Blog July 2021

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Posted On: July 29, 2021
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HURRICANE SEASON PREPAREDNESS AUGUST

Posted On: July 29, 2021
hurricane

It's now approaching August, and one thing thing is for sure, Hurricane season will be in full force soon.

Being prepared is very, very important. NOAA's National Hurricane Center has put together a comprehensive preparedness checklist with important link & information here: https://www.nhc.noaa.gov/prepare/ready.php . 

One thing we'd like to remind you is to keep an eye on the storm surge. Extremely high waters can cause more damage than wind alone. In order to protect the lines on your boat, one site recommends putting a length of fire hose over them to prevent chafing. *NOT regular water hose - these can actually build up heat due to friction and melt the line! 

You'll want to make sure you're familiar with your boat's insurance coverage. Have copies of all your information stored in a safe space that will be accessible, even if your boat is damaged. 


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BEATING THE HEAT

Posted On: July 27, 2021

Signs of heat exhaustion to keep in mind this summer to avoid health hazards

Unfortunately, I see this all to often. Take a moment to review and stay safe in the heat- no matter how old you are.

As the temperatures rise, they pose a threat to people who are unaware of heat exhaustion. Heat exhaustion is a condition that occurs when your body overheats, causing a variety of symptoms. As you and your family enjoy the summertime heat, it is important to remember these causes, symptoms and treatments of heat exhaustion to avoid a potentially life-threatening situation.

Causes

When the temperature rises in the summer, the body is made to cool itself in a variety of ways. The body’s main method of self-cooling is through sweating. As sweat evaporates, it allows your body temperature to stay regulated; when sweat production is unable to cool the body down enough, heat exhaustion sets in.

Heat exhaustion is typically seen in people exercising strenuously in hot weather. According to the Mayo Clinic, it can also be caused by dehydration, which reduces the amount of sweat that can be produced; alcohol use, which affects the body’s ability to change its temperature; and wearing too many clothes.

Symptoms

Symptoms of heat exhaustion can occur quickly or can develop overtime, depending on what is causing the heat exhaustion. Typically, though, the symptoms are easy to catch if the person is aware of what heat exhaustion is. The symptoms of heat exhaustion typically consist of the following:

Moist, cool skin with goose bumps
Faintness or dizziness
Heavy sweating
Fatigue
Weak, rapid pulse
Nausea or vomiting
Muscle cramps
Headache
If the person suffering from heat exhaustion has a high body temperature above 103°F, call 911 immediately. This high temperature means that the person is past the stage of heat exhaustion and is suffering from a heat stroke, which can be life threatening.

Treatments

The first step to treating someone with heat exhaustion is to call a doctor or medical professional. As the CDC points out, heat exhaustion can sometimes lead to the much more severe heat stroke illness, which is considered a medical emergency. It is important to have a medical professional determine whether or not the victim of heat exhaustion is in danger of developing heat stroke.

Once a doctor determines that the person is not developing heat stroke and is instead suffering from heat exhaustion, then move the person to a cooler location. This can be into an air-conditioned building or simply into the shade. Once there, apply cool, wet cloths to the person’s body and have them sip water. If vomiting occurs, seek medical attention immediately.

Heat exhaustion is easily preventable if you know the signs. Make sure to remember these warning signs of heat exhaustion as your family enjoys the summer weather. It can be a lifesaver.

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ALWAYS FACTOR IN THE HUMAN

Posted On: July 22, 2021


A navigational hazard is pretty clearly defined as something you might hit on the water. A "hazard to navigation," however, could very well be the person at the helm. Insurance claims files show that one of the most expensive claims — as well as one that frequently causes significant injuries — is when a boat hits something while underway. Investigations show that these incidents are almost always avoidable simply by using some common sense and exercising some basic skills.

It was a sunny, calm day with unlimited visibility, a buoy was hit.  How did that happen? The answer, according to the owner and skipper, was "his new polarized sunglasses." He was looking at his navigational display, and the polarized lenses of his sunglasses made the screen difficult to read. With his focus distracted, he hit the buoy.

Forget the fact that the buoy was bright red and dead ahead for a mile or so as he approached. Strange things happen on the water, right? Sure, but this incident got me thinking that not all navigational hazards are outside the boat. The more I see helms filled with an array of gadgets, the more I harken back to the good old days when we had a compass, perhaps a depth sounder, and a knot meter. The simple helm — most of today's wonderful technology had yet to be invented — forced us to focus. It made us keep a proper lookout. It made us plan ahead.

Today we may plan our day out on the water the day before, on the computer at home, plug in waypoints, arrive at the boat, push some buttons, and off we go. This, I think, is where the story of "hazards to navigation" begins.

Have you ever punched in directions on your car's GPS, hit "go," then diligently steered the route the machine on your dashboard is dictating to you? Had you paused and thought it through, you might know a better way to get there, right? Well, your boat's navigation equipment can also only do so much of the thinking for you. Consider that jetty inconveniently located between your position and the mark inside the harbor? The penalty for not paying attention and preparing properly may result in you running hard aground on the jetty — or worse.

