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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

How Locks Work

Locks are used to move boats between bodies of water that have different levels. This example, the St. Lucie Lock, is one in a series of five locks that allow boats to traverse the Okeechobee Waterway across the State of Florida from Stuart to Ft. Myers. When going east to west, you are lifted up…

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But I Don’t Want To Be In Charge! (Continued)

The last article focused on suddenly finding yourself in charge of a small outboard vessel, but what if the owner/skipper is suddenly injured, becomes ill or falls overboard on an inboard boat or, worse yet, a large inboard twin engine. Once again, you were just along for the ride, you don’t know anything about the…

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Adventures in Galveston Bay

My husband and I own a small trawler. It’s a 34 footer, with a single 135 hp Ford Lehman diesel and a 4.5 kW generator. We draw 4 feet, and carry radar, 2 Lorans, and 2 VHF radios, plus some other assorted equipment. My husband, Reggy, has been sailing for over 35 years. I am…

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PRE-DEPARTUREÂ FLOAT PLAN

PRE-DEPARTURE FLOAT PLAN Owner’s Name Propulsion: Outboard I/O Inboard Single Screw Twin Screw Outboard Gas I/O & Inbd. Gas Diesel Address Boat Name Engine Type Boat Type/ Length Departure/ Destination Points Boat Color Route Safety Equip. (Beyond Req.) Expected Return Date & Time Date/Time to call search Phone# of Local U.S.C.G. Station If trailering: Automobile License…

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Clean Boating – How to do Your Part

Environmental Concerns: Petroleum in or on the water is harmful and, in some cases, fatal to aquatic life. Benzene, a carcinogen, is in gasoline. Oil contains zinc, sulfur, and phosphorous. Once petroleum is introduced into the water, it may float at the surface, evaporate into the air, become suspended in the water column or settle…

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What Accident Statistics Reveal

While doing some research for National Safe Boating Week, we ran across some interesting statistics. The following chart lists the states with the most boating accidents, according to the USCG Office of Boating Safety. Unfortunately, Florida has a commanding lead, with California second. This is probably understandable because of the vast amount of shoreline these…

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Navigating Inlets

Arguably, one of the most dangerous locations that a small boat can be located is in the jaws of an ocean inlet with a strong onshore wind and a maximum ebb tidal current. The waves become greater in height and shorter in period. These conditions are very dangerous for all vessels, especially the smaller ones….

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Marine Fire Prevention and Control

Classifications of Fire In order to successfully put out a fire, you need to use the most suitable type of extinguishing agent—one that will do the job in the least amount of time, cause the least amount of damage and result in the least danger to crew members. The job of picking the proper agent…

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Fires on PWC

FIRE! although fires in PWCÂ’s do not occur often, they are something we can help avoid and be prepared for. Fire is known as combustion and is defined as a rapid reaction between a combustible fuel and oxygen producing energy in the form of heat and light. Simply speaking this provides the energy to move…

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Semi-annual Safety Checklist

Personal Flotation Devices (PFDs) As part of your pre-departure inspection of PFD s check for wear or abrasion, weak or torn seams, secure straps and buckles. Some types of PFDs are equipped with inflation devices; check to be sure cartridges are secure and charged. Fire Extinguishers Do you have all required quantities and types of…

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How big a boat can I handle by myself?

A question that I get almost monthly deals with how large a boat can one handle on their own. I thought that the answer might be of interest to those of you who are continually looking for some way to spoil an otherwise nice day. One version of the question and the answer follows. Capt…

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“Boat Smart from the Start. Wear Your Life Jacket.”

  Americans are increasingly heading to the water for recreation and relaxation as the opportunities for on-the-water activities increase each year. With this growth comes additional responsibility. It is essential that both novice and experienced boaters alike practice safe boating habits, such as wearing a life jacket. This year’s theme “Boat Smart From the Start….

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Docking Tips Continued . . .

“. . . I just bought a pontoon boat and struggle with putting it in the slip, any comments or suggestions?? Unfortunately, I am in the middle of the rows of slips so I can not just taxi in but must make a hard right turn. I keep bumping into the slips on the next…

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Boat Insurance – What You Need to Know

HAVING BOAT INSURANCE CAN HELP CALM THE WATERS IF AN ACCIDENT OCCURS The weather is ideal for setting sail on the open seas. But before you leave on your voyage, it is important to make sure you have insurance for your boat and your liability. In recent years, boat insurance has become harder to find,…

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Hurricane Tips From a Liveaboard

Here ‘hurricanes’ are called typhoons. What ever they are, I always am very apprehensive when they are on their way. Below is a list of precautions I have learned over 30 years of boating. Tie down or remove loose objects. Wrap lines around sail covers to prevent ballooning. Stay, if possible, on a secure mooring…

