Wind woes

Heed weather reports on the water

By Steve Rank

The National Weather Service issued a storm warning for damaging winds and hail approaching on a line from Menominee, Michigan, to Door County, Wisconsin, around 2 p.m. on Aug. 9, 2015.

Despite the signs of ominous weather, one of our guests, Andrew, decided to take his 6-year-old daughter about 300 feet off our breakwater to practice casting.

Read More

Boaters answer distress call

Boaters answer distress call on Lake Mohave

By Andy Pensavalle

Phoenix Sail & Power Squadron members met at Lake Mohave for a weekly get-together on a beautiful day with clear skies and no wind. The summer crowds had disappeared, and although the lake had dropped and some beaches were mud bogs, everyone had enough flat warm sand to set up chairs. A series of fast sequential horn blasts interrupted our quiet respite. An island obscured our view of the main lake. After moving her vantage point, Barb Accardo saw smoke coming from a runabout dead in the water in the middle of the lake.

Read More

life jacket wear is crucial to boating safety

Always wear your life jacket on the water

A life jacket is your best insurance for going overboard

By Anthony Pozun

Steve Denniston, I and three other non-experienced adult sailors were aboard Capt. Ken Graf’s boat at a mooring in Northport, New York. The mainsail was up, luffing violently, and the boom was moving. Steve went forward to release the mooring lines, but the boat was sailing back and forth, making it difficult. He wasn’t wearing a life jacket.

Ken engaged the engine to push the boat forward to make it easier to release the lines. Despite the boat’s violent motion, Steve managed to release the lines. As he returned to the cockpit, the boat jibbed violently downwind; the boom swung across, striking him in the head and throwing him into the water.

Read More

In case of a boat fire

In case of a boat fire

What you need to know before disaster strikes

By Charles V. Vanek

The fire

A fellow squadron member called me late Tuesday, 16 Aug., to tell me about a fire at the marina where I kept my boat. My daughter and I hurriedly drove to the marina. A mile from the marina, authorities were turning all traffic around to allow emergency vehicles to enter. I parked the car, and we walked through side streets to get to the marina.

Read More

Training prevents a bad situation from turning worse

USPS training saves sinking boat

By Gerard Meunier

On our way home after cruising the Erie, Rideau, Chambly and Champlain canals and the Thousand Islands area, we anchored in Mile Hammock Bay on the Intracoastal Waterway near Camp Lejeune, North Carolina. We ate dinner, admired the sunset and were watching TV when something felt wrong. Cat House, our 40-foot power catamaran, was tilting forward. I checked the forward cabin and stepped in several inches of water on the starboard hull floorboard. We were sinking.

Read More

Upholding the USPS pledge

Upholding the USPS pledge

By Dan Fannon

In the Highlands, the Hudson River flows through remarkably deep water past towering mountains with names like Dunderberg and Storm King. But in its northern reaches, the river changes character. The course widens and shoals as it passes the Hudson Valley’s verdant farmlands, forming flats, enormous miles-long islands of mud and silt just under the water’s surface.

The charts mark these areas as 3 feet mean low water, but it’s not unusual to find a thick carpet of green reeds and brown soil blanketing most of the river’s surface. Given the strong currents and turbulence from passing barges, being mired in the mud flats can quickly become life-threatening.

Read More

Couple guides boaters out of fog

Couple guides boaters out of fog

By Boni Thibert

After enjoying the picturesque anchorages and solitude of Isle Royale National Park, Phil and I headed to Rock Harbor to catch up on laundry and take on fuel.

In the laundromat, a young woman named Clare mentioned that her husband, Mark, and their two children had been stranded at the marina for several days. Fog-bound, they didn’t have radar, their radio couldn’t reach the mainland, and their cellphone wouldn’t work.

Read More

Rendering assistance to other boaters

Rendering assistance to other boaters

By Graham Hunter

Climbing out of the inflatable and over the bulwarks of the 50-foot ketch, I could see the man struggling with some lines around the mooring cleat on the foredeck. His white hair was whipped about by the wind.

Up until now I had only seen him from a distance through binoculars as I watched his boat being pulled off the rocks in Blind Bay, Shaw Island. His back was to me, but his slumped shoulders told of fatigue and stress.

Read More

Boaters save a man overboard

Boaters save a man overboard

[vc_row padding_top=”0px” padding_bottom=”0px” border=”none”][vc_column width=”1/1″]By Mike Moye

We had not taken our boat out much last summer, so we decided to take My Sharona to the Golden Isles Sail & Power Squadron/26 get-together at Brunswick Landing Marina. On the return trip to Jekyll Harbor Marina, the unthinkable happened.

Imagine the splash made by something falling from 185 feet above the water. We had never seen anything like it. From the helm Sharon spotted a stopped vehicle at the center span of the Sidney Lanier Bridge. Realizing that someone had fallen or jumped off the bridge, we went into rescue mode. We’re not trained first responders or Coast Guard rescue swimmers, but we had decades of boating experience as well as many United States Power Squadrons courses on boat handling and safety at sea at our disposal.

Read More

How to avoid a rock strike

How to avoid a rock strike

[vc_row padding_top=”0px” padding_bottom=”0px” border=”none”][vc_column width=”1/1″]By Linda Newland

The adage about boating in the San Juan Islands goes, “It’s not if you will hit a rock, but when.” For some people the rock strike, as it’s called, comes sooner rather than later.

It happened to us one September day as we headed out to the San Juans from Boat Haven Marina. We left Port Townsend in ideal conditions: calm winds and seas with a slight current push to the north once we were past Point Wilson.

Read More

Split hose almost sinks boat

Split hose almost sinks boat

[vc_row padding_top=”0px” padding_bottom=”0px” border=”none”][vc_column width=”1/1″]By George W. Shaw

Years ago, I began motor sailing after losing the wind. Although drowsy from the midday sun and the boat’s gentle motion, the mate and I recognized that the sailboat’s steering was getting heavy.

I pulled myself up from my cozy nest, had the mate take the helm and lifted the engine room hatch to find disturbing news: We were taking on water at an alarming rate. The hose connecting the flexible stuffing box had split.

Read More

Errors trip up experienced boaters

Errors trip up experienced boaters

[vc_row padding_top=”0px” padding_bottom=”0px” border=”none”][vc_column width=”1/1″]By Earl Gillespie, Ernst Hofmann and Ken Poole

It seemed simple enough: Three members of Banana River Sail & Power Squadron/23 would meet at Lake Washington boat ramp and motor across the lake to the St. Johns River, up to Sawgrass Lake, and through the canals to Lake Hell n’ Blazes. Not terribly difficult, right? But they forgot about Murphy’s Law, which says if anything can go wrong, it will. Maybe if they hadn’t ignored the warning signs, what followed might not have played out like a Three Stooges movie.
Read More