In Brief

Automo-boat? Launching-who needs it? The Terra Wind, a 45' motor coach, is custom-built with road and marine transmissions. With a top sea speed of 8 mph, it's not made for long cruises, but its sunbathing platform, optional deck with diving board, and bevy of entertainment options make it the ultimate party boat, er, machine.

CO Update If your carbon monoxide alarm is labeled "detector," then it's out of date. The Underwriters Laboratory, an independent product safety testing group, improved its standards in 1998 and renamed detectors as alarms to signify the change. If you have a detector, it's at least five years old and doesn't meet current standards-good reasons to install a new one.

Surf's Down The latest craze on the water? Stupidity. Teak surfing, which has crazies lying on swim platforms, then sliding onto the wake to body surf without PFDs, has resurfaced. In addition to the risk of slipping beneath the water and drowning, the Coasties say teak surfing has led to deaths from carbon monoxide poisoning. Please, don't try this at home.

Fishy Business When a young girl recently caught a horned, two-footed fish in Puget Sound in Washington, she thought she'd found something rare. Not so. There are thousands of this kind of fish, and it has a name-the spotted ratfish. Its horn and feet-actually modified fins-are used to attract lady ratfish. It uses the fins to fasten itself to females in acts that make the other fish blush.

Friends at Sea Bath toys lost 11 years ago from a cargo ship near Hawaii have reached Alaska and are projected to reach the East Coast, proving that trash discarded at sea pollutes our shores. The 29,000 Floatees (plastic duckies, turtles, frogs, and beavers) travel 15 miles per day, enduring harsh weather and chilly seas. Boston was the original destination of the toys, so The First Years Co. (800/317-3194, www.thefirstyears.com) is issuing a $100 savings bond to anyone who finds a Floatee on New England's shores. Contact the company by December 31, 2003. Read last month's NewsBriefs here