Blog July 2017

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PILOTING YOUR BOAT IN AN EMERGENCY

Posted On: July 31, 2017

Piloting Your Boat in an Emergency Situation

1. Stay Afloat
This is the boating equivalent of aviate. It’s a top priority in a boating emergency, whether stemming a leak, bailing out a swamped bilge, extinguishing a fire or getting the anchor down to keep the boat from drifting into the surf. I was reminded of this recently while returning from a fishing trip. A fellow boater excitedly flagged me down. He had lost power and was in danger of drifting into the jetty. He asked for a tow, but I had other ideas. I encouraged him to get the anchor down immediately.

He was no longer in danger of dashing his boat on the rocks. I stood by and offered advice while he attempted to restart his engine. It turned out to be a simple case of a detached safety-stop lanyard. He was soon on his way.

2. Head for Port
This is the equivalent of Hendrix’s second step — navigate.

For some boaters, however, having been successful in step 1 — staying afloat — might suggest that they can put off step 2, But it can be a mistake.

This was displayed vividly on a recent trip while amid a group of boats fishing the backside of Santa Catalina Island. The automatic bilge pump of a nearby 23-foot twin-outboard center console seemed to be cycling on with disturbing frequency. It was keeping the boat afloat, but at a cost.

After three hours, it drained one of the starting batteries. Now the captain was unable to start one engine, and the bilge pump no longer worked. He finally made the decision to limp home on a single engine as crew members manually bailed water from the bilge.

3. Communicate
Communicating is important, but don’t let it interfere with steps 1 or 2. For example, on an airplane, if the engines die, the pilot doesn’t rush to the radio. Instead he rushes to restart the engines.

Similarly, if a fire breaks out on your boat, don’t rush to the VHF mic. Instead rush for a fire extinguisher. Once you have done everything possible to resolve the issue, then grab the VHF mic and communicate with authorities. If you and your crew are in mortal danger or have injured crew members, issue a Mayday call.


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NAVIGATING THE CHOP

Posted On: July 28, 2017


Choppy Water

How you handle choppy water is a skill that you need to develop if you want to enjoy boating. This article, which I found,  covers the basics of boating safely through chop.

Many boats handle choppy water different, so know your boat type.

Power boats are designed with rough water in mind. Hull designs such as the deep V and even double hulls have made choppy waters less of a problem, but the burden is on the captain, that's you, to get it right. Well designed boats are half the equation; the other half is you.

Choppy Water Basics:

1. Batten down. No matter how skillfully you maneuver your boat, if loose equipment and just plain stuff litters the boat you may be in for an expensive experience, not to mention danger. Debris flying around a boat can damage the vessel and injure the people aboard. Simply stowing things into compartments is a good first step. Some experienced boaters keep a few old towels aboard as stuffing material to keep things in place. Of course there are some Items that you need to keep handy such as binoculars. Velcro fasteners are a great way to keep these things in place. It almost seems that the Velcro people make this stuff for boating.

Good seamanship dictates that you prepare your vessel for rough water even when things are calm. Boats should be ready for the water to turn to chop.

2. Watch your speed. Power boats can go very fast, but sea conditions may dictate the you go slowly. Handling power boats in chop requires careful use of the throttle—and a lot of common sense. There is no clear cut definition of when water turns from chop to just plain rough. In a choppy sea you may not encounter waves that come in regular intervals, just a mess of little waves that don't seem to go anywhere. In a chop you want to add speed; in a rough sea with large waves you want to go slow. If you have a planing hull, that is one that enables your boat to skip or plane across the surface of the water, you should "get up on plane." Planing enables the boat to avoid the worst effects of the chop and can deliver a smoother ride than going slow. Boats without planing hulls, such as trawlers, have it a little tougher. If your boat doesn't plane you handle chop by just gutting through it. This isn't as bad as it sounds because a displacement hull is designed for stability.

If the chop turns to heavy waves, slow down. You can't plane along the surface of eight foot waves at 20 foot intervals. You can kill yourself.

Boating through chop, like most things in boating, requires a strong dose of common sense.

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DO YOU SUFFER FROM B O ? (BOAT ODOR)

Posted On: July 24, 2017



DOES YOUR BOAT STINK?             

 

You would be surprised how many times this comes up. Yes, really!!

 Do you detect a smell when you are on your boat? Face it….


 DOES YOUR BOAT HAVE.......BO ? (Boat Odor)

More often than not, if you do, It’s most likely coming from the bilge.

 The bilge collects everything dropped, dripped, and spilled on the boat.  If your boat’s bilge has been neglected, pouring bilge cleaner in and closing the hatch may not fully resolve the issue.

 

THE SOUTION?

 You’ll need to roll up your sleeves, remove all the debris, and then scrub the bilge.  Rinse THOROUGHLY with hot water, and if necessary, repeat the process until the inside of the bilge is thoroughly clean.

