Blog June 2019

DEALING WITH SEASICKNESS

Posted On: June 27, 2019

Seasickness    

 

Seasickness can quickly turn a day on the water into a miserable experience. Seasickness occurs when your eyes, your inner ear, and your body  send conflicting messages to your brain. Imagine you are below deck, your eyes are telling you the room isn’t moving while your inner ear senses motion. This conflicting message may result in dizziness, light-headedness, and nausea.

 

Prevention is better than treatment,try these tips:

 

   Stay on deck in a shady spot and face forward, focusing on the horizon.

   Keep your head still, while resting against a seat back.

   Eat light; avoid spicy and greasy foods and alcohol.

  Antihistamines are commonly used to prevent sea sickness. Frequently recommended over-the-counter antihistamines include Antivert, Bonine, Dramamine, and Benadryl.

The adhesive patch, Scopolamine (Transderm Scop), is available by prescription. The patch is applied behind the ear a few hours before traveling and provides 72-hour protection.

 Or try this:

 Mix a half teaspoon of ginger powder in a glass of water and drink it 20

minutes before heading out to sea.

 If you still find yourself becoming nauseated, try the following:

     Get some fresh air. If you’re below deck, go on the upper deck and sit toward the middle of the boat where you’ll feel less movement.      Eat a few dry crackers.   Sip a clear, carbonated beverage.

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BASIC SUMMER BOATING

Posted On: June 25, 2019

SUMMER BOATING BASICS

Okay, so now that Summer is here, and the holiday weekend is rapidly approaching, the waters tend to get busy so let’s remember some basics of having a safe summer boating season.

Below are some quick tips on boating responsibly in the great outdoors. 

TRAVEL RESPONSIBLY

Travel responsibly on designated waterways and launch your watercraft in designated areas.

  • Travel only in areas open to your type of boat.
  • Carry a Coast Guard approved life vest (PFD) for each person on board.
  • Always operate your boat at a safe speed.
  • Always have a designated lookout to keep an eye out for other boaters, objects and swimmers.
  • Never jump a wake. If crossing a wake, cross at low speeds and keep a close lookout for skiers and towables.
  • Comply with all signs and respect barriers. This includes speed limits, no-wake zones and underwater obstructions, etc.
  • Make every effort to always go boating with a partner.
  • Make certain your trailer is in proper working order and that your lights work and your boat is secure on the trailer before you travel to your destination.
  • When trailering your boat, balance your load including items stowed inside your boat.
  • Don’t mix boating with alcohol or drugs.
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YOU ARE ABOUT TO BE BOARDED BY THE COAST GUARD,NOW WHAT

Posted On: June 20, 2019


DID YOU KNOW THAT

Unlike any other law enforcement arm, the U.S. Coast Guard (USCG) may board your boat at their discretion — they need no search warrant, no provocation, and no reason other than ensuring your boat is in full compliance with all applicable federal laws and regulations.

I read this article in the Boating Times and thought it would be a good topic to re-explore.

Do you know what to do and say if you see a USCG vessel in the vicinity and hear their voice on VHF channel 16 (or across the water) hailing your vessel and ordering you to bring your boat to a full stop?

You have been stopped by highly trained federal officers who will soon impress you with their professionalism. Before they even step off their vessel onto yours, the very first question they will ask you is, “Without reaching for them or touching them, do you have any weapons on board?” Subtly but powerfully, the tone is set:  “I am polite. I am professional. And I mean business.” Let’s assume (and hope) that the answer to that question is “no” since an affirmative answer sets up a scenario outside the scope of this article.

Once your boat is boarded, the officers will be seeking compliance with regulations, starting with those applicable to all boat sizes:

  • Your actual registration needs to be aboard and current. If you just have a copy, that’s a problem, but if you have no registration, you have a much bigger problem.
  • The Hull Identification Number needs to be the same on your registration and on your boat (embossed into the transom, low on the starboard side). If they don’t match, you’ve got a lot of explaining to do.
  • The registration numbers must be at least three inches, appear as a contrasting color to your hull, and be the most forward of any numbering or lettering on the boat.
  • If you have a Marine Sanitation Device (aka head or toilet), it must conform to regulations. As Long Island is a “No Discharge Zone,” an over-board, through-hull holding tank must be in the locked/closed position and the key must be under the control of the captain (no exceptions unless it can be seized closed or the handle can be removed in the closed position).
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IN A BOATING ACCIDENT?

