Blog March 2018


Posted On: March 30, 2018

Easter is coming up and that means the return of those yellow, blue, and pink marshmallow treats called Peeps.

The popular, chick-shaped candy has been around for more than 60 years.

 Thanks to the USA TODAY Network for sharing some surprising facts about these iconic marshmallow confections:

 Peeps were once made by hand and took nearly 30 hours to create.

Peeps are owned and made by Just Born Inc., a candy company located in Bethlehem, Pa.

The company is named after Sam Born, a Russian-born founder and confectioner, who started the brand in 1917 after immigrating to the United States. His candy company grew and eventually acquired Rodda Candy Company in 1953.

"They were primarily interested in that company for the jelly bean technology," Matt Pye, the vice president of corporate affairs for Just Born, told USA TODAY Network.

"But while the family was touring the Rodda Candy Company, in the back part of the factory were these women with pastry tubes squirting these marshmallow chicks by hand," Pye said. It took the women 27 hours from start to finish to make the Peeps mostly because it took the marshmallow a long time to cool before it could be packaged for consumers.

The Born family figured out a way to automate the process and quickly cool the Peeps. By 1954, the company had shortened the manufacturing time to only about six minutes.

Today, Just Born makes about 5.5 million each day in a variety of shapes and colors

 Original Peeps had wings.

The original Peep had two small wings coming off the back of each bird.

Just Born initially included those wings in the process as well, but it made the automation process more complicated, according to Pye.

In 1955, the company decided to skip the wings to streamline the process, he said.

Peeps stores exist.

You can find Peeps on grocery store shelves and in candy stores, but there are also several brick-and-mortar shops specializing in Peeps.

The first Peeps-theme store opened in 2009 in Oxon Hill, Md., right outside Washington, D.C.

Since then the company has opened two other locations: one in Bethlehem, Pa., and another in the Mall of America in Bloomington, Minn. The stores carry Peeps of all colors, flavors and shapes in addition to Peeps-brand merchandise such as T-shirts and plush toys. They also sell other Just Born candies such as Mike & Ike's and Hot Tamales.

There are bunny Peeps. Yes, bunnies. 

Even from the very beginning, the company made bunnies in addition to chicks and very quickly introduced other shapes by the 1960s, Pye said.

Today there are bunny and chick Peeps available in a number of colors including yellow, blue, lavender, orange, pink and white. That being said, chicks still rule supreme. Four out 5 Peeps purchased are shaped like chicks, according to a statement from Just Born.

An estimated one-third of all Peeps purchased are not eaten but instead used for decorations or for craft projects like dioramas, according to Pye.

"We think there are more people who love the brand whether they eat it or not," he said.



Posted On: March 26, 2018

How to assure you float this spring


Every year we all say it — and we all mean it — this was a brutal winter.  

With a rainy spring following our frigid, snowy winter all the elements are present that could lead to sinking your boat.

Nothing ruins a planned day on the water like discovering your boat’s a submarine headed south.

Now that’s not fun for anyone. In an effort to prevent that from happening, here's our spring checklist.

Please, don't overlook even a teeny drip or leak, as a slight bit of wetness can turn into a problem that can be sink-capable if ignored long enough.


  •   Check every nook and cranny for water tightness; turn a hose on any spot that looks vulnerable.
  •   Inspect the hull for cracks, blisters, dings, and dents.
  •   Check and replace dried-out caulking around hatches and ports. 
  •   Ensure that thru-hull fittings are not corroded or cracked.
  •   Check engine coolant lines for proper fitting.
  •   Examine all shafts and readjust the stuffing box packing if necessary.
  •   Inspect the muffler and exhaust hose.
  •  Make sure that seacocks work properly and are not frozen open or shut.
  •  Clean debris from the scuppers.
  •   Be sure that the drain plug is properly installed.
  •   Confirm that the intake strainer is secure and corrosion-free.
  •   Replace all cracked or weak hoses for the head and air conditioning.
  •   Before you hook up to the dock’s fresh water system, ensure that fittings, clamps, and valves are tight and that the hose isn’t dried out.
  •   Check all thru-hull bolts, such as those securing the swim platform, speedometer, transducers, and struts.
  •   Check the out-drive unit of an inboard/outboard for damage or leaks.

