CHRISTMAS MEMORIES

Posted On: December 21, 2018


Christmas Memories

 As the holidays draw closer, reflections and memories of Christmas past abound.

Singing carols, stringing popcorn
Making footprints in the snow (or the sand)
Memories, Christmas memories
They're the sweetest ones I know

Cookies baking in the kitchen
Cards and ribbons everywhere
Frosty, Christmas memories
Float like snowflakes in the air

And oh, the joy of waking Christmas mornings
The family round the tree
We had a way of making Christmas morning
As merry as can be

I close my eyes and see shining faces
Of all the children who now have children of their own
Funny, but comes December
And I remember every Christmas I've known

Have a safe and memorable Christmas from all of us!!

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CHRISTMAS TREE HISTORY

Posted On: December 17, 2018

The evergreen fir tree has traditionally been used to celebrate winter festivals (pagan and Christian) for thousands of years. Pagans used branches of it to decorate their homes during the winter solstice, as it made them think of the spring to come. The Romans used Fir Trees to decorate their temples at the festival of Saturnalia. Christians use it as a sign of everlasting life with God.

Nobody is really sure when Fir trees were first used as Christmas trees. It probably began about 1000 years ago in Northern Europe. Many early Christmas Trees seem to have been hung upside down from the ceiling using chains (hung from chandeliers/lighting hooks).

Other early Christmas Trees, across many parts of northern Europe, were cherry or hawthorn plants (or a branch of the plant) that were put into pots and brought inside so they would hopefully flower at Christmas time. If you couldn't afford a real plant, people made pyramids of woods and they were decorated to look like a tree with paper, apples and candles. Sometimes they were carried around from house to house, rather than being displayed in a home.

It's possible that the wooden pyramid trees were meant to be like Paradise Trees. These were used in medieval German Mystery or Miracle Plays that were acted out in front of Churches on Christmas Eve. In early church calendars of saints, 24th December was Adam and Eve's day. The Paradise Tree represented the Garden of Eden. It was often paraded around the town before the play started, as a way of advertising the play. The plays told Bible stories to people who could not read.

The first documented use of a tree at Christmas and New Year celebrations is argued between the cities of Tallinn in Estonia and Riga in Latvia! Both claim that they had the first trees; Tallinn in 1441 and Riga in 1510. Both trees were put up by the 'Brotherhood of Blackheads' which was an association of local unmarried merchants, ship owners, and foreigners in Livonia (what is now Estonia and Latvia).

Little is known about either tree apart from that they were put in the town square, were danced around by the Brotherhood of Blackheads and were then set on fire. This is like the custom of the Yule Log. The word used for the 'tree' could also mean a mast or pole, tree might have been like a 'Paradise Tree' or a tree-shaped wooden candelabra rather than a 'real' tree.

In the town square of Riga, the capital of Latvia, there is a plaque which is engraved with "The First New Year's Tree in Riga in 1510", in eight languages.

A picture from Germany in 1521 which shows a tree being paraded through the streets with a man riding a horse behind it. The man is dressed a bishop, possibly representing St. Nicholas.

In 1584, the historian Balthasar Russow wrote about a tradition, in Riga, of a decorated fir tree in the market square where the young men “went with a flock of maidens and women, first sang and danced there and then set the tree aflame”. There's a record of a small tree in Breman, Germany from 1570. It is described as a tree decorated with "apples, nuts, dates, pretzels and paper flowers". It was displayed in a 'guild-house' (the meeting place for a society of business men in the city).

The first person to bring a Christmas Tree into a house, in the way we know it today, may have been the 16th century German preacher Martin Luther. A story is told that, one night before Christmas, he was walking through the forest and looked up to see the stars shining through the tree branches. It was so beautiful, that he went home and told his children that it reminded him of Jesus, who left the stars of heaven to come to earth at Christmas. Some people say this is the same tree as the 'Riga' tree, but it isn't! The Riga tree originally took place a few decades earlier. Northern Germany and Latvia are neighbors.

