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Do You Need a Captain’s License?

Do You Need a Captain’s License? And what is a passenger for hire? We have received several emails asking about the necessity of having a captain’s license. One such email described a situation that follows: “A friend of mine was boarded by the Marine Police and the Coast Guard while fishing on the Chesapeake Bay….

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Visual Distress Signals

Visual Distress Signals The most common method that a mariner uses to notify the Coast Guard that they are in distress is via their marine VHF-FM radio. I strongly encourage all boaters to have a radio on board their vessel, especially if their boating activities take them offshore. During the past year Coast Guard Station…

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Everything You Need to Know About Distress Signals

Understanding what distress signals are, as well as when and how to use them is integral for boating. Rule 37 in the Rules of the Road states: “When a vessel is in distress and requires assistance she shall use or exhibit the signals described in Annex IV to these regulations.” These signals can be confusing,…

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How Do Boat Trim Tabs Work?

Trim tabs work exactly the same way as the control surfaces on an airplane. They help stabilize the boat and keep it running on an “even keel” as some might say. Once you understand how they work, it’s easy to see why they’re so helpful and how you can male the most of using them….

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How to Use a Multimeter

Many of the problems that you will encounter on your vessel are electrical problems. It is because of this that the multimeter is an invaluable tool. With it you can do a lot of troubleshooting and track down potential problems without calling an electrician. I prefer a digital multimeter that gives a more accurate digital…

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How to Dock and Undock a Boat

Like parallel parking a car, docking and undocking a boat just gives some people anxiety. But it doesn’t have to be that hard. You can prepare ahead of time and give yourself time to practice as well. Make a plan for docking and a plan for docking. How to Dock a Boat There are a…

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Documenting Your Vessel – FAQ

If you own a boat, it needs to be documented. It’s like having a registration for your car. You can obtain your documents from the National Vessel Documentation Center. They will issue you a U.S. Coast Guard certificate of vessel documentation. This is registered at the federal level. The U.S Coast Guard may ask you…

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Buying Your Own “Hole In The Water”

Buying Your Own “Hole In The Water” The two most widely-used sayings about boats are that they are “holes in the water, into which you throw money” and “the happiest day of a boat owner’s life is the day they buy the boat and the day they sell it.” Although many people believe these axioms…

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How to Anchor a Boat

Anchoring a boat is one of the most important steps to ensuring safety on the water. If you haven’t mastered this step you can put yourself and your passengers in danger. Not to mention your boat and other vessels as well. If you plan to weigh anchor, follow our guide to ensure it’s done right…

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How to Repair Boat Hull Blisters AKA Chicken Pox

Boat blisters, also known as chickenpox, can be a real pain to repair. And a real stressor. A boat is supposed to be waterproof. That’s the defining characteristic of a reliable boat. But not every part of the boat is as waterproof as it needs to be. Not all the time, anyway. The outer layers…

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Boat At Anchor With A Sailor Hauling Rope

Understanding Boat Navigation Lights

Boat navigation lights are essential when you’re out on the water. They’re essential, but it’s easy to misunderstand their uses and correct placements. If you don’t know the correct placement for your stern lights or know what type of navigation light you need on your mast, don’t worry: we’re here to help. Below, we’ve got…

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The Basics of Boating Etiquette

Boating etiquette has been developed over hundreds of years. Some rules are actual rules, set in stone, that need to be followed. Ignoring these can have legal or financial repercussions. But a few rules are unwritten. These are courtesies that boaters extend to one another. Boat sets of rules work together to make boating a…

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The Best EPIRB for 2022

Boating safety is key to being able to enjoy your time on the water. Any sailor needs to have the proper emergency gear on board before you head out. This includes the obvious things, like personal flotation devices. But technology can also help make your sailing smooth. You want a good quality VHF radio on…

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How to Calculate the Distance to the Horizon

Calculating the distance to the horizon takes a bit of clever math. Not necessarily complicated, but not intuitive either. Consider what you’re trying to figure out, after all. You’re looking out from your boat across the water to the horizon line. And though it looks like a flat run from you to the edge of…

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Chart Reading 101: How To Read Nautical Charts

There’s more than one boat owner out there who doesn’t have access to any nautical charts. Maybe you’re one of them. No paper nautical charts and no electronic nautical charts available either. For many boaters, it’s like owning a road map. It’s outdated and, if you know where you’re going, why bother? But there’s a…

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How to De-Winterize Your Boat

