"I Really Keep Busy"
By Capt. Fred Davis
Published: Monday, April 17, 2017

Time flies — it's moving on faster than many of us can keep up with.

I submit an average of ten articles a month to various publications. They all have variable deadlines throughout the month. Much of my time is spent pen in hand and on the phone and computer.

Before writing, a lot of thinking occurs — what to write about. Boating and specifically, boating safety, is the topic that makes up most of my articles. New boating equipment that may impact safety is always being developed. I need to research items before introducing them to my readership of over 200,000 people.

An item as common as a PFD (life-jacket) will need to be evaluated when a new style, approved by the Coast Guard, is offered for sale. The inflatable PFD's are finally being used by many people who are able to appreciate their value. You don't just throw the jacket over your shoulders and presto — it will save your life.

Boaters often purchase safety equipment but fail to read the directions. The instructions that are provided with inflatable PFD's are very specific. The most important of which is once inflated and used, it must be re-armed with a new charging device.

Occasionally, I receive requests from manufacturers to review a new product they are placing on the market for sale. I tell them I will have to hands-on examine and perhaps test the product. Most safety product manufacturers recognize the value of an independent opinion and appreciate my efforts.

There have been times, however, after I receive a product to test, if I don't get a review in print fast enough I am badgered and criticized by a sales representative.

Besides writing my articles, I need to travel and call on marinas, publishers and sponsors of some of my columns. I have been doing this since 1989 when Michigan-Out-Doors published my first Boat Smart column.

A few years later, the editor at the Huron Daily Tribune, Jack Telfer, asked if I would like to have my boating safety column appear in the Resorter. We agreed it would target visitors to the area that could benefit from some boating education. The Resorter is still published, and so is my column each summer.

One afternoon in 2005, I was enjoying lunch with Kelly Niebel, another editor at the Tribune. We always had lively discussions about current events. She asked me, "How would you like to write an opinion column since you're so full of them?" We agreed on the title of "As I See It" and it appeared the next week in the Tribune and about 600 additional weeks so far.

I have worked with several editors at the paper and wish to bid a fond adieu to editor, Dave Shane, who has moved on to take the helm of the Midland Daily News. I am looking forward to greeting the new editor when they begin their tenure as the go-to person at the Tribune.

Yes, keeping up with my ten commitments a month takes a big chunk of time because I need to be aware of what's going on in the boating industry and keep in touch with contacts. I also have to be aware of what may interest my "As I See It" readership and keep track of local events.

I really enjoy it when I receive a note from a reader and "old" friend like Ruby. God bless you Ruby.

I also enjoy meeting my readers like the kind woman from Filion who drove up to Port Austin and knocked on my door just to say she enjoyed my columns.

So that's what is going on with my activities. Hope everything is going well with all of yours and have a Happy Easter, eat lots of ham and chocolate bunnies.

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