Blog June 2017

AVOIDING PROPELLER INJURIES

Posted On: June 29, 2017

 

 First, exercise some common sense!!!!

Personally look at the area around your boat’s propeller before starting the engine

Don’t count on others —LOOK for yourself.

Before you set out for the day, take a moment to inform your passengers of the location and dangers of the propellers, and call attention to any propeller warning labels around your boat.

  • Never permit passengers to ride on the bow, gunwale, transom, seatbacks, or other locations where they might fall overboard and under the boat.
  • Accidents can happen in the blink of an eye… and so can propeller strikes.
  • Establish and communicate rules for swim platform use, boarding ladders, and seating.
  • Your boat, your rules:  be clear and firm!
  • Make sure all passengers (including you) wear a life-jacket at all times.
  • Consider an engine cut-off switch and other propeller safety devices, including:

• Propeller guards

• Ringed propellers

• Propulsion alternatives

• Interlocks

• Sensors

• Anti-feedback steering

• Rear-facing video cameras

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HANDLING CHOPPY WATER

Posted On: June 27, 2017

Choppy Water

I hear this topic a lot and the answer for your particular vessel may be a little different but the approach should be sound.

How you handle choppy water is a skill that you need to develop if you want to enjoy boating. This article, which I found,  covers the basics of boating safely through chop.

Many boats handle choppy water different, so know your boat type.

Power boats are designed with rough water in mind. Hull designs such as the deep V and even double hulls have made choppy waters less of a problem, but the burden is on the captain, that's you, to get it right. Well designed boats are half the equation; the other half is you.

Choppy Water Basics:

1. Batten down. No matter how skillfully you maneuver your boat, if loose equipment and just plain stuff litters the boat you may be in for an expensive experience, not to mention danger. Debris flying around a boat can damage the vessel and injure the people aboard. Simply stowing things into compartments is a good first step. Some experienced boaters keep a few old towels aboard as stuffing material to keep things in place. Of course there are some Items that you need to keep handy such as binoculars. Velcro fasteners are a great way to keep these things in place. It almost seems that the Velcro people make this stuff for boating.

Good seamanship dictates that you prepare your vessel for rough water even when things are calm. Boats should be ready for the water to turn to chop.

2. Watch your speed. Power boats can go very fast, but sea conditions may dictate the you go slowly. Handling power boats in chop requires careful use of the throttle—and a lot of common sense. There is no clear cut definition of when water turns from chop to just plain rough. In a choppy sea you may not encounter waves that come in regular intervals, just a mess of little waves that don't seem to go anywhere. In a chop you want to add speed; in a rough sea with large waves you want to go slow. If you have a planing hull, that is one that enables your boat to skip or plane across the surface of the water, you should "get up on plane." Planing enables the boat to avoid the worst effects of the chop and can deliver a smoother ride than going slow. Boats without planing hulls, such as trawlers, have it a little tougher. If your boat doesn't plane you handle chop by just gutting through it. This isn't as bad as it sounds because a displacement hull is designed for stability.

If the chop turns to heavy waves, slow down. You can't plane along the surface of eight foot waves at 20 foot intervals. You can kill yourself.

Boating through chop, like most things in boating, requires a strong dose of common sense.

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DOCKING SAFELY

Posted On: June 20, 2017

AND YES, EVERYONE IS WATCHING......

Docking makes boaters nervous. Throw a little wind and current in the mix, and you can find yourself overwhelmed with things to worry about. Your technique shouldn't be one of your worries. Coming alongside a dock or bulkhead can be accomplished in just four steps. But first, you need to know a few things about your boat.

I see the results of not docking appropriately all too often.

This procedure is for outboard- or sterndrive-powered boats. Hopefully you've had enough time at the helm to know how your boat pivots when you throw the wheel hard over in either direction. Many beginning boaters are surprised at how much the stern swings or slides out when they initiate a turn. If you're not familiar with your boat's tendencies, to get a feel, practice by approaching a buoy or crab pot marker as though it were the dock. Once you've got that down, choose which side you want to tie up, deploy fenders, and you're ready to make your approach. These instructions are for a portside tie.

Step 1: Line Up Your Approach

Steps 1 and 2
Slowly approach center of desired berth

When approaching the space on the dock where you want to come alongside, first judge wind and current. If the wind or current will be pushing you toward the dock, a shallow angle will help you keep control and not strike the dock with the bow of the boat. If the wind and/or current are conspiring to keep you off the dock, as so often seems to be the case, you'll need a steeper approach to carry enough momentum to get you into the dock. Start with a 30- to 45-degree angle as you learn what works best for your boat. Aim your bow toward the center of your landing point.

Step 2: Come In Slowly

There's an old saying, "Never approach a dock any faster than you're willing to hit it." Bump the boat in and out of gear to maintain slow progress toward your chosen spot. On twin-engine boats, use one engine at a time to creep in.

Step 3: Time Your Swing

Step 3
Wheel to starboard, engine in forward

When your bow is within, say, half a boat length, swing the wheel over hard to starboard (away from the dock). This is where knowing your boat becomes important, particularly regarding where it pivots. Turn too soon, and you won't end up parallel with the dock. Too late, and bang. With the wheel hard over, bump the engine into gear for an instant to kick the stern to port. This will
also swing the bow away from the dock (to starboard) so you won't hit it.

Step 4: The Flourishing Finish

Step 4
Wheel to port, engine reversed

As the boat glides toward being parallel with the dock, swing the wheel all the way back to port, and kick the engine into reverse (on twins, use the engine farthest from the dock for maximum effect). This will simultaneously stop your headway and pull the stern of the boat to port and closer to the dock. When the boat has stopped moving forward, put it in neutral. The boat should continue side-slipping right up to the dock, allowing you to simply reach out and grab a
line or piling. 

