From the Marina Office
Greetings Mariners - Here is your May 2018 Marina eNewsletter.
Summer will be here before we know it!
In this month's issue, we consider the arrival of the summer boating season, and offer some tips for safe boating and for getting both your boat and your dinghy ready for the season.
If you haven't done it for a while, be sure to call your local Coast Guard Auxiliary and ask them to schedule you a free vessel inspection to make sure your boat is ready to go.
We round out the warm weather topic with a reminder of the potential hazards of cold water boating, some instructions for fixing your inflatable dinghy if it's losing air, and what to do if you plan to anchor overnight in your favorite anchorage.
We hope you have a terrific May boating month!.
The Staff at Shelter Cove Marina
The Recreational Boater's Best Bargain
- By Bob Simons
They say the best things in life are free, and for a boater, nothing is more exemplary of that than a free safety inspection of your vessel by the U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary.
When we come to inspect your vessel, we have our standard "checklist" form of course, but equally important, we are also looking for anything out of the ordinary during our inspections that might pose a safety risk or hazard to you or your boat.
We also know it's important for us to explain what we are looking for during an examination and why it is important to you as a safety item.
In the engine room our examiners are looking for any potential safety hazards. Are there hoses that should be double clamped? Any bare or disconnected wires? Any hoses that are dangerously close to a heat source or engine? Any thru-hulls that have corrosion or have not been moved recently? Discoloration of metal or plastics can also be a sign of potential hazards.
Also while in the engine room, the examiner will check batteries to make sure they are secure and the terminals are covered; check the bilge to assure it does not have excessive water or especially oil; and check the packing box(es) to assure that there is a small "drip", and explain why this is important.
And again, explaining how or why any observations found are a safety matter and if the examiner has the experience, make some suggestions.
A Coast Guard Auxiliarist or Power Squadron Examiner is not a marine surveyor or even necessarily an expert, but they normally are an experienced boater themselves that have the advantage of looking at many boats for problems or defects and offering you the benefits of their experience and observations.
One final note - If you own a boat, you should know that the vessel examiner is not looking for flaws for the purpose of issuing citations - they are an extra set of experienced eyes that do whatever they can to help make sure your boating ventures are enjoyable and safe experiences.
So give your local U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary a call. We'll be more than happy to schedule a free vessel safety inspection for your boat. You'll be glad you did.
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
Things to Remember About Cold Water Boating
- By Commodore Vincent Pica
Summer is not far away and I like boating on a warm day early in the season as much as the next mariner, but the thing to remember is that warm weather and cold water can lull people into complacency about the potential risks of this combination should you happen to end up overboard.
Remember that water takes heat from your body 25 times faster than air of the same temperature. You can impress this on your young boaters and yourself quite easily. Lay out a glass of water before you turn in one night. It will be room temperature by the morning. Now take two ice cubes from the freezer. Put one on a dry napkin next to the room-temperature glass on water. Drop the second ice cube into the glass. Now, in theory, they are both exposed to the same temperature room temperature.
But when the ice cube on the napkin starts to show a damp line around itself, the ice cube in the glass will have already melted away. This is why hypothermia is so insidious and dangerous.
Are there prudent precautions? Yes! OK, it is a beautiful day in May and you're just dying to tool out for awhile. And why not? How great is it when the waters are too cold for the algae and other microscopic sea life so can you can see all the way to the sandy bottom? Great indeed but don't make way without a few simple but important precautions.
Step #1 - Has your engine been prepped from its long winter snooze? Are you fueled up? Is there some fuel enhancer thrown in? Certainly, there is likely to be some condensation in the tank and that water will precipitate down to the bottom of the tank and some might get sucked up into the engine. So, engine prepped, fuel tank full and fuel enhancer thrown in or no-go!
Step #2 - Did you file a float plan with somebody? Do it or no-go. If you do end up in trouble, getting the "rescue clock" started ASAP is imperative. The environment is inherently more dangerous when the water is cold.
