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Recovery Tips for Boats Damaged by Tornados

waterspoutCourtesy BoatUS.com

ALEXANDRIA, Va., April 29, 2014 — After yesterday’s devastating tornados in the South and Midwest, Boat Owners Association of The United States (BoatUS) has these tips for affected boat owners to get the recovery process started and to preserve the value of boats damaged by the storms:

1. If insured, notify your insurance company as soon as possible. All BoatUS insurance customers have assistance available with post-storm recovery and are urged to call the BoatUS Claims at (800) 937-1937 as soon as practical. If your boat is sunk or must be moved by a salvage company, it is not recommended that you sign any salvage or wreck removal contract without first getting approval from your insurance company. If possible, take photographs or videos of the boat before it is moved – these may help to quickly resolve your claim.

2. Play it safe. Damaged marinas could have fuel leaking from boats or other hazards, and understand that some facilities may need to temporarily restrict access until these hazards are taken care of. Only enter with permission and never climb in or on boats that have piled up together, are under damaged shed roofs, or are hung up on other obstructions.

3. Depending on your boat’s location, and if it is safe to do so, you may want to consider removing as much equipment as possible to a safe place to protect it from looters or vandals. It’s a good idea to put your contact information somewhere conspicuously on the boat – along with a “No Trespassing” sign.

4. Protect the boat from further water damage resulting from exposure to the weather. This could include covering broken windows or hatches. As soon as possible, start drying the boat out, either by taking advantage of sunny weather or using electric air handlers. All wet and damaged materials items such as cushions should be removed, dried out and saved for a potential insurance claim. The storm may be gone, but the clock could be ticking on mold growth.

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“Magenta Line” To Get a Safer Route

Courtesy BoatUS:

It’s over 70 years old, a thin magenta-colored line appearing on over 50 different navigational charts covering the Atlantic Coast and Gulf, snaking along the route of the Intracoastal Waterway. Now, thanks to NOAA’s Office of Coast Survey and a public-private partnership with Active Captain, an interactive cruising guidebook, NOAA will be updating the “magenta line” on all of its newly-issued navigational charts to help keep boaters in safe waters. Boat Owners Association of The United States (BoatUS) submitted comments on the proposal to NOAA, who had initially proposed removing the line entirely. However, responding to BoatUS’ and other boaters’ comments, NOAA will tap into users of Active Captain to update the route in an on-going effort that will benefit the boating community.

“Some boaters had assumed the magenta line, which was last updated in 1935, was a precise route through safe waters,” said BoatUS Government Affairs Senior Program Coordinator David Kennedy. “However, over time the forces of nature made the line inaccurate as shoals shifted and underwater topography changed, leading some boats into shallows, over dangerous obstructions, or even into land. We thank NOAA for a change of course in keeping the magenta line, listening to boaters and coming up with a creative public-private partnership that recognizes the value of this important guide to navigation.”

For more information on Nautical Charts and Navigation Techniques visit http://boatsafe.com/navigation.

The magenta line appears in charts covering all Intracoastal waters, and is essentially two distinct routes along the eastern US and Gulf Coasts totaling about 3,000 miles in length. Said Captain Shep Smith, chief of NOAA’s Coast Survey’s Marine Chart Division, “Today’s decision to reinstate the magenta line is not a quick fix. It will take at least three years to fix problems that were 70 years in the making.”

Boaters may contribute to the updating effort by joining Active Captain at https://activecaptain.com/

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Introduction to Navigation Part 7 Estimating Time of Arrival

This will be the end of our  7 part series on “Introduction to Navigation.” We hope that we have given a brief overview of what you would be learning in the Nautical Know How Coastal Navigation Course. Trust me there is much, much more that we did not touch on.

Learning the “Art of Navigation” is not difficult but there are several steps that must be learned along the way. After learning about latitude and longitude, distance, direction and reading a nautical chart, you will start putting these processes together to solve real-time problems. On piece of practical information you might want to use is estimating time of arrival.

