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December 2017 - Marina eNewsletter
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From the Sheraton San Diego Marina
Greetings Mariners and Merry Christmas - Here is your December 2017 Marina eNewsletter.

Winter weather is coming, so in this issue we remind everybody of the importance of using space heaters safely and the right kind of space heaters to have.

In other articles, we have some thoughts on California's impending mandatory boating education; what to try before you give up and call for a tow; why California boat buyers and sellers are lucky; what's the best life jacket to have; and a formula to memorize in case of a man overboard situation.

Lastly, in the fun category, a couple of recommendations for some fun sea fairing reading for the kids.

Christmas Dinner at the Sheraton

Harbor's Edge Restaurant
Monday, December 25, 2017
4:00 PM - 9:00 PM
Click Here for a full Menu

Holiday's Warmest Regards,

Yuri Park - Marketing Manager
Sheraton San Diego Hotel & Marina

2017 San Diego Parade of Lights
The 46th annual parade will take place the evenings of Sunday, December 10th and 17th. The 2017 parade is expected to once again feature up to 100 boats, cleverly decorated according to this year's theme, "Arrrgh! A Pirates Christmas". More than 150,000 San Diegans and visitors are expected to view the processions. Whether you plan to be a spectator or a participant it is a fun evening for all.

Before You Call For a Tow, Give It a Go!
- By Commodore Vincent Pica
OK, so you're done fishing and you turn to the engine and give the key a turn.

Ominously, you don't hear a thing. Or, she turns over, but as soon as you give it forward propulsion, she stalls. No one is going home soon. Before you call for a tow, here are some tips.

Calling for Help vs. Self-Help: Any good towing company only wants to help where help is needed. We're graced with real pros out on our bays and creeks and they will go out of their way to ensure that they are providing help when and where help is needed.

But gone are the days of smacking the old 2-stoke with a hammer and she starts up with a cough and puff. These new engines are nearly as complex as car engines have become, and they are plenty complex!

Fuel, Out Of, That Is: I would be willing to wager that the largest source of boats not getting underway is lack of fuel.

Use the "1/3rd-1/3rd-1/3rd" Rule. Plan on using a 1/3rd of your fuel to get there, a 1/3rd to get home and 1/3rd in reserve for unpredictable events plus the predictable headwinds.

How do you know how much fuel that is? Well, the least reliable device on your boat, in my measured opinion, is your fuel gauge. This is why I have been constantly recommending to skippers that they keep records of their fuel consumption –- engine time when you started, engine time when you refueled, Calculate gallons/hour consumed. And write it in a log.

I have been since day one on every boat. It is also a good indication if there is something that needs addressing when fuel consumption stops being predictable, i.e., you're using more than you should be using by historical standards. I really don't recommend storing fuel in cans aboard as a back-up. It just seems so much smarter and so much safer to keep and use your log.

Fuel Issues: If your engine stalls or you feel a real "drag" when you get underway, stop and do some quick checking. You might have picked up some fishing line which is now wrapped around your prop's base.

This can be a serious problem as it can compromise the shaft seal and allow water to enter the lower unit. If it does, it will push out the oil.

If that happens, you have a real problem. You may have plenty of gas but if the primer bulb is contracted, there is a blockage somewhere causing a vacuum which can be as simple at the fuel vent being covered, blocked or actually manually shut.

Check that. If the bulb is easy to squeeze but doesn't get hard when doing so, this also can be a real problem. It may be as simple as leak somewhere that is allowing air into the system or as serious as a pinhole in the line and gas is leaking into your boat. Use your nose – asap!

Electrical Things: Something that you should keep aboard is a volt meter and that is what I reach for when the engine won't turn over. If the battery isn't charged correctly, the engine won't start by turning the key. If the engine is light enough, you can start the engine by spinning the flywheel with a pull cord. Or, if you have jumper cables aboard like you probably do with your car, a kindly mariner can give you a jump-start.

If the battery is charged but the engine won't turn over, check the connections. Remove the wires, clean the posts and try again. Also, some manufacturers are using butterfly nuts as connectors to make it easy to service the batteries.

It also makes it easy to shake loose under the stresses of a boat pounding into head seas. Another culprit is that the kill-switch lanyard has come loose and you just didn't notice. This isn't all that it could be but, enough times, it is.

Cooling/Oil: If the overheating alarm goes on, stop the boat, turn off the engine and get the cover off.

Wait for the engine to cool down. If you can turn the key and the alarm hasn't started, the engine has cooled – and now the detective work begins.

First, start the engine and see if the tell-tale water stream is still spritzing out. If not, or only partially, stop the engine. See if you can get something sturdy (60-pound monofilament?) into the tell-tale and clear it out. Even better, often the tell-tale is integrated into the water plug that you remove to give the engine a water flushing.

Take the plug out and then ream that monofilament into the tell-tale so you just don't push the blocking material back into the engine. If no water is still coming out of the tell-tale, tilt the engine up and check the intakes. They could easily be blocked with seaweed. If the intakes are clear and the tell-tale is also clear, it is one of two problems.

