SMART TIPS FOR BOATING AS WE AGE

Posted On: February 21, 2020

Smart Solutions to Address Aging As You Age

Face we get older, and Father time takes its toll on all of us. That doesn't mean you have to give up your boating experiences. Just be a little smarter about what you can do and how.

Here's some tips to keep you safe:

  • Always use notes and checklists — for shutting the boat down, for starting her up, for all important procedures aboard, especially for operating infrequently used equipment.
  • Keep a whiteboard and markers nearby, perhaps mounted near the helm station, to jot down numbers, way points, reminders, Coast Guard reports, weather reports.
  • Always bring a mate along to be your ears in hard-to-hear situations, and someone who can operate your boat if need be.
  • Reduce long trips. Leave earlier. Arrive earlier. Don't push it.
  • Add extra handholds so you can grab one for every step you take on a pitching boat.
  • Add safety lines, rails, or higher rails.
  • Add nonskid surfaces.
  • Add an electric windlass, one that can be operated remotely. Not only does that eliminate the heavy lifting associated with anchoring, it also allows you to get the boat stopped and settled before you go forward to cleat off the rode or put on a snubber.
  • Remove obstacles from passageways and decks. Add steps where you have to change levels, like going from the cockpit seat to the cockpit sole. If they might turn into shin busters, use the foldaway type.
  • Keep a good pair of binoculars handy to check buoys and distant landmarks.
  • Invest in high-quality prescription sunglasses with UV protection and non-glare lenses.
  • Wear your life jacket.
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PRESIDENT'S DAY 2020

Posted On: February 17, 2020

Officially known as Washington’s Birthday (even though it isn’t actually on Washington’s birthday!), Presidents Day is an American federal holiday that takes place on the third Monday in February.

According to Britannica, the origin of Presidents’ Day lies in the 1880s, when the birthday of Washington—commander of the Continental Army during the American Revolution and the first president of the United States —was first celebrated as a federal holiday. In 1968 Congress passed the Uniform Monday Holiday Bill, which moved a number of federal holidays to Mondays. The change was designed to schedule certain holidays so that workers had a number of long weekends throughout the year, but it has been opposed by those who believe that those holidays should be celebrated on the dates they actually commemorate. During debate on the bill, it was proposed that Washington’s Birthday be renamed Presidents’ Day to honor the birthdays of both Washington (February 22) and Lincoln (February 12); although Lincoln’s birthday was celebrated in many states, it was never an official federal holiday. Following much discussion, Congress rejected the name change. After the bill went into effect in 1971, however, Presidents’ Day became the commonly accepted name, due in part to retailers’ use of that name to promote sales and the holiday’s proximity to Lincoln’s birthday. Presidents’ Day is usually marked by public ceremonies in Washington, D. C., and throughout the country.

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VALENTINE'S DAY HISTORY

Posted On: February 14, 2020

The Legend of St. Valentine

The history of Valentine’s Day–and the story of its patron saint–is shrouded in mystery. We do know that February has long been celebrated as a month of romance, and that St. Valentine’s Day, as we know it today, contains vestiges of both Christian and ancient Roman tradition. But who was Saint Valentine, and how did he become associated with this ancient rite?

The Catholic Church recognizes at least three different saints named Valentine or Valentinus, all of whom were martyred. One legend contends that Valentine was a priest who served during the third century in Rome. When Emperor Claudius II decided that single men made better soldiers than those with wives and families, he outlawed marriage for young men. Valentine, realizing the injustice of the decree, defied Claudius and continued to perform marriages for young lovers in secret. When Valentine’s actions were discovered, Claudius ordered that he be put to death.

Other stories suggest that Valentine may have been killed for attempting to help Christians escape harsh Roman prisons, where they were often beaten and tortured. According to one legend, an imprisoned Valentine actually sent the first “valentine” greeting himself after he fell in love with a young girl–possibly his jailor’s daughter–who visited him during his confinement. Before his death, it is alleged that he wrote her a letter signed “From your Valentine,” an expression that is still in use today. Although the truth behind the Valentine legends is murky, the stories all emphasize his appeal as a sympathetic, heroic and–most importantly–romantic figure. By the Middle Ages, perhaps thanks to this reputation, Valentine would become one of the most popular saints in England and France.

February

While some believe that Valentine’s Day is celebrated in the middle of February to commemorate the anniversary of Valentine’s death or burial–which probably occurred around A.D. 270–others claim that the Christian church may have decided to place St. Valentine’s feast day in the middle of February in an effort to “Christianize” the pagan celebration of Lupercalia. Celebrated at the ides of February, or February 15, Lupercalia was a fertility festival dedicated to Faunus, the Roman god of agriculture, as well as to the Roman founders Romulus and Remus.