Before you leave, check that all lines are intact and reinforce them as necessary. Hang out your fenders — you don’t want your boat banging into the dock during spring storms.

Finally, even if you don’t plan to start taking her out until Memorial Day or later, make it a regular practice your to visit your vessel and check the lines and look for signs of dampness.



Posted On: March 23, 2018


Boat insurance is flexible, from one that protects your assets in case of a liability claim against you to one that covers the majority of situations that could damage or destroy your boat. It's up to you.

If you're comfortable with risking the value of your boat, many companies offer you the option for a liability-only policy that doesn't insure physical damage to your boat at all but provides a specified amount of coverage for your liability to others in the event of an accident, as well as protection from uninsured boaters. I recommend checking this with your insurance agent before deciding. Even if your boat isn't worth very much, you should still consider liability insurance. A collision with a small powerboat can cause serious injuries, and even if you're not found liable for those injuries, it could cost a significant amount of money in legal fees to defend yourself against such claims.

Policies that cover liability only, with no hull coverage, can be significantly less expensive than full-coverage policies. If you have a homeowner's umbrella (or excess-liability) policy, it will usually require your boat policy to have certain minimum liability limits (typically $300,000, but sometimes as high as $500,000), and you should make sure there's no coverage gap.

Get quotes on several different types of policies will allow you to make an informed decision based on the coverage versus the cost.

Baes on an article published in Boat US Magazine



Posted On: March 19, 2018


Spring arrives on Tuesday. But come April and May, a strange illness sets in. It’s a phenomenon that poets have documented for centuries. In a flurry of psychological and sexual renewal, millions of men and women of the northern hemisphere experience rapid increases in mood and energy in stark contrast to the lows felt during winter time. But is this so-called spring fever a real biological phenomenon or have the poets simply led us all to believe in fairy tales?

What is spring fever?

Generally speaking, spring fever refers to an onset of psychological and physiological symptoms associated with the arrival of spring. Its symptoms include a flushed face, increased heart rate, restlessness, daydreaming, and, of course, an increase in sexual appetite.

While “spring fever” is not a definitive diagnostic term, researchers are only beginning to understand how the change in seasons influences our mood.

What causes spring fever?

Although the exact cause of spring fever is still unclear, scientists agree that hormones are probably the driving force behind all this feverish friskiness. (Who would have guessed?) But different stimulants trigger our hormones in different ways, and there are at least three well-known stimulants that come knocking in April.

Cause No. 1 — Light

When seasons change, the retina (the part of the eye connected to the brain) reacts to increases in the amount of daylight. This information is monitored by a tiny region of the brain known as the suprachiasmatic nucleus (SCN). Considered the human biological clock, the SCN controls the secretion of melatonin, the well-known sleep hormone. As light during the spring months increases, the body produces less melatonin, causing a lift in mood, a reduced desire to sleep and an increase in libido.

While this is probably the most accepted cause of spring fever, there are a few simpler explanations as to why spring gets us so sprung.

Cause No. 2 — Exercise

Warm weather increases physical activity. Combine physical activity with healthy rays of sunshine and you’ll see an immediate improvement in mood. Whether it’s because of an increase in endorphins (the “feel-good” hormone), vitamin D, blood flow, or some other biological marker, scientists have long known that exercise is just as good as any antidepressant in lifting our moods. But this doesn’t necessarily explain the gender-specific boost for male sex drives.

For that explanation, we need to get real basic.




Posted On: March 16, 2018

St Patrick's Day, on March 17, remembers one of Ireland’s patron saints, St Patrick. It largely celebrates Irish-American culture in the United States.

Celebrations concentrate on Irish themed parties, drinks and food. Many people get into the spirit by dressing in green clothing and eating green colored food. Irish clubs and pubs often hold parties or have special deals. Large street parades mark St Patrick's Day in many places.

