GETTING BOARDED BY THE COAST GUARD?

Posted On: July 19, 2019

DID YOU KNOW THAT

Unlike any other law enforcement arm, the U.S. Coast Guard (USCG) may board your boat at their discretion — they need no search warrant, no provocation, and no reason other than ensuring your boat is in full compliance with all applicable federal laws and regulations.

I read this article in the July Boating Times and thought it would be a good topic to explore.

Do you know what to do and say if you see a USCG vessel in the vicinity and hear their voice on VHF channel 16 (or across the water) hailing your vessel and ordering you to bring your boat to a full stop?

You have been stopped by highly trained federal officers who will soon impress you with their professionalism. Before they even step off their vessel onto yours, the very first question they will ask you is, “Without reaching for them or touching them, do you have any weapons on board?” Subtly but powerfully, the tone is set:  “I am polite. I am professional. And I mean business.” Let’s assume (and hope) that the answer to that question is “no” since an affirmative answer sets up a scenario outside the scope of this article.

Once your boat is boarded, the officers will be seeking compliance with regulations, starting with those applicable to all boat sizes:

  • Your actual registration needs to be aboard and current. If you just have a copy, that’s a problem, but if you have no registration, you have a much bigger problem.
  • The Hull Identification Number needs to be the same on your registration and on your boat (embossed into the transom, low on the starboard side). If they don’t match, you’ve got a lot of explaining to do.
  • The registration numbers must be at least three inches, appear as a contrasting color to your hull, and be the most forward of any numbering or lettering on the boat.
  • If you have a Marine Sanitation Device (aka head or toilet), it must conform to regulations. As Long Island is a “No Discharge Zone,” an over-board, through-hull holding tank must be in the locked/closed position and the key must be under the control of the captain (no exceptions unless it can be seized closed or the handle can be removed in the closed position).
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THE RIGHT COVERAGE IS KEY

Posted On: July 15, 2019

What Type of Coverage Does a Commercial Boat Need?

Although many types of coverage are provided by a commercial boat insurance policy, there are two primary or basic coverages that should always be considered:

  • Liability coverage: Often called protection and indemnity coverage, it provides coverage for legal obligations to third parties. Your legal liability typically arises from bodily injury, loss of life, or damage to another's vessel or other property as a result of operation of your vessel. The liability coverage is also available for defense costs if an action is brought against you or your business.
  • Hull coverage: This part of a commercial boat policy pays for physical damage to your vessel and is best purchased on an all-risk basis, which means that if the cause of the loss is not excluded under the policy, it will be covered. The coverage will provide protection for the hull, attached equipment, and unattached equipment and belongings. It's important to note, however, that the owner is responsible for maintaining the vessel, which means normal wear and tear is typically excluded.

Along with the basic coverages available for your commercial boat insurance, there are additional coverages that should be considered as well:

  • Vessel disposal and pollution liability: Typically, when a vessel sinks offshore or in a waterway, the owner is responsible for removing or disposing of the wreckage, especially if there are any materials aboard that may be considered hazardous. You and your business may also be held responsible for clean-up expenses that result from oil pollution or contamination. This coverage provides liability to pay for these expenses up to the limits you select when purchasing the policy.
  • Medical payments coverage: Owners should also consider an appropriate amount of medical payments coverage that will pay for medical expenses for third parties who are injured on your vessel, whether you are found liable or not. This coverage pays on a per person basis rather than per accident. You should also determine whether this coverage is available for persons boarding or leaving the vessel and for water-skiers if needed.
  • Maritime coverage: This is a type of employer’s liability protection for the vessel owner for injury to the crew of any commercial boat. It responds to liabilities imposed by the “Jones Act,” the federal law that applies the common law of the seas to ship owners.
  • Uninsured boater coverage: Liability coverage is not mandatory for some commercial vessels and most personal ones. This means that you and your passengers are at risk for injury expenses resulting from an accident with an uninsured boater. By selecting uninsured boater coverage on your commercial boat insurance, you can make a claim for your own injuries or those of your passengers against your own insurance policy.