To begin the festival, members of the Luperci, an order of Roman priests, would gather at a sacred cave where the infants Romulus and Remus, the founders of Rome, were believed to have been cared for by a she-wolf or lupa. The priests would sacrifice a goat, for fertility, and a dog, for purification. They would then strip the goat’s hide into strips, dip them into the sacrificial blood and take to the streets, gently slapping both women and crop fields with the goat hide. Far from being fearful, Roman women welcomed the touch of the hides because it was believed to make them more fertile in the coming year. Later in the day, according to legend, all the young women in the city would place their names in a big urn. The city’s bachelors would each choose a name and become paired for the year with his chosen woman. These matches often ended in marriage.

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DO YOU NEED BOAT INSURANCE?

Posted On: February 10, 2020


Before you unleash the full power of your watercraft, you need to give some time and thought to how you will insure your boat.

Yes, I know, this isn’t a particularly exciting subject, but it’s an important one.

Let us answer some of the crucial questions you have about protecting your precious boat.

In this post, we’re going to answer some crucial questions about boat insurance. The answers will allow you to make an informed decision regarding how you insure your boat.

Let’s get started.


QUESTION #1: What Is Boat Insurance?

Let’s construct a hypothetical situation. You’re out on the lake, enjoying a gloriously beautiful day, just happy to be alive and a boat owner. You’ve applied all the necessary sunscreen / tanning oil to your body and are soaking in the rays.

Unfortunately, your day of happiness is abruptly ruined when you strike a boulder that was hidden just under the surface of the water. Your beautiful, gorgeous, well-maintained boat suddenly has a giant gash in the side, hurting both the boat and your heart.

This is where boat insurance comes onto the scene. If you have boat insurance, you can be confident that your vessel will be repaired to it’s former state of glory and the costs will be covered by the insurance company.

If you don’t have insurance? Let’s just say you’re up a creek without a paddle. Actually, you’re in a sinking boat because there’s a giant hole in it, but you get the point.

Boat insurance protects you in the event of damage to or even the loss of your boat. See! Boat insurance really can be a fun topic. Well, not fun, per Se. But more fun than having to pay thousands of dollars to fix your boat.


QUESTION #2: How Exactly Does Boat Insurance Work?

Sometimes, boat insurance can be bundled with your car insurance and your home insurance, sparing you the hassle of trying to find a separate insurer for your boat. Just like any other kind of insurance, when you purchase insurance you have to make decisions about:

- How much deductible you’ll have
- The type of coverage you want
- The amount of coverage you want

So far, so good.

When you go to insurance companies, they will consider the following factors:

- Age of boat 
- Length
- Value
- Speed/horsepower
- Condition (Are US Coast Guard standards are met?)
- Is it a houseboat used as primary residence? (This would be awesome, by the way).
- Type of boat? (Inboard, outboard, utility, cruiser, bass boat, saltwater fishing boat, performance boat)
- How many owners?
- Where will it operate? (ocean, lakes, bays rivers, Great Lakes)

Depending on the answers to these questions, the cost of your policy will be higher or lower. So, for example, if you own a high speed houseboat that doesn’t meet US Coast Guard Standards and is worth $50,000, you’ll probably be shelling out quite a lot of cash to insure your boat.


QUESTION #3: How Does Home Insurance Differ From Boat Insurance?

Believe it or not, some home insurance policies will actually cover your boat if it’s small, but if it’s worth more than $10,000, you’ll probably need to purchase a separate policy.

A boat policy also includes liability coverage if someone is injured aboard your boat. For example, if your friend has had a few too many drinks and is salsa dancing while you’re traveling at 50 mph and accidentally trips and breaks his leg, you’re covered. Do you really have friends who would do that? You may want to reconsider some of your life choices.

 A boat policy also will allow you to suspend coverage when you’re not using your boat. For example, if you don’t plan on doing much boating during the winter, you can put a hold on your coverage.


QUESTION #4: What Is Covered In Your Boat Insurance Policy?

Here are the items traditionally covered in boat policies:

- Collision damage. This includes repair and replacement of boat, but maybe not clean-up wreckage. Just don’t totally sink your boat and this won’t be an issue. If you’re legitimately concerned about this perhaps you shouldn’t be driving a boat in the first place.


- Property damage liability. If you accidentally crash into someone else’s boat or destroy someone’s dock, you’re covered.