Technology can only take you so far. You, skipper, need to know what your boat is and isn't capable of. Is your vessel, to put it in legal terms, fit for its intended voyage? Is your boat suited to navigating offshore? How much rough weather can your boat handle? Are you GPS- and radar-equipped?

One thing obvious to people in my line of work is that the primary cause of most, if not all, accidents involving collisions (hitting something moving) and allisions (hitting something stationary) is human error, poor decision-making, and complacency.

 

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STAYING SAFE IN A LIGHTENING STORM

Posted On: July 20, 2021

How to Stay Safest in a Thunderstorm

We all learn in grade school that lightning seeks the highest point, and on the water that’s the top of the boat — typically a mast, antenna, Bimini top, fishing rod in a vertical rod holder or even the tallest person in an open boat. If possible, find a protected area out of the wind and drop anchor. If the boat has an enclosed cabin, people should be directed to go inside and stay well away from metal objects, electrical outlets and appliances (it’s a good idea to don life jackets too). Side flashes can jump from metal objects to other objects — even bodies — as they seek a path to water.

Under no circumstances should the VHF radio be used during an electrical storm unless it’s an emergency (handhelds are OK). Also, be careful not to grab two metal objects, like a metal steering wheel and metal railing — that can be a deadly spot to be if there’s a strike. Some boaters opt to steer with a wooden spoon and keep their other hand in a pocket if forced to man the helm during a storm, while others like to wear rubber gloves for insulation.

Protection
A conventional lightning-protection system consists of an air terminal (lightning rod) above the boat connected to a thick wire run down to an underwater metal ground plate attached to the hull — large metal objects like tanks, engines and rails are also connected. New studies suggest multiple terminals and multiple ground paths work better.

An open boat like a runabout is the most dangerous to human life during lightning storms, since you are the highest point and most likely to get hit if the boat is struck. If shore is out of reach, the advice is to drop anchor, remove all metal jewelry, put on life jackets and get low in the center of the boat. Definitely stay out of the water and stow the fishing rods.

If all goes well, the storm will blow past or rain itself out in 20 to 30 minutes. It’s best to wait at least 30 minutes until after the last clap of thunder to resume activities.

 

There’s a Zap For That
A smartphone ­coupled with real-time National ­Oceanic and ­Atmospheric ­Administration (NOAA) lightning tracking ­information can make a powerful tool for ­avoiding storms. Some apps will even notify you if there is a strike near any of your ­designated areas. Do an Internet search for ­“lightning app NOAA” — there are a number of iPhone and Android apps available. A little early warning could give you just the time you need to make it back to shore and seek shelter.

Hit!
Knowing what to do in a storm and having the best lightning-protection system installed on the boat is by no means a guarantee that lightning won’t strike.

The immediate checklist for a direct hit is very short:

  1. Check for unconscious or injured persons first. If they’re moving and breathing, they’ll likely be OK. Immediately begin CPR on unconscious victims if a pulse and/or breathing is absent — there’s no danger of being shocked by someone just struck by lightning.
  2. In the meantime, have someone check the bilges for water. It’s rare, but lightning can blow out a transducer or through-hull — or even just blow a hole in the boat. Plug the hole, get the bilge pumps running, work the bail bucket — whatever it takes to stay afloat. An emergency call on the VHF is warranted if the situation is dire. If the radio is toast, break out the flare kit.


Lightning seeks the highest point, and on the water that's the top of the boat.

If there are no injuries and no holes or major leaks below, just continue to wait it out. Once the danger has passed, check the operation of the engine and all electronics. Even a near strike can fry electronics and an engine’s electronic control unit, cutting off navigation, communication and even propulsion. Some boaters stash charged handheld VHF and GPS units and a spare engine ECU in the microwave or a tin box for this very reason. These makeshift Faraday cages have saved equipment.

Obvious damage will need to be assessed and set right. Even those lucky enough to come away completely unscathed after lighting storms, with no apparent damage should have a professional survey done just to be sure. Minor damage to through-hulls can result in slow leaks, and all manner of electrical wackiness can emerge — sometimes much later. It’s best to catch these issues right away and get that information to the insurance folks for coverage.

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WHAT TO DO IF YOU ARE BOARDED

Posted On: July 15, 2021

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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GETING THE STAINS OUT

Posted On: July 13, 2021


Based on an article by Natalie Sears an owner of a boat-detailing company in Seattle.

That half-full spray bottle of glass cleaner you grabbed on your way out, just in case you needed to do a bit of cleaning on the boat, isn't going to cut it! Here are some tips for getting your boat shipshape quickly and easily.

Wash Your Boat

Wash your boat, or at least hose it off well — the last thing you want to do is grind dust and dirt into your gelcoat while cleaning! This will also take off the main layer of dirt and bird droppings so you have a better idea of what condition your boat is really in and the areas that may need extra work. To clean off all of Buck's shoe marks and other scuffs on the nonskid, wet a Mr. Clean Magic Eraser pad in your bucket of soapy water and use it to remove marks and stains. These work well, but never use them on smooth gelcoat or you'll remove all wax and shine and leave a noticeable faded spot. They're great, however, on rubber, plastic, and vinyl.