 

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USING THE CORRECT HOSE CLAMPS

Posted On: July 12, 2019

Hose Clamps

Good quality hose clamps last much longer than cheap ones. Look for clamps that are 100 percent stainless steel, including the screw. The best ones are non perforated rather than slotted. Clamps that are embossed rather than perforated are much stronger and longer lasting. It's tempting to think that stainless steel does not rust, but it does, especially when in contact with deoxygenated water, such as that found trapped between a clamp and the hose it is holding.

Use the best marine-grade 316 stainless steel hose clamps. Replace any that are even slightly rusted, and double-clamp critical hoses. Band-type clamps are the best choice for exhaust hoses as they are wider and are tightened with a bolt rather than a screw.

Tip: You can perform a quick check of hose clamps with a magnet. Quality hose clamps will be nonmagnetic. Cheaper hose clamps may have a regular mild steel screw and should be rejected, even if the remainder of the clamp is made from stainless. 

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DON'T GET HOSED

Posted On: July 08, 2019

Boat hoses

There is no such thing as an all-purpose hose on a boat. No single hose type can withstand engine exhaust, bring freshwater to the galley, safely transport gasoline to the carburetor, drain the cockpit, and flush the head. Using the wrong hose can cause problems that range from an inconvenient mess to a burning boat. This handy run-down will help you identify one type of hose from another and assist in choosing the right hose for the job at hand. We'll start with a visual guide to common marine hoses, then go into more detail about each type.

1. Exhaust hose. Able to withstand temperatures to around 250 F, an exhaust hose is often reinforced with wire, which may be stainless, or other special reinforcement. Other, more expensive silicone hoses are capable of sustaining much higher temperatures.

2. Hot and cold PEX potable water pipe. Many modern boats use PEX tubing for hot and cold plumbing. PEX is available in three distinct grades: A, B, and C. Although all are perfectly acceptable for potable water, Grade A is the most flexible and easiest to run in the tight confines of a boat. Fittings are easy to connect to the pipe, although you may need special tools. PEX is not the only option for potable water, however (see 6).

3. Sanitation hose. Often white, with a smooth bore to prevent trapping waste that could lead to odors, sanitation hose has an expected lifespan of approximately 10 years.

4. Corrugated bilge pump hose. This cheap hose is often supplied with bilge pumps. While easy to run, cut, and bend, its ridged internal structure restricts flow, making it a poor choice.

5. Smooth-bore bilge pump hose. Although four times the price of corrugated types, smooth-bore bilge pump hose offers up to 30 percent greater efficiency.

6. Potable water hose. Potable water hose comes in both reinforced and non-reinforced types. They're easy to tell apart as the reinforced hose will have strong synthetic cord strands visible. This one is clear but opaque is generally a better choice for potable water because there is less chance of algae growing inside.

7. Fuel hose. Fuel hose must be marked as such and will be stamped A1, A2, B1, or B2. Older hoses are incompatible with fuel containing ethanol, so if yours is older than about 10 years, it's most likely due for replacement anyway.

8. Thru-hull hose. For any connections to thru-hulls, reinforced hose is the only way to go. A cheap hose may fail and sink your boat.

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NAVIGATING THOSE TIGHT SPOTS

Posted On: July 05, 2019

Getting Your Boat In Gear


 I watched all afternoon this weekend, as boater after boater, struggled to navigate a crowded marina restaurant, Some simple gear control could have eased the burden. So here's an article by Chris Edmonston on working the controls.

A quick review of shifting gears and smoothly working the controls and throttle.

Shifting gears and throttle control are two skills that, in conjunction with steering-wheel control, will dictate how well you handle your boat. If you drive a car, you're used to working the gears and using a gas pedal, so it's tempting to ask, how different can it really be? Well, if you've ever been to a busy dock area, especially on a windy day, you already know the answer. There are a variety of shift and throttle controls on boats; some have separate controls, some combine them. Here we'll use a control that combines both functions into a single lever.