Posted On: June 18, 2019



HOW TO REPORT A BOATING ACCIDENT


No one can detail everything but here's a fairly comprehensive guide of steps to take if you get in an accident on the water.

Reporting a boating accident is not just the right thing to do, it is a requirement. Make sure you know the right procedures for reporting a boating accident.

 

While no one wants to think about having a boating accident, it does occur. The requirements for reporting an accident vary from state to state, but there are some basic rules of thumb that can help you figure out whether you have had an accident that should be reported. If you have, not reporting a boating accident is a criminal offense.

 

Some Guidelines for Reporting a Boating Accident

Once a boating accident has occurred, it is the responsibility of the boat operator to file a report on the incident. A written report must be made to the state agency that covers boating, the U.S. Coast Guard, or both, depending on the situation. If a passenger died within 24 hours after the accident or if someone involved in the accident required medical assistance beyond first aid, the report must be filed within 48 hours. If there was only damage to the boat and/or other property, the report must be filed within 10 days of the accident. Not filing a report is a crime.

What Information is Required?

A number of specific details are required when filling out a Boating Accident Report (BAR), including the name of the boat operator and where the accident occurred. Detailed information about the boat and information on all passengers, reported losses including injuries, loss of life, and property damages must be gathered to put on the report.. In addition, a summary of the incident is required, including date, time, place, people involved, and a description of the accident

Who is Responsible?

Reporting a boating accident begins the process of finding out who is legally responsible and therefore liable for the damages caused by the accident. In some cases, no one is at fault. In others, however, this is not the case. A person is responsible for the accident if they acted negligently. This is usually judged by whether or not they behaved as a reasonable boater would have in similar circumstances. If they did not follow all safety rules and precautions, then a jury may find them liable.

Penalties for Boating Accidents

 If a person is judged liable for a boating accident, they may have civil liability, criminal liability, or both. The liable party may be sued for medical expenses, wrongful death, property damages, or other losses. In addition, the state can bring criminal charges if the boater was boating under the influence (BUI). The operator may also be criminally liable if he or she was operating the boat recklessly or with gross negligence. These charges can result in large fines and/or jail time if the boater is convicted.

Boating Accident Attorneys

If you have been involved in a boating accident, it is a good idea to consult a boating accident attorney. These attorneys are personal injury attorneys who specialize in boating accidents and maritime law. They can advise on how to determine compensation for damages or losses. It is best to avoid making statements or signing anything related to an accident, particularly admissions of guilt, until after consulting a qualified attorney. This helps to protect your legal rights

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CARBON MONOXIDE - THE SILENT DANGER

Posted On: June 13, 2019

Dangerous Gases

If you are on a boat, you are exposed to potential danger...

Carbon monoxide enters the bloodstream though the lungs by breathing in this dangerous gas. Exposure in a well ventilated environment is generally not a problem. Brief exposure in a more confined environment can cause sickness and prolonged exposure to higher concentrations can kill you. Since symptoms of carbon monoxide mimic seasickness or alcohol intoxication it is sometimes overlooked as nothing serious and those affected never receive the medical attention they need.

Tip: Maintain fresh air circulation throughout the boat at all times and maintain your vessel to assure peak engine performance. An improperly tuned engine is more likely to produce elevated levels of CO.

To avoid CO you should know the areas of where CO can accumulate such as inadequately ventilated canvas enclosures and engine compartments. If you are tied to a dock be certain exhaust ports aren’t blocked which can force exhaust back into the boat and if you are rafted to another boat be certain exhaust from one boat doesn’t enter the other.

Beware of Carbon Monoxide

  • Make sure you know where all exhaust outlets are and they are not blocked
  • Confirm that water flows from the exhaust outlet when motors or generators are running
  • Educate all passengers about the symptoms of CO poisoning and where CO may accumulate
  • Test the operation of each CO detector for proper functioning by pressing the test button
  • Open hatches or canvas enclosures if CO accumulation is suspected
  • When rafted to another boat be certain that exhaust flows freely into open air
  • Avoid swim platforms or swimming around or near a boat when the engine is running
  • Periodically examine the exhaust fixtures on your boat to be certain of proper performance
  • Always maintain your boat to peak performance to reduce the risk of CO production


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GETTING OUT OF THE SCRAPE

Posted On: June 11, 2019


You’ve been sailing awhile and in what you thought were familiar waters, when, you hear that terrible sound.