Another story says that St. Boniface of Crediton (a village in Devon, UK) left England and traveled to Germany to preach to the pagan German tribes and convert them to Christianity. He is said to have come across a group of pagans about to sacrifice a young boy while worshiping an oak tree. In anger, and to stop the sacrifice, St. Boniface is said to have cut down the oak tree and, to his amazement, a young fir tree sprang up from the roots of the oak tree. St. Boniface took this as a sign of the Christian faith and his followers decorated the tree with candles so that St. Boniface could preach to the pagans at night.

There is another legend, from Germany, about how the Christmas Tree came into being, it goes:

Once on a cold Christmas Eve night, a forester and his family were in their cottage gathered round the fire to keep warm. Suddenly there was a knock on the door. When the forester opened the door, he found a poor little boy standing on the door step, lost and alone. The forester welcomed him into his house and the family fed and washed him and put him to bed in the youngest sons own bed (he had to share with his brother that night!). The next morning, Christmas Morning, the family were woken up by a choir of angels, and the poor little boy had turned into Jesus, the Christ Child. The Christ Child went into the front garden of the cottage and broke a branch off a Fir tree and gave it to the family as a present to say thank you for looking after him. So ever since them, people have remembered that night by bringing a Christmas Tree into their homes!

In Germany, the first Christmas Trees were decorated with edible things, such as gingerbread and gold covered apples. Then glass makers made special small ornaments similar to some of the decorations used today. In 1605 an unknown German wrote: "At Christmas they set up fir trees in the parlours of Strasbourg and hang thereon roses cut out of many-colored paper, apples, wafers, gold foil, sweets, etc."

At first, a figure of the Baby Jesus was put on the top of the tree. Over time it changed to an angel/fairy that told the shepherds about Jesus, or a star like the Wise Men saw.


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CONSIDER A GASOLINE VAPOR DETECTOR

Posted On: December 14, 2018


Gasoline Vapor Detectors

If your boat has a gasoline fuel tank mounted belowdecks, you should have a vapor detector. Also known as "fume sniffers," vapor detectors monitor for flammable gases such as gasoline fumes.

Vapor detectors are mounted in the engine-space bilge, just above the slosh height of bilge water, with the sensor away from the hottest parts of the engine, such as manifolds. Vapor detectors are almost always hard-wired to the boat's 12-volt DC system. Usually, the unit has a control head mounted at the helm that will sound when dangerous fumes are detected in the bilge. The wire that connects the sensor to the head unit typically can't be cut because the manufacturer has calibrated its length.

Some vapor detectors can turn on the bilge blower when they detect a buildup, a smart option. The blower, of course, must be ignition-protected. Look for an alarm that is UL 2034 listed.

Vapor alarms should be tested monthly using the manufacturer's procedure. You can also test the sensor using a butane lighter by depressing the lever lightly to release a small amount of butane gas next to the sensor.

Replace vapor detectors after no more than five years, or right away if they become submerged.

If the alarm sounds at the fuel dock, it may mean that a large quantity of spilled gas is in the bilge; it should be dealt with by pros. Make sure everyone is off the boat (as they should be while refueling) and call 911. Don't operate anything electrical, including the blower; it won't eliminate spilled gas. If it sounds while you're underway, call for help on a handheld VHF (less chance of sparking than an installed one) or a cellphone.

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THE CANNABIS CONFUSION

Posted On: December 10, 2018

Cannabis And Boating

Changing laws, opinions, and attitudes have led to a lot of confusion when it comes to cannabis.

Here's a good article from USBoat by Charles Fort to explain.

For many years, BoatUS has warned against the dangers of boating while under the influence of alcohol, which, according to the U.S. Coast Guard's 2017 Recreational Boating Statistics Report, continues to be the leading known contributing factor in fatal boating accidents. Now that the recreational use of marijuana is legal in nine states (including all of the West Coast of the U.S.), it's time to take a look at how cannabis can affect boaters — and their wallets.

Nine states (plus the District of Columbia) allow some level of legal marijuana possession, and 30 states permit the medical use of cannabis. And 13 more states have decriminalized cannabis possession (people who possess small amounts of the drug don't face criminal prosecution, but only civil penalties similar to a traffic fine). These laws are changing quickly, so check with your state to make sure you know the legal status of cannabis possession and use. The fact is that, in some places, cannabis is becoming as mainstream as say, wine. But there are important distinctions.

