Scott Marine Surveyor Blog

WHAT ACTUALLY OCCURRED ON JULY 4, 1776

Posted On: July 01, 2021


The Story of the Fourth of July


The Declaration of Independence

We celebrate American Independence Day on the Fourth of July every year. We think of July 4, 1776, as a day that represents the Declaration of Independence and the birth of the United States of America as an independent nation.

But July 4, 1776 wasn't the day that the Continental Congress decided to declare independence (they did that on July 2, 1776).

It wasn’t the day we started the American Revolution either (that had happened back in April 1775).

And it wasn't the day Thomas Jefferson wrote the first draft of the Declaration of Independence (that was in June 1776). Or the date on which the Declaration was delivered to Great Britain (that didn't happen until November 1776). Or the date it was signed (that was August 2, 1776).

 

So what did happen on July 4, 1776?

The Continental Congress approved the final wording of the Declaration of Independence on July 4, 1776. They'd been working on it for a couple of days after the draft was submitted on July 2nd and finally agreed on all of the edits and changes.

July 4, 1776, became the date that was included on the Declaration of Independence, and the fancy handwritten copy that was signed in August (the copy now displayed at the National Archives in Washington, D.C.) It’s also the date that was printed on the Dunlap Broadsides, the original printed copies of the Declaration that were circulated throughout the new nation. So when people thought of the Declaration of Independence, July 4, 1776 was the date they remembered.

In contrast, we celebrate Constitution Day on September 17th of each year, the anniversary of the date the Constitution was signed, not the anniversary of the date it was approved. If we’d followed this same approach for the Declaration of Independence we’d being celebrating Independence Day on August 2nd of each year, the day the Declaration of Independence was signed!

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MARINE SURVEY EXPECTATIONS

Posted On: June 29, 2021

What to Expect

No matter who you choose to do your marine survey, you should expect professional treatment. At Roy Scott Marine you can always expect that we will:

  • Be on Time for Appointments (or at least call to explain any unforeseen delays)
  • Inspect Your Boat Thoroughly.
  • Treat You Respectfully.
  • Respect Your Boat.
  • Avoid Conflicts of Interest.
  • Under Promise & Over Deliver.
  • Explain the Survey Process.
  • Prepare a Comprehensive Marine Survey Report.
  • Deliver the Survey Report Quickly – Normally Within 24-48 Hours.
  • Respect Your Privacy.
  • Be Available for Questions and Follow-Up.

Our practical approach allows you to get a good picture of the boats’ condition the day we inspect it. We go through all the parts of the boat in a systematic way, pointing out systems and issues and jotting down our observations and recommendations that we then use to create the survey. We encourage buyers and owners to be present at a survey.

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DON"T BE "THAT GUY" AND CREATE A WAVE OF ILL FEELINGS

Posted On: June 24, 2021

REMEMBER  Your Boat's Wake

You can save a lot of aggravation, some money and avoid being the recipient of some not so nice gestures from other boaters by using a little common sense and courtesy. This means coming completely off plane when you enter a no-wake zone or any area where your wake could compromise the safety of other boats. All too often the skippers react to a no-wake sign by slowing the boat slightly and then plowing through with the boat's bow up in the air and the stern dug down into the water. Instead of reducing the size of the boat's wake, this token reduction in speed — not quite on plane — increases the size of the wake.

No wake means NO WAKE. The first rule is to slow down so that the boat is level (without using trim tabs) and the size of the wake is negligible. Look back at the wake you're creating. You can help to reduce the size of your boat's wake by positioning passengers toward the center of the boat to keep it level. Too much weight aft lowers the stern and increases the size of the wake. Finally, keep an eye on your depth sounder; shallow water increases the impact of your boat's wake.

Damaging wakes can also be caused when a skipper waits too long to pull back on the throttle. A good example is the young skipper in New Jersey who was tying up at a marina gas dock when he encountered someone who was "cursing and accusing me of not having any respect." Words were exchanged, gestures were made. The young skipper's cruiser, it seems, had created a large wake that bashed several boats at the marina against pilings and finger piers. He had "slowed" just before reaching the gas dock, so he reasoned that the damage must have been caused by "some other boat's wake."

