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Hurricane Preparation

Images of death and destruction are easily conjured within our minds when hearing the word ” Hurricane! ” Due to his or her vulnerability, the mariner’s images are even more vivid and threatening. This is probably true due to the fact that hurricane conditions have a tremendous effect upon the ocean. The ocean is no…

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Rules of the Road Summarized

Collisions between boats are one of the most dangerous and frequently occurring mishaps on our nations waters. These collisions not only result in vessel damage but often result in serious personal injury or death. Often the collision will result in people on board being thrown overboard by the force of the impact. Avoiding collisions on…

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Help Prevent Drowning with These Tips

Here are a few basic anti-drowning tips: Most people who die in aquatic accidents – boating/swimming – succumb to drowning. Most drownings result from three major factors -inability to swim, effects of relatively cold water, and alcohol. Most drownings occur 10 feet or less from safety, and roughly 60 percent of the time another person…

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Vessel Cleaning: Alternatives to Toxic Products

Product Alternative Bleach Borax Detergent & Soap Elbow grease Scouring Powders Baking soda, or rub area with one-half lemon dipped in borax, then rinse General Cleaner Baking soda and vinegar, or lemon juice combined with borax paste Floor Cleaner One cup vinegar in 2 gallons of water Window Cleaner One cup vinegar + 1 qt….

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Navigation Lights – Sidelights

During factory and boat show inspections we have observed that many manufacturers of recreational boats do not have a good understanding of the navigation rules governing proper installation of navigation lights. The requirements are found in the Navigation Rules, International-Inland, and in Parts 81, 84 and 89 of Title 33, Code of Federal Regulations. 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

How much do you need? How much fuel you need to carry depends on the design of your boat and the intended use. In a sailing vessel, for instance, a 50 gallon tank of diesel feeding a 25 hp auxiliary engine cursing at 80 percent of top speed could propel a 33 foot sailboat 300…

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EPIRBs – Safety at Sea

Today is the fourth day at sea on your 50 foot commercial fishing vessel. Your fish hold is almost full. After another good day of fishing you and your crew will be able to head to the fish house with a profitable catch. It has been a long day of back-breaking work and now it’s…

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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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How Do You Test Your PFD?

Inherently Buoyant PFDs: Put your life jacket on. It should fit properly with all zippers, straps, ties and snaps correctly secured. Ease yourself into the water or walk into water up to your neck. Lift your legs and tilt your head back, in a relaxed floating position. Your mouth should be out of the water…

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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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Preventing Fires on Your Boat

When a fire occurs in a building, we evacuate to the safety of the outdoors and usually turn the fire fighting over to trained professionals. When we are at sea on our boat however, it is a little different. Our boat is often the only safe haven for many miles around. Because of the distances…

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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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Are Single-Handed Sailors in Conflict with the Rules?

Do they have the right to Zzzzzz? Steve Barefoot knew the answer to this question by pointing out that sailing single-handed around the world would be in violation of Colregs-Part B, Section I, Rule 5- Conduct of Vessels in any Condition of Visibility which states: “Every vessel shall at all times maintain a proper look-out…

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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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GPIRB – The Smart EPIRB

This is the first of a new generation of emergency beacons. GPIRBs (Global Position Indicating Radio Beacon) combine the latest in GPS and 406MHz EPIRB (Electronic Position Indicating Radio Beacon) technology, and add extraordinary precision to your emergency distress signal. If you are a boater who operates offshore or in the Great Lakes, this could…

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Estimating Time of Arrival

Assume that you will leave your marina on a trip to a nearby restaurant for lunch. You have made reservations at the restaurant for 1200. The restaurant is 29 nautical miles from your marina. You plan on a leisurely cruise at a speed of 12 kts. What time must you leave your marina to arrive…

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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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Marlinespike – Hitches – Anchorbend (aka Fisherman’s Bend)

For securing a line to an anchor or buoy. Pass the working end of the line through a ring from front to back to form a round turn. Bring the working end down and behind the standing part. Bring it over the standing part and through the round turn to form a half-hitch around the…

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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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