Water is dyed green in public places in some towns. The most notable body of water that was dyed green was the Chicago River in 2005.

What's Open or Closed?

St Patrick's Day is not a federal holiday in the United States. Schools, businesses and organizations are open as usual. Public transport systems run on their regular schedules. There may be some local disruption to traffic due to St Patrick's Day parades. This is particularly true in cities with a large Irish-American population, including New York, New Orleans and Seattle. The parades may be on or around March 17, so it is a good idea to check local sources for the exact location, date and time.

About St Patrick's Day

St Patrick is one of Ireland's patron saints and many Americans with Irish ancestry remember him on March 17. Patrick's Day is fixed on March 17, but may occasionally be moved by Catholic Church authorities. This happened in 1940, so that the celebrations would not fall on Palm Sunday, and in 2008 to avoid Holy Monday, the last Monday before Easter Sunday.


The most common St Patrick's Day symbol is the shamrock. The shamrock is the leaf of the clover plant and a symbol of the Holy Trinity. Other symbols include:

  • Almost anything green.
  • The green, orange and white flag of the Republic of Ireland.
  • Brands of beer associated with Irish culture.

Religious symbols include snakes and serpents. Other symbols seen on St Patrick’s Day include the harp, which was used in Ireland for centuries, as well as the leprechaun and a pot of gold that it hides.



Posted On: March 12, 2018

Like everything else in Washington DC, the cherry blossoms too, are seemingly ready to jump ship.

The National Cherry Blossom Festival, which attracts 1.5 million people annually, runs through April 15. However, the peak bloom -- the day when 70% of the area's Yoshino Cherry Blossoms are open around the Tidal Basin -- is likely to come earlier than in previous years. The National Park Service has announced the cherry blossoms are expected to reach peak bloom from March 17 through March 20. That's in part due to a hotter-than-average February. Under normal conditions, peak bloom arrives sometime during the last week of March or the first week of April in the nation's capital.

The blooms of a cherry blossom last about two weeks from first bloom to falling off the tree. So, it's a relatively narrow window when you can see the trees in full bloom if the blooms even last that long. Michael Stachowicz, a National Park Service horticulturalist says that once the six-part process of blooming has begun, the trees are vulnerable to a freeze, which could cut the peak bloom short.



Posted On: March 09, 2018

SafeYacht opens up a professional dimension to the training of sport skippers.

Safebridge Launches SafeYacht

Posted by Michelle Howard 

 Safebridge, a Hamburg-based company training international commercial shipping navigators since 2009, with SafeYacht extends its portfolio to recreational boating. SafeYacht is a cross-platform application which uses the e-learning methodology as a unique feature and gives the access to the software of the final device.

More than a training software
A new online training enables sailors and motor boat drivers to deal with their navigation systems as thoroughly like professionals on large vessels. SafeYacht represents more than a limited training software on a laptop – it is both a stand-alone app and a web-based course permitting access to servers of hardware manufacturers B&G, Simrad and Lowrance. The user trains in “FreePlay” mode using the manufacturer’s original software.


Why a navigation course for multiple devices?
Modern electronics has made navigation safe, even at dead of night. However, navigation programs may contain error sources for those who do not master the technology. These error sources did not exist in the age of compass and sextant. One example is the spectacular grounding of the “Vestas Wind” racing yacht on a reef in the Indian Ocean which would have been obvious on a paper chart. The main idea of e-learning with SafeYacht is to learn and train on a system one has to deal with later on board. “Intuitive” trial by error on an unfamiliar chartplotter is made obsolete by the SafeYacht course. All common chartplotters are part of SafeYacht’s product range.

Professional navigation as a role model

Professional navigators – from captain to third officer – are allowed to report for duty on board only after providing evidence of a training having prepared them for the navigation system on their vessel’s bridge.

