From the Marina Office!
Greetings Mariners - Here is your November 2017 eNewsletter.
In this month's issue, we continue our series on sail care and maintenance; present some options for Captains whose licences are up for renewal; point out the potential hazards of leaving hatches open; a reminder of the importance of filing a Float Plan; a fun boating quiz; and Mark's latest "Fish 'n Tips".
We hope you enjoy the newsletter and we hope you have a great November boating month.
Your Marina Management
The Perils of Open Hatches
- By Kells Christian
People often get hurt around hatches but most of the time it's avoidable. There are many hatch topics worth reviewing, water and weather tightness, ventilation vs. safety, fire escape, material, installation and design but this article is about avoiding injuries.
Don't leave a hatch open and then leave the area. Whether on the exterior deck or interior sole, an open hatch is a hazard.
Falling through an open hatch often leads to serious injuries. Professional mariners often utilize a hatch watch to prevent falls; recreational mariners don't.
A false sense of security is part of the problem, nobody else is aboard or in this area and the open hatch is easy to see, what are the chances?
Shut the hatch, open it when you return, it's safer and you get a bit of exercise. I once handled an insurance claim where a crew member, carrying a tray of drinks, didn't see the open hatch and walked right in. Funny on a cartoon, not so funny for her.
I almost fell through a hatch I thought was closed while inspecting a Sea Ray that had been deposited in a large bush by a hurricane. The foredeck hatch had a canvas cover, but only a canvas cover, no lens. I stepped on the cover, my foot went through the hatch and I luckily recovered, a near miss. (Pro tip - don't go on boats in bushes and if you do, don't assume anything will support you.
Hatches can also fall! I advocate for means to secure hinged hatches and not propping up loose hatches where they can fall and do damage, i.e. don't lift the engine hatch and set it on edge beside the open hole. Latches, lines, bungee cords and struts are easy to obtain, design and install and inexpensive (especially compared to an emergency room visit). Boats rock, what you thought was a safely raised hatch is now a guillotine. Lay loose hatches flat where they can't slide or fall.
I once failed to secure a hinged hatch, it was small and I figured it couldn't hurt me. A wave came, the hatch fell and hit the back of my head. It didn't hurt the back of my head, but I flinched forward, hit the edge of the locker, and was off to urgent care to stitch the "boxers cut" above my eye. I try to always secure hatches, tying them up, putting my tool bag against it, using a boat hook, or asking for someone to hold it, but of course it is easier and more secure if there is already a device on the hatch to use.
Boating has inherent dangers and a boat owner's exposure to personal injury suits arises from negligence, failure to act with reasonable care. Let this article be a reminder of what you already know, maybe inspire a new, safer way to do things and a motivator to check those hatches.
Kells Christian has been an accredited Marine Surveyor since 1990. His expertise extends to both recreational and commercial vessels. You can e-mail your marine surveyor questions to email@example.com or Click Here to visit his web site.
Float Plans - Nothing But Upside
- By Commodore Vincent Pica
As we often pine to be afloat with a deck beneath our feet, we might feel compelled to venture out with proper planning. If so, the Float Plan, oft spoken of and more often ignored, can be key for you and those closest to you. That's what this column is about.
Float Plan: The Float Plan is nominally known as a mechanism for ensuring that missing vessels are indeed missed in time for action to be taken that might otherwise lead to the rescue of the crew rather than the recovery of their bodies. "Boat-A is supposed to be at Payne's Marina in the Great Salt Pond on Block Island at this time and date. Is it there?" If you need a printable Float Plan template, you can download one from the U.S. Coast Guard's website.
So, in a nutshell, float plans are all about SOLAS - Safety Of Life At Sea. However, as the title infers, the development of a float plan delivers nothing but upside to the boat's master and thus to the crew who are fully the master's responsibility.
Charting: The ideal float plan involves the detailed analysis of getting to your destination and returning safely. The float plan provides the opportunity for the skipper to sit with his or her charts, in the calm of a kitchen, den or study, and literally walk through the passage with parallel rulers and dividers.
