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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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1997 U.S. Boating Accident Figures Highest Ever

Jan. 11, 1999, WASHINGTON —The recently released U.S. Coast Guard Recreational Boating Accident Report Database (BARD) shows 8,044 accidents occurred in 1997, the most ever reported by the United States, five U.S. territories and the District of Columbia. According to the database, the casualty data for 1997 show 819 fatalities, nearly $29 million in property…

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When Are You Required to File a BOATING ACCIDENT REPORT?

You’ve just enjoyed a beautiful day of boating and are now enroute to the boat ramp. As you approach the ramp your throttle gets stuck in forward causing you to collide with the dock. Your boat receives $2050.00 worth of fiberglass hull damage but, thankfully, no one was injured. Are you required to submit an…

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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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Trim/Tilt for Outboards and Inboard/Outboards (I/Os)

Al asks: “Are there any articles addressing Out Drive tilt/trim?” Many outboards and most inboard/outboards (I/Os) come equipped with power trim which raises or lowers the drive unit. In this case the term “trim” refers to the running position of the engine drive unit. Although most people know that the trimming movement raises and lowers…

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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

In the news recently was a report of a man who was tubing getting severely injured when his leg was hit by the propeller of the boat that was pulling him. That urged me to remind all boaters of the danger of propeller strikes. Did you know? A typical three-blade propeller running at 3,200 rpm can…

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Crew Overboard

You are operating a powerboat on a fair sea when a crew member falls overboard on the port side. You should take a hard turn to the _______? Boats react differently than cars and actually are steered from the stern and rotate around a pivot point. This pivot point is approximately one-third of the way…

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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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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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