Shifting gears is all about smoothly and decisively working the controls to avoid lurching or picking up too much speed. Sudden or excessive throttle adjustments can lead to loss of control and cause your boat to strike the dock or another boat, so your goal is to shift into gear without exceeding idle rpm. Remember, "slow is pro," and everything you need to do to properly control your boat can be done at idle speed. Shifting from neutral should be done decisively, but without exceeding idle throttle. If you shift too slowly, you'll probably hear the gears grind. If you shift too far and begin to throttle up too quickly, you'll make the boat lunge and give your passengers an unwelcome surprise (or worse, an unexpected swim).

If you're moving from forward to reverse (or reverse to forward), always allow for a pause in neutral, long enough to say "one-one-thousand," before shifting to the next gear. Shifting too quickly can cause the engine to stall or damage the transmission.

Practice makes perfect and one simple first step you can rehearse is to find the wheel and throttle by hand, without looking. This will help build muscle memory for the ergonomics of your boat. You should also pay close attention to the sound of the transmission as you shift gears, and the change in sound of the engine as you raise or lower the throttle. Watch how your boat responds to your shift and throttle movements, and feel where the throttle changes from forward to neutral to reverse.

In close quarters, staying in gear too long or using too much throttle results in more boat speed than necessary, which forces the driver to take corrective action, and can easily turn into a series of over-corrections. By using short applications of throttle, you should be able to maintain better control of your boat's motion, and give yourself time to maneuver. Short shifts buy you the time to decide what you need to do next.

Practice Low Speed Control

Engage forward gear at idle speed for one second only, then return to neutral to assess your situation.
Engage reverse gear at idle speed for two to three seconds only, then return to neutral to assess your situation. (Boats aren't as efficient in reverse as they are in forward; that's why you can be in gear for a slightly longer time.)
When in neutral, pause several seconds so that you can assess your situation before shifting into gear.
When in gear, do not raise the throttle; stay at idle rpm
 

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AVOIDING THOSE PESTY NUISANCES

Posted On: July 01, 2019

Bye-Bye, Summer Buzzkills!

We picture summers as non-stop fun, but bothersome joy-spoilers are everywhere. Nothing wrecks a day like a tossing deck, floating creature, swarming insect, broiling sun, or proliferating bacteria. However, we know simple ways to ease the summer blues… and reds… and greens.

Bug Bites

Make your own repellent with oils (such as citronella, clove, lemongrass, rosemary, tea tree, or catnip) or buy a commercial bug spray (though many experts advocate for DEET, we’re not fond of it for many reasons, including that it lowers the effectiveness of sunscreen). Wear light-colored, long-sleeve shirts and long pants. And for an extra measure of protection, serve foods made with lots of garlic!

Should a biting bug get through anyway, treatment depends on the wound (and if there’s a stinger left behind). In general, wash the area and stop swelling by holding ice cubes or an ice pack against the bite for up to 15 minutes. Then apply an over-the-counter cortisone cream or anti-itch lotion. Other remedies include a paste of water-moistened baking soda, salt, meat tenderizer, or crushed aspirin (adults only) over the dampened area.

Bruising

When you bang into something (or vice versa), apply ice immediately. If the skin is broken, cover with gauze. Elevate the area whenever possible and don’t put weight or pressure on the spot.

Dehydration

Rest and drink water with a pinch of salt. Once you’re feeling better, keep drinking water.

Jellyfish Stings

The best prevention is to avoid going in the water or wear protective gear if you do go in. If you’re stung, treat immediately by rinsing with sea water before coming back aboard. If there are tentacles in the bitten area, use a stiff piece of cardboard or a credit card to rub them up and out. Then apply vinegar or isopropyl alcohol to neutralize the toxins (we hear cola works in a pinch). You may also take an oral antihistamine or apply a cortisone ointment.