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THE BASICS ON WAVES

Posted On: June 22, 2021

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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STAYING SAFE THIS SUMMER BOATING SEASON

Posted On: June 17, 2021

TIPS FOR SAFE BOATING

Life jackets save lives - ITS NOT OPTIONAL

Drowning is the cause of death in 79% of fatal boating accidents where the cause of death was known; 86% of those drowning victims were not wearing life jackets. 

Make sure your boat is equipped with U.S. Coast Guard approved life jackets for all passengers and they are sized to fit appropriately.

KNOW BEFORE YOU GO

Before launching your boat, be sure you are confident and comfortable at the helm, following successful completion of a boating safety education course. If you haven’t already done so, enroll in a boating class taught by qualified and certified boating safety instructors, preferably with curriculum that meets approved American National Standard for on-water skills training. 

Don't drink and drive

When you mix sun, wind, water and waves with alcohol, you create a dangerous situation that can lead to disaster. According to U.S. Coast Guard reports, alcohol use is the leading known contributing factor in fatal boating accidents; where the primary cause was known, it was listed as the leading factor in 23% of deaths. 

File a float plan

Before departing from your dock of choice, file a float plan with friends, family members and/or your marina that communicates the names of all aboard with contact information including cell phone numbers; your destination with a planned itinerary and stops along the route; and your estimated return time

Engage the ECOS

As of April 1, 2021, a federal law was enacted that requires the use of an engine cut off switch (ECOS), an onboard safety device that is connected to the boat’s captain. Should the driver fall out of the boat, the ECOS will immediately stop the boat’s engine.

Comply with your boat's capacity

Every boat includes a designated maximum capacity rating. Be sure to know this requirement and to follow recommendation to prevent overloading and potentially capsizing your boat. Consider not only the weight of passengers, but also gear, coolers, water toys and other carry-ons. 

Be careful and pay attention

A vast number of boating accidents are attributed to operator distraction or inattention. The designated driver needs to be vigilant and to take responsibility for the safety of those on his vessel. Continually “sweep” the horizon and carefully watch and anticipate boating activity.

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WHAT ANCHOR IS BEST FOR ME?

Posted On: June 15, 2021

Here's a good bit of information from Discover Boating.

The anchor is most important as a critical item of safety gear . If you should lose power, it’s the anchor that’s going to keep your boat from drifting into peril, be it rocks or another shoal, or the dangers of a surf-swept shoreline. The best anchor first depends on the size and type of your boat.

Boats used for long-distance cruising may need to anchor in rough weather, and on a variety of bottoms, and thus will need not only heavier gear but also several different anchors suitable for different bottom conditions.

Types of Boat Anchors 

Once you have a better idea of what size anchor you need for your boat, you'll also want to consider the type of anchor. Let's explore some of the most popular options available for boaters when it comes to anchors.

Mushroom Anchor

Very large mushroom anchors are used for moorings or securing buoys. Small mushroom anchors may be effective in the softest river bottom but have minimal holding power. They should be used only for personal watercrafts, small aluminum fishing boats, or dinghies.

Danforth or Fluke Anchor

This style of anchor is a good choice for smaller boats because it folds flat and is easy to stow, and has great holding power for its weight. Its wide, sharp flukes sink into sand and hard-mud bottoms, but are less effective in deep mud or a grassy bottom. If the wind shifts and boat drifts over the anchor and then in the opposite direction from which it was set, a Danforth anchor can pull free.

Plow Anchor

A plow anchor is a little more cumbersome than a Danforth, and is a good choice if the anchor is secured on a bow roller rather than in an anchor locker in the boat. A plow anchor has a single penetrating point and is more likely to reset itself if boat position changes. It can be more effective than the Danforth in light grass, has the strength to hold in a rocky bottom if it gets a good grip, and does well in soft bottoms.

Claw Anchor

This non-folding anchor is similar to the plow anchor, but has a broader scoop shape that works well in mud, clay or sandy bottoms. These anchors are also strong enough to hold on a rocky bottom. A claw anchor will re-set quickly if the wind changes. It may not work well on a very hard bottom, or in thick vegetation, both challenging for all types of anchors. This anchor is also best-suited to installation with a bow roller or windlass.

