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About Chris

Early days of fishing and wakeboarding boats. These days a little more relaxing and sailing time, mostly on catamarans. Still too poor be a yacht man.

Articles by Chris

Marlinespike – Hitches – Cleat Hitch

Take the line to the ear of the cleat furthest from where the line comes from (the load). Take one wrap around the base of the cleat and then start a figure eight across the top of the opposite ear. Finish with a half hitch turned under so that the line is coming away from…

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Marlinespike – Rope Breaking Strength

Each type of line, natural fiber, synthetic and wire rope, have different breaking strengths and safe working loads. Natural breaking strength of manila line is the standard against which other lines are compared. Synthetic lines have been assigned “comparison factors” against which they are compared to manila line. The basic breaking strength factor for manila…

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Marlinespike – Hitches – Clove Hitch

Used to temporarily tie to a piling, this knot can come loose. You may add a couple of half hitches to make it more permanent. This knot is simply two loops with an end tucked under.     If you can reach the top of the piling, an alternative way to tie a clove hitch…

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Marlinespike – Knots to Know

As mentioned earlier, if you are planning to take the USCG license exam you will not be expected to actually tie knots, however, you will find several questions concerning the names of knots and their intended use. Following is a graphic that you may see when taking the exam and you will be asked to…

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Marlinespike – Rope Materials

There are many materials used today to make rope; synthetic fiber, natural fiber and wire. The most popular is nylon, a synthetic. It is strong, holds up well to the weather and stress, and coils without kinking. Line is also made from natural fibers like cotton and hemp (manila), and other synthetic fibers such as…

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Bowline – “The Boater’s King of Knots”

If you’re only going to learn one knot this season, here it is. The bowline is a very versatile knot. It is used to form a temporary loop in a line which may then be put over a piling or cleat. It can also be used to attach a line to an eye. This knot…

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Marlinespike – Useful Knots and Hitches for Boaters

Bowline Anchorbend Sheepshank Cleat Hitch Clove Hitch Round Turn & 2 Half Hitches

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Marlinespike – Hitches – Sheepshank

A sheepshank can be used to shorten a length of rope or to take the strain off a worn area of rope. The worn area must be in the center turn of the knot so that the tightened outer turns bear the weight. Start with three crossing turns that are all in the same direction….

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Marlinespike – Rope Safe Working Load

Knowing the maximum safe working load for line can help prevent accidents and tragedies. You should never stress a line anywhere near its breaking strength. As line is spliced, stretched, wears, is subjected to sustained loads, shock loads, loads of many times the recommended working load, subjected to great heat or ultraviolet light for long…

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Willy, age 11, from Connecticut asks: What is the history of marlinespike?

This is a very good question Willy!  Marlinespike is the art of seamanship that includes the tying of various knots, splicing lines, working with cable or wire rope and even making decorative ornaments from rope or line. The name marlinespike is derived from the tool that is used for splicing lines. It can be a…

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Bowline

Knots! Bowline “The King of Knots!” Used to form a temporary loop in a line. (So you can throw it over a piling, for example.)

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Anthony, age 10, from Connecticut asks: Why is the Bedford Buoy red and white?

Great question Anthony! Although I don’t have an available nautical chart of this area, a red and white vertically striped marker indicates a fairway or safewater marker. Usually this is found at the entrance to an inlet or other body of water when returning from sea. Many times these will be designated as MO(A) buoys….

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Kid’s Korner

Kid’s Korner Alex Does It Again! During the Club N�utico de San Juan, Puerto Rico Tournament held last November 4th and 5th, Alejandro Manuel Rosas-Salgado (Alex) won two first place trophies for kids and came in second among adult anglers, for a total of 3 trophies. This annual tournament is held for San Juan Club…

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What is Hydrodynamic Effect?

Our friend Arman asks us to clarify a term that was used in the BoatSafe.com contest. The situation was that a large passenger ferry was overtaking a pleasure yacht and, because they were in a narrow channel, the ferry passed very close to the passenger vessel. Because of the “hydrodynamic effect” and the suction of…

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Daniel asks “Why is it hard to back the boat trailer?”

