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Emergency room afloat

The medical kit and  the conscientious boater, Part I

By Gino C. Bottino, M.D.

The realization

When I started this column, I wanted to write about putting together a complete medical kit. The more I thought about the idea, the more I realized how complicated the task would be.

First, you have to keep the size manageable while making it reasonably complete. This becomes difficult when you consider that everyone boats in different venues, at different times of the year and in different climates with different groups of people, all of whom have individual needs.

After much consideration, I broke the topic into two segments: on-board medical kits for groups with an organizer and staff, and kits for those traveling alone.

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Woman to Woman

Harrowing docking experience

By Capt. Katherine Redmond

My favorite story revolves around an experience my husband and I had while travelling on the Intracoastal Waterway in our first powerboat during our first live-aboard experience. (We had previously been sailors.) Having no experience with powerboats and after spending three weeks in a V-berth on our friend’s sailboat, we bought what should have been a houseboat. It had a full-size refrigerator and stove and a large bathtub! It also had a single inboard engine (which, in my opinion, is the most difficult to control, especially in reverse), a shallow keel, and was so top-heavy that a sneeze could cause its 46-foot frame to heel precariously.

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DIY trailering device

DIY trailering device makes hitching easy

By Dave Osmolski

Boating is back in full swing! That means hitching up the trailer and taking the boat to the launch ramp. Sometimes hitching up the trailer isn’t all that happens. I have completely redecorated my vehicle’s license plate while hitching up my trailer. When I had a tow vehicle with a steel bumper, this didn’t bother me so much. The unique license plate helped me positively identify my vehicle in large parking lots. I have a plastic bumper now, and those near misses don’t enhance the resale value of my vehicle so much.

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Photo of hole in fuel tank caused by galvanic corrosion

Diesel fuel tank repair

By Reid Gantt

Would you believe that a stainless steel washer could cause an estimated $20,000 in damage to your boat? That was an estimate given to remove and repair my diesel fuel tank.

Earlier this year, my wife, Karen, and I were on our 1983 twin diesel Atlantic 30 in Sneads Ferry, North Carolina, when I saw a sheen of diesel on the water. Further investigation revealed a leak in the port fuel tank.

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Perfect tool kit image

Curate the perfect toolkit

By Dave Osmolski

I took the USPS elective course Engine Maintenance ages ago, well before the advent of computer-controlled fuel injection and the other amazing advances in outboard engine manufacture in the past 20 years.

While these advances have taken away some of our ability to tinker with our outboards in the shade of a backyard tree, they have given us cleaner, quieter, more economical and longer-lasting engines than we had in “the good old days.”

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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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