 There are no shortage of environmentally safe products that are good at degreasing and eliminating odors. Cleaning the bilge is important, but if done routinely, it should become an easily accomplished and quick fix.

 If elbow grease and the proper products don’t eliminate the odor, I recommend checking the vent hose from the holding tank. If it is compromised or if the fitting needs to be tightened, it’s a quick fix.  Should the odor become markedly stronger and fouler, after the holding tank is pumped out, you may need to replace the hose from the holding tank to the outside pumpout fitting (this is a common issue for older boats).

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SOLAR ENERGY ON BOARD

Posted On: July 21, 2017

Marine Solar Panels

For a long time, overnighting on a mooring or anchoring anywhere away from shore power meant either doing without most of the comforts of electricity or relying heavily on a noisy diesel generator. Only by firing up the mini power plant to recharge the batteries could you have your electronics, lighting, and much more at your service.

Now, skippers of small boats often use solar panels as trickle chargers to maintain battery banks and electronics devices. This is particularly helpful, for example, if you are on a mooring, have power outages at the dock, or just want to keep your batteries up while fishing, hanging off the beach, or quietly drifting without using that outboard. Others use large banks of panels to supply most or all of the current for living aboard, even including running refrigeration powered by batteries. Regardless of how you want to use solar panels, solar-power efficiency has made significant strides in recent years, so it helps to understand some basics.

Types Of Panels

There are three distinct types, each available with different kinds of silicon cells.

Monocrystalline cells have the highest efficiency rates because they're cut from a single crystal of the highest-grade silicon, have the longest life expectancy (more than 25 years), and require less space because of their efficiency.

Polycrystalline (or multicrystalline) cells, made from off-cuts and recycled silicon, are less durable and slightly less efficient; they tend to require more space. Both monocrystalline and polycrystalline cells are found in the familiar hard panels you see mounted on decks and pilothouse tops as well as in lightweight semiflexible and walk-on marine panels. Semiflexible panels with zippers or hook-and-loop fasteners added to them can be mounted in such canvas areas as biminis and dodgers, while walk-on panels can be secured directly to a deck or hard cabin top and absorb foot traffic. A good way to distinguish monocrystalline and polycrystalline solar panels is that polycrystalline solar cells look perfectly rectangular, with no rounded corners.

Amorphous solar panels are flexible "roll-up" panels named after the type of silicon used to manufacture them. These are the least efficient but most versatile.

Solar-panel efficiency is a measurement of how much solar irradiation the panel is able to convert to electricity. Each type has a different efficiency. While products constantly evolve, a general rule of thumb, according to Warren, is that efficiencies range from as low as 10 percent, for thin-film panels, to about 18 percent, for most polycrystalline panels, and to as high as 23 percent, for some monocrystalline panels that use more advanced technologies. This means that, for the size, the best, most-efficient panels can produce substantially more power than the least-efficient panels.

The Cost Of Clean Power

Of the three distinct formats of marine solar panels, the aluminum-framed glass panels are the least expensive, as they use a standardized construction process. The semiflexible and walk-on panels are highly specialized items made in small quantities, so they're more expensive. Genuine high-grade SunPower back-contact monocrystalline cells are currently the most efficient ones available and give a higher daily yield, but at a premium price. Amorphous panels are relatively inefficient panels and command a high dollar-per-watt price for their ability to be placed on rounded surfaces.

"There's a world of difference between true high-performance marine solar panels and those used on residential and commercial properties. Prices reflect that.

 

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NEW LAW TAKES EFFECT

Posted On: July 17, 2017

(Sara Belsole,and Bay News 9)

On July 1, a new law went into effect.

New boating legislation passed in the wake of two Florida teens who went missing at sea goes into effect Saturday.

In July 2015, 14-year-olds Austin Stephanos and Perry Cohen were lost at sea off the Jupiter inlet. Their boat was eventually found, but a massive search found no sign of the boys.

House Bill 711, also known as the Beacon Bill, increases and makes permanent a registration-fee discount for boaters who purchase an emergency position indicating radio beacon, or an EPIRB.

"The boat mounted system can be deployed manually or if the boat were to sink, it has a hydrostatic release, meaning once it reaches a certain depth it would release and start emitting the distress signal,” Sgt. Steven Tacia with the Pinellas County Marine Unit said.

The U.S. Coast Guard monitors the beacons and is always ready to respond.

"It’s a direct link to the U.S. Coast Guard,” Petty Officer Michael De Nyse said. “No matter where you are in the world, we have a direct link to you to find you. And it takes the search out of search and rescue."

You can also have a personal locator device to qualify for the discount. The devices cost between $200-$500 depending on size.

"This will bring us to you,” Tacia said. “If you don’t have this and you’re not able to get out on the radio and put out and mayday we don’t know you’re in trouble."