For many boaters, the hardest part of trailering is backing up. You donÂ’t have to be a master truck driver to do this. You do need to remember a few simple rules. The most important of which is; you have to be able to see the trailer. This might mean putting extended mirrors on the…

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Stuff to Have on Your Small Boat

Even if your boat is very small and moves by oars or sail, you want to be prepared to help yourself or others. Here is a minimum list of stuff to take with you on your boat. Required! At least one PFD (life jacket) for everyone onboard. Always wear your PFD when in your boat….

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Round Turn and Two Half Hitches

Knots! Round Turn and Two Half Hitches To permanently and securely tie a line to something, such as a piling.

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Required Equipment for Boats

U. S. COAST GUARD MINIMUM REQUIREMENTS FOR RECREATIONAL VESSELS EQUIPMENT Less than 16ft/4.9m 16 to less than 26 ft/7.9m 26 to less than 40 ft/12.2m 40 to not more than 65 ft/19.8m Personal Flotation Devices (PFDs) One approved Type I, II, III or V(must be worn) PFD for each person on board or being towed…

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How do you save someone who falls overboard in a boat that is moving quite fast? If you don’t know how drive.

Lauren, you have posed a very important question. I only hope that you are asking as a preventative measure and that you were not presented with this problem. First, let me emphasize some things to remember. If a boat in which you are riding is going fast enough that a person could potentially be tossed…

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Parents get help at BoatSafeKids

Parents get help at BoatSafeKids Frank writes: My son is reading 20,000 Leagues Under The Sea and asked me what distance a league is. Also, he wanted to know what the water pressure per square inch per foot of depth under water is. Your help would be greatly appreciated. A league is a measurement of…

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Joshua asks: Where does the term figure head come from?

The figure head is the carved ornamental and painted figure erected on the bow of ships. The origin of the figure head in the early days of seagoing was twofold; a mixture of religious symbolism and the treatment of the ship as a living thing. Early sailors thought the figure head would please the sea…

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Clove Hitch

Clove Hitch To temporarily tie a line to something. But be careful – it can come loose!

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Why are Life Jackets Orange?

Orange is a great color for life jackets because it is a very bright color that you rarely find in nature. If you are trying to rescue someone who has fallen overboard, you need to be able to see them. If they are wearing a bright orange life jacket you will be better able to…

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A Visit to the Niña

A Visit to the Niña You probably know the story of Christopher Columbus and the Niña, the Pinta and the Santa Maria. If you get the chance to see this reproduction of the Ni�a, now a “sailing museum”, you’ll be very surprised at how small these vessels were. It’s hard to imagine that anyone would…

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Corey Asks: Why is a having fire extinguisher on your boat a rule when there is alot of water around the boat to put out the fire?

Corey, that is a great question. Although there is a lot of water around the boat, not all fires can or should be put out with water. Fire Extinguishers are classified by letters and numbers according to the class and size fire they can put out. The letter, (A, B, C, or D) indicates the…

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Cleat Hitch

  Cleat Hitch For attaching a line to a cleat on the dock or on the boat.  

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Classes of Boats

Whenever you leave the dock or put your boat in the water, you are required by law to have safety equipment onboard. The equipment you need depends upon the size of your boat and what makes it go. Boats are catagorized by class, based upon their length overall: less than 16 feet 16 feet to…

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Find the Boating Words in the Flag!

  Can you find these words in the flag above? ANCHOR KNOTS OUTBOARD BUOY LIFEJACKET SKIPPER DOCK NAVIGATION WHISTLE HELM

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Square Knot

  Square Knot For tying two lines together or tying something down.  

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Nathan asks: Please explain the term waterline length. Does this length of a boat affect how fast a boat can go?

That is a very good question. Waterline length is the length of the boat from bow to stern where it sits in the water. In other words, as it floats in the water if you were to mark the point on the bow where the water touched and marked the point on the stern where…

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