Know your VHF channels

By Art Steinberg

If you carry a VHF radio onboard (and you should), you must maintain a watch on channel 16 when the radio is on and not being used to communicate. You may also maintain a watch on VHF channel 9. Note that urgent marine information broadcasts, such as storm warnings, are announced on channel 9 only in USCG First District waters (northern New Jersey, New York and New England).

Most radios have a memory scan option where you can add specific channels to the memory and press scan. The radio quickly switches through and listens to each channel, pausing if someone is using that channel and then resuming the scan.

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4 steps to fix a leak on your boat

4 steps to fix a leak on your boat

By Keith Dahlin

Back in the early ’90s, I lived aboard my Columbia 28 while attending university. I often walked down the dock like a kid in a candy store, making note of the boats I liked (and wanted). One in particular always made my mouth water. A few slips down from me floated September, a classic, beautifully lined Cal 40.

While walking to the marina early one morning, I found September 6 feet deep. Only the mast and spreaders placed the boat within its slip. Shocked and bewildered, I later found out that a seacock or hose connection failure had caused the boat to sink. I imagined it silently sinking in the middle of the night.

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Rig your own emergency lightning protection

Rig your own emergency lightning protection

By Dave Osmolski

In my 14 years as a vessel examiner, I have rarely seen a set of jumper cables on a boat, and I don’t carry jumper cables on mine. I carry four batteries, any one of which is capable of starting my engine. The odds of all four being depleted at the same time are minuscule.

Talking with my brother-in-law, a former sailor, got me thinking of sailboats and equipment. The day was stormy, and we were discussing a sailboat’s predilection for lightning strikes. We talked about using jumper cables as emergency lightning protection by directing the current from a lightning hit to the water. While not a perfect solution, it would be better than having lightning blow out a metal underwater fitting.

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Explore Florida’s rivers by kayak

Explore Florida’s rivers by kayak

By Joe Belanger

Fifteen years ago, my wife, Lee, and I began an RV retirement trip with a twist. Our goal was to see the country; the twist was to volunteer for two-month intervals in different locations. Several cross-country trips landed us in deserts and mountains, beside lakes and along coastlines.

Volunteering took us to Habitat for Humanity disaster relief sites, to an outward-bound 4-H camp, a West Texas Elderhostel, and more than 40 national and state parks. Our assignments included building homes, shooting cannons, reburying Native American remains, tagging sharks, and guiding night hikes and canoe and kayak trips.

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Rusty propane tank explodes on boat

Rusty propane tank explodes on boat

By Bob Burton

After arriving in Spanish Wells on the northwest end of Eleuthera, Bahamas, I tied up my 52 Hatteras convertible at about 1600. Although I didn’t know it at the time, the 70-foot lobster boat Four Ways, parked four boats over, was about to become one of the main topics of conversation in the small fishing community for years to come.
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P/C Geneva N. Wilson, SN

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On June 28, 2014, we sadly had to accept the passing of one of our organization’s most outstanding women, P/C Geneva Wilson, SN, of Gautier, Mississippi. This rare individual has been a shining example of what can be accomplished in this country with a solid work ethic and perseverance.

P/C Geneva Wilson, SN

P/C Geneva Wilson, SN

She was born Geneva Legate on 28 Feb. 1931 in Arkadelphia, Arkansas, during the darkest days of the Great Depression, the daughter of an Oklahoma cotton farmer, with eight brothers and sisters. Always a bright and conscientious student, she overcame the hard times and was able to attend prestigious Baylor University for two years then finished her undergraduate degree at the University of Oklahoma.

Geneva’s is survived by her husband, Robert Wilson, a retired Army officer who also speaks fluent Chinese. Robert served as an interpreter during the extended peace talks after the Korean War. The couple spent several years in Washington, D.C., while Robert worked for the Defense Intelligence Agency. Always driven to learning more about her world, Geneva studied at the University of Maryland while living in D.C. She also studied at the University of Frankfort in Germany for two years while her husband was stationed there. Adept at languages, Geneva became fluent in German, Spanish and Mandarin Chinese.