What is the goal of such detailed analysis? The net effect is to create your own Pilot Guide for the entire passage and to be able to assign predicted times to each leg. Deviation from predicted times is an early warning to the skipper that something is up working against (or with!) a current, cross winds creating additional work effort for the engines to hold course, etc. All of this translates into fuel consumption "deltas" which ultimately leads directly to SOLAS issues Safety Of Life At Sea ...
If you have made an error in the development of your pilot guide, the rest of the guide is likely to be suspect and you'll have to do what every skipper has done for centuries untold - improvise carefully! If the chart is generally consistent but winds and tides have done the inevitable, then the overall pilot guide is likely to still have integrity but, once again, you'll have to do what every skipper has done for centuries untold improvise carefully...
Weather: With respect to predicting the weather, I use the Weather.com - and the reason I do is because I can get weather prediction by the hour. If the chance of precipitation for a particular day is 50%, but it is 10% in the morning and 90% in the afternoon, I want to know that. Put in your zip code or city name and click go ... Click on "More Details" and see how the hourly details add to the weather analysis...
Tides: Nothing is more likely to surprise you and more potentially perilous to happen than running aground, and understanding the tide is all about that. There are several good services to use but there is something very subtle about tide analysis that no chart gives you. Tides change at different rates at different places (watch for a column here soon where we'll talk Time and Tides.)
Knowing the tides at an inlet while spending the next 6 hours transiting from cove to bay "on the inside" could require major mental gymnastics in order to keep pace with the pace of the tide as it works its way through that inlet and across the bays and into the coves ...
Why do that if the internet can do it for you? See Local Notice to Mariners:
As of April 1, 2004, the United States Coast Guard stopped mailing the Local Notice to Mariners. Instead, it is accessible on the Internet, and they will even email you a link to the updates each week as they "go to press."
The electronic versions of LNM appear on the U.S. Coast Guard Navigation Center's website. Why go out upon the briny deep with less information than there is available to you? What's the upside in that? Go on their web site, click around until you find the area for you to put your email address in and from then on get, direct from the United States Coast Guard forevermore, the latest they know about what is happening "out there" ... For free!
Battening Down the Hatches: So, in summary, a complete float plan left with someone responsible and capable of checking on you over the course of your passageway encompasses all of these components... And a prayer!
Your Sea is so wide,
And my boat is so small,
Commodore Pica is District Directorate Chief; Strategy & Innovation; First Coast Guard District, Southern Region USCGAux. He is also a U.S. Coast Guard licensed Master Captain.
Tommy's Favorites - The New "Smart Plug"
- By Tom Jarvis
A new option on the market today for Shore Power is the Innovated Smart Plug.
The Smart Plug has a four stage solution that protects against overheating and loose connections and provides twenty (20) times more electrical contact with the female connection inlet on dock side and on the vessel.
It is simple to use since there is no struggle to align the pins and then twist to lock in the male plug into position. You simply insert the male pins straight and directly into the inlet and lock into place automatically with the spring loaded side locking clamps and the stainless steel inlet cover plate that locks down onto the top of the male plug. This makes for a solid connection and secure from disconnection due to movement of the vessel.
The unique body shape of the male plug and female receptacle make it easy to align the plug the first time and every time with no chance of misalignment. The plug has a TPE Dyna-flex cord seal, and a face gasket that seals against inlet sleeve to eliminate dirt and moisture reaching the electrical pins. The curved electrical pins on all other shore power cords reduce the electrical contact and create a hotter receptacle. The Smart Plug is much cooler and maintains 20 times more contact surface.
According to Christian & Co. Marine Surveyors, "By their nature shore cord connections are subject to weather, movement and wear. All of which increase resistance and thus temperature of the conductors. Approximately one out of every five boats we inspect has some problem with the shore power system."
