BLACK FRIDAY

Posted On: November 24, 2017


What is Black Friday?

Black Friday is the official start of the holiday shopping season. Traditionally, it is the day on which retailers begin to turn a profit, or are in the black. On Black Friday, a variety of products (electronics, apparel, toys, etc.) are available at their lowest prices of the year. Limited-quantity doorbusters draw crowds of shoppers to stores at special early hours. This year, many retailers are opening their doors on Thanksgiving night and online sales will begin as early as Thanksgiving morning. That means an extra day of opportunities!

Black Friday Myths  

Black Friday Sales Begin on Black Friday

Black Friday is now a full season. Sure, Black Friday proper is the main attraction, but stores have increasingly started to release deals in waves. Bargains can be found early in the week of Thanksgiving and run all the way through the weekend. The bottom line is, if you're doing all your deal-hunting exclusively on Black Friday, then you're missing out.

You're Missing Out if You Only Shop Online

Companies advertise door busters in order to attract customers to their brick-and-mortar stores. But in recent years, as competition has escalated among rival retailers, those eye-catching deals have steadily moved online as well.

The reason is simple. Traditional retailers like WALMART, TARGET and BEST BUY know that online retailers like AMAZON will match their best prices on in-store deals. Thus it only makes sense to offer the same deals online, to remain competitive. The goal is to beat Amazon, but the real winners are deal-hunters.

Black Friday Shopping is Dangerous

We've all seen the footage. Hordes of crazed holiday shoppers stampede into a store at four in the morning, trampling anyone and everyone in the way. It makes for a morbidly fascinating spectacle, a case study for shoppers as social Darwinists, played out on live TV.

But the truth is that those sorts of incidents are actually extremely rare. We just happen to see the worst on the news because it translates into great TV. While you should be aware of the potential for chaos during your in-store shopping, know that it's unlikely to reach aggressive proportions.

All Black Friday Deals Are Amazing

Shopping 101. Remember, retailers are in business to make a buck, and they can't do that if they lose money — or even make too small a profit — on every deal.

Some deals are great, but others are filler. The great ones are there to lure you into buying more stuff, ideally at a healthy markup. So do your research and uncover the truth about those "rock bottom" prices before you buy.

Online Shopping is Always Easier

As anyone who's lived through Black Friday knows, the online experience isn't always stress-free. Technology isn't perfect. Websites can crash or even fail. And when everything works properly, some deals will simply sell out before you can place your order. The latter is a common complaint for flash sales from Amazon, for example. But at least you're still shopping from home!

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THE MODERN CONCEPT OF THANKSGIVING

Posted On: November 20, 2017

We owe the modern concept of Thanksgiving to a woman named Sarah Josepha Hale. Hale, editor of Godey's Lady's Book and author of the famous "Mary Had a Little Lamb" nursery rhyme, who spent 40 years advocating for a national, annual Thanksgiving holiday.

In the years leading up to the Civil War, she saw the holiday as a way to infuse hope and belief in the nation and the Constitution. So, when the United States was torn in half during the Civil War and President Abraham Lincoln was searching for a way to bring the nation together, he discussed the matter with Hale.

Lincoln Sets Date

On October 3, 1863, Lincoln issued a Thanksgiving Proclamation that declared the last Thursday in November (based on Washington's date) to be a day of "thanksgiving and praise." For the first time, Thanksgiving became a national, annual holiday with a specific date.

FDR Changes It

For 75 years after Lincoln issued his Thanksgiving Proclamation, succeeding presidents honored the tradition and annually issued their own Thanksgiving Proclamation, declaring the last Thursday in November as the day of Thanksgiving. However, in 1939, President Franklin D. Roosevelt did not.

In 1939, the last Thursday of November was going to be November 30. Retailers complained to FDR that this only left 24 shopping days to Christmas and begged him to push Thanksgiving just one week earlier. It was determined that most people do their Christmas shopping after Thanksgiving and retailers hoped that with an extra week of shopping, people would buy more.

So when FDR announced his Thanksgiving Proclamation in 1939, he declared the date of Thanksgiving to be Thursday, November 23, the second-to-last Thursday of the month.

What Happened to Thanksgiving the Following Year?

In 1940, FDR again announced Thanksgiving to be the second-to-last Thursday of the month. This time, 31 states followed him with the earlier date and 17 kept the traditional date. Confusion over two Thanksgivings continued.

Congress Fixes It

Lincoln had established the Thanksgiving holiday to bring the country together, but the confusion over the date change was tearing it apart. On December 26, 1941, Congress passed a law declaring that Thanksgiving would occur every year on the fourth Thursday of November.

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A LOOK AT THE 2017 STORM SEASON

Posted On: November 17, 2017

Breaking down the 2017 season storms, Hurricane Irma damaged or destroyed 50,000 vessels with approximately $500 million in recreational boat damage. About 13,500 boats were damaged or lost costing $155 million in boat damage as the result of Hurricane Harvey.

