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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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The History of Ship Figureheads

One of the most striking and prominent features on any old ship is the ship figurehead. A carved figure displayed prominently on the bow, these ornamental displays are iconic. Their origins stretch back further than some might think. And their meaning and purpose is multi-fold. These figureheads were symbolic, hence the name. But they were…

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The Niña, the Pinta and the Santa Maria

Most schoolchildren learn the tale of Christopher Columbus and his historic voyage across the ocean. The story has evolved over time to take a more realistic and practical view of the trip. Gone are they days when people thought Columbus thought the world was flat. But there’s one part of the story that not enough…

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Hull Speed Calculator and Waterline Length

  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 the water touched and then…

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Knots to Miles Per Hour: Understanding Boat Speed

  One of the hardest things for new boaters to understand is speed on the water. We’re very used to miles per hour on land. But on the water there are nautical miles and knots. How and why are they different? Let’s take a look. Calculating Knots to Miles Per Hour One knot equals roughly…

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Your Guide to Bringing Pets on Board Your Boat

Interested in taking your cat on a boat? Do dogs on boats do well? Many boaters have managed to take their furry family members out for a trip at sea. Cats and dogs have been a part of boating for many long years. But you do need to be properly prepared. And remember, not every…

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Do I Have to Wear a PFD?

Christa from Illinois asks, “Do I always have to wear my PFD?” The easy answer to that question is that Illinois has a law that says anyone 13 or younger must wear a PFD when underway on a boat. Also, a Federal law requires that children 12 and under must wear a PFD when onboard…

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Why Does a Boat Plane?

In technical terms, planing means that your boat is being supported by hydrodynamic lift instead of buoyancy. Boats typically, but not always, rely on one or the other when in motion. Buoyancy, or hydrostatic lift, is what keeps you afloat in a displacement hull vessel. But a planing hull relies on hydrodynamic lift instead. When…

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How are flat charts and maps made of our round planet?

Sailors need accurate charts to find their way around the seas. The trouble is, nobody can make a perfect chart because the earth is a large ball and charts are drawn on paper, which is flat. You need to know a few things before you can understand how this problem has been tackled, so here…

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