Step #3 - If you don't have cold-water life jacket gear, you're playing Russian Roulette with your own life. When we put to sea, if the water temperature is 60-degrees F or less, USCG regulations require us to be in "mustang" suits which aren't as encompassing as a dry suit but certainly offers us significant protection in the event of an immersion.
Admittedly, when the air is warm, those "mustangs" are like Turkish steam baths but we're safe. At the very least, a float coat provides warmth and at the same time doubles as a life jacket that will float a person. Just acknowledge that it isn't as safe as a "mustang".
Be sure that your flotation gear has a whistle and an emergency strobe light attached. If you've invested in a Personal Locator Beacon, great. And a reflector mirror would be superb. You can signal over 20 miles with one smaller than the size of your fist. Airline pilots are trained to call in sightings of targeted reflections.
Step #4 - Review cold water survival techniques and risks with your crew.
1. If you fall in, get out. Even if you have to climb onto the hull of the over-turned boat, get out. Remember the ice cube experiment.
2. Limit your movements! Strenuous activity increases your heart rate, which increases the rate that blood, cooled at the surface of your body, is circulated to the central core where it will kill you. Assume a heat-emitting lessening position in the water or out (HELP.) Cross your legs to protect your groin area from giving up heat. Put your arms across your chest and your hands under your arm pits to do the same thing.
3. If you're a 200-lb man, here is a rough guideline of your survival time: Temperature of water: expected survival time:
- 70 - 80° F - 3 hours to indefinitely
- 60 - 70° F - 2 to 40 hours
- 50 - 60° F - 1 to 6 hours
- 40 - 50° F - 1 to 3 hours
- 32.5 - 40° F - 30 to 90 minutes
- Less than 32° - Under 15 to 45 minutes
If you're smaller, less time. If you're larger, more time. If you have a good meal before you make way. It will help warm your body from the inside as the fires of digestion do their work.
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.
Coming Next - Self Driving Boats?
- By Kells Christian
Autopilots have been around forever, but autonomous vessel operation is being developed using technological advancements, and some of the same systems used for self driving cars. Self driving boats are much easier most of the time; the ocean is big and has less traffic.
I recently drove a car with some autonomous features and while it added a component of safety, like mandating a safe distance between my car and the next car forward, I also noticed how easy it was to rely on that feature and let my guard down.
There are large scale self driving vessel projects underway. Japan, Norway and Holland have autonomous vessel testing underway. The recent series of ship vs. ship accidents have been mostly attributed to human errors and many feel the outdated control technology can be improved upon. There is a company selling sailing drones for ocean research (saildrone.com). These vessels are controlled from remote control rooms and by computer programs (think Olympic drones.)
On several occasions the undersigned has surveyed a multihull sailboat that was converted to a fixed wing sailing drone for the military and later sold to the private sector. One of our jobs arose from this high powered vessel damaging its dock when the computers were removed for service and a large wind created extreme forces and ripped the dock loose. Usually the computers would orient the fixed wing sails to prevent such a problem.
In the recreational vessel realm, there are pod drives and conventionally powered vessels with "drive by wire" controls. For those unfamiliar with pods, both Volvo and Cummins offer drive systems that don't include a rudder and all controls are electronic, no mechanical linkage and no hydraulics.
The pods are transmissions protruding from the bottom of the boat which spin and thrust independently at the direction of the computer. The operator simply tells the boat where to go with either a joystick or "faux" conventional controls (steering wheel and levers) and the drive system computer decides what the pods need to do to make the boat go there.
We can all parallel park one of these boats.
This same control concept is in use on other drive systems, including inboard and outboard engines. The evolution of electronic control systems facilitates automation. I have spun boats in circles while moving in a straight line down the bay. There are dynamic positioning systems that can keep the boat in one location without an anchor. A now common test during sea trials is to push a button and watch the boat's computer control the propulsion gear to counter the wind and current; the boat remains in one location and orientation.
Here are some links to see more interesting reading on the topic. (World Maritime News Japan); (World Maritime News Norway); (Fairplay Commerce Holland).
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.
