Monthly Archives: December 2011

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.

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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.

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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

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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: For more information, contact BoatUS Government Affairs at 703-461-2878, ext. 8363 or email

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Two Mustang Survival Inflatable PFD Models Recalled

Mustang Survival has issued a voluntarily recall of all model number MD2010 and MD2012 22LB buoyancy inflatable Personal Flotation Devices (PFDs) sold in the U.S. during 2011. The recall is for the inspection and repair of an inflator installation inconsistency that may prevent some units from fully inflating. The company said it has developed a solution that will correct any product affected and will prevent re-occurrence of the problem. No other Mustang Survival products are affected as they use different inflator assembly methods.

According to the company, any Mustang Survival inflatable PFD with multiple white sewn-on safety labels on the back is okay and is not affected by this recall. MD2010/MD2012 models with an MIT (Membrane Inflatable Technology) stamp above the CO2 cylinder also are not affected. MD2010/MD2012 inflatable PFDs missing the MIT stamp should be returned to Mustang Survival.

The inspection and repair only can be performed at a Mustang Survival factory; if you have an affected PFD, please contact the customer service department at 1-800-526-0532 between 7:30am and 4:30pm PST, Monday through Friday, for specific shipping instructions. Do not return your PFD to the retailer where you purchased it. For more information, visit

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