Saturday, March 16, 2013

The FEMA project

Thanks for coming everyone. Our beloved president of Magnifico Yachts, Mr Grunion has asked me to do an update for the engineering team on our two FEMA programs. Our first program is to find out if our yachts can be built to meet FEMA hurricane standards. This has turned out to be little more difficult than we thought due to the impact testing requirements.

We did get a good deal on the air cannon we bought in a government surplus auction, and finally got it installed in the old mold shop out back. That's the good news. The bad news is that it took a little time to learn how to use it.

Staff went out to marine salvage companies, and collected a broad range of stuff that might blow around in a marina during a hurricane. We got lots things like beer coolers, sub-woofers, flag poles, daiquiri blenders, and that sort of boaty stuff. For the first test, we set up one of our hulls about 100' in front of the cannon, and loaded it with a LORAN unit. The purchasing department had bought a lot of them on sale off Ebay before they realized the system had been shut down two years earlier.

Oh boy! We all were extremely surprised when it blew a two foot hole in one side of the hull, and came screaming out the other side still moving at high velocity. It was like a 50 caliber bullet passing through a stick of warm butter.

Unfortunately as some of you might recollect, it continued on and punched a large hole in the gas tank of a car in the parking lot. The national news coverage was due to the substantial conflagration that resulted, and marketing is still really angry with us.

Construction is now completed on the belatedly discovered need for a very large 1" plate steel and concrete backstop to prevent errant marine gear from getting away from us again. 

We have done a series of test firings to verify its capabilities. Our favorites are watching chartplotters vaporize, and mushroom anchors end up looking like metal pancakes. Because of complaints from accounting about budget overruns we are now just using 6' x 6' pieces from our hulls. 

The team is admittedly somewhat frustrated about our attempts to meet FEMA's requirements with our current designs. We have found that even blasting an infant's life preserver at our hulls caused severe cracking. 

There are some issues with our hurricane shutter designs for the ports and hatches. Marketing says they are all really ugly, and you should see what high impact porthole costs do to the boat's sales price. We've been happy all of these years with the fact that our portholes, and hatches barely manage to keep most of the water out of the boat.

Additionally there is resistance to the increased costs needed to make our hulls actually solid and durable. Marketing's is very concerned that if our boats are too well built, they will last longer and slow down new boat sales. These factors may well put this program in jeopardy. We are however hopeful that a DARPA grant may yet still come to the rescue. We were very pleased that the YouTube video we shot of an anchor chain shredding one of our hulls had over 2,000,000 views, and the ad revenue has been set aside for the Vegas sales meeting.

Regarding our second program, we are very excited with results so far in convincing FEMA to use our boats instead of trailers in disaster scenarios. We have pointed out to FEMA that hurricanes seem to mostly to hit coastal areas making our boats ideal for housing afterwards

It turns out our Magnifico 32 family cruiser has many similarities to a FEMA trailer. It has a tiny bath room, and kitchen, propane stove, microwave, air conditioning, running water, and furniture that is attached to the floor. Like the trailer our boats also out gas all sorts of chemicals, and have hardly any storage space at all. Our boats too are poorly insulated, require a lot of maintenance, sway in the wind, and after a couple years of use, just like the trailer they both aren't worth very much.

But what really excited FEMA, was getting rid of the very high costs of sewage disposal. All our boats can directly dump sewage, and gray water overboard, saving all of that costly honey truck pump out expense.

A few of FEMA's green hemp wearing tofu eating staffers objected. But when we reminded senior staff that billions of fish crap in the water ocean every day without any problems with water quality the idea was endorsed. We understand the objecting staff members were transferred to Alaska. We'll also save money by not installing those pesky Y valves, sump pump boxes, tanks and hoses.

FEMA was also impressed with our insights into possibly re-branding them into a more upscale disaster response agency. In a survey conducted by our marketing group, when asked the question, "Would you rather live in a FEMA trailer, or on a yacht?" the response was overwhelmingly the yacht. I mean who would want to live in a FEMA trailer?

I just have a couple of notes to close with. We will be firing the air cannon at lunch tomorrow, so if you want to see something smashed, bring it in. And no more cats this time, they smell awful a day or two later, and the neighbors were complaining. Senior staff are reminded to remember that Mr. Grunion is hosting the big FEMA conference in Vegas next week, and everyone is to be on their best behavior during the cruise on the new Magnifico 80 motor yacht. Remember it stays in Vegas.

The photo of the FEMA trailer was taken by Wikipedia user Infrogmation

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