From the Seaforth Marina Team
Greetings Mariners - Here is your April 2018 Marina eNewsletter.
After a chillier than normal Southern California March, the April sunshine is a welcome change.
In this month's issue we have some Spring tips for getting your boat ready for the season, plus a "must do" inspection of any inflatable life vests you may have aboard.
In other articles, we look at the short term boat rental market and the challenges and rewards it offers; new regulations for Captains seeking open ocean endorsements; and a handy VHF Radio Channel Quick Reference Guide you'll want to have on your next cruise.
Lastly, we have some tips to get your fishing pole in top shape for your next trip and the "Open House" schedule for the San Diego County Yacht Clubs.
John and Randy - Seaforth Marina
Special Dates in April
APRIL 15th Day at the Docks
Here are some of the highlights:
- Fishing Seminars
- Kids Fishing Adventure
- Catch, Prep & Cook Center
- Casting Contests
- Izorline Knot Tying Competition
- Fishing Videos
- Boat Rides Around The Bay
- Gourmet Galley
- Hot Tackle
- Marine Art
- Open House On Boats In The Fleet
- Entertainment All Day On Stage
April 18th Amateur Radio Day - A great network supporting cruising boaters
April 21st International Astronomy Day -
April 28th - 29th Little Italy Art Walk
17 blocks of an arts and culture event featuring over 350 local, national and international emerging and established artists at the free two-day festival.
Let the Boating Season Begin
While you're out for a weekend bay cruise this month you may notice all the yacht clubs dawning their best colors. It's Opening Day!!!
This is an important day to members of these clubs. You'll hear military bands, cannon fire, champagne corks popping all the while flying old glory and hundreds of nautical pennants. If you're up for some fun hop in your dinghy and motor around the club's fairways. Don't be surprised if you get invited in for a tour and a bit of fun.
Coronado Yacht Club
Opening Day: May 27th 9:00am
Coronado Cays Yacht Club
Opening Day: May 5th 9:00am
Mission Bay Yacht Club
Opening Day: April 25th
Oceanside Yacht Club
Opening Day: April 8th 3:00pm
Point Loma Yacht Club
Opening Day: April 8th 10:00am
San Diego Yacht Club
Opening Day: April 22nd 10:00am
Santa Margarita Yacht Club
Opening Day: April 8th 10:00am
Silver Gate Yacht Club
Opening Day: April 22nd 10:00am
Southwestern Yacht Club
Opening Day: April 22nd 2:00pm
Gentlemen (and Ladies) Start Your Engines!
By Commodore Vincent T. Pica, II
Back in the Fall a lot of boaters buttoned up their boats for the winter, but now that the good weather is returning, the call of the water is beckoning.
But, BEFORE you start your engines, be sure to ready your boat!
Getting Started: As with any project, starting at the beginning is the best place to start, and for "commissioning", i.e., getting your boat ready for service, the beginning is the front of the boat.
For those of you that trailer your boats, the front of the boat is actually the trailer. Who wants to go flying down the highway and see their boat doing somersaults along the side of the road?
How do you prevent that!? Well, start with the strap that comes out of the winch. Connected to the bow eye, it is the first line of defense. Pay out a few feet and make sure that there aren't any frayed or torn segments. If there are, you will need to cut out that entire segment and re-attach the strap. If you aren't sure how, and you need to be since this strap IS the first line of defense, get help from a competent mechanic or dock master.
While you're at it, why not spray the winch and all the moving parts with some penetrating oil. Pay out the entire strap if need be and re-coil it up so that you are sure you get a good covering of the moving parts with penetrating oil. Take a walk around the boat and be sure the binding straps are all equally in good shape. If not, replace them.
As to the boat itself now, open the anchor locker and flake out the anchor rode (the line and chain attaching the anchor to the "eye" in the bottom of your anchor locker/your boat) and lay the anchor "on the hard." Again, check the shackles for excessive wear as well as the rode itself. Replace or repair, as needed. No sense having the boat float away one day because the anchor rode wore through or a shackle pin gave out.
Be sure that the navigation lights (red and green) are working. If not, take the bulb with you to the marine hardware store and replace it plus spares. The gas is more expensive than a few extra bulbs!
Your storage area(s) might be forward so open them up and ensure that PFDs, tools, etc, etc, etc are all in good condition. Check that there is no standing water in the compartment. If so, the "limber holes" are clogged and the water can't get to the bilge to be pumped overboard. Every ounce of weight that wasn't on the boat when the boat was manufactured changes its centers of buoyancy and gravity. In heavy seas, that just might matter a whole lot.
