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Electricity 101 for Boaters

Since the majority of failures in boating have to do with something electrical, we thought it might be a good idea to post an article on electricity and trouble shooting. Understanding the terminology of electricity is the first step to starting to understand electrical theory. I personally like to compare electricity to the more straight…

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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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Distress Signals

Distress Signals 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.” Red Star Shells Fog Horn Continuous Soundings Flames on A Vessel Gun Fired at Intervals of One Minute Orange Background Black…

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Boat Docking — An Introduction

We can’t cover everything about boat docking in one sitting, but I think you’ll be surprised at how many of the basic principles of close quarters maneuvering are embodied in the example docking which I will be discussing shortly. First let me answer these two questions: Is this boat handling exposition for novice boaters? Yes,…

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Electrolysis Can Eat Your Prop

Electrolysis Can Eat Your Prop Whenever different metals are placed in a conductive liquid, such as salt water, you create a battery. If you connect these pieces of metal together, current will flow. This current, trying to equalize the conductivity of the metals, will be removing metal from one of the metal pieces. This removal…

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Life Jackets…So Many, So Different

Coast Guard statistics show fatality rates have dropped over the past 25 years due to, in part, the use of inherently buoyant PFDs. In the early 90s the Coast Guard recognized that inflatable PFDs might be more appealing to recreational boaters thereby increasing their usage. Approval came in 1996, and inflatable PFDs are now available…

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Trim Tabs – An Explanation

Trim tabs work exactly the same way as the control surfaces on an airplane. As you know, there are three axes affecting the motion of your boat as you travel through the water: Yaw , Pitc h and Roll . Trim tabs have little effect on the yaw axis, because yaw is controlled by the…

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Basic Electrical Theory for Boaters

Multimeter – The Invaluable Tool As mentioned in the last article Electricity 101 , 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…

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Docking & Undocking

Docking & Undocking It’s inevitable that when conditions are at their worst, you’ll have an audience. Prior planning and practice will not only keep you and your passengers safe and protect your boat, it will also help you avoid serious personal humiliation. Undocking Plan Prior to getting underway, you should implement an undocking plan with…

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Documenting Your Vessel – FAQ

Documenting Your Vessel – FAQ What is Vessel Documentation? What vessels may be documented? Must my Vessel be Documented? How do I know if my vessel measures five net tons? What vessels are exempt? Are there different types of documentation? What are the requirements for documentation? How is vessel ownership established? How do I establish…

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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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Steps to Smooth Anchoring

Steps to Smooth Anchoring At some point in your boating career you will probably want to anchor. You may want to stop and fish, swim, have lunch or stay overnight. A second reason to drop anchor may be to control the boat if bad weather is blowing you ashore or if your engine has quit…

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Looks Like Chicken Pox – AKA Blisters

Looks Like Chicken Pox – AKA Blisters You have just finished hauling your boat for the winter. You have blocked her, pressure washed the hull, cleaned the topsides, and are about to button her up for the long winter’s nap. One last stroll around her, gazing at the long lines, the sleek hull…sleek! eek! MY…

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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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Boating Etiquette

Boating Etiquette Boating, as a recreational sport, has been around for over 300 years. During this time many customs and traditions have been developed in order to help relieve the natural stress that comes with dealing with the elements. No matter how long you have been boating there is always that tense feeling when you…

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EPIRBs – You Bet Your Life

EPIRBs – You Bet Your Life This week’s tip is going to focus on “Life Insurance.” Most everyone has some sort of “life insurance,” right? You pay every month or it is deducted from your check. Well, I submit that the policy you pay for is not life insurance at all, it is “death insurance.”…

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How to Calculate the Distance to the Horizon

How to Calculate the Distance to the Horizon Have you ever been out on a leisurely cruise and suddenly wondered, “How far it is to the horizon?” Or maybe your destination is a port that has a lighthouse and you wonder “How far away will I be when I see the lighthouse?” (Well, you’re in…

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Chart Reading 101

Chart Reading 101 Many recreational boaters in small boats don’t consider it important to have charts onboard. Bad idea , even if you are just operating on your local lake. Perhaps you are not yet a navigator, but a chart onboard allows you to compare what you are seeing with what you should be seeing…

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Preparing Your Boat for the Season Pre-Season Checklist

Preparing Your Boat for the Season Pre-Season Checklist In order to assure a safe and uneventful season make sure that you go through the list below and make a note of any discrepancies that need attention. Because there are so many variables depending on the size and type of boat you have, we have categorized…

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Nathan’s, Believe It Or Not, Kite Boat

Nathan’s, Believe It Or Not, Kite Boat I have been having an ongoing conversation with one of the Boatsafe students over the past few weeks. He has an unusual idea, but thought it sounded fun and interesting. I think almost everyone, at one time or another, has been fascinated by kites. Following is some of…

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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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Hurricane Preparation Checklist

Hurricane Preparation Checklist Here is a list of the many things to consider before, during and after a hurricane. Some of the safety rules will make things easier for you during a hurricane. All are important and could help save your life and the lives of others. If local authorities recommend evacuation, you should leave!…

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Passenger/Crew Orientation

Passenger/Crew Orientation Capt. Matt, I think the course is great! I really enjoyed it – in fact, IÂ’m going to recommend it to the people I most often take out on my boat in the summer, because I think itÂ’s really important for the crew to be informed as to what to do if the…

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Low-head dams: A not-so clear and present danger

Low-head dams: A not-so clear and present danger by Virgil Chambers, Executive Director, National Safe Boating Council Rivers can be treacherous, not only because of the tremendous power they possess, through the movement of flowing water, but because of structures they flow over, around and through. Hazards like “strainers,” fallen trees and debris collecting between…

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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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Cone of Protection from Lightning – Faraday’s Cage

Cone of Protection from Lightning – Faraday’s Cage This spring seems to have brought the most extreme weather in history. With heavy thunderstorms you will often find lightning. Lightning on the water can bring life-threatening circumstances. For your safety and the safety of others boating with you we have updated and are republishing this article…

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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

BRRR – It’s Almost That Time Again! How To Winterize A Boat With the boating season winding down in most parts of the country, it’s time to start thinking about protecting your valuable recreational asset. Winterizing a boat reminds me of the old commercial that says “pay me now or pay me later.” The time…

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