Based on an article by Michael Vatalaro, BoatUS Magazine

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GRIT & FACING ADVERSITY

Posted On: June 13, 2017


Secrets to grit and resilience

I recently read an article by Eric Barker about the research being done and how Navy Seals approach building grit. Some interesting information.

Sometimes you just want to quit. You know you shouldn’t but nothing seems better than crawling back into bed and hiding under the covers. (I am there right now, actually, with my laptop.)

The emerging science of grit and resilience is teaching us a lot about why some people redouble their efforts when the rest of us are heading for the door

So what can the SEALs and research teach you about getting through life’s tough times? Here we go:

What we can learn from the Navy SEALs and the research on how to have grit:

  1. Purpose and meaning. It’s easier to be persistent when what we’re doing is tied to something personally meaningful.
  2. Make it a game. It’s the best way to stay in a competitive mindset without stressing yourself out.
  3. Be confident — but realistic. See the challenges honestly but believe in your own ability to take them on.
  4. Prepare, prepare, prepare. Grit comes a lot easier when you’ve done the work to make sure you’re ready.
  5. Focus on improvement. Every SEAL mission ends with a debrief focusing on what went wrong so they can improve.
  6. Give help and get help. Support from others helps keep you going, and giving others support does the same.
  7. Celebrate small wins. You can’t wait to catch the big fish. Take joy where you can find it when good times are scarce.
  8. Find a way to laugh. Rangers, SEALs, and scientists agree: a chuckle can help you cope with stress and keep you going.

Real grit and dedication pays dividends long after the challenges are over. They build bonds that last a lifetime.

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THE VALUE OF A MARINE SURVEYOR

Posted On: June 08, 2017

The value of a marine surveyor

The next time that you are shopping or looking at a list of boats or yachts for sale, it is a good idea to remember that you are not alone when trying to identify the most suitable and safe, sea-worthy vessel for your needs.

What a marine surveyor does

A marine surveyor will carry out an inspection and examination of the  marine vessel that you intend to buy and will check the condition of the boat and the materials aboard. It is like having a survey done before you buy a house, so you know exactly what you are getting before you buy it. A marine surveyor will also inspect equipment that is intended for use on the boat to check that it complies with the relevant safety standards.

The marine surveyor will check that a boat is suitably built and maintained to operate safely in the relevant weather and water conditions. A good marine surveyor will also have the necessary experience of a range of boat models, so that any recurring structural or maintenance weaknesses can be highlighted. In this way, I have found it possible to pick up many maintenance tips. In addition, the paperwork that comes from a marine surveyor can be essential for the necessary insurance coverage.

There are many types of surveys, both for commercial and recreational  purposes .

 For more information:

www.royscottmarine.com

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WAVE BASICS

Posted On: June 06, 2017

WAVE BASICS

No matter what boat — power or sail — you frequent, you have to be prepared to take on waves.

The first and best tactic is to stay out of large waves, with "large" being relative to the boat's size, shape, power, ballast, and structure. Tactics to avoid large waves include staying in the lee of a windward shore for as long as possible, traveling with wind and current running together, timing the entrance and exit to inlets and rivers so that the current is running with the wind and waves, waiting until slack tide before navigating strong inlets or rivers, or simply staying in port until conditions improve.

Second, don't take waves on the beam. If possible take them on the bow, or it may sometimes be better to take them directly astern or at an angle to the stern rather than the beam. Usually, when heading into waves, it's better to meet them at an angle off the bow to minimize pounding, hobby horsing, and burying the bow. If taking waves astern, it's extremely important to avoid losing directional control as the wave overtakes you. This may require a high level of seamanship skills. If you must change course, watch the waves carefully; time the move when you see a group of smaller waves or a long trough that you can turn in before the next wave comes.

When heading into waves, try to take them at an angle off the bow to minimize pounding.

Third, don't get caught in breaking waves. Breaking waves can occur when the wind is opposing a strong current, when waves are passing over a shallow bar, when they are ricocheting off a shore or rocks, when they reach a height too tall to sustain themselves and when they are leaving deep water and meeting shallow ground. Do everything you can to avoid areas where breaking waves might form.

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HOW TO DETERMINE YOUR LOCATION ON THE WATER

Posted On: June 01, 2017


Your on the water, but where are you?

Hey, Pirates never used chartplotters, and their depth finders were lead lines. But they found their way. Take a lesson from them. Bring along a ruler to use with your chart. Using the chartplotter or a GPS position from a cellphone, plot your position on the paper chart as you go along. To plot your course on paper, simply take the latitude and longitude coordinates from the GPS. Find the corresponding coordinates on the edges of the chart. Typically, the longitude coordinates are on the top and bottom edges, and latitude coordinates are on the left and right edges; some chart books have chart views arranged at other angles for space or clarity purposes. Using a straightedge, make a light pencil mark where the lines intersect.

After you've plotted three or four positions, wait 15 minutes or so, then turn off the chartplotter, paying close attention to the compass heading as you do so. Now try to keep track of your position without it. You may not know where you are at that moment, but you'll know where you were 15 minutes ago, and that'll be a pretty good clue. If you know this, you can "dead reckon," which comes from the phrase "deduced reckoning" and means steering by your compass while taking note of your speed and passing time to determine distance traveled. You'll likely find your way to where you want to go, or at least be close. You can also use landmarks, sea marks, and Aids to Navigation to verify and adjust your dead-reckoning position.

Unlocking the navigational clues scattered across your chart won't only add to your onboard fun — it will keep you safer should something knock out your electronics

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