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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Farewell, Stargazer

Arnold Joseph Medalen
March 22, 1949–April 11, 2017

Arnold Medalen began writing articles about stargazing for The Ensign magazine in 1997, first as Modern Navigator and later as the Stargazer. In the 20 years he wrote for The Ensign, Arnold provided readers with a regular source of stargazing information and inspiration. He will be greatly missed.

Arnold leaves behind Patricia, his wife of nearly 47 years; his daughter, Shelly; two grandchildren, Josephine, 7, and Kenneth, 5; and two brothers, Charles of Riverside, California, and John of Campbell, California.

Arnold Medalen and Purcy

Arnold and Patricia met as teenagers on a blind date and were inseparable from that point on. They married on July 10, 1970. Arnold received his Bachelors of Science degree in biology the following June, and their daughter, Shelly, was born that September.

Not long after graduating, Arnold began working for E&J Gallo Winery as a lab tech and finished his 33-year career with Gallo as a senior winemaker.

In retirement, Arnold became a substitute teacher for the Sylvan School District in Modesto, California, teaching middle school math and science.

An avid boater, Arnold joined California’s San Joaquin Delta Power Squadron in 1986. In 1997 Arnold was awarded Boater of the Year for his contribution to safe boating education.

After selling their boat, Arnold and Patricia decided to try RV-ing. They purchased a 40-foot Monaco Windsor and took many trips, making sure to plan one big trip each year with granddaughter, Josephine. Together, Arnold, Patricia, Josephine, and Purcy the cat visited Yellowstone, the Black Hills of South Dakota, Mount Rushmore, and planned to travel to the Grand Canyon this summer.

Through his column, Arnold shared his love of astronomy with members for two decades, and we hope that when you view the total eclipse this August or anytime you look up at the stars, you will take just a moment to remember his contributions to United States Power Squadrons.

Flag burning in small-town America

Flag burning ceremony in Mich. town

By Boni Thibert

I save old, torn, worn-out American flags. Most years, my husband, Phillip, and I bring the flags to a friend who resides in the small village of Grand Marais, Mich., where they are burned in a solemn ceremony every Fourth of July.

Located on the southern shore of Lake Superior, Grand Marais started as a lumbering and commercial fishing community, but these days the town mainly caters to the tourists who keep it alive.

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P/D/C William Crosbie Engle, AP

Bill Engle

Bill Engle

P/D/C William Crosbie Engle, AP, who chartered Ten Mile Power Squadron, passed away on 24 May 2014 at the age of 103. He had served as squadron commander, instructor in basic boating seamanship and advanced piloting classes. Elected to the District 7 bridge after serving four years as lieutenant commander, he was elected to District 7 Commander of USPS, covering three states. He also was elected to the squadron educational office of Ten Mile Power Squadron. Ten Mile Power Squadron recently celebrated 50 years in operation.

Mr. Engle always enjoyed boating and actually built a boat in the casement of his home. In 1946, he went into boat sales and service, establishing Engle’s Holiday Harbor and Marina, which is still in operation and run by his son and family. Mr. Engle and his sons raced E-Service Class runabouts for many years and won three national championships. He not only was a Life Member of USPS but also a member of the U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary and the American Power Boat Association.

Mr. Engle will be remembered as an ambitious and gracious gentleman, and he will be dearly missed.

Fight the bugs

Fight the bugs

By Craig Grosby

Thermacell Mosquito Repellent Outdoor Lantern (Model MR-9L)


    • Portable
    • Easy to use
    • Safe for outdoor use
    • Long-lasting


    • Not recommended for windy conditions
Have you ever sat in the cockpit at dusk after a long day of sailing, only to find yourself being eaten alive by mosquitoes? Tired of having to retreat to the cabin and hide behind screens? Thermacell has the perfect solution with its Mosquito Repellent Outdoor Lantern.

The lantern can be operated separately and is pretty straightforward to use. It has eight LEDs powered by four AA batteries. An opaque, four-sided lens provides good light for up to 200 hours on the low setting and 50 hours on high. When using the unit just as a lantern, you can hang it from a Bimini using the small handle on top. When used as a mosquito repellent, however, it should be placed on a flat, stable surface.

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Navigating the unknown

Navigating the unknown

When it comes to cruising in unfamiliar waters, even veteran boaters get sweaty palms and make beginner mistakes. Instead of regaling you with mine, I’m passing along 10 tips I learned the hard way.

1.  Pre-plot your course

This is really a double tip, because you have to buy the right charts before you can pre-plot your course. Get an up-to-date chart that shows an overview of the entire area as well as detailed charts of the harbors along the way. Spread the charts out at home, and plot your route ahead of time. Pencil in the courses you’ll be steering along with their compass headings. Navigating will be so much easier.

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A flare for safety

As a boater, you should have the required flares on board, but do you know how and when to use them?

flare-copywebWhen to use flares

  • You want to use your flares when you are in distress and in a location where they can be seen by someone. If you have radioed or called for help, you may be asked to fire a flare to pinpoint your location, so you can be spotted at sea and from the air.
  • If searching for you, the U.S. Coast Guard may ask you to set off a flare or an orange smoke flare in the daytime. Lighted flares are effective for short time spans (some for 8–10 seconds, others for 2–3 minutes), so use them efficiently with foreknowledge and practice. Don’t wait until the need arises before preparing for action; it could make the difference between life and death.

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James E. Fisher

James Fisher

James Fisher

P/D/C James E. Fisher, SN, passed away 9 Jan. 2014.  Jim served our country in the U.S. Navy and was a member of Masonic Lodge #1098 of Lombard, Eastern Star of Lombard.  Jim’s love for United States Power Squadrons is evidenced by his great track record. He joined the Fort Myers Power Squadron in 1987, became their commander in 1991, and soon after in 1995 became commander of District 22. As a dedicated member of the Fort Myers Power Squadron for 28 years, he earned 19 merit marks.

Loving father of daughter Dawn Fisher and son Greg (Bonnie) Fisher and brother of William Fisher, Jim was preceded in death by his brother, Joseph Fisher. A funeral service was held Saturday, 18 Jan. 2014 at Chapel Hill Gardens West Funeral Home, 17W201 Roosevelt Rd, Oakbrook Terrace, IL. A memorial service in Fort Myers was held on Sunday, 26 Jan. at the Peace Community Church, 17625 Pine Ridge Rd, Fort Myers Beach, FL 33931. The family has requested that in lieu of flowers donations be made to Hope Hospice Health Care Services, 9470 Health Park Circle, Fort Myers, FL, 33908.