Poison Ivy, Oak, Sumac

The best treatment is complete avoidance, so familiarize yourself with the plants you should never touch before you leave the boat to explore the shore. If contact was made with the leaves, remove and bag up any clothing that may have made contact and rinse the area with cool water and soap (some swear by apple cider vinegar) but don’t spread the rash-producing oil around. Ice the area and then apply cortisone cream, calamine lotion, aloe gel, a banana peel, or a mashed-up cucumber. Do not rub on an antihistamine cream.

Seasickness

Those who are prone to motion sickness should start treatment before heading out for the day. Pick up an over-the-counter antihistamine, get a prescription for a pill or a behind-the-ear patch, stock up on ginger capsules (soda, snaps, or tea help, too), and/or acupressure bands that block nausea. Wear, take, and nibble on whatever you need to keep queasiness at bay.

If seasickness strikes while underway, position yourself outside towards the middle of the boat (a breezy, shady spot is best). Breathe deeply and either close your eyes or fix your gaze on a specific spot on the horizon. Slowly sip a cool drink to avoid dehydration.

Stomachache

You knew you shouldn’t finish a sandwich you started two hours ago, after you left it on the deck to go swimming and then take a nap. But you did, and now you’re in distress. Sit up, breathe deeply, apply a warm compress, take an over-the-counter stomach-soothing medication, or drink peppermint tea or water with lemon either iced or warm.

Sunburn

Treatment won’t be necessary if you take steps to prevent skin damage before you leave home. It’s unwise to wait to apply sunscreen until you leave the dock — you’ve already been exposed to harmful rays while in the car,  walking to the boat or riding the launch, and loading on supplies. Apply sunscreen with an SPF 30 or higher before you get dressed, and once you’re outside, reapply at least every two hours (more often if you get wet). If you miss a spot and become sunburned, apply a soft cloth soaked in cool water, vinegar, whole milk, or unsweetened green tea to the affected area. Relief can also come from aloe vera gel, an over-the-counter cortisone cream, or one containing menthol or camphor. Place raw cucumber or potato slices over your well-done areas or mash up some strawberries and rub them in. A nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory like ibuprofen or naproxen may also ease some of the swelling and pain.

Sun Sensitivity and Heat Rash

Certain medications and treatments can cause sun sensitivity and rashes. Tell your prescribing doctor or pharmacist about your boating plans or look at the warning label on over-the-counter treatments. If there’s a risk, apply sunscreen, wear sun-resistant clothing, and remain in the shade. If you suffer a mild reaction, apply cool compresses and then let your skin air dry.

Ensure that the mouth and nasal passages are clear. Swallow cool water slowly and nibble on bland food as tolerated. Follow tips for seasickness and stomachache.

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KEEPING YOUR BOAT CLEAN

Posted On: June 28, 2019

Most boat owners like a clean vessel.

The trick is to get the cleaning and maintenance finished so you can maximize your time on the water.

Fresh Water & Woolite

Eisenglass (clear flexible vinyl) should not be cleaned with an ammonia-based glass cleaner because the ammonia breaks it down and will dry it out. The best approach is to wash eisenglass with fresh water, add some Woolite for a second wash, then rinse. Dry the eisenglass with a soft cotton or microfiber cloth and apply 210 Plastic Cleaner or Plexus for long-lasting protection.

Waterline Wars

Nothing's worse than leaving the boat ramp with a dingy waterline stain, but there's no reason to let that nasty stain linger. After hauling the boat, soak a sponge in vinegar and wipe down the water stains. Some will disappear immediately; usually what remains will be gone by the time you get home. Some stains require other products

Skin Deep

Surface rust can be taken off metal and fiberglass with a paste made of water and baking soda (50-50). Rust that's more than skin deep, however, requires a potent cleaner containing oxalic acid. Find several to choose from at West Marine. Always remember to thoroughly rinse it away after the rust disappears because the acid can damage metals and fiberglass if left on too long.

Rain, Rain, Go Away

Use Rain-X on your boat's exterior glass. Once Rain-X is applied, the glass doesn't attract or retain hard water spots as easily, and unless in a downpour you  don't need to run the wipers because the water simply slips off the glass.