Water, Water Everywhere

Even if cannabis is legal in your state, the federal government still considers it a Schedule I drug, which the feds say has the potential for abuse and has no accepted medical use. This is very important, because on any water (or land) under federal jurisdiction, it's illegal to possess cannabis even though a state may have legalized it.

And waters under federal jurisdiction are enormous. Consider that the entire coastline of the U.S. is under federal jurisdiction. That means that on coastal waters of California, Oregon, and Washington — states that have legalized cannabis — it is a federal crime to possess it. The U.S. Coast Guard says that "all waters including, but not limited to, the navigable waters of the United States" are under their authority. It's the "but not limited to" part that could be trouble for some boaters because, while it includes some bodies of water that seem obvious, such as the Great Lakes, Mississippi River, and Chesapeake Bay, it's also pretty much any waters that the federal government deems navigable, such as freshwater lakes, including Lake Tahoe, Salt Lake, Lake Champlain, and Lake of the Ozarks.

If you're subject to federal boating laws that require such things as life jackets, navigation lights, and sound signals, it's a good bet you're in federal jurisdiction waters. This jurisdiction issue also sets up some potentially uncomfortable situations. If you sailed your boat from say, Portland, Maine, to the nearby islands in Maine, or from Seattle to a Washington state island in Puget Sound, you'd be breaking federal law if you were in possession of cannabis. If you're not sure if the waters you boat in are under federal jurisdiction, contact the nearest Coast Guard office and ask.

Keep in mind that the Coast Guard doesn't need to have a warrant or even reasonable suspicion to board your boat. If they do, and you're in possession of marijuana (or any other illegal drug) or are under the influence of cannabis (or alcohol or any other intoxicant), you may be arrested. If you happen to have a U.S. Coast Guard license, it will likely be suspended for at least a year.

Price To Pay

Now that you know about the issues of possessing cannabis, how about its effects while you're under way? According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, marijuana significantly impairs judgment, motor coordination, and reaction time, and studies have found a direct relationship between blood THC (tetrahydrocannabinol, the chemical compound in cannabis responsible for the "high") concentration and impaired driving ability.

In all states, boating under the influence (BUI) laws are the same whether it's alcohol, cannabis, or any other intoxicant. Just as with a BUI conviction for alcohol, you will likely face heavy fines, possible jail time, and you could lose your driver's license. Many states now consider BUI convictions the same as driving under the influence (DUI), which means if you have one DUI and are arrested for a BUI, it's a second offense and the consequences can be much worse. If you happen to be on waters with federal jurisdiction and are arrested for cannabis possession, you could be sentenced to up to a year in jail for any amount. Second offenses have mandatory jail time.

Our advice for cannabis users is the same for those who imbibe in alcohol: Wait until you're back before you celebrate the day. And if there's any chance you'll be in federal jurisdiction waters, make sure you and your guests have a zero-tolerance policy for cannabis onboard. 

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THE RAID ON PEARL HARBOR DEC.7 1941

Posted On: December 07, 2018

NEVER FORGET

Air Raid On Pearl Harbor

On December 7, 1941, Japanese planes attacked the United States Naval Base at Pearl Harbor External, Hawaii Territory, killing more than 2,300 Americans. The U.S.S. Arizona was completely destroyed and the U.S.S. Oklahoma capsized. A total of twelve ships sank or were beached in the attack and nine additional vessels were damaged. More than 160 aircraft were destroyed and more than 150 others damaged.