When Robert retired from the Army in 1964, they returned to Oklahoma where Geneva started a 20-year career with the US Postal Service of Oklahoma City, rising to manager of carriers and ultimately postmaster.  She retired as US Postmaster, attaining the US Post Office High Expectations Achiever Award.

Geneva also was an accomplished airplane pilot with an instrument rating flying many types of single engine airplanes. Somehow Geneva and Robert found time to raise five children plus two of their 15 grandchildren.

In 1992, the Wilson’s, both fully retired, moved to Gautier, Mississippi, and joined the Singing River Power Squadron in 1994. Geneva became an active boater, and within a few years she was selected for command of the squadron. Her leadership and dedication were superb, but her participation in the USPS Education program has become legendary. Since joining the squadron, except for a relatively short period when Geneva was hospitalized from a serious stroke, none of her squadron mates can ever remember a single boating class or vessel safety check event that Geneva was not actively present as a student, instructor, monitor or examiner. She entered the Junior Navigation Course with seven other squadron mates but was the only student to complete the course. She went on to be the only person from her squadron to achieve a full certificate in the 21st century. She truly was, and will always be remembered, as one of the great treasures of the United States Power Squadrons.

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P/Lt/C David A. Sumner, P

P/Lt/C David A. Sumner, P

P/Lt/C David A. Sumner, P

P/Lt/C David A. Sumner, P, of Smithtown, N.Y., passed away at the age of 66 after a battle with cancer. He was a member of Smithtown Bay Power Squadron, where he had served as executive officer and earned 8 merit marks.

Originally from Beaver Falls, Pa., Sumner started his career as a locomotive fireman with the Pennsylvania and Lake Erie Railroad while he was still in high school, and then became a management trainee with the Penn Central Railroad. He received a bachelors degree in economics from Geneva College in Beaver Falls, where he met his future wife, Patty. They married and moved to Smithtown, where they raised their two children.

In 1973, Sumner joined the Long Island Rail Road as an air brake examiner. Over the years, he held a number of leadership roles, and as general manager of service planning and quality assurance, he developed the railroad’s timetables. He supervised operations in Pennsylvania Station during critical times. On 11 Sept. 2001, he developed the emergency plan to bring thousands of stranded commuters home after Penn Station had been closed. In the blackout in 2003, he worked to evacuate trains stuck in the tunnels and to restore normal service the next day. When he retired in 2006, Sumner was chief program officer for operations.

In his spare time, he enjoyed boating, fishing and spending time with his four grandchildren.

Boating app tracks gear on board

Boating app tracks gear on board

By Steve Hayes

In preparation for DIY boat repairs, we collect spare parts and repair materials and store them in the many little nooks on our boat. The challenge comes in remembering what you have and locating it when you need it.

The “What’s on My Boat?” iPhone app may help. The developer, Intelligent Maintenance, has a series of inventory-oriented applications for boats, attics, closets, etc. The iPhone app lets you back up the database to Dropbox and download it to your other Apple devices.

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A clean boat is essential for all boaters

A clean boat is essential for all boaters

By Dave Osmolski

After unwrapping our boats from their winter cocoons, we spend hours cleaning, deodorizing and waxing our boats until they gleam. Then we jump in the boat and proceed to splatterthem with all manner of food, drink, bait, fish blood and entrails, saltwater, and heaven knows what else. After returning home from a delightful day on the water, we usually only have enough energy for a quick freshwater rinse to remove the salt.

If you have ever walked on the docks where charter boats tie up, you’ll notice that long after the fish are cleaned and the clients have departed, the captain and mate are still scrubbing, cleaning and polishing. Often it’s just the mate. As the main tool of the captain’s trade, the boat should look nice and clean for the next charter. And a clean boat is also a boat with fewer problems.

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How to avoid a rock strike

Cruise highlights battery problems

By Jack Reed

Before our month-long cruise to Bar Harbor, Maine, my wife, Patricia, and I, and our Maine Coon, Skipper, had never cruised for more than two weeks at a time. The longer cruise allowed us to solve a persistent problem.

Our batteries had been running down over time despite spending significant time under power. To compensate, we used marina shore power for a night or two during each cruise. But this year, we didn’t stop at a marina, and by the time we got to Bar Harbor, the batteries could hardly turn over the engine.

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