Flash fires onboard

Preventing flash fires onboard

By Harl Porter

While most boat fires are caused by electrical problems, about 8 percent of onboard fires are flash fires caused by fuel leaks. A sudden, intense fire caused by ignition of a mixture of air and a dispersed flammable substance such as gasoline vapor, a flash fire is characterized by high temperature, short duration and a rapidly moving flame front.

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A boat on Maine waters full of lobster buoys

Dry suit proves handy when boat prop gets fouled

By Andy Sumberg

Maine waters have a reputation for being chock-full of lobster buoys. Any boater who’s spent time there will agree.

On a three-week District 12 trip in 2015, every boat’s pilot spent considerable time avoiding the numerous lobster buoys as well as their pesky big brother: lobster buoy with toggle, which gives the boater two opportunities to snag a line for each pot lurking below.

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Photo of kayaker towing a powerboat

Not so lucky

Kayakers help boater in need

By Jon R. Evans

On July 3, my wife, Bonnie, and I, both kayakers, decided to go for a paddle on Chesapeake Bay. We are fortunate to live on Back Creek in Annapolis, Maryland, close to our community kayak rack. We gathered our gear and paddles and slid the kayaks into the water at 10:30 that morning. The day was beautiful and sunny with calm waters and a light, pleasant wind out of the west.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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