One, the impeller is compromised and that isn't likely to get fixed at sea. The other is that the sensor itself is faulty.

This happened to me once when I was delivering a 2-engine vessel. We were 10 miles out and the overheating warning came on re one of the engines. I had to respect the over-heating signal so I proceeded on one screw until we were within hailing distance of the dock. I fired up the second engine, which still registered as being over-heating after 30 minutes of cooling down (which made me think that it WAS the sensor) and laid her up against the dock. Repairs, which meant just replacing the sensor, were quickly affected.

BTW, if you are interested in being part of USCG Forces, email me at 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.

Broker's Bill's Corner - Why California Boat Buyers and Sellers Are Lucky
- By Bill Semanek
Ahoy Mariners - I am a licensed yacht salesperson (politically correct) and BlueSkyNews has asked me to share what's happening in the boat brokerage world with the nautically obsessed.

To start off, did you know there are only two states in the U S that license yacht brokers and yacht salespersons? California and Florida are the two states.

First, a licensed broker must interview and approve a broker applicant. Next, he/she must be screened by the FBI to insure that no bad behavioral issues are lurking in the distant past.

Finally, the applicant must pass a 100 question test based on marine knowledge, legal issues, and ethical behavior.

In California we are held to the same ethical standards as Realtors in dealing fairly and honestly with clients. If any licensee is found to guilty of infractions, his/her license may be suspended or revoked after an investigation conducted by the State of California.

All yacht salespersons are independent contractors and may only work for one broker at a time. Income is generated by commissions only.

Now for some interesting data. Last year YachtWorld (our source for listed and sold data like the MLS in real estate) reported that power vessels represent 70% of the boats sold. Sailboats totaled only 30%. Racing sailboats made up a dismal 5%. Racing sailboats sell for less and generally take longer to sell than their cruising sisters. This reflects the aging population and a steady decline in sailing vessels from the 1980's.

The average duration on market for a vessel to sell is 10 months. Please remember this when your listing agent wants a longer listing term. Most listings are available to all agents to show. If an agent from another company sells your yacht the listing agent will share the commission, normally with the other broker on a 50/50 basis.

Also the commission on the listing side must be shared with his broker on a split basis. That huge commission check which you provide for service rendered is normally divided by 4 when your salesperson receives the final distribution check.

I recently listed a U S production 47' sailing yacht Our problem is that we found 21 other sister yachts on the market. This listing needs to be priced appropriately and be in the best condition to compete with the others to sell within a reasonable time. Remember, the first offer is normally the best offer. Buyers see the length of time on market and offers are made with time on market in mind.

See you next month!

Bill Semanek is a licensed broker for JK3 Yachts in San Diego. His boating began in Michigan on the Detroit River and Lake St. Clair in an 18 foot sailboat and a Chris Craft power boat. His extensive boating experience involves skippering and crewing on performance and cruising power and sailing yachts in Northern and Southern California, Hawaii, Canada, and Mexico.

Some Thoughts About California's New Boater Card
- By Kells Christian
On January 1, 2018 a law requiring California boaters to have a valid California Vessel Operator Card (CVOC) takes effect. Initially only boaters 20 years old and younger will need the card. Each year the age limit is graduated by five years and every boater will need a card by January 1, 2025.

There are eight categories of exempted boaters, including operators of rental vessels, operators from other states and other countries, boaters who hold a Coast Guard operator's license or boaters who hold a commercial fishing license.

Currently, California Harbors and Navigation Code Section 658.5, states that nobody under 16 years of age may operate a boat with a motor of more than 15 horsepower, except for a sailboat that does not exceed 30 feet in length or a dinghy used directly between a moored boat and the shore (or between two moored boats). The law allows children 12-15 years of age to operate boats with a motor of more than 15 horsepower or sailboats over 30 feet if supervised on board by an adult at least 18 years of age.

There are several companies offering online education for the CVOC. The law mandates that the education must be approved by the National Association of State Boating Law Administrators (NASBLA) and by the California Department of Boating and Waterways.

If an approved course was taken after January 2015 you can use copy of that course certificate and submit it online at this website. Temporary cards will be issued immediately (for both courses previously taken and newly taken course) and actual cards will be issued starting mid-January, 2018.

The online courses cost approximately $25 - $30, with some sites offering group discounts. The first infraction of the law is subject to a fine of not more than $100.00.

I have always supported volunteers who educate boaters, such as the Coast Guard Auxiliary and Power Squadrons. I believe the individuals who voluntarily attend these classes are more likely to succeed in becoming safe boaters, because they want to become safe boaters. The mandatory boating education courses appear to be much like the safe driving courses that are a mandated option when one receives a speeding ticket. It is doubtful that one stops speeding after taking such a course, though we often slow down as we gain wisdom through experience and age.

There are statistics that say states with mandatory education have fewer boating accidents and fatalities, and the low percentage of those involved in the accidents and fatalities that have a boater's card also support the concept of boater's education.

This process seems to be a minor imposition on boaters, likely very easy for experienced boaters and hopefully a worth benefit to new boaters and the boating community.

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 or Click Here to visit his web site.

