Monthly Archives: November 2011

Coast Guard Terminates Vessel Voyage for Safety Issues

A boarding team from Coast Guard Station New Haven, Conn., terminated a vessel voyage in the waters south of Sachem Head, near Guilford, Conn., today.

While conducting a joint agency operation with the Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP), a boarding team comprised of Coast Guard and DEEP personnel noted three violations: the 40-foot fishing vessel was missing a fire extinguisher, had no day shapes and no sound-producing device.

“We work closely with the Department of Environmental Protection,” said Mark Averill, a command duty officer with the Coast Guard command center in New Haven, Conn. “Our primary concern in this instance was the safety of the fishing vessel; the voyage was terminated due to safety issues.”

The vessel was escorted to its homeport of Guilford Harbor. The Coast Guard will follow up with the owner to ensure the correction of violations.

The Coast Guard stresses the importance of having the required safety equipment on board commercial and recreational vessels at all times.

Required Equipment

All boats are required to carry certain equipment. Most items must be approved by the U. S. Coast Guard and kept in good condition and used only for their designated purpose. The following table lists Federal minimums, check your state regulations for any additional items required.

EQUIPMENT Boats less than 16ft/4.9m 16 to less than 26 ft/7.9m 26 to less than 40 ft/12.2m 40 to not more than 65 ft/19.8m
Personal Flotation
(PFDs)personal flotation device
One approved Type I, II, III or V (must be worn) PFD for each person on board or being towed on water skis, tubes, etc. One approved Type I, II or III PFD for each person on board or being towed on water skis, etc.; and one throwable Type IV device. ( A type V PFD may be used in lieu of any wearable PFD if approved for the activity in which the boat is being used. A TYPE V HYBRID MUST be worn to be legal.)
Check state laws for PFD wearing requirements for children and for certain water craft and sports. Federal Regulations mandate that states without child life jacket laws require that youths under 13 wear an approved PFD whenever a recreational boat is underway, unless below decks or in a closed cabin. States with existing regulations are not required to alter their status. Make sure you check your state regulations before getting underway with children onboard.
Bell, Whistlesound producing device such as a bell Every vessel less than 65.6 ft. (20 meters) in length must carry an efficient sound producing device. On Federally controlled waters, every vessel 65.6 ft. (20 meters) or larger in length must carry a whistle and a bell. They must be audible for 1 nautical mile.
Visual Distress Signals
(Coastal Waters, the Great Lakes &
U.S. owned boats on the high seas)
Required to carry approved visual distress signals for night-time use. Must carry approved visual distress signals for both daytime and night-time use.
visual distress signal such as a flare
Fire Extinguisher
fire extinguisher
(Must be Coast Guard approved)
One B-I type approved hand portable fire extinguisher. (Not required on outboard motorboats less than 26 ft in length if the construction of the motorboat is such that it does not permit the entrapment of explosive or flammable gases or vapors, and if fuel tanks are not permanently installed.) Two B-I type OR one B-II type approved portable fire extinguishers. Three B-I type OR one B-I type PLUS one B-II type approved portable fire extinguishers.

When a fixed fire extinguishing system is installed in machinery spaces it will replace one B-I portable fire extinguisher.

(Boats built
on or after
At least two ventilation ducts capable of efficiently ventilating every closed compartment that contains a gasoline engine and/or tank, except those having permanently installed tanks that vent outside of the boat and which contain no unprotected electrical devices. Engine compartments containing a gasoline engine with a cranking motor are additionally required to contain power operated exhaust blowers that can be controlled from the instrument panel.
(Boats built
At least two ventilation ducts fitted with cowls (or their equivalent) for the purpose of efficiently and properly ventilating the bilges of every closed engine and fuel tank compartment using gasoline as fuel or other fuels having a flashpoint of 110 degrees or less. Applies to boats constructed or decked over after April 25, 1940.
Back-fire Flame Arrestor One approved device on each carburetor of all gasoline engines installed after April 25, 1940, except outboard motors.
Note: Some states have requirements in addition to the federal requirements. Check your state’s boating laws for additional requirements.