Tart Up Aluminum

Dissolve two tablespoons of cream of tartar in one quart of hot water, and use it as a polish with a soft cloth.

Preventive Maintenance

If you want a clean windshield when you arrive at the boat ramp after a long haul down the road, simply cover your windshield with a strip of plastic wrap before leaving home. Secure it well. When you arrive at the boat launch, peel the plastic wrap off and unavoidable bug splatters and road grime will peel away with it.

Cockroach Killer

Use equal parts baking soda and powdered sugar. The sugar attracts them and the baking soda kills them. Editors' Note: Cockroach hotels are another option.

Clean And Green

Save major cleaning jobs for when the boat is out of the water. When using cleaning products keep them near the center of the boat to reduce the chance of an overboard spill, and when performing bigger jobs on land, try to conduct the work as far from the water's edge as possible.

Don't Forget The Canvas

Every time you wash your boat with a soft deck brush, use the same brush and soap on the boat cover or other canvas, which will keep canvas clean for a long time.

Fog B Gone

When acrylic windscreens and opening ports become foggy looking from countless tiny scratches, buff them out with regular toothpaste (not gel). It has just the right amount of abrasives to buff out those scratches without making a bunch of new ones. All it takes is time, elbow grease, and lots of circular motion with a cotton rag. Try out on a small spot first.

Stain Magic

Magic Eraser, a Procter & Gamble Mr. Clean product, is a great tool to have on the boat. It gets rid of stubborn stains, skid marks, and streaks on just about any surface. I use a Magic Eraser pad for nonskid deck areas. You'll need to rinse your work area as you go; if it remains in contact with an area for an extended time, its "magic" will remove a waxed finish.

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BEATING THE HEAT

Posted On: June 24, 2019


Keep these signs of heat exhaustion in mind this summer to avoid health hazards

As the temperatures rise, they pose a threat to people who are unaware of heat exhaustion. Heat exhaustion is a condition that occurs when your body overheats, causing a variety of symptoms. As you and your family enjoy the summertime heat, it is important to remember these causes, symptoms and treatments of heat exhaustion to avoid a potentially life-threatening situation.

Causes

When the temperature rises in the summer, the body is made to cool itself in a variety of ways. The body’s main method of self-cooling is through sweating. As sweat evaporates, it allows your body temperature to stay regulated; when sweat production is unable to cool the body down enough, heat exhaustion sets in.

Heat exhaustion is typically seen in people exercising strenuously in hot weather. According to the Mayo Clinic, it can also be caused by dehydration, which reduces the amount of sweat that can be produced; alcohol use, which affects the body’s ability to change its temperature; and wearing too many clothes.

Symptoms

Symptoms of heat exhaustion can occur quickly or can develop overtime, depending on what is causing the heat exhaustion. Typically, though, the symptoms are easy to catch if the person is aware of what heat exhaustion is. The symptoms of heat exhaustion typically consist of the following:

Moist, cool skin with goose bumps
Faintness or dizziness
Heavy sweating
Fatigue
Weak, rapid pulse
Nausea or vomiting
Muscle cramps
Headache
If the person suffering from heat exhaustion has a high body temperature above 103°F, call 911 immediately. This high temperature means that the person is past the stage of heat exhaustion and is suffering from a heat stroke, which can be life threatening.

Treatments

The first step to treating someone with heat exhaustion is to call a doctor or medical professional. As the CDC points out, heat exhaustion can sometimes lead to the much more severe heat stroke illness, which is considered a medical emergency. It is important to have a medical professional determine whether or not the victim of heat exhaustion is in danger of developing heat stroke.

Once a doctor determines that the person is not developing heat stroke and is instead suffering from heat exhaustion, then move the person to a cooler location. This can be into an air-conditioned building or simply into the shade. Once there, apply cool, wet cloths to the person’s body and have them sip water. If vomiting occurs, seek medical attention immediately.

Heat exhaustion is easily preventable if you know the signs. Make sure to remember these warning signs of heat exhaustion as your family enjoys the summer weather. It can be a lifesaver.

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