“These two storms were as different as night and day,” said BoatUS Marine Insurance Program Vice President of Claims Rick Wilson. “The boats that were hit the hardest by Harvey were located on a relatively small slice of Texas coast, while we saw damage to recreational vessels from Irma in every corner of Florida.” The BoatUS Catastrophe Team recently completed two months of field operations arranging for repairs, salvage or wreck removals for BoatUS Marine Insurance program members and GEICO Marine Insurance customers.

“While Hurricane Irma’s losses are significant, it could have been much worse,” added Wilson. “Irma ultimately traveled up Florida’s West Coast and not the East, which was initially forecast. And while locations in the right front quadrant of the storm such as Big Pine Key and Marathon were hit hard with a Category 4 storm, Irma lost strength as it approached the mainland and swept up Florida. As the storm passed east of Tampa Bay, waters receded and came back gradually, also lessening surge damage.”

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KEEP YOUR BOAT SAFE

Posted On: November 13, 2017


The Boat Thieves Want to Steal

5 Tips to Stop Yours From Being Taken This Winter

BOATERS BEWARE

According to an article published in BoatUS, there seems to be a sweet spot for boat thieves

Is your boat less than 26 feet? Does it have outboard motor power and rest on a trailer? If you said yes, beware – you’re a big target for theft. A newly released study that looked at five years of BoatUS Marine Insurance claims files shows that 75 percent of all boats stolen matched this description. With the long winter lay-up period nearing, here are five tips to make your boat harder to steal.

  1. Just one lock? Try another, and another. You simply can’t have enough. The whole goal is to make someone else’s boat more attractive than yours, so the more locks a thief sees on the trailer tongue, outboard engine, or used with chain around the trailer wheels the better the chance he’ll move on.
  2. Don’t leave the key on a stored boat. Never assume your key’s hiding place is so good that thieves won’t find it. Remember, that’s what these people do for a living.
  3. Make the trailer impossible to move. A removable tongue hitch, or, better yet, removing the trailer tires if the boat’s going into long-term storage turns your rig into 1-ton dead weight. The little things can help, too, such as not parking your boat in the driveway with the hitch facing the street. Consider using removable trailer lights – with most thieves working the nightshift, they want to avoid attracting the attention an unlit trailer would cause.
  4. Don’t stick out. You may want to think twice about hanging a “for sale” sign on the side of your boat. Use a full winter cover to hide attention-getting, splashy graphics. Store all valuables, removable electronics and paperwork at home during the off-season.
  5. Check out new anti-theft technologies. Devices that send alerts to your cell phone, take photos/video, provide tracking, or kill the motor if your boat moves from its virtual boundary can stop a theft in its tracks. Once a boat is gone, the BoatUS study finds that only one in 10 vessels are ever fully recovered.
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ORIGINS OF THE COAST GUARD AUXILLIARY

Posted On: November 10, 2017

With Veterans Day a day away, learn how a ragtag armada of everyday boating heroes kept World War II from America's coastline and became what we know today as the modern U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary. Here's the story by Troy Gilbert.

From sailors to fishermen to power-boaters, ordinary citizens rose and volunteered themselves and their boats on every coastline of the U.S. becoming an integral defense force for the nation.

During a hot summer night in June 1942, the German submarine U-166 took aim at a U.S. Coast Guard patrol vessel escorting the passenger ship SS Robert E. Lee about 25 miles south of the mouth of the Mississippi River. Within an hour, the passenger ship would join the 56 other ships sunk off the northern Gulf Coast during World War II. Nearly 100 lives were lost on the SS Robert E. Lee, and the Coast Guard escort ship would claim the only sinking of a German submarine off the southern U.S. coastline.

In July 2014, the man who discovered the wreck of the Titanic, Robert Ballard, and a team of scientists aboard his exploration vessel Nautilus conducted a research expedition to study the long-term effects of the 2010 BP Deepwater Horizon oil spill. In the process, they documented many of these stricken World War II vessels, and a lost chapter in American maritime history emerged. Using remotely operated underwater vehicles equipped with high-definition cameras, many of these never-before-seen wrecks, some resting more than 5,000 feet deep, finally came in from the shadows and illuminated the straits in which the United States found itself during the early stages of the war. It was a situation that led to recreational boaters charging onto the frontlines to defend the country.

In 1941 after six U-boats managed to sink 41 ships in the targeted waters of the East Coast and the Florida Straits, a second, larger operation code-named Drumbeat was launched by the German navy, the Kriegsmarine. At the time, many U.S. citizens were still ignoring the calls for coastal blackouts by the government, which meant that the freighters and tankers that moved along the shores at night were conveniently silhouetted for the German navy. Taking advantage of that, an armada of 22 U-boats approached the U.S. coastline and the attacks were constant. In March 1942 alone, 70 American ships were lost to the U-boats on the U.S. East Coast and Gulf Coast, in what the Nazis terrifyingly referred to as the "American hunting season." This ongoing attack was kept largely secret from the American people by the U.S. government, which didn't want to admit how thinly stretched and outclassed the U.S. Navy and the U.S. Coast Guard were at this stage of the war — this despite several of the tankers exploding and burning for hours in plain view of port cities and their populations.

