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Heavy Weather Boat Handling – Part 2

Boat Handling Under Adverse Conditions Some of the most challenging conditions you may encounter as a skipper are the adverse conditions of “Heavy Weather.” The size of your boat does not have much to do with its seaworthiness. How it will handle adverse conditions is more or less built in during the design and construction….

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GPS Overview – The Sky’s The Limit

What is GPS? GPS, or Global Positioning System, is a satellite-based navigation system developed by the U.S. Department of Defense to provide a consistent, accurate method of simplifying navigation. It was originally designed for the military, however, it provides both commercial and recreational users 24 hour, worldwide navigation coverage with a possible accuracy to 15…

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A Little Boating Humor

An Open Letter To My Creditors Dear Banks and/or Credit Unions to whom I owe money, I have started down that slippery slope to bankruptcy and thought you might appreciate it if I gave you plenty of advance notice. Granted, this may not happen for a while, but I didnÂ’t want it to be a…

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PRE-DEPARTURE CHECK LIST

Heading out on the water should be fun. Whether you are going to take your vessel out for fishing or just to sail. Make a pre-departure checklist part of your boating trip routine. It doesn’t need to take a lot of time. Doing so can save a lot of hassle, however. Going over a pre-departure…

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Sample Float Plan

Sample Float Plan Name of vessel’s operator: Telephone Number: Name of Vessel: Registration No.: Description of Vessel: Type: Make: Color of Hull: Color of Trim: Most distinguishing identifiable feature: Rafts/Dinghies: Number:________ Size:_______ Color:_______ Radio: Type: __________________ Frequencies Monitored: _______________ Number of persons onboard: Name: Age: Address & Telephone: Note: List additional passengers on back. Engine…

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What You Need to Know About Day Shapes

  Communication with other vessels is essential on the water. The use of day shapes is how you can ensure that you are able to communicate what you were doing to other boats. Likewise, they can communicate with you important information. Masthead light and running lights can only be seen at night, don’t forget. What…

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Your Boat’s Aground – What Now?

What do you do when you find yourself aground with the potential of being set further aground as the tide rises? We had lots of good responses to last week’s question. Many of you had good, logical ideas that I have put together here. Shut off engine to prevent sucking in mud. If in a…

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Preventable Tragedy

A recent tragic accident prompts this reminder about boating and alcohol. Two boaters, out for a day of fishing, were returning to the boat ramp to load up for the day. Less than one-half mile from the ramp they ran into a channel marker. Both men were thrown from the boat. One man survived, the…

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Float Plans Save Lives

You have decided to go offshore for a day of fishing in your 25 foot boat. The winds and seas are calm. It is an absolutely gorgeous day with temperatures reaching the high 70Â’s. The day just keeps getting better. The fishing is great. YouÂ’re pulling them in one right after another. The sun is…

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Safe Navigation Information

Statistics have repeatedly demonstrated that accidents and deaths are significantly reduced when boating education is increased. Every boater should be encouraged to take a recognized boating safety course. Some boat insurance companies actually provide discounts for completion of these courses. Please call the U.S. Coast Guard’s Customer Service Hotline at (800)-368-5647 to determine the location…

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Prevention of Torso Reflex and the Proper Use of the Stearns’ Cold Water/Ice Rescue Suit

The purpose of this article is to describe the proper use and application of the Stearns Cold Water/ Ice Rescue Suit by Fire, Rescue, and other Public Safety Personnel during cold water and ice rescue incidents. This article has been specifically written to address the prevention of Torso Reflex or Inhalation Response during the rescuer’s…

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Docking Stern To

Stern To — by Charles T. Low, author of Boat Docking for Boat Safe Stern to docking has many advantages over docking with the bow in towards land. In many boats, it’s just easier to load gear and get on and off from the cockpit than over the bow. Although docking this way is commonly done, it’s also…

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Boating Accidents: What You Need to Know and Do

Statistics show that recreational boating accidents have been decreasing for the last 20 years. There were 4168 boating accidents logged by the U.S. Coast Guard in 2019. That included 2559 injuries and 613 boating fatalities. In the year 2000 there were 7740 boating accidents and 701 boating fatalities. So while accidents have decreased, boating fatalities…

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Don’t Get Hooked!

“Hey! Fishing Season Is Just Around The Corner” Hi boaters! It’s time to start cleaning your lures and sharpening those hooks. This year might prove to be a great one. There’s a lot of fish out there just waiting to be snagged and sometimes, fingers, hands, arms, legs thighs, knees and an occasional rear end….

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Vicki and Ray’s First Bareboating Adventure

11/27 Thanksgiving Day We start our journey to the beautiful British Virgin Islands at the Austin, Robert Mueller Airport at 8:52 a.m. The anticipation of taking out a sailboat on the open ocean the next day built throughout the day. Although we change planes twice, it’s an uneventful trip and we arrive in Tortola at…

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Marine Battery Saver

This is an empirical article based on 10 years of cruising experience, with no technical verification. WARNING: if you are not competent in 12 volt marine wiring practices you should have a professional installer perform this installation. The deep cycle batteries or battery banks usually found in cruising boats were designed for deep cycling. This…

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Weather 101 – What Clouds Tell Recreational Boaters

You wouldn’t leave the dock without first checking the local weather forecast. You can get weather information from TV, radio, your VHF radio and on the Internet (see Safety Links above). While on the water, your VHF radio is the best source for weather warnings. Even so, at certain times of the year weather can…

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Operating in Reduced Visibility

Boating during the fall can bring special challenges for the mariner. In addition to the need to be aware of reduced temperatures which can lead to hypothermia , you also at times have to deal with reduced visibility.   Fog is the primary cause of reduced visibility, but haze, heavy rain and snow all present…

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Understanding the Danger of Propeller Strikes

Often when discussing boat safety one aspect is overlooked. Boat propeller safety is something any boater needs to be aware of. 18% of boating fatalities are caused by propeller accidents. For that reason, understanding what a propeller is and how it works is important. Because of hydrodynamic forces, a person in the water come in…

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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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Why You Need a Float Plan

  When making plans to head out on a boat we often put a lot of effort into thinking what’s going to come with us. The important things that you need to have on your boat. You need to make sure the radio works. Also that you’ve got extra fuel, you have life jackets, all…

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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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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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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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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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