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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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Help Prevent Drowning with These Tips

  Drowning prevention is hands-down the most important thing to learn when you do anything around water. It doesn’t matter if you’re swimming, fishing, or boating. Drowning prevention is something everyone needs to be aware of. Water safety has to be our first priority at all times. Taking a first aid course is probably 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

Choosing the right boat fuel for your boat takes some effort. It’s not as simple as rolling up to the gas station and filling your tank. The environmental protection agency has certain requirements for boat fuel. This includes rules about hydrocarbon emissions. You need to know what kind of fuel your boat engine takes. That…

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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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Trailer Without Tears

If youÂ’re one of the legions of trailer sailors, you know the advantages of having your boat in your driveway or storage yard instead of in a slip or on a mooring. Storms are not likely to be a concern and bottom paint is of only academic interest. With these conveniences though, are other concerns….

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Keeping Station

“Keeping station” refers to holding a position in the water – not moving relative to the land – and here we’re talking about staying still without being secured to a dock or anchored to the bottom. We hold the boat in place by piloting it at (not “to”) a certain spot without making any “way”,…

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But I Don’t Want To Be In Charge!

As a friend of mine once said, the only thing better than owning a nice boat is having a good friend who owns one. None of the headaches, none of the problems, none of the responsibility but all the fun when asked out to enjoy the water. But what happens when your friend, the owner…

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How Current Is Your Chart?

An Update on NOAA Take a look in your chart table and look at the date on the charts that you are using. My guess is that many are two, three, five or maybe even years older. Do you religiously check the weekly Local Notice to Mariners to update your chart for changes in aides…

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Towing for fun

“Hey there! Can yaÂ’ gimme a pull?” HeÂ’s got the cover off his outboard, his buddy and their wives (?) are sitting with glum expressions on the gunÂ’ls. Yours is the only other boat in the area so thereÂ’s no chance that heÂ’s hollering at someone else, and although you had been planning on a…

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DOCUMENTING YOUR BOAT — PROS AND CONS

WHICH VESSELS MUST BE DOCUMENTED? With a few exceptions, all vessels of 5 or more net tons which are used in coastwise trade, Great Lakes trade, or the fisheries, on the navigable waters of the U.S. or the Exclusive Economic Zone must be documented. A commercial vessel of 5 or more net tons engaged in…

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Nautical Charts

In order to kick off the new Nautical Know How Coastal Navigation Course we thought it might be appropriate to give some information on the nautical chart. The following information has been compiled from U.S. Government web sites for the Office of Coast Survey, the National Ocean Service and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration….

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Solo Sailing: Everything You Need to Know

If you’re serious about sailing then you likely have tried solo sailing. Heading out on the water by yourself, just you and the sea. It can be fun and exhilarating. It’s also a challenge and potentially dangerous. But is it even legal? Sailors like Yannick Lemonnier and Robin Knox Johnston would say it is. They’ve…

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Beware!! The Hazards of Ice

TWO BOYS, age 11, are ice skating at a local pond. Suddenly, the ice cracks and one boy falls through into 34 degree Fahrenheit water. His friend runs to his aid, and potential tragedy grows as the second boy is pulled into the ice cold water by the panic stricken child already in the water….

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Estimating Time of Arrival

Some people don’t like to live by a schedule. They come and go whenever. Making a plan is often difficult with someone like this. You want to have dinner, and they come over whenever. If you’re serious about boating, this won’t work. You need to understand how to calculate an estimated time of arrival. Also,…

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Recent Questions about Trailering Your Boat

How do you measure tongue weight? The easiest way I know for a Class 1 hitch (Up to 2,000 lb. Gross trailer weight (GTW) and 200 lb., tongue weight) is to use your bathroom scales. (It is best to do this when your wife is out shopping.) Once you have adjusted the weight distribution of…

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Bridge Procedures

Traveling the inland waterways can be a pleasant experience but can also bring some special challenges especially for larger boats and sailboats. Dealing with draw bridges takes some knowledge of how the system works and knowing what you are looking for, especially at night. Nautical charts only tell you that there is a bridge and…

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Anchor Bend Knot Step 9

How To Tie An Anchor Bend Knot

Learning how to tie an Anchor Bend Knot is an essential part of boating. If you’ve ever wanted to drop an anchor, you’re going to need to know how to securely fasten that anchor to a line. A regular knot won’t cut it either. Since anchors are responsible for keeping your boat safe and secure,…

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A Scrape in the Dark

A Scrape in the Dark Contributed by Bill Wallace It is a horrible feeling to wake up at 3:00 am after spending the day on the water and finding a perfect anchoring spot, only to realize that the winds have picked up just a little bit and dragged your boat against another nearby boat, or…

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Procedure for Abandoning Ship

The decision to abandon ship is usually very difficult. In some instances, people have perished in their life raft while their abandoned vessel managed to stay afloat. Other cases indicate that people waited too long to successfully get clear of a floundering boat. Once the decision is made: Put on all available waterproof clothing, including…

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Prevent Outboard Breakdowns with Simple Maintenance

Prevent Outboard Breakdowns with Simple Maintenance Keeping your outboard in tip-top shape can be done even if you’re not a mechanic. There is nothing worse than trying to run to shore to flee an incoming storm and hearing that all-too-familiar cough and sputter from the outboard. More often than not, just a little TLC and…

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Operating Your Boat in accordance with Homeland Security Measures

In light of security measures brought about by the events of September 11, 2001, it is critical that all boaters be aware of and comply with homeland security measures set forth by federal, state and local governments. These should include, but are not limited to, keeping a safe prescribed distance from military and commercial ships…

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The Basics of Boat Maneuvering

  What is the most intimidating part of boating? Some might say the costs, but let’s assume that’s not an issue. Learning how to captain the boat. Maneuvering a boat is not like maneuvering any vehicle on land. It is a completely different process. This can be hard for some boaters to get a hold…

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The Basics of Dressing Ship

  The nautical term of dressing ship, to dress ship, or dressing overall can be confusing. This ritual is often reserved for military vessels. It can also apply to recreational vessels such as yachts. Even cruise ships may dress ship. It’s a process of decorating a ship for a celebration. You would dress a ship…

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Boating in Heavy Weather – Part I

Preparation For Heavy Weather This week’s tip is all about preparing yourself for heavy weather. If you have kept a proper lookout, developed a “weather eye” and monitored the weather on your VHF radio, you should have plenty of time to get prepared. Obviously, the best way to handle rough weather is to get to…

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