- Engine damage. You’ll want to double check on this one because some policies will have machinery damage exclusions.


- Bodily injury liability. If you accidentally hurt someone while operating your boat, you’ll be covered. If this point makes you happy, you may want to be psychiatrically evaluated.


- Weather damage. Some policies will cover weather-related damage to your boat, although you’ll certainly want to check on this one.


- Comprehensive. Coverage can provide payments for medical payments, fishing equipment, oil spills, personal property, roadside assistance, uninsured or underinsured incidents. 

 

QUESTION #5: Is Your Boat Covered When It’s Out Of Water?

 Why must you ask all these questions? Just kidding. We like helping. If your boat is on a trailer being pulled by your car, it’s covered by your auto policy, although the limits of your policy apply, so familiarize yourself with those.

Your homeowners policy may provide limited coverage if your boat is damaged while on your property, but it might not cover vandalism or if your boat is stolen.


QUESTION #6: Does Your Boat Insurance Policy Cover You Everywhere?

Most policies for smaller boats have a “navigational warranty”, which determines where you boat insurance policy is in effect. For example, your policy may cover you for the inland waters of the US and Canada or the coastal waters of the two countries.

Policies for larger boats typically have different areas covered, like the territories between Eastport, Maine to Cape Hatteras, North Carolina.

There are some places that could be excluded for security reasons, like if you’ll be sailing in an area inhabited by Somali Pirates. Listen, if you’re in an area like that, you’ve got bigger problems than your insurance policy. Like what type of assault weapon you should choose.

 

QUESTION #7: Are You Required To Have Boat Insurance?

Some states may require you to have liability coverage. Some marinas may require you to have insurance to dock your boat. Finally, the lender may require you to have insurance before giving you a loan.

But seriously, why would you not have boat insurance? Unless you’re an independently wealthy billionaire who is able to purchase boats without a second thought, you probably should have some form of insurance.


QUESTION #8: What’s The Difference Between Agreed Value and Market Value Policies?

It works like this. The moment you purchase your boat, it starts depreciating in value. Isn’t that a wonderful thing?

An agreed value policy covers the value of the boat when the policy is written. A market value policy covers the actual market value of the boat when any damage occurs. Agreed value policies usually cost more upfront but you don’t need to worry about depreciation.

No matter what policy you start with, your insurer will probably eventually insist you switch to a market value policy, which will save you money anyways.


QUESTION #9: What Does Boat Insurance Typically Cost?

As you would expect, the cost of your policy will depend on a large number of variables, including:

- The state where you reside
- The type of boat
- The age of boat
- The size of the motor
- How you use the boat
- Where you use the boat
- And a variety of other factors

 

QUESTION #10: How Can You Save Money On Your Policy?

First, buy a policy that is very specific to your boat. Don’t purchase a policy that offers coverage you don’t need. To put it bluntly (because we know you can handle it), that’s stupid.

Second, ask your underwriter if they offer any discounts for safety features. For example, a wireless auto tether that kills the engine if you or one of your passengers falls overboard. If they do offer safety discounts, consider investing in those safety measures. Also, consider doing the safety dance, just for fun.

 Third, see if there are any discounts available for taking safety classes. You may be able to reduce your premium simply by attending one of these classes.

Fourth, take advantage of any times when you won’t be using your boat to suspend your coverage. Don’t pay for those months your boat is sitting idle (see above note re: stupid).

Finally, you may be able to get a discount if you’re boating in fresh water rather than salt water.

 

Conclusion

Boat insurance is like a prostate exam: you hope you never need it but it’s pretty important. So while it’s certainly not fun to research which policy you should use, you can make the process as painless as possible by knowing what you need, how you’ll be using your boat, and ways you can cut the costs.

Now then, happy sailing!

This article is based on one that originally appeared on moboxmarine.com blog "

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THE PHONETIC ALPHABET - IT CAN SAVE YOUR LIFE

Posted On: February 07, 2020


The Invaluable Phonetic Alphabet

To make sure you're clearly understood, especially when using the VHF radio, words often need to be spelled out using what's known as the phonetic alphabet. On a radio transmission, static can produce mistakes. Learn the phonetic alphabet by heart so that you can easily spell out names and words quickly, especially in emergency situations.