A hurried dispatch from the ranking United States naval officer in Pearl Harbor, Admiral Husband Edward Kimmel, Commander in Chief of the United States Pacific Fleet, to all major navy commands and fleet units provided the first official word of the attack at the ill-prepared Pearl Harbor base. It said simply: AIR RAID ON PEARL HARBOR X THIS IS NOT DRILL.

naval-dispatch
Naval Dispatch from the Commander in Chief Pacific (CINCPAC) announcing the Japanese Attack on Pearl Harbor, December 7, 1941. (John J. Ballentine Papers). Words and Deeds in American History: Selected Documents Celebrating the Manuscript Division’s First 100 Years. Manuscript Division

The following day, in an address to a joint session of Congress,President Franklin Roosevelt called December 7, 1941 “a date which will live in infamy.” Congress then declared War on Japan, abandoning the nation’s isolationism policy and ushering the United States into World War II. Within days, Japan’s allies, Germany and Italy, declared war on the United States, and the country began a rapid transition to a wartime economy by building up armaments in support of military campaigns in the Pacific, North Africa, and Europe.

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ARE BOATS CERTIFIED SAFE BY THE COAST GUARD?

Posted On: December 03, 2018

I was asked that if a boat has a capacity plate, Does that mean the U.S. Coast Guard certified that my boat is safe?

Neither the U.S. Coast Guard nor any other federal agency certifies boats.

In fact, there are only a few federal laws governing boat-building, including flotation requirements for powerboats under 20 feet, passenger- and weight-capacity labels, and fuel-system safety. Manufacturers self-certify that their boats meet these legal standards.

The Coast Guard does, however, have a factory-visit program that audits boat-builders periodically for spot checks and tests a few dozen boats for flotation compliance every year.

A comprehensive list of voluntary standards has been written by the American Boat & Yacht Council (ABYC). Boat-builders who are members of the National Marine Manufacturers Association (NMMA) and build to ABYC standards will have an NMMA-certification label in plain view on most boats built after 2007.

To be sure a boat is safe, a good survey by a competent independent surveyor is advisable.

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AVOIDING THE HOLIDAY SEASON BURNOUT

Posted On: November 30, 2018

CANDLE BURNING AT BOTH ENDS THIS HOLIDAY SEASON?

Why do so many people get burnt out in the days leading up to the holidays?

Maybe it’s the realization of having to write to everyone you seemingly have ever known. So you sit staring at a pile of countless Christmas cards, that cost a fortune in printing and postage, and realizing that you don’t even have everyone’s addresses, or least not the correct ones. .

Or maybe it’s the present buying, the wrapping, the decorating, the cooking, and everything else. The returns, the fifty different scents in the room at once.

Maybe it’s the expectation of living up to the memories of past Christmas. And maybe just maybe, this is the problem with Christmas for so many people.  For many, the heart has gone out of Christmas, which, as everyone keeps repeating, looks like a shopping fest rather than a holy day. Yet we are seemingly driven to fulfill the requirements because of our beliefs or fantasies about what other people feel or expect.

Normally, if your heart has gone out of a situation, you stop. This way you avoid a burnout

But this is more difficult than it seems when it comes to Christmas. Christmas is all around us and bred inside us, and we don’t believe we can break the rules, change the rules, revise, or give it all up. We might not mind but others will. So we soldier on, push ourselves, and hope we will recover by New Year.

If you are feeling great about Christmas, great!! If not, take a deep breath, exhale. Think about what’s really important, then go ahead and enjoy what you are doing, and do as much as you enjoy even if it looks over the top.

The world won’t fall apart, and yes they probably don’t want that fruit cake anyway. Who knows, you may even find the joy that a festive season is meant to be about.

Merry Christmas!!

HAPPY HOLIDAYS

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BATTERY STORAGE

Posted On: November 26, 2018


Winter Battery Storage

When wet-cell batteries are allowed to discharge, the electrolyte becomes pure water, which will freeze and ruin the battery. If you can, take the battery off your boat and store it somewhere dry and cool (but not freezing). You may have heard that a battery will discharge if left on a concrete floor, but modern batteries make this precaution unnecessary.

Wash and thoroughly dry the top of the battery to reduce the potential for self-discharge. Don't leave stored batteries connected to a portable charger. Unless the charger turns off completely — few do — the batteries will suffer damage. However, stored batteries should be brought to full charge once a month, so post a reminder for yourself. If the batteries will be stored aboard because they're too heavy for convenient removal, they must be maintained in a full-charge condition all winter. This requires a charger with a "float" stage and power connection. In lieu of an unattended power connection, a solar panel might be employed to counter self-discharge

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