These basics are covered in the online Nautical Know How Basic Boating Safety Course at http://boatsafe.com/navigation .

Assume that you will leave your marina or boat ramp on a trip to a nearby restaurant for lunch.

  • You have made reservations at the restaurant for 1200.
  • The restaurant is 29 nautical miles from your marina.
  • You plan on a leisurely cruise at a speed of 12 kts.

What time must you leave your marina to arrive at the restaurant at your reservation time?

This is a simple Distance, Time, Speed question. The formulas to use for the calculations are made simple if you remember, and actually write in a corner of your chart, the following diagram.

The “D” represents distance, “S” represents speed and “T” represents time. In order to solve a distance, speed, time problem you need two of the three values and then must solve for the third.

Using the diagram, cover the unknown value with your finger and what you have left is the formula to solve the problem.

In our problem we know the distance and the speed so we cover up the “T” and the resulting formula is “D” over “S” or “D” divided by “S”.

Using this formula, the first step is to calculate how long it will take you to get to the restaurant by cruising at 12 knots for 29 nautical miles.

29 / 12 = 2.42 hours

Note: This is not two hours and 42 minutes, it is 2 hours and 42 hundredths of an hour. We now have to convert this decimal to minutes by multiplying .42 X 60.

.42 X 60 = 25 minutes – So…our trip will take 2 hours and 25 minutes.

Now that we know how long the trip will take, we simply need to subtract that time from the time of our 1200 reservation.

1200 – 225 = 0935

1160 – 225 = 0935

Note: that in order to subtract we had to borrow an hour from the hours column. 1160 is the same as 1200. We must leave the marina or boat ramp at 0935 (9:35 am) in order to arrive at the restaurant by noon.

If you would like to learn more about Time, Distance, Speed calculations or other aspects of navigation, check out our Nautical Know How Coastal Navigation Course.

Related Posts:

https://boatsafe.wordpress.com/2011/05/12/introduction-to-navigation/

https://boatsafe.wordpress.com/2011/05/13/introduction-to-navigation-part-2-nautical-charts/

https://boatsafe.wordpress.com/2011/05/16/introduction-to-navigation-part-3-definitions/

https://boatsafe.wordpress.com/2011/05/17/introduction-to-navigation-part-4-getting-to-know-your-magnetic-compass/

https://boatsafe.wordpress.com/2011/05/18/introduction-to-navigation-part-5-understanding-latitude-and-longitude/

https://boatsafe.wordpress.com/2011/05/19/introduction-to-navigation-part-6-time-calculations/

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Introduction to Navigation Part 2 Nautical Charts

Today is the second of a series of articles about Navigation. You can advance your Navigation Know How by participating in the Nautical Know How Coastal Navigation Course.

These basics are covered in the online Nautical Know How Basic Boating Safety Course at http://boatsafe.com/navigation .

Nautical charts are different from maps in that they specifically depict water areas while maps concentrate on land area, roads, landmarks, etc. Land areas and features on charts are sketchy and are noted only for their interest to the Navigator. Unlike maps, the nautical chart conveys much information specifically designed to assist in safely navigating the area that the chart covers.

Chart Scaling

 The scale of a chart is expressed as a ratio such as 1:80,000. This could also be represented as the fraction 1/80,000. This means that one unit on the chart represents 80,000 of the same units on the earth. The terms “small scale” and “large scale” can be confusing if you haven’t studied fractions recently. The denominator of the fraction (the number under the line) is the number that changes as the scale of the chart changes. The larger the denominator  the smaller the fraction. For instance 1:80,000 is smaller than 1:40,000, so the larger the denominator the smaller the scale of the chart. That is, a 1:80,000 chart would be a small scale while a 1:40,000 would be a large scale.

 Chart Colors

The major water areas are not colored and retain the white color of the paper itself. Shallow water areas, shown in light blue and light green, indicate shallows that are uncovered at some stage of the tide, such as marsh areas.