Contrary to many different beliefs the number one cause of shore power failure and fires is not electrical shorting, but overheating caused by poor electrical conductivity. On the type of shore power cords illustrated above in the photos the burn is caused by the pins working loose allowing for moisture intrusion and corrosion of the pins, which then permits arcing to occur, then the cord scorches and in some cases catches fire.
The Smart Plug shore power system has a Connector & Inlet kit that is an easy installation to replace the old shore power products that one may have on their boat. This kit is the same hole pattern as all other power inlets and the transition from old to new could not be easier.
The Locking Inlet Cover snaps down onto the front and rear of the male connector to provide a multi-point locking system. The plug is available in 30 Amp and 50 Amp Cord Sets and individual components.
Check out their website at: smartplug.com This is truly a great product line!!
Editor's Note: Tom Jarvis is the Vice President of the Board of Directors of the SuperYacht Association and he also performs outside Marketing and Sales for the San Diego Marine Exchange. Click Here to email your boating product questions to Tom.
Mark's "Fish n' Tips" - Fishing Line
- By Captain Mark Moffat
There are a myriad of types of fishing lines to choose from. It's important to choose the right type of line, and line combinations, for the type of fishing you're doing.
The three most common types are monofilament, fluorocarbon, and Spectra.
Monofilament is most commonly used in near coastal waters. A major difference is that monofilament stretches whereas Spectra and fluorocarbon have minimal to no stretch.
Under pressure when pulling on a fish, anglers feel that having some monofilament in the line is beneficial to reduce hook pulling. As the boat goes up on a swell there is less jerking on the hook because the stretch of the monofilament.
It is always important to keep fresh monofilament on the reel. After use of the line, monofilament that has caught multiple fish will lose this stretch characteristic and eventually will break. I have seen situations where monofilament will break just by setting a hook when getting a bite, so it is very important to keep fresh line on your reel.
Another factor to think about is that when an angler is Calico Bass fishing and gets the line caught in the kelp, it is difficult to get the hook free at times due to the stretch of the line. Eventually, after multiple times getting caught in the kelp, the stretch ability of the monofilament goes away, and the angler hooks a fish and the fish breaks off. Monofilament also reflects light which could affect fishing.
Fluorocarbon is used as a leader material for abrasion resistance and also to reduce visibility. Anglers can tie on a piece of fluorocarbon to their monofilament or Spectra and then connect their hook to that.
Fluorocarbon reduces the chance for fish to chew through the line. It is especially useful in the long range application when the fish become much larger.
Spectra looks like rope and becomes more commonly seen for longer trips, say 5-plus day range. In the old days, anglers would fish giant Penn reels because they needed the line capacity before Spectra was around. Once Spectra was introduced it became a game changer in the industry. The reels were reduced on size and Spectra was added.
Spectra has a much smaller diameter over monofilament when looking at pound test for pound test. Spectra can be on a reel for years before having to replace it as long as it is properly maintained. Spectra cuts through the water and is much more sensitive.
Mark Moffat is a fire-fighter by trade, a member of the San Diego Yacht Club and is a life-long fisherman by avocation. He started working the half-day boats as a pinhead at age 10; migrating to the full day Albacore boats at age 14.
Today , Mark is the Charter Master of an annual two week long range trip on the Red Rooster 3. Click Here to learn more about Mark's annual trip.
Two Sailboats Approaching in Sight of Each Other? Better Know Rule 12!
If you operate a boat, you are subject to comply with the U.S. Coast Guard's "Navigation Rules of the Road".
There are a total of 38 rules in total, and they are applied differently in many cases depending on whether you are in Inalnd or International waterways, but they are all basically Regulations for Preventing Collisions at Sea.
In this month's issue, we review Rule #12 - Which is for "Conduct of Sailing Vessels in Sight of One Another", and is one of those "Steering and Sailing" rules which is the same for both Inland and International waterways.
The rule applies to two sailboats approaching that are in sight of each other.