Preparing boats for winter is one of the most important things boat owners can do. Winterizing boats will protect the boat engine, cooling system and more. It’s critical to keep your boat running. It will also prevent serious damage and insurance claims. But once the seasons change you need to undo all that work. Luckily…

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Kite Boats: What You Need to Know

Kite boating is not a new concept by any means. However, to many, kite boats are still a novelty. You don’t see them that often out on the water. But kite boating can be a lot of fun. And also a challenge. Plus there are some hidden benefits to kite boating. It can have an…

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Nautical Mnemonics: Understanding Boat Lights

  One of the most complicated things to learn about your boat are the COLREGs lights. That stands for International Regulations for Prevention of Collision at Sea. The lights on your boat, both power boats and sail boats, help you navigate at night. They also help other boats understand how to navigate around you. We…

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How to Prepare Your Boat for a Hurricane

Keeping safe on the water is no easy task. Storm clouds and hurricanes are always a risk. Boats need to be ready. How you prepare depends on where you plan to store your boat. Also on how much time you have ahead of the hurricane. As always, ensure your own safety first. Learning how to…

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Low-Head Dams: A Not-So Clear and Present Danger

On a river there can be many dangers. Some are easier to pick out than others. One that many people overlook are low-head dams. In fact, ask the average person what a low-head dam is and they will have no idea. Let’s take a look at what exactly a low-head dam is. Also how recirculating…

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The Life Expectancy of the Marine Engine

The Life Expectancy of the Marine Engine The average marine gasoline engine runs for 1,500 hours before needing a major overhaul. The average marine diesel engine will run for more than three times that long and log an average 5,000 hours under the same conditions. The number of hours that a marine engine runs is…

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Watch Schedules and Ship’s Bells

Watch Schedules and Ship’s Bells As early as the 15th Century, a bell was used to sound the time onboard a ship. (Time, in those days, was kept with an hourglass. See The History of Navigation ) The bell was rung every half hour of the 4 hour watch. A 24 hour day was divided into…

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How to Protect Your Boat From Lightning

Of all the dangers you can face at sea, lightning is one that almost no boater considers. Lightning is not a threat in the eyes of most people. It’s considered rare and unusual. You need to get that thought out of your head as a boat owner. Lightning strikes are far more common than you…

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U.S Coast Guard Boat Requirements For Recreational Vessels

U.S. COAST GUARD MINIMUM REQUIREMENTS FOR RECREATIONAL BOATS

This is the current up-to-date list of the U.S Coast Guard’s minimum safety requirements for recreational boats with sizes of up to 65 ft (19.8m) in size. These requirements detail what boating safety equipment must be present on board, and other necessary features that must be installed to comply with federal laws. It’s worth noting…

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Winterizing A Boat

How To Winterize A Boat

Before freezing temperatures roll in, you’ll want to winterize your boat. This is true if you want to store your boat or keep using it. When the temperature gets too low, water in your boat is going to freeze. This can happen in the bilge, in the boat’s internal plumbing, and in the engine. Every…

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Boat Safe this Spring or Fall – Avoid Hypothermia

During the cold weather, hypothermia is a major concern. You need to be aware of the symptoms of hypothermia anytime you’re on or near icy water. Cold temperatures can lead to body heat loss, and severe hypothermia can set in. Death is even a possibility. When your core body temperature drops, symptoms of hypothermia set…

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Boating Safety Tips

We all know boating is supposed to be fun. Whether you’re there to relax, to fish, or to get together with friends, it should be stress free. But boating also has a serious side. You need to be aware of the risks of boating accidents. You need to understand the law and how it applies…

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Mark Twain Boat Definition

What do Mark Twain and your depth sounder have in common?

What Does Mark Twain And Your Depth Sounder Have In Common? A recent trip to Disney World in Florida and a subsequent ride on a paddle wheeler reminded me of something I had long forgotten. Thought some of you might be interested in how depth was measured in the “Ol days.” Actually, lead lines are…

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Understanding and Utilizing the Secrets of Waves

Understanding and Utilizing the Secrets of Waves Any time you picture a body of water larger than a puddle, one of the first things that comes to mind are the rolling waves, or the surf lapping at the shore. Well, at least that’s what happens with me… But waves are much more than tranquil anomalies,…

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Nautical Flags

International Code Flags or Signaling Flags

International Code Flags or Signaling Flags Although you may never see them displayed except at fleet parades, around naval installations, and areas with heavy international shipping traffic, International code flags are used to signal between two ships or between ship and shore. Also called signaling flags, they are a set of ship flags of different…

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