Blackbeard the Pirate
"His head is missing?" Michele asked. "Whose head?"

When the answer turns out to be Blackbeard, fiercest pirate of them all, four kids set off on a real adventure in North Carolina's real pirate haunt port town of Bath.

While struggling to recover a special prop and save an outdoor drama, the kids learn about the Golden Age of Piracy up and down the American coast from Maine to Florida.

They also learn a lot of history, solve a mystery, meet a legend and much more! They have a lot of Jolly Roger laughs! But do they find the treasure? Hmm, would they tell? Avast! This mystery is a treasure trove of fun!

Pirate Pete
As Pirate Pete and his trusty parrot sail the seas in search of gold and booty, they have a hard time tracking down the jackpot when he goes ashore at Candy Island, Clover Island, Sleepy Island, and Dragon Island.
Safety Reminder About Using Space Heaters Aboard Your Boat
To keep warm on your boat when the weather turns cold, it's often much more economical and energy efficient to use a space heater instead of your boat's heating system.

That's because your boat's system uses lots of power to convert cold sea water through a heat exchanger, and that's not very efficient.

If you do use a space heater on your boat, here's a few safety precautions you should know about:

  1. Make sure to use a space heater with a "Tip Over" switch that will shut off the heater automatically if it gets knocked over - this is a "must" on a boat. Many portable heaters are not intended to be used for unstable locations, and don't have wide enough bases to keep them upright if a storm or another boat's wake strikes your boat.

  2. Turn if off if you're away or everybody is asleep: Never leave a portable electric heater on while you are away from the boat or when you go to bed.

  3. Keep the heater separate: Never use another high-amperage appliance on the same receptacle with a portable electric heater.

  4. Don't use an extension cord with an electric heater. If you must use one, make sure it is the right wire gauge size and type for the heater.

  5. Keep space heaters at least 3 ft. away from any combustible materials such as bedding, clothing, draperies, furniture and rugs.

  6. Keep space heaters away from areas with water. Check your manual to be sure the heater is intended to be used in locations such as bathrooms.

  7. Portable heaters have hot parts that can cause sparking. Do not use them in areas where flammable liquids such as gasoline or kerosene are used or stored.

What Is the Best Life Jacket to Have?
- By Bruce Brown - Safety at Sea Instructor
While we try to help boaters select life jackets that would be the best performing one for their type of boating, the answer to the question is that the one you will actually wear is the best one!

So, my suggestion is: when shopping for a Life Jacket, understand what the various styles of PFDs are designed to address:

  • There are PFDs that are designed for high performance wake boarding, waterskiing or tubing. The adult sizes have three different elements to close the vest. Buckles, zippers or a combination of buckets and zippers. They are for higher speed activity where entering the water is part of the sport. These are TYPE III PFDs

  • There are PFDs designed for paddling. They generally have larger arm holes, and allow more mobility. They are usually shorter in the body to allow seated performance. These are TYPE III PFDS

  • There are PFDs that are inflatable. This is the fastest growing segment of the recreational PFD market. They generally are the most comfortable, but not designed for high performance boating where impacting the water at higher speeds is anticipated.. These PFDs are USCG Approved – but not for anyone under the age of 16. Again, be sure the PFD fits well and is comfortable when you are seated! These are TYPE V PFDs that may have the performance of a TYPE III. Be sure to check the performance design of the inflatable type PFD.

  • There are PFDs for general boating use. These are often called General Purpose PFDS and have buckle closures.

  • Then there are the TYPE II PFDs that meet the minimum requirement for USCG – they are like flat bricks and few people ever put one on!

So when you shop for a PFD, understand your boating type and how you would use the PFD. Then try a few different types on. Sit down in the PFD so you can see how comfortable it is. Make sure it is adjustable enough to fit the range of boaters on board your boat at any time.

Remember that children under the age of 13 must wear a USCG Approved PFD white on board a vessel underway that is 26 feet or under. Also, anyone being towed by a vessel underway must wear a PFD.

Christian Marine Surveyors

A Rescue Calculation Every Skipper Should Memorize
- By Captain H.G. "Rags" Laragione - President
For my column this issue, I decided to relay something to think about and remember when you're out there enjoying the water.

And that is, if a person goes overboard, one of the most critical differences between a tragedy and a rescue is how aware (or not aware) the captain is of how far the boat has travelled from the time the person fell overboard and the boat is brought to a stop (and consequently, how far you would have to go back once you became aware of the incident).

One popular formula to commit to memory to estimate that distance is what is known as the "one-one hundred-one" formula.

Simply stated, the formula says that if you are traveling at 1 knot, the boat will cover approximately 100 feet in 1 minute.

Extrapolating the formula further, if you were traveling at 2.5 knots, the boat would be covering 250 feet per minute, and so on.

So at 8 knots, which is an average sailboat or Trawler speed, you're covering roughly 800 feet per minute. And at 25 knots - you got it - if it's been one minute since the person went overboard and you were informed of it, you would have travelled almost 1/2 a mile.

Happy Boating Holidays - See you next 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!". I Like
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