Monthly Archives: December 2011

The Clock is Ticking! Get Your Christmas Gifts Here


It’s that time of year to start thinking about presents for those boaters in your life. For today, we are offering the —

Nautical Know How Coastal Navigation Course

Order by Tuesday, December 20, 2011 to assure delivery by Christmas. Order will be shipped priority mail.

The Nautical Know How Coastal Navigation Course

Perfect for inland and near-shore boaters. This Navigation Course is a combination of a printed text/workbook for home study, sample and real-time chart work, online animated demonstrations and testing, chapter answers with step-by-step explanations and email instructor assistance.

For details and ordering click here.

Topics covered in the course include:

  • Introduction to Navigation
  • Understanding Latitude & Longitude
  • Reading the Nautical Chart
  • Finding Latitude, Longitude & Distance
  • Finding Direction
  • Distance, Speed & Time Calculations
  • Getting to Know Your Magnetic Compass
  • Dead Reckoning
  • Two & Three Bearing Fixes
  • Running Fixes
  • Finding Set & Drift
  • Estimated Position
  • Finding Course to Steer
  • Finding Relative Bearings
  • Tide and Current Calculations
  • Publications: Coast Pilot, Light List, Local Notice to Mariners
  • Publication Excerpts
  • Putting It All Together
  • Final Exam

A recent email regarding this course said “I’ve tried to learn this stuff for years. Thanks to your course, I finally get it. Thanks!” Linda

For details and ordering click here.

Leave a comment

Filed under Boat Maintenance, Boat Operation, Boating News, Boating Safety, Boating Trivia Contest, Fishing News, Lake Boating, Navigation, Rules of the Road, Sailing News, The Boating Environment, Uncategorized

Don’t Wait Til The Last Minute to Get Your Christmas Gifts


It’s that time of year to start thinking about presents for those boaters in your life. For today, we are offering the —

Safe Boating Reference Set – Skipper’s Onboard Source

Order by Tuesday, December 20, 2011 to assure delivery by Christmas. Order will be shipped priority mail.

Skipper’s Onboard Source– The information you need to know (and carry with you) in a portable, waterproof format.A “flip book” of 18 laminated pages (3.5″x9″) to carry onboard, covering aids to navigation, dayshapes, running lights, sound signals, rules of the road, weather, signal flags, radio procedures, required equipment, etc. For details and ordering click here.

Leave a comment

Filed under Boat Maintenance, Boat Operation, Boating News, Boating Safety, Boating Trivia Contest, Fishing News, Lake Boating, Navigation, Uncategorized

A Whale of a Story

The quirkiest story of the week happened in Australian waters: A  whale picked up an anchor line and towed a yacht and its two crew 1.5 nm out to sea.

The whale, no doubt, was just as alarmed as the crew – with the rope in his mouth, dragging an anchor on one side and a yacht on the other.

They finally cut the line and lost both whale and anchor. Can you imagine filling out the insurance claim form for the loss of that anchor? Or, the reaction of the insurance assessor?

The photo above shows the whale towing the yacht out to sea by the anchor line.

Leave a comment

Filed under Boat Operation, Boating News, Boating Safety, Fishing News, Lake Boating, Navigation, Sailing News, The Boating Environment

PlanetSolar Has Reached Singapore

In October 2010 we wrote about the Catamaran that was going to circle the globe on solar power alone. Well, a few weeks ago it showed up in Singapore.

Planet Solar in Hong Kong

PlanetSolar or Turanor (meaning power of the sun) is the strangely shaped beautiful monster-catamaran which is circumnavigating the world using solar power only, and it has now reached Singapore after journeying across the Atlantic and the Pacific, then visiting both the Philippines and Hong Kong.

On its round-the-globe expedition, the giant craft is pioneering the use of sustainable energy technology on water. It is different from anything that has happened in the field of mobility to date. This solar catamaran uses the very latest cutting-edge technology available, and the intention of the project is to demonstrate that high-performance solar mobility can be realized today by making innovative use of existing materials and technology.

