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CNN Today

Discover Boating Director Discusses the Latest Products on the Market

Aired April 10, 2000 - 1:48 p.m. ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.

NATALIE ALLEN, CNN ANCHOR: Boating season will be in full swing once the snow clears.

LOU WATERS, CNN ANCHOR: Yes, if it ever does clear.

There's an ocean of boating information out there on the Internet. Discoverboating.com is one site to help you get started.

The director of Discover Boating is Todd Bucher, who joins us today from the Chicago bureau.

Welcome, Mr. Bucher.

ALLEN: Hello, Todd.

TODD BUCHER, DIRECTOR, DISCOVER BOATING: Thank you very much.

WATERS: We want to talk about these new boating -- new boats for the boating season. And the one that we're going to lead with is this driverless ski boat. Now, being an avid boater myself, and being around this overcrowded Lake Lynear in our area, this would seem like a prescription for disaster with no driver watching out for other skiers and other boats.

BUCHER: Well, actually, it's like any other product. It has to be used with care and responsibility. But the product is actually very controllable from the handle, so the person who is skiing has full sight of where they're going and can control the craft quite well. What's nice about it is, although skiing in general, water sports, is a very, I guess, social activity, friends, family, it's something that now someone can go out if they don't have a driver, a spotter, they still have the opportunity to go out and pursue the passion that they have for skiing.

ALLEN: But the whole fun for me is telling the person in the boat to hit it.

(LAUGHTER)

Todd...

BUCHER: Well, I don't think this will replace it.

ALLEN: What about -- can anyone of any age -- will they be able to operate something like this?

BUCHER: Well, this product will be regulated by the same laws in terms of age for powering any other type of craft. So the same state- by-state laws would apply to this type of product.

WATERS: And you would highly recommend, though, that with these new boating gadgets, or any boat at all, that you -- that the safety would be one of the first things you would consider before you put that boat in the water?

BUCHER: Well, most definitely. And as part of Discover Boating, what we do, although we talk to all boaters, we focus in on first-time boat buyers. And we stress that anytime you're buying a boat, while you're shopping for that boat, you ought to be in at boater safety course and learn the rules of the road. You know, there are safety issues involved, but also do it for yourself because you're going to be more confident on the water, you're going to have more fun, and the investment and the pastime will pay off then.

ALLEN: What about the cost of this?

BUCHER: Excuse me?

ALLEN: The cost of one of these boats?

BUCHER: That particular -- I believe that particular product is going to retail for around $6,000.

WATERS: Oh, well, that's reasonable.

(LAUGHTER)

BUCHER: Yes.

WATERS: Yes, let's get one of those.

Let's take a look at some of the other new boats...

ALLEN: One for each child.

WATERS: ... Todd. We got the Bat Boat here. Is there something particularly interesting about this?

BUCHER: I think what you'll notice is, obviously, it's targeted at the performance crowd. And its look is very futuristic. It's a performance boat. The company says it's designed in such a way that your average recreational boater who's into performance products will be able to pilot this boat safely. It's a very safe product.

WATERS: OK, we're going to the dry dock now.

BUCHER: All right. Docking is very important, obviously. And many times you want to get the boat up out of the water. This is a modular system. It's very new. First time you've seen something like this. It's -- you can put it together basically to fit your product. So anything from a PWC up to a 30-foot boat you can design a custom dock for that product.

ALLEN: That sounds interesting for people with boats. What about this motor surfboard?

BUCHER: This is something -- this is the world's first of this type of product. As you can see, it looks like a surfboard. It looks like a wind surfer without a sail, very much like a snowboarder. It kind of takes all those disciplines, but the advantage is you don't need wind, you don't need surf, and you can do it basically on any appropriate body of water. From what I'm told -- I've never been on one of these -- it's also very easy to operate. Starting out with a basic level, it's very stable, and then you can move on to some of the skills that you're seeing in the video here.

WATERS: What's that? Got a little -- has that got a little prop on it?

BUCHER: It's a jet-powered -- it's a specially designed jet- powered engine that propels that product.

ALLEN: I'm wondering, Todd, a lot of people -- if you've seen some lakes that have outlawed the Wave Runners -- they think they're a nuisance. Do you think this is going to add more fuel to that controversy with these new crafts?

BUCHER: Well, I think what you're seeing is that, again, most people, for instance, on personal watercraft, are very responsible and they follow the rules. You always have some people who may cause problems, and there's legislation, obviously, that then may come into play. But I think what you're seeing on the positive side is manufacturers of personal watercraft are designing quieter engines. They're designing products that are going to be more in touch with people in terms of, you know, the environment, noise, emissions, all of those things. And so, in the end, it becomes a good thing.

ALLEN: All right, Todd Bucher, thank's for showing us all the gizmos.

BUCHER: Thank you very much.

ALLEN: Enjoy your summer.

BUCHER: I will.

WATERS: Happy boating.

TO ORDER A VIDEO OF THIS TRANSCRIPT, PLEASE CALL 800-CNN-NEWS OR USE OUR SECURE ONLINE ORDER FORM LOCATED AT www.fdch.com

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