Don't Miss San Diego's Famous
"Gator by the Bay"!
It's that time of year again! San Diego's fabulously fun "Gator by the Bay" kicks off on Thursday, May 10th and runs through Sunday, May 13th.
Billed as a "Music, Louisiana Food & Crawfish Festival", Gator by the Bay features seven stages of non-stop music featuring blues, zydeco, rockabilly, swing, salsa, and New Orleans jazz that is sure get your toes tapping while enjoying some delicious Creole & Cajun food including 10,000 pounds of live crawfish straight from Louisiana!
Fun for the whole family, other features of the festival include cooking demos by Southern chefs and free dance lessons by some of the finest instructors in the country!
Gator by the Bay happens on San Diego's Spanish Landing on the waterfront just opposite the San Diego airport.
To see the live music performance schedule or to purchase tickets, visit the Gator by the Bay website.
Kids 17 and under admitted Free.
Anchoring Overnight? - Remember, You Need to Get Permission
One of the joys of owning a boat when the weather gets warmer is to anchor out overnight by yourself or with other boaters in your favorite anchorage.
Just remember in San Diego Bay, you'll need to get a permit from the Harbor Police to do that.
You can apply for permits at the Harbor Police's Shelter Island Mooring Office, which is located at the very end of the Southwest leg of Shelter Island, next to the Customs Dock. (1401 Shelter Island Drive). Their phone number is 619-686-6227.
There are limits to the number of days/hours you can stay, as well as limits on the total number of boats they allow at each anchorage. Holiday weekends are at a premium as you might guess, and the anchorages on those weekends are always full.
Here's the inside scoop - They don't take reservations more than 30 days in advance, so for holiday weekends, the smart thing to do is to show up in person at the window on Shelter Island the first thing in the morning exactly 30 days in advance. Make sure you have all the statistics about all of the proposed boats in the raft-up.
You can call or fax reservation requests, but if it's a holiday weekend you're interested in, the reality is that the people who are on the spot standing in line when the window opens are likely to fill up the quota before other requests are looked at.
Give them a call to ask for advice and for their flyer listing the available anchorages and other restrictions - our experience is that they're very friendly at the Mooring Office, and they bend over backwards to do what they can to accommodate you.
On Mission Bay, you can anchor overnight at Mariner's Point without a permit. This is dead ahead on your left after you enter Mission Bay through the jetty. There are no bridges between the ocean and Mariner's Point, but power boaters and sailboaters alike should be aware of bridge heights if you are wanted to go further into Mission Bay.
What to Do If Your Inflatable Dinghy Is Losing Air
If your dinghy is losing air pressure, the best tool to find the leaks is light soapy water in a bucket and spray bottle.
Start by checking the valves first - the number one cause of slow leaks is due to poorly fitted valves. Spray around the valve, and if you see bubbles forming, unscrew the valve and clean the area. Check the valve fitting and base and be sure the valve insert is screwed on tight.
You can apply glue from the repair kit to seal small leaks around the valve or holes where the nylon string enters the valve assembly. Make sure the little rubber O-rings are still good. If that doesn't fix the problem, it's time to get a new valve.
Next, take the floor boards out and fully inflate the boat until it's hard to the touch. Put some liquid detergent in a bucket of water and scrub it all over the boat with rag or big wash brush. Watch for elusive or tiny bubbles to find the leaks.
Inflatable boats come with a repair kit as standard equipment, but if you don't have the original kit, be sure to check with the manufacturer to find out what material your inflatable is made of. The wrong kit could be a very bad thing.
It is recommended to do repairs in dry weather. Humidity will decrease glue bond. Cut a piece of repair material large enough to overlap the damaged area by approximately 1" and round off the edges.
Apply glue to the underside of the patch and around the area to be repaired. Too much glue may interfere with a proper repair. Allow adhesive to become tacky for 5 minutes, and then place patch on the damaged area.
Use a weight to apply 3-5 lbs. of pressure over the patch for 24 hours. After the patch has dried, apply glue around the edges for a complete seal - let dry for six hours.