Grapnel Anchor

Shaped like a grappling hook, this anchor has multiple tines or points, and is designed to grab onto structure on the bottom—such as rocks or submerged timber—rather than sink into the bottom. The tines usually fold up along the shank so that the anchor is more compact for stowage. On some models the tines are designed to bend to make it easier to retrieve the anchor if it becomes snagged on bottom structure

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BOAT RAMP BASICS

Posted On: June 10, 2021

what do you need to tow a boat

You have all seen it. That boater in a hurry or all too knowing when it comes to putting his boat in the water.

To avoid the Comic relief and embarrassment, here are some tips as you get ready to descend that ramp.

How to Backup a Boat Trailer 

Now it’s time to back down the ramp, which some people consider the biggest challenge of all.

  • To make it easier, pull forward far enough that you start backing with the truck and trailer in alignment.
  • Then make tiny incremental steering corrections as you’re backing up a boat trailer; over-steering is often the cause of a botched backing job.
  • Remember that the trailer will swing in the opposite direction of where you steer; some people find it helpful to place their hands at the bottom of the wheel, while reminding themselves to move their hands in the direction they want the trailer to go.
  • When the back of the boat begins to float, you may be able to release the bow eye and motor or tug the boat off the trailer.

Every rig is a bit different and different ramps have different grades; in some cases you may need to back down until the tow vehicles’ rear tires are getting wet and in others you may not need to back down nearly as far. Just remember to take your time and don’t be afraid to move the rig farther down the ramp if necessary if the boat doesn’t float free on the first try.

Launching a Boat

Getting the boat off the trailer at a boat ramp is far easier than removing a boat from a trailer on land—the water and the boat’s buoyancy will do all the work for you. Though it may seem daunting the first few times you do it, you’ll be launching the boat  like a pro in no time. Before you launch, however, there’s some preparation to be done:

  1. Remove all tie-downs and ropes (but not the winch hook, or the boat could slide off the trailer prematurely).
  2. Add a rope to the boat so you can secure it at the pier once it’s off the trailer.
  3. Load any gear hauled in your tow vehicle into the boat.
  4. Put in the drain plug.
  5. If your trailer has incandescent lights, unplug them from the tow vehicle (otherwise, they can heat up when you step on the brakes and then pop when submerged in cool water).

As a matter of boat ramp etiquette, it’s considered polite to pull over in the parking lot to make all your preparations. That way other boaters can continue using the ramp, as you get prepped.

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SHOULD YOU BUY NEW OR USED?

Posted On: June 08, 2021

There's no one answer when it comes to boat ownership.

Benefits Buying a New Boat

Who doesn’t like a shiny, new toy?

  • No need to wonder how the boat’s been used or misused, or if it’s been winterized and commissioned. There is no history to uncover, because you’ll write this boat’s biography.
  • You can buy exactly what you want and not just what’s on the preowned market. You’ll be getting the latest, greatest technology and innovations.
  • If something does go awry, you’ll have a manufacturer’s warranty to back you up. That warranty is served by the selling dealer, which is a good reason to buy nearby.
  • You can rig it the way you want with the latest gear selected precisely for your purpose. Unless you buy a boat-and-motor combo with the lowest-offered powerplant, it’s probably a satisfying match.
  • You don’t have to get an answer to the most troubling question: Why is this used boat for sale?

Benefits Buying a Pre-Owned Boat

  • When buying a used boat, chances are you get more boat for fewer dollars, lower cost per year of ownership, and less on the line if you decide a different style or size boat would better serve you.
  • It sounds funny, but there’s peace of mind in knowing you’re not going to put the first scratch or ding in the boat.
  • Any initial bugs in boat or motor have likely surfaced and been dealt with. For reassurance, and before signing, get a marine survey. Marine surveyors see what you can’t and look where you won’t. First, get a survey. Then smile and buy, whittle down the price, draft your own to-do list, or walk away.
  • You get time-tested technologies. If a manufacturer brought out a bad boat or balky motor, the Internet and other sources will wave you off.
  • You can choose a style of sale—from the trade-in or used stock of a dealer, who has to cover overhead but has a reputation to guard and a service bay; from a broker, who has reduced overhead costs; or from a private seller, who may be most motivated.

Again, there is no right answer. Just remember depending on where and when you buy it, the cost of moving a boat is one you may need to consider. Delivery will often be included in the boat’s price tag when you buy new from a dealer’s lot. But if you order a new boat to your specifications or purchase one that’s at a distant location, be sure to include the cost of moving it in your calculations.

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