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Drug Testing

In order to protect the boating public, and passengers in particular, Congress has mandated that licensed mariners be subject to drug testing. Consequently, maritime employers are required to establish and implement random testing programs. This means that every licensed seaman must randomly test drug-free or face losing his/her license. The Code of Federal Regulations says:…

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Running Aground

Despite all efforts to stay off shoals, beaches, or rocks, groundings do happen. It is said that there are only three kinds of skippers, those who have run aground, those who will run aground, and those that have but won’t admit it. It is important that every boater be prepared for such an event with…

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Abandon Ship Bag

While it may come as a surprise to some, by now most boaters realize that the survival equipment stocked in most life rafts, even rafts designed to meet SOLAS requirements, is often inadequate, sometimes woefully so. In many cases not only is the selection and quantity a problem, but the quality of the equipment and…

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Hurricane Preparation

Images of death and destruction are easily conjured within our minds when hearing the word ” Hurricane! ” Due to his or her vulnerability, the mariner’s images are even more vivid and threatening. This is probably true due to the fact that hurricane conditions have a tremendous effect upon the ocean. The ocean is no…

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Rules of the Road Summarized

Collisions between boats are one of the most dangerous and frequently occurring mishaps on our nations waters. These collisions not only result in vessel damage but often result in serious personal injury or death. Often the collision will result in people on board being thrown overboard by the force of the impact. Avoiding collisions on…

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Help Prevent Drowning with These Tips

Here are a few basic anti-drowning tips: Most people who die in aquatic accidents – boating/swimming – succumb to drowning. Most drownings result from three major factors -inability to swim, effects of relatively cold water, and alcohol. Most drownings occur 10 feet or less from safety, and roughly 60 percent of the time another person…

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Vessel Cleaning: Alternatives to Toxic Products

Product Alternative Bleach Borax Detergent & Soap Elbow grease Scouring Powders Baking soda, or rub area with one-half lemon dipped in borax, then rinse General Cleaner Baking soda and vinegar, or lemon juice combined with borax paste Floor Cleaner One cup vinegar in 2 gallons of water Window Cleaner One cup vinegar + 1 qt….

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Navigation Lights – Sidelights

During factory and boat show inspections we have observed that many manufacturers of recreational boats do not have a good understanding of the navigation rules governing proper installation of navigation lights. The requirements are found in the Navigation Rules, International-Inland, and in Parts 81, 84 and 89 of Title 33, Code of Federal Regulations. The…

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Seasickness

“What can you say about Seasickness? Not much when you’re seasick.” By Bob Pone The sport of yachting must have been invented by a Dutchman. According to a 1992 Forbes Magazine story on the America’s Cup competition, the word “yacht” comes from the Dutch verb “jacht.” The translation means “to throw up violently.” Seasickness is…

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Maritime Environmental Regulations

USCG STATION FORT PIERCE MONTHLY BOATING SAFETY ARTICLE BY: J. W. KRZENSKI, CWO2, USCG COMMANDING OFFICER MARPOL ANNEX V Besides our search and rescue mission Coast Guard Station Fort Pierce is responsible for enforcing all federal laws and regulations on our coastal waters. These regulations include the interdiction of drugs and other illegal contraband, as…

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Taking Bearings On a Small Boat

Taking Bearings On a Small Boat Accurate bearings are critical to small boat positioning. Small boats’ freeboards and shallow drafts greatly increase the ratio of drift to advance when underway and the possibility of dragging anchor. Following are methods for taking bow-on, compass, hand bearing compass and relative bearings. I will also discuss use of…

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My Home Dock

My home dock, assigned by my friend, the local Harbour Master, has, by virtue of its difficulty, made me a better boater. I have no choice but to try to hone my skills on every docking. The ‘HM’ expresses no interest in my anxiety level (or my crew’s), nor in how many close calls we…

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All About Fuel and Your Boat

How much do you need? How much fuel you need to carry depends on the design of your boat and the intended use. In a sailing vessel, for instance, a 50 gallon tank of diesel feeding a 25 hp auxiliary engine cursing at 80 percent of top speed could propel a 33 foot sailboat 300…

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EPIRBs – Safety at Sea

Today is the fourth day at sea on your 50 foot commercial fishing vessel. Your fish hold is almost full. After another good day of fishing you and your crew will be able to head to the fish house with a profitable catch. It has been a long day of back-breaking work and now it’s…

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Quick Sailing Tips and Techniques

I like to begin my first sailing lesson by explaning that there are three basic rules that MUST be followed to be a successful sailor or crew member. They are simple rules and easy to remember. Rule 1: When handling halyards, make sure that: both ends of the halyard are in your hands one end…

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