Monthly Archives: November 2009

Funds cut for eLoran, HIGPS, GPS OCX

If you have been following this BLOG, on November 18 an entry was made warning of the possible degradation of the current GPS system. Satellites are getting old, replacements are slow to be developed and many upgrade projects have gone over budget. Recently, (October 28, 2009) the President signed bills for the departments of defense (DoD) and homeland security (DHS) that cut significant programs — eLoran, HIGPS, OCX — connected with the Global Positioning System.

How does that affect you? The LORAN-C system is due to be shut down and dismantled beginning January 4, 2010. This may mark the end of efforts to modernize and develop the current LORAN-C system into the enhanced loran system (eLoran) which would give GPS users a ground-based recourse in case of difficulties with the space-based system.

If the Commandant of the Coast Guard certifies that the termination of the LORAN-C signal will not adversely impact the safety of maritime navigation and the DHS secretary certifies that the LORAN-C system infrastructure is not needed as a backup to GPS or to meet any other Federal navigation requirement, LORAN-C is dead.

You can read two related articles at: and

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Filed under Boat Operation, Boating Safety, Navigation

Gone Boating? There’s an App for that.

Gone Boating, Gone Flying and Gone Trekking, make it safer for Apple iPhone users to spend time in the Great Outdoors. The applications utilize the GPS, Google maps, calendar and camera features of the iPhone. Each application enables the user to record their departure, destination and waypoint information. They also enable the user to email or post a Twitter message containing their trip details and maps.

With the applications users can:

Record boat, aircraft, crew, trekking party and safety equipment details.
Record trip start, trip end and waypoint dates and times using the scrolling calendar.
Record trip start, trip end and waypoint locations using the GPS, map screen and search function.
Take a photo of their boat, aircraft, crew or trekking party.
Email trip details and maps to Search and Rescue teams, family or friends.
Post a Twitter message containing their trip details.
Notify their family or friends if they decide to change their dates, times or location details.
Notify their family or friends when they have returned or reached their destination.

Read more or view the video.


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Filed under Boating Safety

USCG 2008 Accident Statistics

Each year the United States Coast Guard compiles boating accident statistics from the States and Territories who report into the recreational boat numbering and casualty reporting systems. Below is a synopsis of their findings.

  • In 2008, the Coast Guard counted 4789 accidents that involved 709 deaths, 3331 injuries and approximately $54 million dollars of damage to property as a result of recreational boating accidents.
  • Over two-thirds of all fatal boating accident victims drowned, and of those, ninety (90) percent were not wearing a life jacket.
  •  Only ten percent of deaths occurred on boats where the operator had received boating safety instruction.
  •  Seven out of every ten boaters who drowned were using boats less than 21 feet in length.
  • Careless/reckless operation, operator inattention, no proper lookout, operator inexperience and passenger/skier behavior rank as the top five primary contributing factors in accidents.
  •  Alcohol use is the leading contributing factor in fatal boating accidents; it was listed as the leading factor in 17% of the deaths.
  •  Eleven children under age thirteen lost their lives while boating in 2008. 63% of the children who died in 2008 died from drowning.
  •  The most common types of vessels involved in reported accidents were open motorboats (43%), personal watercraft (23%), and cabin motorboats (15%).
  •  The 12,692,892 boats registered by the states in 2008 represent a 1.4% decrease from last year when 12,875,568 boats were registered.

You can download the complete 3.8 MB PDF report from:

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Filed under Boat Operation, Boating Safety, The Boating Environment

Coast Guard enforcing cold-weather boater safety

Each year, the Coast Guard tries to improve commercial boating safety as the cold weather season approaches. This year, units are focusing on boats operating in the entire Chesapeake Bay and points south. The proper gear is important because it helps save lives in emergency situations.

Read more.

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Boating – Etiquette for Anglers

Boorish boating behavior may not be any more common today than it has ever been. But it certainly seems that way. And it’s visible on the water and at boat ramps almost any day.

Read more.

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Filed under Boating Safety

Boating – Lake Michigan

CHICAGO — Lake Michigan is on the brink of being invaded by the Asian carp, a massive and voracious fish known to leap out of the water at the sound of approaching boats. Scientists fear the fish could decimate the $7 billion sport fishing industry on the Great Lakes and permanently damage the ecosystem of the largest body of fresh water in the world.

The giant, torpedo shaped fish have earned antipathy in the Midwest for their habit of jumping up to eight feet out of the water when they hear the buzz of a propeller. People riding in motorboats have suffered broken noses when the carp smash into them.

Read more at Wall Street Journal.

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Filed under The Boating Environment

Boating – How to Calculate the Distance to the Horizon


Have you ever been out on a leisurely cruise and suddenly wondered, “How far it is to the horizon?” Or maybe your destination is a port that has a lighthouse and you wonder “How far away will I be when I see the lighthouse?” (Well, you’re in luck, even if you are a sick unit that thinks of these sorts of things – so are we.) We have the answer!

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Filed under Boat Operation

Free Boating Magazines

Get 12 digital issues of Cruising World and/or 10 digital issues of Boating absolutely free. Check it out at Pocket Your Dollars.

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Filed under Uncategorized

Late Season Boating – Be Prepared

The Coast Guard stresses that it is essential for anyone engaged in water activities this time of year, to be cognizant of the risk of falling overboard or capsizing and the importance of being properly prepared for survival if the need occurs.

“The best protection would be a full dry suit with life jacket,” recommended Johnson, “This would be followed by a wet suit under protective clothing with a life jacket and, finally and at the minimum, protective clothing and a life jacket.”

Additionally, Johnson recommends boaters carry a hand-held VHF radio, a cell phone in a water-tight bag, a head lamp, a strobe light, a wool hat, neoprene gloves, signal flares and a signal mirror.

“The waters are cold and getting colder,” said Johnson, “For the average person, the debilitating shock of sudden immersion can be fatal. The important thing is simply to be prepared and to be properly attired for survival.”

Read more at Sail World

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Boating – Winterizing Your Boat

When  BoatUS did an investigation a couple of years ago, they found that, of all the states in the US, it is sailors in balmy California who claimed more on insurance during the winter than any other state, including those states well known to be ‘deep freeze’ states.

While winters may be much colder in the ‘deep-freeze’ states, the bitter temperatures are a fact of life and preparations for winter are taken very seriously. But in the more temperate states, like California, Florida, Texas, Louisiana, Alabama, and Georgia, winter tends to be relatively comfortable in most areas with only an occasional cold spell. This tends to lull yacht owners into a sense of false security.

Read more from Sail World

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Filed under Boat Maintenance