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Jersey Families Host USCG For Thanksgiving

Last week more than 220 recruits from Coast Guard Training Center Cape May had Thanksgiving dinner with 92 families in Southern New Jersey as part of Operation Fireside Thursday.

Families eager to host recruits lined up outside of Coast Guard Guardian Chapel aboard Training Center Cape May where they were met by representatives from the American Red Cross and Coast Guard chaplains. The Southern Shore Chapter of the American Red Cross coordinates the community’s involvement in Operation Fireside.

Since 1981, Operation Fireside has placed thousands of recruits with South Jersey families during the holiday season. Coast Guard Training Center Cape May can have up to 600 recruits training at any given time from all 50 states and U.S. territories. Operation Fireside allows the recruits to celebrate the holiday with their host family while they’re separated from their loved ones during training.

“This is one of the best ways the community can give back to the military,” said Cmdr. Miles Barrett, the chaplain for Training Center Cape May. “It shows the most junior and newest military members that people care about them and their missions.”

The families walked into Guardian Chapel where the recruits were seated straight up with their eyes dead ahead waiting quietly for their host families to arrive. Company commanders paced the halls to ensure the recruits maintain military bearing up to the moment they left with their host family. Many people pick up the recruits in the family car, and others go the less conventional route.

Dr. Jim Kauffman arrived to Guardian Chapel with a stretch limousine and representatives from the Atlantic County Toys for Kids Program. Eight recruits piled into the limo and were led by police escort through Somers Point, N.J., to Kauffman’s home in Vineland, N.J. Kauffman’s wife, April, was waiting for the recruits when they arrived with trays of food, computers and phones to call home.

The home office at the Kauffman’s was buzzing with recruits calling family and friends, emailing girlfriends, and devouring candy. The young men who were marching in formation and preparing for service in the U.S. Coast Guard just hours earlier were now enjoying Thanksgiving in a warm and welcoming home. If it weren’t for the uniforms and the short hair cuts, an outsider could believe the young men lived with the Kauffmans. The recruits were grateful for the hospitality and a break from training.

The recruits were required to report back to Training Center Cape May Thursday at 8 p.m. However many of the host families attend the recruits’ graduation ceremonies and stay in touch long after boot camp.

Training Center Cape May is the Coast Guard’s only enlisted basic training program, and more than 83 percent of the Service’s workforce receives basic instruction here to become Coast Guardsmen. The recruits are trained in everything from firearms familiarization to basic water survival skills. Most graduates from Training Center Cape May will be conducting front-line Coast Guard missions within a week of graduation.

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Aides to Navigation

A few days ago we posted a Trivia question concerning the direction that a boat was going based on the Aides markers it was passing. Most who answered were absolutely correct about “Red Right Returning” and Tom D, who was the first to answer that the boat was going out to sea, wins a Nautical Know How T-shirt. However, we got a response from Eamonn who boats in Ireland where “Red Port is Left in the Can” is the mnemonic used to remember that Red is left on the port side when coming in from sea.

Why would it be different in Ireland? Because the International Association of Marine Aids to Navigation and Lighthouse Authorities (or IALA for short) has developed 2 regions that exist around the world; notably the IALA region A and the IALA region B. Region B covers the whole of the Americas, Japan, South Korea and the Philippines, while the rest of the world belongs to the region A.

U.S. Aids to Navigation (U.S. ATONS)

The buoys and beacons in this system conform to the International Association of Lighthouse Authorities (IALA) guidelines and are located in IALA region B. They are sometimes referred to as the IALA-B system. In this system, there are lateral and non-lateral markers. The lateral markers indicate the navigable channel by their position, shape, coloring, numbering and light characteristics. The non-lateral markers are informational and regulatory markers.

To navigate safely using the lateral markers, you should pass between the red and green. Returning from sea, the red markers are on your right (red, right, returning) and the green are on your left.

U.S. Aids to Navigation

Lateral Buoys and waterway markers

In the International system, navigation aids mark the edges of channels to tell which way open water is. They are called day beacons if unlighted, lights if lighted at night, or buoys if they are floating. Some buoys are also lighted for identification at night.