 Small objects such as buoys and markers are shown in a magenta color. Because charts are used at night under red light (to keep from impairing night vision) the color magenta shows up best at night and in the day.

 Buoys and dayboards that are actually red are indicated in magenta. Green buoys and dayboards are shown in green.

Lighted buoys, regardless of their color, are shown with a magenta dot over the small circle portion of the chart symbol. Cautions, symbols noting danger, compass roses and recommended courses are also noted in magenta.

For more about the Nautical Know How Coastal Navigation Course…READ MORE.

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Why Do We Need America’s Waterway Watch?

Hope everyone had a great labor day weekend. The unofficial end of summer weekend unfortunately also brought up  a short week leading up to the 12th anniversary of probably the most devastating event in American’s history – 911. This was one of those events that almost everyone vividly remembers where they were and what they were doing when it happened.

Many American boaters have asked, “How can I help?” This is how — By participating in America’s Waterway Watch.

Home

HomePort Security

America’s coasts, rivers, bridges, tunnels, ports, ships, military bases, and waterside industries may be the terrorists’ next targets.

Waterway security is better than ever but with more than 95,000 miles of shoreline, more than 290,000 square miles of water and approximately 70 million recreational boats in the United States, the U.S. Coast Guard and local first responders can’t do the job alone.

Be aware of suspicious activity, particularly near the locations above, including…

  • People appearing to be engaged in surveillance of any kind (note taking, shooting video/photos, making sketches, or asking questions).
  • Unattended vessels or vehicles in unusual locations.
  • Lights flashing between boats.
  • Unusual diving activity.
  • Unusual number of people onboard.
  • Unusual night operations.
  • Recovering or tossing items into/onto the waterway or shoreline.
  • Operating in or passing through an area that does not typically have such activity.
  • Fishing/hunting in locations not typically used for those activities.
  • Missing fencing or lighting near sensitive locations.
  • Anchoring in an area not typically used for anchorage.
  • Transfer of people or things between ships or between ship and shore outside of port.
  • Anyone operating in an aggressive manner.
  • Individuals establishing businesses or roadside food stands near sensitive locations.
  • Small planes flying over critical locations.
  • People attempting to buy or rent fishing or recreational vessels with cash for short-term, undefined use.

To report suspicious activity call the National Response Center at 1-877-24WATCH.  For immediate danger to life or property, call 911

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America’s Waterway Watch History

In light of the numerous tributes to 911 yesterday we thought we should remind boaters of “America’s Waterway Watch.”  America’s Waterway Watch is similar to the Coast Watch program of World War II, which caused a group of citizen-volunteers who were mobilized as a uniformed, civilian component of the Coast Guard to scan the coast for U-boats and saboteurs attempting to infiltrate the shores of the United States. Today, America’s Waterway Watch goes one step further: It calls on ordinary citizens like you who spend much of their time on and around America’s waterways to assist in the War on Terrorism on the Domestic Front.

The enemy this nation faces today is unlike any other in our history. The operatives who may be attempting to enter the United States via our waterfront areas, whether as stowaways on ships entering our ports or on pleasure craft entering our marinas, do not wear a uniform or carry arms openly. They have chosen to attack us using unconventional warfare, and we  must be prepared to report events such as people entering our country illegally along the hundreds of miles of coastline, and people preparing to attack our critical infrastructure. America’s Waterway Watch calls on all port and waterfront users to report suspicious activity in and around the area where they live, work and play.

Who better than the families living along our shoreline to recognize when the behavior of visitors in and around their community is not consistent with what usually takes place in the neighborhood?

Young girl looking through binoculars

Who better than the longshoreman to know whether an individual who is loitering near a restricted area while video taping, taking photos, or making sketches is out of place and does not belong there?

Who better than a marina operator or a dock master to know if the crew that is not a “normal” customer is acting suspiciously?

And who better than recreational boaters, while traveling in familiar waters, to notice unusual and suspicious activities going on around them?

