The Boat/US website has a good article about how to deal with a submerged engine. The process is called "pickling," and the article describes 12 steps to follow to try and save an expensive piece of equipment. See www.boatus.com/hurricanes/pickle.asp.
With the approach of Hurricane Sandy (Oct. 25, 2012) toward the U.S. east coast, it's time to immediately begin protecting your boat, if it is in the path of strong winds, waves and storm surge. Read the Boat/US hurricane preparation information at www.boatus.com/hurricanes/brochure.asp. 48 hours is almost too late to take action. If you read this after the storm passes, save the information for future use.
Lifejackets are among the most important items of safety gear on any boat. In the U.S. there are a number of types of Coast Guard-approved lifejackets. No one type of lifejacket is suitable for every kind of boating. Contrary to what you may read or hear, all lifejackets are not created equal.
Statistics show that “nine out of 10 drownings occur in inland waters, most within a few feet of safety. Most of the victims owned PFDs [lifejackets], but they died without them. A wearable PFD can save your life, if you wear it. If you haven't been wearing your PFD because of the way it makes you look or feel, there's good news. Today's PFDs fit better, look better and are easy to move around in.”
U.S. Coast Guard information about lifejackets calls them PFDs (personal flotation devices), a term which is used in a “strictly regulatory sense” i.e. for writing regulations. Some CG literature and websites are being modified to say “wearable lifejacket” and “throwable device” to avoid confusion. In the U.S. “each PFD sold for use on a recreational boat is required to be provided with a guide to selection entitled ‘Think Safe – Choose the Right PFD’. These pamphlets are tailored to the kind of PFD to which they are attached.” Read the guides carefully when you are selecting a lifejacket, and make sure it is suitable for the kind of boating you do and for the person (adult or child) who will wear it.
“The Coast Guard is working with the PFD community to revise the classification and labeling of PFDs. When completed, this information will be updated and hopefully be somewhat easier to understand. Meanwhile, spending a few minutes to understand the many options available to find a PFD that you’re willing to wear could mean the difference between life and death for you or a loved one.” See this Coast Guard website for detailed information on PFD selection, use, wear, and care. www.uscg.mil/hq/cg5/cg5214/pfdselection.asp#recreational
Although this website talks about U.S. types of lifejackets, the general theory about what kind of lifejackets are suitable for offshore, near shore, for children, etc. applies to lifejackets sold in other countries. Check with the boating authorities in your country for specific requirements and guidance to find a lifejacket that you will wear.
[The quotes above come from the Coast Guard website.]
This is an important question for those who go on the water with only two people aboard. No matter the size of the boat or where you travel, what would you do if the other person becomes incapacitated by injury or illness? What if the other person aboard is a child or unable to take charge if something happens to you? If you become a crew of one, you also will have to deal with the illness or injury to the other person – a complicating factor, adding to the stress of the situation. Both people on a two-person boat should be able to operate the boat and get it home or to a safe place if something happens. It’s a good idea to practice with one person operating the boat while the other stands by, and for both people to take charge regularly to keep their skills up. For larger boats you can find on-the-water instruction specifically designed to teach skills for getting home safely, if you’re not the primary boat operator. The more you both know about operating and navigating the boat, the happier and safer a two-person crew will be.
Rule 7 of the Navigation Rules says that you “shall use all available means appropriate to the prevailing circumstances and conditions to determine if risk of collision exists.” If there’s any doubt, assume that there IS risk of collision, and take the appropriate action as required under the Navigation Rules. Take systematic collision bearings on the other vessel; if the bearing doesn’t change over time, risk may exist. It’s sometimes difficult to judge the potential for collision when one or both vessels are moving quickly, when you approach a large vessel or a tow, or when you are close to the other vessel. AIS and/or radar can help, but also use your eyes. For the text of Rule 7 see www.navcen.uscg.gov/?pageName=navRulesContent.
I recently attended the Seven Seas Cruising Association Gam in Annapolis, MD and had the pleasant fortune to sit at a dinner table with three couples who are preparing to begin long-term cruising in the next few years. Conversation flowed freely and they talked about what they have been doing to get ready to go and how they were feeling about what lies ahead. It seemed that they all share the cruising attitude, one of the requirements for a successful experience. Some of the things they were doing include:
(1) paying attention to preparing the boat.
(2) developing skills for self-reliance afloat.
(3) reading as much as they can about all sorts of subjects relevant to cruising and attending cruising-oriented events to hear presentations from recognized experts.
(4) taking courses in navigation and other nautical subjects.
(5) learning and practicing safety techniques.
(6) having realistic expectations.
(7) looking forward to new experiences and meeting new people.
(8) expressing a positive attitude, enthusiasm AND (last but definitely not least) a sense of humor.
What else can you add to this list?
Priscilla Travis spends more than 110 days each year on the water, takes photos, and writes about nautical topics.