“Red, Right, Returning” tells you to leave the red markers to your right, or starboard, when returning from sea. The green markers are then left on your port side and between is the channel. Be sure to look behind you when navigating a narrow channel to make sure you are not being pushed out by wind or current.

Floating Red markers are called nuns and are triangular in shape. They are numbered with even numbers. Floating Green markers, on the other hand, are called cans and are square or shaped like a large can and carry odd numbers.

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Happy Thanksgiving and Remember “TBGIF”

Hope everyone has a great Turkey Day and Remember …

“The Boat Goes In First.”

Picture 5

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Message in Bottle Found

With all the electronics and various ways of communication that are available today, it is good to see that there are a few left that continue to communicate the “old school” way. The following is a story from the Associated Press that I ran across recently.

British and U.S. forces freed an Italian cargo ship reportedly hijacked by Somali pirates in a dramatic rescue, after retrieving a message in a bottle that had been tossed by hostages from a porthole. The message alerted ships nearby that the crew was safely sealed inside an armored area.

All 23 crewmembers of the cargo ship MV Montecristo were brought to safety, the Italian Foreign Ministry said. Eleven accused pirates were taken into custody.

The crew locked themselves inside an armored area of the vessel when the pirates boarded the ship, said Italian Defense Minister Ignazio La Russa. Safe from the pirates’ threats, the crew continued to navigate the ship.

“The criminals managed to cut off all means of communication, but the ‘prisoners’ tossed a bottle with a message through a porthole explaining the situation,” La Russa told a news conference.

“Rubber boats circled Montecristo, while a helicopter hovered above. The pirates surrendered right away — some throwing their weapons in the sea — and were arrested,” he said.

The operation was coordinated by Italian Adm. Gualtiero Mattesi as part of NATO’s Ocean Shield anti-piracy force, according to the Italian Foreign Ministry.

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Stupid Pet Tricks

Apparently it is not only the weather that seems to be getting more and more extreme, mother-nature’s creatures are also acting up. Could it be that we are encroaching on their turf or is it the other way around. Hmmm…

Make sure you’re firmly seated before watching the video below.

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Trivia Thursday

As we head into winter it is always a good idea to continue to brush up on our boating skills.

Question: Is the boat below coming in from sea or going out to sea and how can you tell?

Use the comment box below for your answer.


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Early Morning Fog

Temperatures have been slightly above normal here in the Northeast for a few days and I’ve noticed a phenomena that I usually remind boaters of in the spring and fall. However, with the high temperatures, even before sunrise, fog, haze and sea smoke are starting to develop.

In addition to navigation lights, (note that the Tug has no visible lights) the Navigation Rules require all ­vessels to carry sound-producing devices for use during meeting, crossing and overtaking situations. Sound signals are also required during periods of reduced visibility to make other boaters in the area aware of your relative position and the status of your vessel; for example, a power-driven vessel under way and making way is required to sound one prolonged blast at intervals not to exceed two minutes.

It is easy to get lost or disoriented when visibility is limited. Things look very different which can be stressful for inexperienced boat operators. Expect the unexpected. Practice good risk assessment when deciding whether to boat in restricted visibility. Make sure your required safety equipment is on board, including visual distress signals, and that everyone is wearing a life jacket. Take a boating safety course and educate yourself on best practices for boating at night.

Boating in the Fog

Fog can develop very quickly and brings an increased risk of collision. In fog, if other boats can’t see you they need to hear you. If you see fog moving in, do the following before your visibility becomes seriously reduced:

  1. Fix your position on a chart or mark it on an electronic plotter.
  2. Reduce your speed to the point where you can stop your vessel in half the distance you can actually see.
  3. Turn on your navigation lights.
  4. Instruct any passengers to help you keep watch — by sight, sound and smell preferably in the bow.
  5. Begin sounding one prolonged blast on your horn (four to six seconds) every two minutes while under way and making way, and two prolonged blasts every two minutes when under way and stopped. Continue until the fog lifts and visibility significantly improves.

