Blog February 2022

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THREE LITTLE WORDS THAT MEAN EVERYTHING

Posted On: February 24, 2022

Emergency Procedure Words

There are three emergency procedure words that carry extra importance when you're communicating by radio. In order of decreasing severity, they are mayday, pan-pan, and sécurité.

Emergency Words

WordDerivationMeaningWhen To UseComment
MAYDAYFrom the French "m'aidez," which means "help me"A vessel and/or crew is in grave and imminent dangerLife-threatening medical emergency; possibility of losing the boatUse for imminent danger only
PAN-PANFrom the French "panne," which means "broken"A vessel requires urgent assistanceSerious mechanical breakdown; urgent but not life-threatening medical issuesBecause it handles such a wide range of difficulties, details can be added to the transmission: "Pan-pan, pan-pan, pan-pan, this is the vessel Surprise requesting medical advice, over."
SÉCURITÉFrench for "safety"Important safety information followsInformation that could be important to another vessel's safetyCovers a wide range of issues: hazards to navigation, pyrotechnic demonstrations, Coast Guard Marine Safety Broadcasts, large vessel traffic alerts"

Through the use of these words, you will alert all mariners to the seriousness of your transmission, and to the possibility that they might be involved in lending assistance. All three are anglicized versions of French words, and each is repeated three times in succession so that those who hear the transmission understand that they're hearing an actual call for help and not a discussion of another vessel's distress call.

When you hear a transmission that uses one of the three emergency words, what action should you take? A lot depends on your proximity to the vessel or incident in question. It also depends on your ability to respond and give assistance.

If you hear a mayday and you are the most appropriate vessel to respond, you are legally and morally required to lend assistance, if you can do so without endangering your crew or vessel.

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PRESIDENTS DAY IS COMING

Posted On: February 17, 2022

Officially known as Washington’s Birthday (even though it isn’t actually on Washington’s birthday!), Presidents Day is an American federal holiday that takes place on the third Monday in February.

According to Britannica, the origin of Presidents’ Day lies in the 1880s, when the birthday of Washington—commander of the Continental Army during the American Revolution and the first president of the United States —was first celebrated as a federal holiday. In 1968 Congress passed the Uniform Monday Holiday Bill, which moved a number of federal holidays to Mondays. The change was designed to schedule certain holidays so that workers had a number of long weekends throughout the year, but it has been opposed by those who believe that those holidays should be celebrated on the dates they actually commemorate. During debate on the bill, it was proposed that Washington’s Birthday be renamed Presidents’ Day to honor the birthdays of both Washington (February 22) and Lincoln (February 12); although Lincoln’s birthday was celebrated in many states, it was never an official federal holiday. Following much discussion, Congress rejected the name change. After the bill went into effect in 1971, however, Presidents’ Day became the commonly accepted name, due in part to retailers’ use of that name to promote sales and the holiday’s proximity to Lincoln’s birthday. Presidents’ Day is usually marked by public ceremonies in Washington, D. C., and throughout the country.

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DOESN'T THE COAST GUARD....

Posted On: February 08, 2022

Aren't Inspections the Coast Guard's Job?


Unlike for cars or airplanes, there are relatively few federal regulations regarding the construction of boats.

The Coast Guard has rules regarding flotation and stability, plus engine-ventilation requirements for gas inboards, but these have little to do with how a boat is built and more to do with meeting minimal safety requirements. As a matter of fact, if your boat measures longer than 20 feet and sports diesel power, there are virtually no federal regulations that apply to its construction.

The federal government doesn't dictate how far away a steering wheel should be from a throttle lever, or how much of the view through a windshield can be obscured by supports, or any of the dozens of other safety considerations. Boat-building is largely self-regulated.

To ensure that boating remains safe and enjoyable — and to make it unnecessary for government to step in — the boat builders had to come up with an effective way to police them-selves at a high standard.

Standards + Certification

Boats are paradoxical vehicles in that, largely in pursuit of pleasure and at considerable expense, we buy them in order to drive them into a challenging environment. We take for granted that much of the responsibility for getting safely home lies on our shoulders and on our practice of good seamanship, and we put our trust in our vessels that they won't let us down when we need them.

The American Boat and Yacht Council (ABYC) strives to make sure that a boat's construction is not at fault if something does not go according to our plan out there. "

In 2003, the NMMA and ABYC joined forces when the NMMA decided to start enforcing ABYC standards through their certification process. Prior to that, the NMMA relied on their own standards, similar to the ABYC's. Now, NMMA's boatbuilder members are required to participate in the certification process. Thanks to their efforts, more than 180 boatbuilders now build to the standards, and NMMA reports that around 85 percent of the boats sold in the U.S. today are certified.

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HISTORY OF GROUND HOG DAY

Posted On: February 02, 2022

Groundhog Day is perhaps one of America’s weirdest traditions.

Every Feb. 2, people wait for a large, furry rodent to see his shadow and then we predict the weather based on the animal’s actions.

The origin story

The idea of Groundhog Day comes from an ancient Christian celebration known as Candlemas Day, which marked the midpoint between the winter solstice and the spring equinox.

According to the the Punxsutawney GROUND HOG CLUB website, on Candlemas Day, clergy would bless candles needed for winter and distribute them to the people. Superstition held that if the day was sunny and clear, people could expect a long, rough winter, but if the sky was cloudy, warm weather would arrive soon.

The Germans then expanded on this tradition, introducing the hedgehog to the mix.

They believed that if the sun appeared and the hedgehog saw his shadow, there would be six more weeks of bad weather, or a “Second Winter.”

Groundhog Day in the United States

Many of Pennsylvania’s early settlers were German, and they brought this tradition with them, switching the hedgehog for the groundhog, which could be more easily found in their new home, according to the Punxsutawney site.

Since then, the tradition has grown in popularity with many other cities across the country hold their own Groundhog Day celebrations. But none are as elaborate as the one that takes place at Gobbler’s Knob in Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania every Feb. 2

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