Clean The Canvas

Now's a good time to tackle the canvas while you still have your wash gear out. Wet down the canvas and run your deck brush over it to lift and remove loose dirt and bird droppings. Rinse well. Then use a mildew remover/cleaner spray to treat any sections where mildew has grown. Spray it directly on the mildew, scrub it in with a brush, then rinse well. If you live in a wet or humid climate, use a mildew treatment (such as Yacht Brite's Mold Away) that can be left on the canvas to prevent mildew from coming back. Spray the treatment lightly over the canvas and around the edges, and leave it on. It will keep mildew at bay for several months.

Cleaner Wax Touch-Up

The stains you'll find in smooth gelcoat can easily be removed with cleaner wax. This includes scuff marks from shoes, bird droppings, leaf stains, water streaks on vertical surfaces that didn't completely come off with the wash, and gray-water stains on horizontal surfaces. To remove these stains, squeeze a small amount of cleaner wax on a cotton rag, then rub it on and around the mark or stain until it comes off. Use a microfiber rag to wipe off the hazy wax residue. This is a great way to remove stains in between annual wax jobs. Not only are you keeping your boat looking good; you're also adding a bit of wax back to extend the life of your wax job.

You can also use cleaner wax to clean and polish your stainless steel. Use a waxy terrycloth rag to spread the wax over all the stainless steel, then use a clean microfiber rag to wipe it off. This will remove salt spray, rust, and dirt and will protect your stainless from the elements.

Exhaust stains can turn a white transom gray and make an otherwise clean boat look dirty. As you probably already know, exhaust stains don't always come off in the wash. Some spray cleaners are strong enough to remove exhaust stains; however, if they're strong enough for that job, then they're probably also strong enough to eventually strip that area of wax, only making it harder to clean the exhaust stains off over time. The best way to remove exhaust stains from gelcoat is to wax them off. This is something that can easily be done by hand with cleaner wax. Use a terrycloth rag to apply the wax, and wipe or rub it in until the exhaust stains are gone. Then use a microfiber rag to wipe the hazy wax residue off. If the exhaust stains cover a large area, you'll want to use several terrycloth rags as you go, so you're not rubbing the exhaust soot from the rag back onto another section of your boat. When you're finished, you'll be left with a clean, white surface, and it should be a little easier to wipe exhaust stains off next time because they'll be sitting on top of freshly waxed gelcoat.

Clean Vinyl, Rubber, And Plastic Surfaces

Clean vinyl seats with soap and water using a wet sponge or rag. Lightly use a Mr. Clean Magic Eraser pad to remove any stains or marks. Then use 303 Aerospace Protectant to protect them and give them a light sheen. 303 Aerospace Protectant sounds like something you might use to keep your rocket ship shiny, but it's actually intended for boats. It offers the same kind of UV protection as Armor All, but it packs a bit more of a punch and lasts longer. It can be used on vinyl seats, the rubber pontoons of your tender, plastics and plastic windows, leather, and the dashboard area of your helm station. It helps keep dark colored plastics, such as the helm station, from fading. Those little black specs of spider droppings on vinyl seats can also be removed this way. Spray with water or a multipurpose cleaner spray, let it soak in for 30 seconds, then wipe off

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MAKING THE RIGHT SURVEYOR DECISION

Posted On: July 08, 2021

Get The Right Surveyor

You wouldn't hire a plumber to rewire your house; the same goes for surveyors. Finding a qualified marine surveyor or a specialist is a matter of knowing where to look.

  • Marine surveyors are not regulated or licensed, so virtually anyone can call himself a surveyor, and many unqualified people do. A good indicator of competence is a surveyor who has professional affiliations with the American Boat and Yacht Council (ABYC), plus either the National Association of Marine Surveyors (NAMS) or the Society of Accredited Marine Surveyors (SAMS).
  • Choose a surveyor who is familiar with the type of boat you're interested in. Some specialize in power, some in sail, others in wooden or metal boats. " A surveyor should have absolutely no affiliations with boat brokers, dealers, boat repair shops, or others whose living depends on the sale or repair of boats — especially the one you're about to buy.
  • Don't rely upon a survey prepared for a previous owner, even if it was done recently. A survey is a snapshot in time and a boat could have run aground or suffered other unnoticed damage since the last survey.
  • Engine surveys are typically performed by someone with vast experience in repairing gas and diesel engines. The best bet is to hire a certified technician who works for an authorized dealer. That way, they'll be able to research the boat's warranty and dealer service work, too. Hire an engine surveyor with experience on the make and model of the engine you need inspected.
  • Rigging surveyors tend to be a little harder to find, but most marine surveyors can recommend one. They typically make their living building and repairing masts, booms, and associated rigging.
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NAVIGATING THE CHOP

Posted On: July 07, 2021


Choppy Water

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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