As a long time boater and cruiser, I feel that it should be my civic duty to support things of general interest to boaters and cruisers. I help support the BoatUS foundation, and I also joined SSCA (the Seven Seas Cruising Association)
I was attracted to those organizations because of the part they played in the Florida anchoring rights laws. Their actions seemed very public service oriented, and that was what I wanted.
But the more I learned about SSCA, the more I learned that they are not at all public-service oriented. They are member-service oriented. They support public service efforts only when they can't figure out how to do it as a member-only benefit.
They have a bulletin (i.e. newsletter) for members. It uses an ancient approach suited to the paper-snail mail days. I never submitted an article to that because I saw no logic in following their style and content guidelines to write for an audience limited to SSCA members, when I could write for this blog to serve anyone and everyone. SSCA members are a proper subset of everyone. You can view this blog when convenient to you, you can use Google to search the archives, you do not need to archive back issues yourself, you can write comments, and if you view it on a phone, it will be formatted for the small screen.
The have a committee of concerned boaters for public issues. I thought of joining that, but when I looked at their web pages (sometime in the past 5-6 years), all the things posted there were 3 or more years old. I figured the committee was inactive.
They made a SSCA equipment survey, but it was done with an extremely old fashioned approach, that IMO was designed to exercise the 1980s database technology skills of some member. Viewing the survey results is limited to SSCA members. A modern and public approach, would be to make a wiki (analogous to Wikipedia), where all boaters could contribute in their own words and all boaters could view. Articles in the wiki would resemble review articles in Practical Sailor, rather than just fields and tuples of a table.
SSCA runs an online forum. It's pretty good, but it is members-only.
SSCA runs a system of local hosts (I forget what they call it). They volunteer to help visiting cruisers, but again members-only.
The last straw came when I learned of a travel oriented version of Wikipedia that was starting. I thought that would be a great place for boaters such as myself, to post local knowledge of use to all other boaters. I tried to promote that within SSCA. I got some emails from the president. He was nice, and polite, but he explained that SSCA was starting their own project. It would be like the survey rather than a wiki, and it would be a member-only benefit.
I want to belong to a boating service organization, analogous to Rotary International, Kiwanis, Lions, or Optimists. I even enjoy the local Boot Key Harbor Cruisers net, when one often hears the motto, "boaters helping boaters." SSCA is very unlike those organizations. SSCA does not seem likely to want to change its spots. So I let my membership lapse a few years ago.