Next are the cockpit and the electronics. Disconnect them, spray them with some "white grease", reconnect and test the gear. If a connector is corroded, replace it. This all will keep salt in the air from penetrating your electronics.
If you haven't checked the PFDs yet, do it now. Check your whistle, your horn, your flares or SOS devices, and all safety equipment. Don't forget your fire extinguisher(s). If it isn't "in the green", chuck it. Also, gently shake it side to side, head over end. If you hear a "thunk", the dry chemical has solidified. It is now a good door stopper but not good for much else. You should hear a low "shhh" sound as the suppressant moves back and forth.
Check the fuel tank. Is the "sender wire" (wire that runs from the top of the tank (usually) to the fuel gauge) in good condition? How about the filter? And check the fuel lines too. Weak or cracked hoses must be replaced, along with rusted hose clamps. Stainless steel.
How are the battery and the clamps that attach to the posts? Just like a car, all this has to be in good condition.
The engine is the most obvious component to ready for service. Change the oil all the oil including the oil down in the foot of the engine. You'll need a large straight-slot screw driver for the two screws (high and low) that have to be backed out, a bucket and a quart of oil. Find all the grease fittings and gently pump new grease in until it comes out somewhere else. Don't forget the steering cable fitting. Be sure that the oil dip-stick is properly seated.
If you do have trailer, check the tires and the lube the bearings. As with the engine grease, pump it in gently. Who wants to push out a seal?
Reset the spark plug(s) in the engine before you put the cover back on unless you are going to work on the prop. Some old models might start up when you turn the prop and that will definitely ruin your Saturday. Once ready to start the boat, be sure it is in water! You need the coolant! It will smoke at first from the fogging oil you laid in the Fall but that will quickly pass.
OK, there are surely more things to do but you are well on your way to heading out to the high seas or at least in our bays and creeks.
BTW, if you are interested in being part of USCG Forces, email me at JoinUSCGAux@aol.com or go direct to the D1SR Human Resources department, who are in charge of new members matters, at DSO-HR and we will help you "get in this thing!"
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.
A Handy Marine VHF Radio Channel Guide
There's always a chance that when you're cruising out there you might need to know more about which VHF radio channel is for what - other than the one you hail your friends on and Channel 16.
If you don't already have a channel guide, here's a link to the U.S. Coast Guard VHF Channel Guide that you can print out to keep handy by your marine radio.
It's very interesting, and it demystifies the marine radio channel protocol in a simplified manner.
Boats and the Gig Economy*
- By Kells Christian
The recreational marine industry is a subset of larger industries. We are a small part of manufacturing, banking, insurance, and yes the gig economy.
As with most of these industries, the boating industry's slice of the pie is small, but to those involved it is significant. Some of us love the progress and convenience that comes along with these new ideas and apps; some are firmly against these new types of business arrangements, and many just don't want it in their marina.
The boat based temporary rental market mirrors land based Airbnb and VRBO markets. Both continue to pose challenges to governments, frustrate neighbors and provide opportunities and access to many.
As it is on land, some are firmly against renting a boat as a place to sleep while many are reaping the financial rewards of just such usage. And as it goes on land, there are questions of legality, interpretations of regulations vary depending on which expert you ask, and the relative ease of finding short term rentals online. The most common interpretation of a legal "boatel" requires the boat to be unable to operate away from the dock, but it takes very little searching to find other opinions.
Short term boat rentals are not just for sleeping and remaining in the slip. One app, Getmyboat.com, lets you rent a wide selection of boats for short periods of time, and use them as boats, underway. This is the closest app that I have found to Uber, Lyft or Turo on the water. You can even get an insurance policy for the few hours of your rental.
Of course there are "legitimate" short term boat rentals, including Boat and Breakfasts, boat rentals, yacht charters and passenger vessels, available for the less daring or technically sophisticated. These companies provide instruction, support, varieties of boats and convenience, albeit at a higher price. All are gateways to enjoying the water onboard and all contribute to the recreational marine economy.
Social media, including Facebook, YouTube, Instagram, Snapchat and Twitter, is also aboard. I work with boat brokers who are prolific video posters. There are tonnes (maritime allusion) of boating blogs. The information available online regarding "how to" do something on a boat is readily available. Like land based topics, our challenge is to sort through the BS and find the expert advice. The sorting often takes longer than replacing the water pump's impeller, once the right video is found.
