Doc on Deck

Preparing for, implementing crew overboard recovery

Doc on Deck

By Gino C. Bottino, M.D. 

For the last 10 years, most authorities have agreed on the main principles in preparing for, and implementing, a crew overboard recovery. The five phases of recovery are

  • establish and maintain visual contact,
  • provide flotation immediately,
  • stop the boat as soon as possible,
  • maneuver to approach the victim, and
  • effect recovery over the side.
  • All five should be done as quickly as possible.

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Be seen with AIS

See and be seen with AIS

Many boaters have implemented the Automatic Identification System, or AIS, on their boats. If you haven’t, let’s look at why you should consider implementing one of the best safety systems ever introduced to the boating community.

Most of us are familiar with the vessel information transmitted by AIS. Identity is the key to the system. Radar shows you a target but doesn’t tell you what or who it is. AIS provides that information and a lot more.

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Carbon monoxide poisoning: Recognizing, preventing the invisible killer

By Gino C. Bottino, M.D.

Whether you own a powerboat or sailboat or just drive a car, you should be aware of the dangers of carbon monoxide poisoning and know how to detect and treat it.

Silent, odorless, invisible and deadly

Difficult to detect, carbon monoxide is a colorless, odorless, tasteless gas that’s heavier than air. It’s made whenever carbon-based fuels are burned, such as in internal combustion engines like gasoline-powered generators and car and boat engines. Although diesel-fueled engines produce CO in smaller concentrations than gasoline engines, they still produce enough to be dangerous.

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Add shapes to your boat with PVC pipes

Add shapes to your boat with PVC pipes

By Dave Osmolski

One of the oldest and ubiquitous polymers, PVC, or polyvinyl chloride, is used for water toys, rafts, boat curtains and many other marine applications. I have used it to hold propane cylinders on deck, make flagstaffs and hold trailer light fixtures. The list of things you can make from PVC piping is endless.

Readily available at most hardware stores, PVC pipe comes in two grades, or schedules. Schedule 40 has a thinner wall and is probably the easiest to work with. Schedule 80 has thicker walls but the same outside diameter. I suggest using schedule 40 for your projects, as it’s tough enough to withstand almost any abuse.

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Dave on his new floating boat lift

Floating boat lift keeps boat clean, accessible

By Dave Osmolski

I retired last September with plans to spend more time at my homemade tropical paradise in Flamingo Bay, Florida. We are right on the water, and I keep my boat in the canal in my backyard. However, because my boat doesn’t have marine bottom paint, within five days, barnacles and small, calcified worm-like creatures will fasten themselves to the hull, trim tabs and all of my boat’s other underwater features.

Last spring, I contacted several different contractors that specialize in installing boatlifts. I don’t have a seawall. At the canal edge of my property, a mangrove forest provides food and shelter for birds, fish and all manner of creatures, including alligators and snakes. Because of a sloping bank and high tide line up into the mangroves, the zoning laws would not allow me to install the lift where I wanted.

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Marine radar goes solid-state

Marine electronics are constantly evolving, but no change in recent years compares with the move to solid-state radar. Gains in features and performance are so great that almost every boater should consider upgrading. All four major marine equipment manufacturers now offer solid-state pulse compression radar. Here’s why.

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Photo of tinned marine grade wiring for boats

Size matters with marine wiring

Troubleshooting problems with marine wiring

By Dave Osmolski

Last spring I installed a new combination sonar (depth/fish finder) and GPS on my boat, which replaced separate units. The new unit has a 7-inch screen, and the older units each had 4-inch screens, so I didn’t reduce the footprint at the helm.

I replaced the old units with the same brand and used the wiring from the old unit to power the new one. Installation went well, and I used my new unit to explore the waters around Pine Island, Florida.

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What to do after you run aground

By John Schwab

Despite all efforts to stay off shoals, sandbars or rocks, groundings happen. It’s said there are three types of skippers: Those who have run aground, those who will run aground, and those who have but will never admit it. Every boater should prepare for the inevitable grounding.

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