It is not the intent of America’s Waterway Watch to spread paranoia or to encourage spying on one another, and it is not a surveillance program. Instead, it is a simple deterrent to potential terrorist activity. The purpose of America’s Waterway Watch is to allow you and your fellow Americans who work and spend their leisure time on the waterways and waterfront to assist the federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies by being ever vigilant in recognizing possible threats and crimes on and around our waterways.

Many Americans like you have asked, “How can I help?” The answer is clear:

By participating in America’s Waterway Watch!

 To report suspicious activity call the National Response Center at 1-877-24WATCH.  For immediate danger to life or property, call 911.

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What’s That Flashing Blue Light?

This past weekend, the official end of the boating season in many areas there were many flashing blue lights that stopped, boarded and inspected dozens of vessels. Most of these “weekend boaters” were just out for a day on the water.

If you are not aware, and some of those boaters obviously weren’t, anytime you see a flashing blue light it indicates a law enforcement vessel is operating in the area.

The United States Coast Guard can and will board you at their discretion. They need no search warrant, no provocation, no reason other than to ensure you are in compliance with all applicable federal laws and regulations.

So what happens if you are boarded? Although you will find them young and very polite, these are highly trained Federal officers. The very first question that they will ask you, before they even step off their vessel onto yours, is, “do you have any weapons on board?” You should check your local regulations but I can’t think of any reason what-so-ever to carry a weapon when out for a day on the water.

The inspection that follows is driven largely by the size of the vessel with a few standard exceptions. Your actual registration needs to be onboard and must be current. The “HIN” number, like your car’s “VIN” number, needs to be the same on your registration and on your boat (low on the starboard side of the transom.) If they don’t match, someone has a lot of explaining to do.

The registration numbers must be of proper size (at least 3”), of contrasting color to your hull and be the most forward of any numbering or lettering on the boat.

If you have a “MSD” (Marine Sanitation Device, a.k.a. a “head” or toilet), regardless of the size of your vessel, it must conform to regulations. All the bays and creeks are “No Discharge Zones” so, if there is an over-board through-hull from the MSD holding tank, it must be in the locked/closed position and the key must under the control of the skipper.

The rest is largely going to be driven by the size of your vessel e.g. :

  • how many personal flotation devices (life jackets) – at least one for everybody aboard, be in good working order and readily available. A type IV throwable if the size of your vessel requires one.
  • fire extinguishers – boat size dependent but all must be in working order.
  • flares – boat size dependent but all must not be past their expiration date.
  • For all federal requirements go to BoatSafe.com for a list.

The following are the three scenarios that may happen as a result of being boarded.

  1. If you are in full compliance you will get a Report of Boarding marked, “No violations.” This means that you are in full compliance and can continue your boating activities.
  2. If you are found to have a minor violation that does not create a major safety issue you will be issued a “Written Warning.” If however, the boarding officer returns to the station and finds that you already have been given a warning for the same issue, your notice becomes a “Violation.”
  3. The third outcome that could happen is that – a “Notice of Violation” is issued immediately. If the boarding officer believes that the nature of the violation is inherently unsafe, you will be directed to follow the Coast Guard back to the dock. They are not going to allow you to continue your boating activity with some aspect of your boat that can lead to serious injury or death to you, your crew or other boaters. If the “Notice of Violation” takes on the aspect of a driving violation, the notice is mailed to the Coast Guard hearing office in Portsmouth, VA. There the boarding report will be reviewed by a case officer where fines, further letters of violations, etc will be issued. You will be notified by mail and you will have time (15 days) to file an appeal.

The United States Coast Guard Auxiliary conducts free vessel exams all season long . These are not enforcement events.

If your boat “fails” virtually the same inspection that would be conducted by a boarding, you get a report that details the deficiency. Once you have corrected the deficiency you can call and re-run the inspection.

A successful inspection results in a USCGAux sticker of compliance being affixed to your windshield. To schedule a USCGAux free inspection go to : http://www.safetyseal.net/GetVSC/

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