Protecting Your Boat in a Hurricane

Protecting Your Boat in a Hurricane Hurricanes are enormous cyclonic storm systems covering thousands of square miles which usually develop in the tropical or subtropical latitudes during the summer and fall. To be a hurricane, the system must be producing winds of 64 knots or more. Less intense storms are designated tropical depressions or tropical…

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Check Your Navigation Lights

Check Your Navigation Lights Will You Be Seen In Time? Operating at night (or in reduced visibility) can present some special challenges. Not only is your depth perception lessened, bright lights on the shore can cast misleading reflections on the water and if you wear glasses, or worse yet bifocals, you simply don’t see as…

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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

Nautical Mnemonics The following rules of the road memory aides come at the request of a reader from Israel. Thanks for the request Yuval! The following table gives neumonics for several lighting configurations. You might also want to memorize the poem below. I have no idea where I got this or who the author…

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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


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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ICOM IC-M93D Marine VHF Handheld Radio

Ranking The Best Handheld VHF Marine Radios On The Market

A handheld marine radio is an essential piece of equipment for boaters heading out to sea. They can be used to contact the Coast Guard in case of an emergency, for communication with other vessels, and for regular information updates and weather reports. A handheld VHF radio is what you need! VHF stands for Very…

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Boat Safe this Spring or Fall – Avoid Hypothermia

Boat Safe this Spring or Fall – Avoid Hypothermia Even when the weather is warm, do not forget that in many areas the water can be very, very cold. A sudden unexpected wake or other “unbalancing event” can land you in the frigid water. Although the possibility of drowning from falling into the water is…

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Boating Tips and Articles

Boating Tips and Articles Anchoring Steps to Smooth Anchoring Anchoring Tips – by Bill Wallace Boat Operation & Handling Tilt? Trim? What Those Trim Tabs Do Tilt & Trim for Outboards and I/Os Boat Docking – An Introduction by Charles Low Docking Broadside to Wind by Charles T. Low Station Keeping by Charles Low Boat…

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PFD Basics

PFD Basics How Many PFDs Do I Need? You must have at least one, U.S. Coast Guard approved, wearable PFD for each person onboard, and it must be the appropriate size. If your boat is 16 feet or longer (generally excluding canoes and kayaks but check your state’s regulations) you must also have one throwable…

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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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SOS Meaning - Morse Code

What is the Meaning of SOS?

What is the Meaning of SOS? Harmony asks “Do the letters in the term SOS represent three words? If so could you let me know what they are?” Thanks to Neal McEwen for allowing us to use information from his article “SOS”, “CQD” and the History of Maritime Distress Calls . There is much mystery…

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Everyday Phrases and their Nautical Origins

Everyday Phrases and their Nautical Origins A-K   Admiral An admiral is a senior ranking officer in the US Navy, and the word signifies a commander of a fleet, or part of a fleet, in all maritime nations. From the Arabic word amir meaning prince or leader. Adrift Not moored, at the will of the…

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Sailing Terms Glossary

Boating Basics Glossary of Nautical Terms

The world of boating has a pretty unique vernacular, and it’s important that you understand the differences between sailing words and land lubber words before you head out onto the water! Nothing highlights a newbie quite like the wrong use of a word! You might know the difference between a bow vs stern, port or…

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HIN Boat Number Plate

Hull ID Numbers

Hull ID Numbers Play The Numbers Game: (What Is A HIN?) Did you ever wonder what that strange series of letters and numbers on the transom of your boat are. Well, if you have taken the Nautical Know How course you know they are Hull Identification Numbers (HIN) and that they are required. But, what…

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Ceremony for Renaming Your Boat

Ceremony for Renaming Your Boat Everyone knows that renaming your boat will bring nothing but bad luck and make your boating experience something that you will want to forget. But what happens when, after months of searching, you find your dreamboat with a name that you just cannot live with. For example, my first love…

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