The visit to the Philippines was particularly significant, as the solar cells on the craft were created in the Philippines, and they had special greetings and hospitality from the solar cell company, ‘Sunpower’.

The vast catamaran is, however, not immune to the vagaries of the weather, and the crossing from the Philippines across the South China Sea was a difficult one, weather-wise.

According to the crew the arrival in Hong Kong was an incredible experience, and they were visited by hundreds of children to draw their vision of a solar world.

Now, it’s Singapore, a year after their departure. It’s time for some scheduled maintenance giving the crew some holiday time, before they continue their journey into their second year.

To learn more or to find out how you can support the expedition, click here.

Leave a comment

Filed under Boat Operation, Boating News, Boating Safety, Fishing News, Lake Boating, Navigation, Sailing News, The Boating Environment

USCG Requesting Comments

A preliminary application has been received by the Commander, First Coast Guard District from the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey (PANYNJ) for a U. S. Coast Guard Bridge Permit for modification to the Bayonne Bridge across Kill Van Kull between Staten Island, NY and Bayonne, NJ. PANYNJ proposes to increase the navigational clearance beneath the bridge by raising the vehicular roadway within the existing tied arch truss structure.

As the bridge permit is the major federal action in this undertaking, the Coast Guard has assumed the responsibility of federal lead agency pursuant to the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969, as amended (NEPA). The level of environmental processing is undetermined at this time; therefore, the Coast Guard has initiated a scoping process to help identify issues and impacts to be addressed in the ensuing Environmental Assessment.

Interested parties are requested to express their views, in writing, on the proposed Bayonne Bridge project and the Coast Guard’s environmental process. Comments will be received for the record at the above address through December 9, 2011.

A NEPA Workplan for the proposed Bayonne Bridge Navigational Clearance Program can be viewed at the previous link.

Leave a comment

Filed under Boat Operation, Boating News, Boating Safety, Fishing News, Lake Boating, Navigation, Sailing News, The Boating Environment

How to Make a Mayday Call

By: U.S. Coast Guard Office of Search and Rescue

A lot of mishaps can occur out on the water, most of which are more inconvenient and embarrassing than anything else. But when lives are on the line – your boat is on fire or sinking rapidly with people on board, or someone is in imminent danger of dying without immediate medical assistance – you want every available resource dispatched to your position. A mayday call will bring that kind of help. Not only will the U.S. Coast Guard respond, but the Coast Guard may notify state and local search-and-rescue units in your vicinity and ask them to respond as well. The Coast Guard will also transmit an Urgent Marine Information Broadcast over marine-band VHF-FM radio Channel 16, notifying all vessels in the area of your emergency. 

A mayday – the term is derived from the French venez m’aider, meaning “Come. Help me.” – should be transmitted if possible via marine-band VHF-FM radio Channel 16 or 2182 kHz MF/SSB. Emergencies can go from bad to worse in seconds, so try to get as much information across in as little time as possible. International Maritime Organization protocols call for beginning the transmission with the word “mayday” repeated three times, followed by the name and number of your vessel, its position, the nature of the emergency and the number of people on board, their condition and whether they are wearing life jackets. If you have a marine GPS, relate the latitudinal and longitudinal coordinates. If not, state your distance and magnetic or true bearing from the closest navigational landmark. If time allows, you can also relay your departure point, departure time and the speed at which you were traveling. All of these can help rescuers locate you.

 Once you’ve made contact and given your information, Coast Guard Search and Rescue planners will keep you advised of their actions and give you an estimate of when rescue units will arrive. If you have a medical emergency, assign someone to monitor the radio from the time you make the call until the rescuers are on the scene. The Coast Guard will direct you to the nearest safe haven and advise you of what actions you should take in the interim.

The Rescue Coordination Center or local Coast Guard station may deploy a helicopter, rescue vessel or nearby commercial ship, depending on your location, the local weather, the availability of crew and equipment, and the nature of the emergency.