Here’s a great article by William C. Winslow, the Division 5 – Staff Officer Public Affairs, First District Southern Region, for the U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary, the all-volunteer, non-military arm of the Coast Guard, teaching boating safety education and conducting search and rescue operations

Crunch! You have just run aground. You feel embarrassed to do so in view of your family and friends, and your ego is dinged.

Welcome to the club — you’re not really a true boater until you have experienced a scraping. What distinguishes an old salt from a newbie is what you do to minimize your bad luck, and how you get unstuck when you’re in too-thin water.

Skippers’ errors turn into trouble when they ignore signs of danger or indulge in risky navigational behavior such as not paying attention to where they are headed.  So how to keep the captain alert?

  1. A depth finder should be standard equipment on all but the smallest craft. The depth finder should be set so an alarm rings if the water drops to a predetermined depth (be generous with that setting by allowing an extra three to four feet). Even the smallest runabout should have a boat hook or even an oar to gauge the water’s depth.
  1. Have paper charts aboard. They provide the big picture of bottom conditions in far more detail than electronic ones often do and help the helmsperson plot a course around potential hazards.
  1. Know the sea conditions for your boating day. When is high and low tide? How strong is the wind and where are the currents and locations of known rip tides? Make use of all information known before you set out and use electronics and available apps to monitor any changing conditions during your cruise.
  1. Know the environment you’ll be boating in by checking the slope of tidal sand bars. If they slope gradually, they will likely continue quite a way under water. If you spot birds wading out some distance from shore, conclude that they are in shallow water. Risking a shortcut over a sandbar may work one day, but subtle changes in tide, wind, and/or waves might spell disaster during another trip.

What if you have been cautious and you still got hung up? The kind of bottom you hit and how fast you were going play key roles in whether you’ll successfully free your vessel quickly with the loss of little more than a bit of bottom paint.

At the first sound of grounding you should cut your engine to avoid plowing in deeper. Then the skipper or a knowledgeable crewmember should check to see if the vessel has been holed. Even a two-inch gash can let a lot water in. Plug that hole with anything you have, including clothes, rags, towels, life jackets, and sails.

A soft landing indicates you’re in sand or mud, but look over your railing to confirm: If you’re sitting in mud or sand, you may have some wiggle room. Retracing your route makes sense here — until you scraped, you were in clear water, so backing out may be all that’s needed. If that doesn’t work, try turning around 180 degrees. You just might be able to bull your way through because your engine is more powerful in forward than reverse (first make a quick choice as to whether deeper water is to port or starboard). If your boat is a small open runabout with a draft of no more than a foot or so, another way to get free is to have everybody get into the water and push the craft back into deeper water.

Rocks confront you with a different challenge as they are unforgiving. Moving forward or back may do serious damage to the keel; once on a rock, always on a rock until the tide changes.

There are a number of other options for the level-headed skipper to consider. If the tide is coming in, you can float off, but put out an anchor to hold the boat in place so the wind or current doesn’t push your vessel into deeper danger. If the tide is ebbing, you will be spending up to eight hours immobilized while facing an increasing list. As this could flood the boat, it’s time to call for a professional tow. Though you hope you’ll never need it, it’s smart to buy unlimited towing at the beginning of each season.

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BEAUFORT SCALE KEY TO UNDERSTANDING WIND & WAVES

Posted On: June 06, 2019

The relationship between the wind and the waves is very important to boat to skippers. So important  that a completely new classification system was designed as a guideline incorporating both wind speed and the wave conditions most readily found at those speeds. This system, called the Beaufort Scale, was developed in 1805 by Admiral Sir Francis Beaufort of the British Navy. It is a guideline for what can be expected in certain conditions and a weather classification system. It assumes open ocean conditions with unlimited fetch.

Force

Wind Speed

Description

Sea Conditions

Waves

0

0

Calm

Smooth, like a mirror.

0

1

1 - 3 knots

Light Air

Small ripples, like fish scales.

1/4' - 1/2'

2

4 - 6 knots

Light Breeze

Short, small pronounced wavelettes with no crests.

1/4' - 1/2'

3

7 - 10 knots

Gentle Breeze

Large wavelettes with some crests.

2'

4

11 - 16 knots

Moderate Breeze

Increasingly larger small waves, some white caps and light foam.

4'

5

17 - 21 knots

Fresh Breeze

Moderate lengthening waves, with many white caps and some light spray.

6'

6

22 - 27 knots

Strong Breeze

Large waves, extensive white caps with some spray.