A    AlphaG    GolfM    MikeS    SierraY    Yankee
B    BravoH    HotelN    NovemberT    TangoZ    Zulu
C    CharlieI    IndiaO    OscarU    Uniform 
D    DeltaJ    JulietP    PapaV    Victor 
E    EchoK    KiloQ    QuebecW    Whiskey 
F    FoxtrotL    LimaR    RomeoX    X-ray 
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FIXED MOUNT VHF RADIOS

Posted On: February 03, 2020

Fixed-Mount VHF Radios

Arguably one of the most cost-effective safety items you can have on any boat, a fixed-mount VHF allows you to communicate with a wide range of people and organizations: the U.S. Coast Guard, commercial ships, the Rescue 21 network, bridge tenders, TowBoatUS, race committees, and countless others stations. And its full potential is realized when units with Digital Selective Calling, or DSC, are connected to an operational GPS receiver (or have one internally). While all radios sold in the U.S. over the last decade are equipped with DSC, many operators (the U.S. Coast Guard says about 85 percent) either have not connected their radios to their GPS, nor registered for an MMSI (Marine Mobile Service Identity) number. This is vital for the full functionality of the Rescue 21 system.

Fixed-mount VHF radios are only as good as their antenna systems (a combination of the antenna, coaxial cable, and connections). Antennas should be mounted as high as possible: on the masthead of a sailboat or on the flybridge of a powerboat. Because VHF signals travel more or less in a straight line, a higher antenna will allow a VHF signal to reach more distant stations due to the Earth's curvature.

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THIS WEEKEND, FEB 2 IS GROUND HOG'S DAY

Posted On: January 31, 2020

Groundhog Day  is a traditional holiday originating in the United States that is celebrated on February 2. According to folklore, if it is cloudy when a groundhog emerges from its burrow on this day, then the spring season will arrive early, some time before the vernal equinox; if it is sunny, the groundhog will supposedly see its shadow and retreat back into its den, and winter weather will persist for six more weeks.

Modern customs of the holiday involve early morning celebrations to watch the groundhog emerging from its burrow.

In southeastern Pennsylvania, Groundhog Lodges (Grundsow Lodges) celebrate the holiday with social events in which food is served, speeches are made, and one or more plays or skits are performed for entertainment. The Pennsylvania German dialect is the only language spoken at the event, and those who speak English pay a penalty, usually in the form of a nickel, dime, or quarter per word spoken, with the money put into a bowl in the center of the table.

Groundhog Day was adopted in the U.S. in 1887. Clymer H. Freas was the editor of the local paper Punxsutawney Spirit at the time, and he began promoting the town’s groundhog as the official "Groundhog Day meteorologist".

The largest Groundhog Day celebration is held in Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania, with Punxsutawney Phil. Groundhog Day, already a widely recognized and popular tradition, has received widespread attention as a result of the 1993 film Groundhog Day.

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RED TIDES

Posted On: January 26, 2020


What are red tides?

Phytoplankton, the drifting communities found throughout the surface layers of the ocean, perform the crucial role of capturing the energy in sunlight to produce complex molecules in the process of photosynthesis. In doing so, they provide the basic food on which almost all the oceans' animal communities depend. But sometimes you can have too much of a good thing, and red tides — or algal blooms — are one of the results.

"Red tide" is a general term for the phenomenon in which the tiny phytoplankton cells become locally so numerous that they cause discoloration of the water. The discoloration is caused by the concentration of pigments in the algal cells, and although these are often red, sometimes extremely so, they can also appear as orange, yellow, brown, or green, depending on the species.

Algal blooms can often be harmful. The harmful effects are usually the result of the production of natural toxins by the algae, which can have serious consequences for both wildlife and man, particularly because the toxins can accumulate in commercially exploited Mollusca shellfish such as oysters and mussels. In addition to these toxic effects, some algal blooms can be so concentrated that they clog the gills of fish and shellfish, and their decaying remains can deplete the oxygen concentration in the water to lethal levels.

The cause of algal blooms is often uncertain, though a sudden and local increase in the availability of nutrients is usually involved. Like their terrestrial equivalents, marine plants, including phytoplanktonic algae, are dependent on sufficient sunlight, adequate warmth, and the availability of nutrients such as phosphates and nitrates. In a red tide situation, the injection of nutrients is either too rapid or at the wrong time to allow herbivorous animals to control the growth.

The source of the nutrients can be a result of human activity. For example, algal blooms in freshwater lakes are often caused by runoff from agricultural lands carrying fertilizer into the water body. In the same way, rivers flowing through agricultural landscapes can carry high levels of nutrients to the sea and stimulate algal blooms as a consequence. Some blooms, however, seem to be entirely natural and caused by local wind and water conditions churning up nutrients into the upper water column.

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