Next up, following the theme of technological advancement: self-driving boats.
*Note: A gig economy is an environment in which temporary positions are common and organizations contract with independent workers for short-term engagements. The trend toward a gig economy has begun. A study by Intuit predicted that by 2020, 40 percent of American workers would be independent contractors.
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.
Is There "Life" in Your Inflatable Life Jacket?
- By Bob Simons
Since being made legal just a few years ago, the inflatable life jacket has really proven to be very popular, but there are some things you should check every time before you put one on.
The "automatic" and the "manual" inflators they come with both have the little rip cord that can activate the jacket. The problem is though that sometimes these have already been activated by curious kids or pranksters and then put back in the folds of the life jacket.
So everything looks normal except the little green tab is gone, and the CO2 canister has been punctured rendering it useless.
This is very easy to see if you're checking each time you wear one, but you actually must visually check it to be sure.
While doing Vessel Safety Checks, I'm frequently asked which type of life jacket is better, auto inflate or manual inflate.
My response, while not official, is that manual inflatables are usually recommended for powerboats, and auto inflators are recommended for sailboats.
Why do I say that? A person generally falls off a powerboat and is conscious when hitting the water; whereas if a person is knocked off a sailboat he or she may be dazed or unconscious when hitting the water.
This is a vast oversimplification but the best policy of course is to wear a life jacket all the time.
Bob Simons has been in the Coast Guard Auxiliary for over thirty years. He teaches classes in Boating Safety & Seamanship as well as Basic and Advanced Coastal Navigation. Bob is also the co-developer of the Sirius Signal S-O-S light and co-owner of Seabreeze Books and Charts
Mark's Fish n' Tips - How to Keep Your Fishing Reels in Top Condition
- By Mark Moffat
A fishing reel has a number of moving parts, so this article will go over the basic upkeep of the reel.
Before your fishing trip, make sure your reel is in great working condition. This means that things that move should move smoothly.
Pick up your reel and inspect it. Look for corrosion/salt build-up, and make sure the screws are not loose. If there is corrosion, spray Corrosion X on the area and let the lubrication work to dissolve the salt. Then make sure all the screws are tight with a screwdriver.
Next, operate the reel by turning the handle and putting the reel in freespool. Freespool is taking the reel out-of-gear so there is no drag pressure on the spool. Spin the spool and it should turn smoothly. If they do not run smooth, they either need to be lubricated or replaced. If you can do this, great, if not, your local service department should be able to.
After checking the freespool, proceed on to the drag pressure. Tighten the star part on the right side of the reel and with the reel in gear grab the line and pull. This should have resistance (or drag), and when pulling the line off the spool it should be smooth. If there is any jerk in the reel that means the drags probably need replacing.
Once these functions have been completed, take Salt X and spray down your reel. Allow it to dry then wipe off the residual. This will keep a film on the reel to give it some protection in the marine environment.
After fishing, rinse it off with freshwater. Either use a spray bottle or use mister that attaches to a garden hose. Rinse off the exterior of the reel, the least amount of water inside the reel the better. Grease and oil should be the only material applied inside.
After the reel has been rinsed, spray Salt X solution on the reel and let dry; Wipe off the residual. Lightly apply Corrosion X to the moving parts and stow.
Follow these steps and your reel will be less in the shop and more on a fish.
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 the Red Rooster 3 and Mark's annual trip.
Gazing at Stars (and the Sun) Gets More Complicated
- By Captain H. R. "Rags" Laragione
Many mariners attend a Celestial Navigation course in order to get an "Oceans Endorsement" on their Captain's License that qualifies them to operate anywhere on the open seas.
In these courses, the theory and mechanics of noon sun shots and star fixes are taught, but until recently, it was not a requirement to actually go out in the noonday sun or in the cold cold night and actually do the shoots.
Well, no more. The National Maritime Center (NMC) has recently established new requirements to do just that, or you may have your Captain's License limited to the 200 mile limit.
Delivered by highly qualified Instructors, the two week course covers all required types of celestial navigation calculations for mates and masters and satisfies the Celestial Navigation Training & Assessment Requirement of STCW A-II/1.
The new NMC requirements are meant to ensure that if all of our modern day electronics should fail in the middle of the ocean, we will actually be able use the skills we were taught to find out where we are.
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!"