10'

7

28 - 33 knots

Near Gale

Heaps of waves, with some breakers whose foam is blown downwind in streaks.

14'

8

34 - 40 knots

Gale

Moderately high waves of increasing length and edges of crests breaking into spindrift (heavy spray). Foam is blown downwind in well-marked streaks.

18'

9

41 - 47 knots

Strong Gale

High wind with dense foam streaks and some crests rolling over.Spray reduces visibility.

23'

10

48 - 55 knots

Storm

Very high waves with long, overlapping crests.
The sea looks white, visibility is greatly reduced and waves tumble with force.

29'

11

56 - 63 knots

Violent Storm

Exceptionally high waves that may obscure medium size ships. All wave edges are blown into froth and the sea is
covered with patches of foam.

37'

12

64 - 71 knots

Hurricane

The air is filled with foam and spray, and the sea is completely white.

45'

Aside from just wind speed, temperature is also a factor in creating waves. Warm air (which rises) moving over water has a less acute angle of attack on the surface than does cool air (which sinks). A cold front moving across open water will create much steeper waves and hence create breakers sooner than a warm front moving at the same speed.

Also, a change in wind direction over existing waves can create confusion and hence larger waves. If a wind has been blowing northeast over an open body of water for three days and suddenly switches to northwest over that same body of water, new wavelettes will form within the existing system of waves. The energy of both systems will multiply to create larger waves.

When a wave system meets a current flow one of two things can happen. If the wind and current are both going the same direction, it tends to smooth out the waves, creating long swells. If the current and wind are moving in contradicting directions, it will create much steeper and more aggressive waves.

MAKING SENSE OF THIS

So, what does all this mean? Why is it important to know how waves are made? Well... You can determine several things from waves.

One of the things you can tell based on waves, is boat speed. This assumes that your vessel is a displacement ship, like a keelboat, and not a planing one like a speedboat. When sailing a displacement vessel, the boat is constantly displacing a large chunk of water as it moves along. The heavier the boat, the deeper the trough it carves through the water. Now, along with the physics of waves we discussed above, we can add that the faster a wave travels, the longer it is. As a boat's speed increases, the number of waves that it pulls along the hull decreases until the boat is actually trapped between the crest and trough of a single wave that it has created itself moving through the water.

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UNDERSTANDING THOSE RED FLAGS TO BOAT PURCHASING

Posted On: June 04, 2019


All to often, I hear stories about boat buyers, or sellers for that matter, getting scammed. here's a few red flags that should make you suspicious.

Any one of these red flags should be enough to make you very cautious — more than one or two should be enough to make you slam on the brakes:

  • An offer to send a cashier's check for more than the purchase price, and a request that you send the difference back to pay for shipping — almost always by instant electronic money transfer, such as Western Union, which can't be reversed once the money is picked up. Sometimes scammers will have imaginative reasons to need to have a return of excess money, such as they just got a settlement and they want to send you the check and ask you to return a portion. Ironically, this tends to foster confidence — surely you'd trust someone who trusts you enough to return some of their money. This is the brightest of red flags and always signals a scam. Never agree to send excess money back to a buyer.
  • The buyer's lack of interest in inspecting the boat, verifying paperwork (often not even mentioning it), or negotiating price, even on expensive boats. Scammers are busy and usually have multiple scams going on. They don't have time to negotiate back and forth, and often forget which person they're dealing with. If a buyer isn't interested in title, registration, or a survey, and makes a full-price sight-unseen offer, stop.
  • Buyers, banks, and shippers from multiple geographic areas. If a buyer says he is from Connecticut, and his check is drawn on a bank in Texas, and the shipper is in Florida. The check may be a forgery. The Internet makes buying across the country easy, but scammers often work together in separate areas to better hide from authorities.
  • Communication via odd-sounding email addresses. Scammers prefer emails, though many will now use text and even phone calls. Emails, especially those with foreign domains (such as .ru) make hiding identities easier. But now, scammers often buy "burners" — prepaid untraceable phones — for calls and texting. These phone are bought with cash and then tossed after a few scams.
  • Demanding fast payment. Scammers may say that the shipping company will be in town soon, and you need to pay them right away or the deal's off. Ironically, some scammers will negotiate the amount for you to send back to them (anything they can get is a success), even if they won't negotiate the boat price. Their only goal is to get some of your money before you become suspicious. If you're not comfortable, it's OK to delay the sale. Dragging your feet might save you a bundle.
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