 

 

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COMMERCIAL BOATER NEEDS & COVERAGES

Posted On: July 14, 2017

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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HIDDEN YACHT DESTINATIONS TO EXPLORE

Posted On: July 10, 2017

The United States boasts countless islands for yachting. There are numerous islands to add to your bucket list.

Yachting in the islands is the perfect combination of relaxation, adventure, and beauty in one package.

Just be sure you have the right yacht insurance for travel, especially out of state or across international boundaries.

Key West, Florida has long been a favorite destination of America’s top political figures and celebrities as well as families, young professionals, and diving enthusiasts drawn by its famous coral reefs. This subtropical paradise, the most southern destination in Florida, has stunning landscapes, important cultural and conservation sites, sightseeing and water sports, world-class dining, and a flourishing nightlife.

Hilton Head, South Carolina is the go-to island destination on the east coast for anyone who enjoys outdoor sports and activities. The championship golf courses here are legendary, bringing visitors from around the world to try these rolling fairways. Tennis and polo are other popular pursuits, plus all the water sports you’d expect in a place with seemingly endless beaches. Exploring the Sea Pines Forest Preserve and the Harbor Town Lighthouse are excursions popular with travelers of all ages.

The Thousand Islands in New York State are an explorer’s dream. There are ample opportunities to stop at historic sites and charming towns and cities along this seaway, all of which cater to nautical tourists. If you bring your passports, you can also venture over to the Canadian side where you’ll find Boldt Castle and Fort Henry. The scenery on either side of the border is idyllic – just make certain your yacht insurance coverage includes international travel

The San Juan Islands are a gem tucked along America’s west coast not too far from Seattle, WA. Expect a casual, slow pace here as you meander through the 172 named islands in the county of San Juan. If you’re looking for land-based fun or dining check out San Juan, Orcas, Lopez, or Shaw islands, which are the four largest. Enjoy the temperate climate and be watchful for seals, whales, and orcas in the Pacific Ocean.

Maui, the Hawaiian island voted the best island destination by the readership of Conde Nast Traveler for nearly two decades, is truly a natural wonder. Its unique landscape includes pristine beaches, the sacred Iao Valley, and the awe-inspiring bamboo forest and waterfalls in Haleakala National Park. Add to this the opportunities for outdoor activities, fine dining, a vibrant arts community, and quaint shops and you can see why Maui is a perennial favorite.

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BOAT THEFT ON THE RISE

Posted On: July 07, 2017

According to Boat Owners Association of The United States (BoatUS) report , crime rings are responsible for stealing boats, Yamaha outboard engines, Garmin electronics, and other expensive navigation units along the East Coast’s I-95 corridor and they have now moved across the country. Largely striking boat dealerships and boat-storage facilities, the thieves are getting the attention of a new intelligence working group made up of local, state and federal law enforcement officials as well as certified marine investigators who urge recreational boaters to be vigilant.

One Virginia marina recently reported six 600-pound engines stolen, with dealerships in upstate New York and Texas hit in similar fashion, according to a June 2 report in Soundings Trade Only Today.

Working-group member Daniel Rutherford, claims director for Maritime Program Group, a leading marina and boatyard specialty insurance program company said, “They are professional. They know what they are doing and get in and out quickly leaving very little damage.”

What can boat owners and boating facilities do to prevent thefts?

 It’s hard to stop a determined thief, but here’s some tips from BoatUS :

  1. Take a look at your boat storage area. Is it lit at night? Does it have motion-operated lighting or audible alarms? How difficult is it to gain entry? Is there one or multiple ways to enter? Does it have an effective, fully operating video-surveillance system? Does the storage facility have signage advising that license plates are being recorded and property is under 24-hour surveillance?
  2. Slow a thief down. Are helm electronics locked behind a solid instrument cover? Use tamper-resistant fasteners for mounting electronics and outboard locking devices. Using a special nut with an engine-mounting bolt that requires a special key can help.
  3. Make stealing expensive electronics less appealing by engraving and posting a warning (this goes for the outboard, too). Create and keep at home an engine and electronics inventory list that includes manufacturer and serial number, and take plenty of pictures – including the boat.
  4. Be wary of suspicious questions. In most of the boat dealership theft cases, a suspect posed as a boat shopper on the day before the theft occurred. For boat owners, loose lips sink ships. Boaters should remain cautious to questions from strangers wanting to know more about access. Get to know your dockside neighbors so you can more readily recognize suspicious activity and people who don't belong.
  5. Consider adding a boat tracking device that can sound an early alarm if something’s amiss.
  6. Yamaha outboard engine owners may want to investigate Yamaha Customer Outboard Protection, or Y-COP. Y-COP is available with the manufacturer’s Command Link (CL) and Command Link Plus (CLP) systems.
  7. Help get the word out. If you are a victim of theft, ask your local law enforcement to share the information on the National Crime Information Center (NCIC), a computerized database of documented criminal-justice information available to virtually every law-enforcement agency in the U.S. or add to state crime-tracking databases.
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