Here is the wording of Rule 12:
(a) When two sailing vessels are approaching one another, so as to involve risk of collision, one of them shall keep out of the way of the other as follows:
(i) when each has the wind on a different side, the vessel which has the wind on the port side shall keep out of the way of the other;
(ii) when both have the wind on the same side, the vessel which is to windward shall keep out of the way of the vessel which is to leeward; and
(iii) if a vessel with the wind on the port side sees a vessel to windward and cannot determine with certainty whether the other vessel has the wind on the port or on the starboard side, she shall keep out of the way of the other.
(b) For the purpose of this Rule the windward side shall be deemed to be the side opposite to that on which the mainsail is carried or, in the case of a square-rigged vessel, the side opposite to that on which the largest fore-and-aft sail is carried."
Editor's Note: Information published here regarding the U.S. Coast Guard Navigation Rules is provided in the interest of encouraging better boater education and is not endorsed by the U.S. Coast Guard - For the official source please visit the U.S. Coast Guard's "Navigation Rules of the Road".
How to Measure for New Sails
- By Brad Poulos
When it's time to order new sails, using your old sails' measurements is of little use. Think of that approach as similar to asking a tailor to make you a new suit just from looking at an old suit. Even if your boat is a "standard production boat", builders and/or owners may have modified the rig, making database information doubtful.
It's only by on-site measurement can you obtain reliable measurements. The following rig dimensions designated by "I", "J" "P", and "E" are needed to produce an accurate price quote and sail construction. They are convenient names to use because they are short and are understood throughout the sailmaking industry
"P" is the luff length of the main-sail, measured along the aft face of the mast from the top of the boom to the highest point that the mainsail can be hoisted.
"E" is the foot length of the main-sail, measured along the boom from the after face of the mast to the outermost point on the boom to which the main can be pulled.
"I" is measured along the front of mast from the highest halyard to the main deck. The main deck is where the deck would be if there were no deckhouse.
"J" is the base of the foretriangle measured along the deck from the headstay to the mast.
"JC" is the greater of the following three dimensions: "J", the length of the spinnaker pole, or the maxi-mum width of the spinnaker divided by 1.8. Under most measurement rules, "JC" is used, along with "I", to determine the size of a spinnaker.
"PY" and "EY" are, respectively the luff length and foot length of the mizzen of a yawl or ketch measured in the same manner as for the mainsail.
"IY" is the "I" measurement for the staysail halyard.
"JY" is the base of the staysail foretriangle measured along the deck from the staysail stay to the mast.
If your boat is near your sailmaker, they will want to do the measurements themselves. If you're in a remote area, most sailmakers can send you a measurement form and work with you to fill it out. When you see this form, you will quickly appreciate how "customized" every sail actually is.
Time to Renew Your Captain's License But Don't Have the Sea Time?
- By Captain H. G. "Rags" Laragione
The U.S. Coast Guard requires that you must renew your Captain's License every five years.
But what if it's time to renew your USCG license, and you don't have the required 360 days of sea service to renew. (Has it been five years already??)
What do I do then? Well, if you have an OUPV or Masters license that is less than 200 gross tons, there are two easy options to renew your license - without sea time!
The best way is (I wouldn't be a good salesman if I didn't say this) is to take a one day U.S.C.G. approved renewal class with our Maritime Institute. The course curriculum topics include reviews of the Rules of the Road, Navigation techniques, Firefighting Techniques, Conducting Drills and Handling Emergencies.
Successfully completing this class will earn you a certificate that you submit to the USCG, with appropriate documentation, (renewal checklist is available at Maritime Institute or on the National Maritime Center NMC) website, www.uscg.mil/nmc.
The second way is to request an open book exam with your application. NMC will provide you with an open book exam that you complete and return to NMC.
Either method, when completed properly, will result in your license being renewed for another five years. Give us a call if you have any questions about this or if you'd like to register to attend.
Either way, don't let your valuable USCG license expire for lack of sea time!
Captain Laragione is the President of The Maritime Institute which offers USCG approved courses for mariners. Curriculum ranges from the maritime rules of the road to the 1600 Ton Captain's License. Captain Laragione is well known for his motto - "The key to safe boating is education; so let's get educated!"