Finally, after many of the vital fuel ships supplying the Northeast were sunk, the oil and gas industry informed the U.S. War Department that the burgeoning war economy would grind to a halt from a lack of fuel in only nine months. There were 19 U-boats operating daily along the coastline; the U.S. government was under pressure, and at something of a loss, to counter the serious threat. At the time, the U.S. Navy was still ramping up the building of new warships, while the existing vessels were occupied with convoy patrols to England and with fending off the Japanese in the Pacific.

That was the critical moment when a surprising ragtag fleet of recreational boaters, the owners of schooners and powerboats, stepped forward. Immediately following the attack on Pearl Harbor, a small group of skippers offered up their personal boats for anti-submarine operations along the American coastlines, and these "coastal picket forces," made up entirely of civilian volunteers, eventually laid the groundwork for what became the modern-day Coast Guard Auxiliary.

Ernest Hemingway and the crew on board his 38-foot fishing boat, Pilar, were the most famous examples of this citizen force; Hemingway patrolled the Florida Straits in search of German U-boats while armed with only grenades and Thompson submachine guns. While Hemingway's actions certainly added to his legacy, he also gave a symbolic face to the thousands of American yachtsmen and yachtswomen volunteering their time and vessels to defend the coastline of the United States and the vital supply lines through the Caribbean.

By August 1941, it was reported that nearly every yacht club along the East Coast had banded together to form a flotilla. This civilian navy fleet was a true sampling of the boating traditions around the country, from yacht owners in the Northeast to shrimpers in the local flotilla toured the area on a 24-hour basis, enduring storms and the blazing heat of summer. Off the coast of Louisiana, a convoy of 126 shrimp boats had crew members on constant watch for submarines while continuing to bring in their hauls of Gulf shrimp.

The flotillas also became vital in rescuing seamen from torpedoed vessels, freeing up the Coast Guard to actively hunt marauding U-boats. In one instance, when a Mexican tanker lay engulfed in flames and rapidly sinking just off the beaches of Miami, hundreds of citizens watching in horror witnessed the local flotilla "drive their little boats right into the flames" to retrieve survivors.

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SCOPE

Posted On: November 06, 2017

The Scoop On Scope

Scope is often defined as the ratio of the length of deployed anchor rode to the depth of the water. Wrong! Scope calculations must be based on the vertical distance not from the sea bottom to the surface of the water, but from the sea bottom to the bow chock or roller where the anchor rode comes aboard. For example, if you let out 30 feet of anchor rode in six feet of water, you may think you have a 5:1 scope, but if your bow roller is four feet above the waterline, your scope is actually 3:1.

Scope is required to keep the pull on the anchor horizontal. The more upward pull on the anchor, the more likely it is to break free. Minimum scope for secure anchoring is 5:1. Seven-to-one is better where you have the room. A length of chain between the line and the anchor (at least 20 feet) also helps to keep the pull horizontal.

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COFFEE LINKED TO LOWER RISK OF DEATH

Posted On: November 03, 2017



According to a recent article in the New York Times, there’s reason to drink the java up.

Coffee fans rejoice: a new study ties drinking your morning fuel with a reduced risk of death.

The large study, published online Monday in the journal Circulation, found that consuming coffee is linked with a lower risk of dying from heart disease, stroke and diabetes, as well as

It hardly mattered whether the coffee was regular or decaf -- but the positive results only applied to nonsmokers, according to the Times.

Nonsmokers who drank a cup a day had a 6 percent reduced risk of death, the Times reported. One to three cups a day brought an 8 percent reduced risk, three to five cups had a 15 percent reduced risk, and more than 5 cups meant a 12 percent reduced risk.

The study tracked more than 200,000 nurses and doctors for up to 30 years.

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THIS WEEKEND WE CHANGE THE CLOCKS BACK

Posted On: October 30, 2017


Ever think about making Daylight Saving Time Year-Round?

I heard of this option this weekend, what do you think of it?

This option is growing in popularity it seems. Just think of all the advantages of eliminating Daylight Savings Time, but allow us to have some sunlight after work instead of before—when we would probably just use it to sleep.

Advantages: More people would get more sleep, which could prevent the workplace accidents and auto collisions which result from tired and weary people operating their machinery after a work shift. And since cars tend to injure more people after dark, having DST all the time would mean that people would enjoy more light for evening drives, which could lead to a decrease in accidents, and save an estimated 366 lives every year. Farmers wouldn’t have to subject cows to an arbitrary change in milking schedule. We’d get more light at a time when we’d more likely use it for something other than sleep.

Disadvantages: Of course students would have to go to school in the dark (assuming school hours stay the same), and farmers would have to get up really early to get the milk and eggs collected in time for the next steps of the supply chain. “Morning people” (whoever they are) might not like the change all that much.

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