Recently, there has been quite a stir throughout the boating community, as leaks emerged that Sailors of the Coast would be revising their OBL (Open Boating License) that has been the foundation of the boating community for over twenty years now. Boaters across the globe are furious, although there has been no official word to suggest that these leaks are legitimate yet. If these leaks prove to be true, however, they will rock the foundations of the boating community forever.
To properly understand the situation, you have to go back all the way to the 1970s, before the famous boating manual, B&B (Buoys and Boats, not Bed and Breakfast), was purchased by Sailors of the Coast. Buoys and Boats was first published in 1974 by BSR (Boating Studies Rules), providing boating enthusiasts with detailed guidelines on how to make upgrades and adjustments to their boats. For example, the original Buoys and Boats manual provided clear instructions for boat owners who wished to get a boat catch installation for their favourite marine vehicle. With the B&B book becoming a worldwide phenomenon in only a couple of years, BSR soon released Advanced Bouys and Boats (also known as 2nd Edition B&B) in 1977. Across the globe, boaters were latching onto this new handbook, whether they needed a new snapper rack, a bait board or a Melbourne business for marine welding. Such was the popularity of B&B that it even inspired its own moral panic, with many believing it to be a recruitment tool for a dark secret society of boat lovers.
BSR knew that the strength of B&B lied in its passionate community and often encouraged fans to send in their own boating suggestions, which they featured in the monthly Yacht Magazine. However, the company also had a reputation for fiercely protecting its perceived rights, suing anybody who created B&B-adjacent content, particularly as the company saw a decline in profits in the early 1990s. When BSR faced bankruptcy later in the decade, they sold B&B to Sailors of the Coast, the current stewards of the handbook.
This article will be updated further as soon as its author has done more research on the topic…