On most vessels, these so-called ECDIS (Electronic Chart Display and Information System) have meanwhile replaced paper charts on board, however, technical requirements are strict. Thus hard- and software must be available twice, and bridge personnel needs to be specially trained for the respective systems. This may be done online or via distance learning, since navigators are often still at sea or abroad while preparing for their next duty on board with an updated ECDIS.

Even if the same programs are often running on different systems their application needs to be trained on the hardware. When first leaving port, each move has to be perfect – there is no time for testing.

Since 2009, Safebridge GmbH offers certified training for professional navigators all over the world. During the training simulators and ECDIS are accessed online. These training always include a remote test with which the course is successfully completed.

The SafeYacht course

With SafeYacht professional instructors launch their training for sport skippers. The course provides a (voluntary) test which determines the trainee’s level of knowledge. The entire knowledge which belongs to the operation of the chartplotter is repeated in individual units, including three hours of video animation. Each unit may be repeated any number of times. Written text is offered in addition to the animated screen, and units may be downloaded and saved. A glossary is available as well. The trainee may therefore train offline and when online will access the server where a virtual chartplotter with the manufacturer’s software can be operated, Safeyacht is learning by doing.




Posted On: March 05, 2018

How To Stop A Boat From Sinking

By Michael Vatalaro

Quick action — and these three items — can keep your boat afloat in an emergency

Putting Archimedes' "Eureka!" moment aside, a boat can be said to float because there's more water on the outside than on the inside. And while the concept of displacement might baffle some of us, it's a safe bet that every boater knows when the water on the outside starts becoming water on the inside, something has to be done, and quickly. Here are three ways to stop a sudden leak, before your boat ends up looking more like Archimedes' bathtub.

Cram It: TruPlug

Designed as a replacement for traditional wooden bungs, which often need to be hammered into place to staunch the flow of water, TruPlug is made from closed-cell foam, the elastic type that springs back into shape after you compress it. Like foam earplugs, TruPlug is designed to be installed by hand.

Yes, in a perfect world, should a hose pop off your raw-water intake, you'd just close the seacock. But in reality, these valves are frequently neglected and stuck in the open position. Or perhaps, in a truly disastrous turn of events, a heavy battery or piece of equipment breaks loose and shears off an aged, corroded, or fatigued seacock. In such a case, you'd be glad to have the flexibility of TruPlug's foam, which can conform to somewhat irregular shapes.

But you don't have to imagine a worst-case scenario to find a reason to keep this $20 item in your toolkit. The plastic "mushroom"-style thru-hulls through which scuppers, bilge pumps, and livewells drain overboard are notorious for cracking and leaking after years of UV abuse. Having a plug handy to jam into one of these openings might just get you back to the dock without having to bail all the way home.

Wrap It: Rescue Tape

I've had an engine-cooling hose burst while underway. It's not pretty. When I opened the engine-compartment hatch, water — under pressure from the engine's circulating pump — was spraying from a gash in the hose all over the engine compartment. The boat in question was a twin-engine cabin cruiser, so the solution was to shut down the port engine and continue on one engine. But if I'd had Rescue Tape aboard, I could've wrapped up the busted hose and been back underway at normal speed.

Rescue tape is self-amalgamating silicone. It comes with clear backing that you have to peel back as you go. To repair a leak, stretch and wrap the tape over the hose and itself, overlapping each wrap by about half. Don't be shy on the stretching — the tighter you pull the wraps, the better the seal. Using the tape to cover an extra few inches on either side of the leak should allow you to seal just about any leaking hose or pipe in an emergency, even high-pressure hydraulic lines. However do read the packaging for limitations, such as for common rail pipes or pipes from injector pumps to injectors. For $10 to $12 per roll, this tape is cheap insurance.

Mend It: Epoxy Sticks

These epoxy putties can be mixed by hand to create a self-hardening patch for repairing small holes or gashes in the hull or an outdrive. They even cure underwater, though you may have to hold it in place for 5 to 10 minutes to give it time to set up. It's easier to find uses for this type of repair tool when your boat is out of the water. But if your boating takes you to remote places or you value self-reliance, throw a $24 package of this in the toolbox just in case.