When the Coast Guard receives your mayday, the mission coordinator will determine your degree of danger by considering several factors: the nature of your situation and the gear on board your vessel (e.g., first-aid kit, food, water, life jackets), the accuracy of your position, the tide, visibility, current and sea conditions, present and forecast weather, special considerations (e.g., age/health of those on board), whether you have reliable communications, the degree of fear in those on board and the potential for the situation to deteriorate further.

If a helicopter is dispatched, be sure to secure all loose items on deck, as helicopter rotor wash is powerful, and unsecured items may turn into flying projectiles. Lower and secure any sails, remove any equipment that may snag the line attached to the rescue basket and make sure everyone is wearing a life jacket. The helicopter is likely to approach your boat on the port stern quarter, because it gives the pilot optimal visibility from the cockpit. So unless instructed otherwise, set your course so the wind is 45 degrees off your port bow. Remember, never shine a light or strobe directly toward the helicopter, and never fire flares in its vicinity. Wait for the rescuers to tell you what to do, and then do it. In any emergency situation, listening may be your most important skill.

Recently, the Coast Guard began implementing a new command, control and communications system – Rescue 21 – which is being installed in stages across the U.S. It will vastly improve the Coast Guard’s ability to save lives and property.

Harnessing global positioning and other advanced communications technology, this fully integrated system will cover coastlines, navigable rivers and waterways in the continental U.S., Alaska, Hawaii, Guam and Puerto Rico, and help eliminate 88 known radio coverage gaps.

No new equipment is needed for you to benefit from Rescue 21, but you can help improve response time by upgrading to a marine-band VHF-FM radio equipped with digital selective calling (DSC). When properly registered with a Maritime Mobile Service Identity (MMSI) number and interfaced with GPS, the DSC radio signal transmits vital information – vessel name, position, owner/operator’s name and the nature of the distress (if entered) – with one push of a button, and a reply should be received almost immediately.

For more information, visit http://uscg.mil/acquisition/rescue21/strategy.asp

Leave a comment

Filed under Boat Operation, Boating News, Boating Safety, Fishing News, Sailing News

Bill in Congress Would Preserve Boating Access

Source BoatUS – Working waterfronts, those parts of town at the water’s edge dotted with marine-dependent businesses like marinas, boatyards and haul-out facilities, are crucial to recreational boating. However, in some places they are struggling as municipalities grapple with development pressures and poor planning and that’s why Rep. Chellie Pingree of Maine has introduced the “Keep America’s Waterfront Working Act of 2011” (H.R. 3109) in Congress. BoatUS is urging boaters to ask their Congressional representatives to sign-on as co-sponsors of the bill.

“Boaters rely on such small businesses to provide critical access to the water and essential services for their vessels and families,” said BoatUS Assistant Vice President of Government Affairs Ryck Lydecker. “If Rep. Pingree’s bill passes, it would be an extremely positive step in preserving access, facilities and services for recreational boaters and anglers.”

The waterfront is an economic engine and job provider for many communities, and H.R. 3109 would help states develop tools to preserve sites for water-dependent commercial activities. The bill is nearly identical to one that Pingree introduced in 2009. Grants would allow coastal states and communities to support and protect places where boatyards, marinas and other service providers do business, as well as boat builders, commercial fishermen, fishing charter and tour boat operators, and other water-dependent businesses. For example, working boatyards and other points of waterfront access at risk of conversion to non-water-dependent uses could be acquired from willing sellers. It would also provide essential funding for waterfront planning that could stem the tide of conversion.

“The waterfront is the only viable location for such businesses, and the continued access they provide to recreational boaters along our coasts is vital to the future of boating,” Lydecker added.

H.R. 3109 currently has 18 co-sponsors but needs more, according to BoatUS. Boaters can review the bill and ask their members of Congress to co-sponsor at: http://www.boatus.com/gov/workingwaterfronts For more information, contact BoatUS Government Affairs at 703-461-2878, ext. 8363 or email mailto:GovtAffairs@BoatUS.com.

Leave a comment

Filed under Boat Operation, Boating News, Boating Safety, Fishing News, Lake Boating, The Boating Environment