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Winterizing Don’ts

A few weeks ago we outlined the “Do’s” of Winterizing now BoatU.S. Marine Insurance reported the following six most common mistakes made when winterizing a boat:

1. Failure to winterize the engine

Freezing temperatures occur in most states, and while they are taken seriously up north, it’s the balmy states of Florida, Texas, Georgia, Alabama and California where boaters are most likely to have freeze-related engine block damage.

2. Failure to drain water from sea strainer

If your winterizing plan calls for draining the engine, you must winterize the seawater strainer or residual water could freeze and rupture the watertight seal. Sometimes you won’t know the strainer has been damaged until water begins to trickle during spring launching.

3. Failure to close sea cocks

For boats left in the water, leaving sea cocks open over the winter is like going on extended vacation without locking the house. If a through-hull cannot be closed, the vessel must be stored ashore-the sole exception being cockpit drains. Heavy snow loads can also force your boat lower, allowing water to enter through-hulls normally well above the waterline. Make a checklist so you don’t forget to reverse the process in the spring.

4. Clogged petcocks

Rust or other debris can clog engine cooling system petcocks, preventing water from fully draining. If one is plugged, try using a coat hanger to clear the blockage or use the engine’s intake hose to flush antifreeze through the system.

5. Leaving open boats in the water over the winter

Boats with large open cockpits or low freeboard can easily be pushed underwater by the weight of accumulating ice and snow. Always store them ashore.

6. Using Biminis or dodgers as winter storage covers

A cover that protects the crew from the sun does a lousy job of protecting the boat from freezing rain and snow. Unlike a bona fide heavy-duty winter cover, Biminis and dodgers tend to rip apart and age prematurely when exposed to winter weather.

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US Body Issues Damning Verdict on E15

This week the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Energy Efficiency & Renewable Energy released the results of two studies on the effects of using fuel that is 15 percent ethanol in volume (E15) in marine engines.

The studies were conducted on engines provided by two marine engine manufactures; Both are members of National Marine Manufacturers Association (NMMA).

The long-awaited reports show significant problems with outboard, stern drive and inboard engines. Results of the reports show severe damage to engine components and an increase in exhaust emissions, reinforcing the recreational boating industry’s concern that E15 is not a suitable fuel for marine engines.

Photo Courtesy BoatUS

Emissions and durability testing compared E15 fuel and fuel containing zero percent ethanol (E0) and examined exhaust emissions, exhaust gas temperature, torque, power, barometric pressure, air temperature, and fuel flow.

Specifically, the report showed degraded emissions performance outside of engine certification limits as well as increased fuel consumption. In separate testing on engine durability, each tested engine showed deterioration, including two of the three outboard engines, with damages severe enough to prevent them from completing the test cycle. The E0 test engines did not exhibit any fuel related issues.

NMMA worked with its manufacturer members in securing the resources and facilitating the testing for these reports. NMMA supports further testing that will provide additional understanding about the negative effects of E15 on marine engines.

NMMA President Thom Dammrich says, ‘Current proposals by the ethanol industry to increase the amount of ethanol in gasoline should seriously concern all boaters and owners of other small engine equipment.

Although NMMA strongly supports renewable fuels as a means to reduce America’s dependence on foreign sources of oil and improve the environment, there is growing evidence that ethanol is not the answer to America’s energy challenge.’
For more information, please read the full versions of the Emissions and Durability test or the Fuel Endurance test from the Department of Energy.

For questions please contact Lauren Dunn at +1 202-280-6928 or

Both Volvo Penta and Mercury Marine provided test engines as well as the testing facilities. The U.S. Department of Energy approved the final analysis of the results.

About NMMA:
National Marine Manufacturers Association (NMMA) is the leading association representing the recreational boating industry in North America. NMMA member companies produce more than 80 percent of the boats, engines, trailers, accessories and gear used by boaters and anglers throughout the U.S. and Canada. The association is dedicated to industry growth through programs in public policy advocacy, market statistics and research, product quality assurance and promotion of the boating lifestyle. For more information visit

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