident. Any loss of life is a tragedy and we in the Poker Run community should learn from this and do everything possible to make poker run events safer.



Both offshore racing and performance powerboat poker runs are extreme sports. Both are exhilarating and both can be very dangerous. There is always room for improvement in regard to safety. There can never be enough safety.



Now, EBM and Ron Polli want to hold a “Poker Run Safety Summit” at the Miami boat show. Instead, I propose that Poker Run Producers form their own alliance to meet and discuss safety enhancements. We would invite outside experienced and objective experts such as insurance groups, law enforcement, boat safety experts, manufacturers, and other knowledgeable friends of the boating industry. Let’s stay focused on the objectives of boating and poker runs: Safety and fun!



Signed,



NJ Performance Powerboat Club
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Old 11-10-2005, 09:44 AM
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Default Re: Extreme Boats Magazine Poker Run Article

and we wonder why insurance is out of control ?
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Old 11-10-2005, 11:00 AM
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Default Re: Extreme Boats Magazine Poker Run Article

poker runs are races? geez, how can they say such things...
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Old 11-10-2005, 11:02 AM
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Default Re: Extreme Boats Magazine Poker Run Article

... because they are clearly and totally different. racers wear helmets and other safety equipment while poker runners do not.
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Old 11-10-2005, 11:04 AM
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Default Re: Extreme Boats Magazine Poker Run Article

To each his own I guess, I read the article and even though I love poker runs I felt a lot of it was right on the money. Ron has traveled the country covering and riding on poker runs, I think he has a pretty good idea on what goes on at them. Poker run organizers promote safety, some more than others but unfortunately they don't have much control when the boats leave the docks and head off on a 40 to 50 mile jaunt covering an area where there are unsuspecting fishing boats, sail boats, row boats, jets skis etc. In fact the first boat on the scene at the SOTW accident was a rubber inflatable. I have not seen to many 150 MPH pace boats, yet that is the speed some of the boats travel at. You say it is a family event, for some of us like myself that ride on the slower boats that's true, but I doubt you would catch to many guys on the 100 MPH cats with their kids and even wives on board.

I feel for the poker run organizers, they are between a rock and a hard place. I know that they want to run safe runs but let's face it the big guns draw everyone in and the more restrictions you put on them the less likely they will come.

Poker runs are not a race, that is obvious. At most races boats in similar classes run together, you have experienced drivers, you are in a controlled smaller environment, there are no pleasure boats running with or in opposite direction of you. The course is secured, and pleasure boaters are protected from entering the racers path. Did you know that at another one of our MI poker runs a jet skier was killed. In case of an accident on a race course your chances are better because of the safety gear required and because rescue personal is close by.

On a closing note, a lot of similar sentiments on this subject have been posted on this before, that is why I think that the magazine is trying to draw people together to talk about these issues.
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Old 11-10-2005, 11:10 AM
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Default Re: Extreme Boats Magazine Poker Run Article

I Personally Feel That Maybe They Should Have Been Drawn Together Prior To The Article Be Published No ?
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Old 11-10-2005, 11:17 AM
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Default Re: Extreme Boats Magazine Poker Run Article

perhaps, but I think the purpose of such an article is to encourage a debate about the subject. while everyone will react differently to it because it does express an opinion and a very specific point of view, if the article sparks an exchange of opinions like it does on this board, it will achieve its goal. and this is why a safety meeting in Miami is not such a bad thing... communication about important issues like safety is NEVER a bad thing.
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Old 11-10-2005, 11:18 AM
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Default Re: Extreme Boats Magazine Poker Run Article

i felt the article wasn't too far off...

i don't think ron was calling for the end of poker runs, but to address some serious and obvious issues that they have before somebody outside the sport does....
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Old 11-10-2005, 11:26 AM
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Default Re: Extreme Boats Magazine Poker Run Article

quite a few people obviously share the opinion that PRs are getting slightly out of hand. i may not be the best guy to speak about it because i'm based in Europe and we don't get many PRs over here. however, i did participate in a few runs in the US and precisely because i'm not used to them, i was quite shocked to see what's going on. my inexperience of them made the safety issue stand out even more in my eyes. because with time, people get used to things and get more confident and this is usually where disaster strikes. the "first to the bridge BS" in NYC particularly seemed out of order if you stick to the original poker run philosophy. now, having said that, i really don't want to break anybody's toy and this is just my $0.02.
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Old 11-10-2005, 11:29 AM
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Default Re: Extreme Boats Magazine Poker Run Article

lets show ebm how we feel by cancelling our suscriptions! they could really hurt the whole poker run deal. sure guys run hard, thats why we have fast boats! is it a race as they claim? h3ll no, i run hard every time i go out. i have never rolled anything, that rollover was severe operator error, i see stepped hull boats on the auction sites fairly often that have rolled, STEPPED HULL BOATS WILL ROLL IF YOU TURN THEM HARD AT SPEED...duh it really sucks that it happened at a poker run. that was the first time the new owner ran the boat the way i heard it. so if he had run it the week before on his home water it would have happened then. an not have put poker runs in the spot light. i feel for those that perished and thier families as this could have been avoided had the driver had a little exp ruuning his baot prior to the vent. i bought my boat to run in poker runs and i know i will never be the first boat anywhere but will run it hard a have a great weekend!
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