Anchoring in the Keys

Retrieve a stuck anchor

You can leave the anchor retriever components rigged on your main anchor permanently. We’ve rigged ours on a Lewmar claw anchor, which seems to be the best all-around anchor that doesn’t require a second mortgage to buy, but you can rig this up on any kind of anchor.

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Woman to Woman

Learning to judge weather and sea conditions

By Capt. Katherine Redmond

Nothing affects your ability to boat safely more than the weather. Before heading out, you should consult multiple sources to ensure you are prepared and can judge whether it’s safe to be on the water. A small craft advisory for your planned destination should keep you at the dock. You should never venture onto open waters if a small craft advisory has been issued.

Sea conditions are difficult to generalize. Some boats are capable of handling rough seas, while on others, a sneeze causes discomfort. It takes some experience for you to judge your vessel’s ability, but in the meantime, use caution in environments conducive to overwhelming seas, such as inlets. (See below for more info.)

The U.S. Coast Guard Navigation Center publishes weekly Local Notices to Mariners with timely information on local hazards. You can review them online for free.

Thunderstorms can be a daily occurrence in some areas. You can prepare by asking yourself the following questions: If I encounter a thunderstorm on the water, how will I handle the situation? Would I prefer to find a safe harbor until the storm dissipates? Or would it be best to stop my boat in a safe place, point the bow at a fixed object to maintain my location and issue the proper sound signal so others can ascertain my position? By planning for these eventualities, you can prevent adverse outcomes.


Capt. Katherine Giampietro Redmond of Palm Beach Sail & Power Squadron/8 is a NASBLA-honored boating safety instructor with a Six-Pack Towing Captain’s License. Author of “The Chartracker Navigation Guides” and “7 Steps to Successful Boat Docking,” she created boatinglady.com to provide boating guidance for women.

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COVID-19 vaccines

COVID-19 vaccines

By Gino Bottino, MD

As of January 2021, 69 COVID-19 vaccine candidates were in clinical research using multiple technologies. Several COVID-19 vaccines demonstrated efficacy as high as 95% in preventing symptomatic COVID-19 infections.

At that time, 10 vaccines had been authorized by at least one national regulatory authority for public use: two RNA vaccines (the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines), four conventional inactivated vaccines (Sinopharm, Covaxin from Bharat Biotech, Sinovac, and Sinopharm), three viral vector vaccines (Sputnik V from the Gamaleya Research Institute, AstraZeneca, and CanSino), and one peptide vaccine (EpiVacCorona).

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Woman to Woman

Why you need a float plan

By Capt. Katherine Redmond

In March 2009, four strong, healthy athletes, two of whom were NFL football players, went fishing off Florida’s Gulf Coast. Forty-six hours later, three had been lost at sea.

Their story offers so many lessons to us boaters that I must elaborate. But if you remember only one lesson, let it be this: Always file a float plan before going out into open water.

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Flu, common cold or COVID?

By Gino Bottino, MD

Even with COVID-19 soaring, we need to remember that winter is also cold and flu season.

In the United States, more days of work (and probably play) are lost to colds and flu than any other illness, and mortality remains high.
Colds and allergies are frequently confused, and now it’s hard to tell the difference between these illnesses and COVID-19.

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Trailer maintenance

Trailer maintenance keeps it rolling

While a friend was trailering his boat to a boatyard, the trailer collapsed from a broken axle, damaging the boat as well as the trailer. Looking closely at pictures, I could tell that the trailer had been poorly maintained.

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Woman to Woman

How to tell if you’re on a collision course

By Capt. Katherine Redmond

How can you tell if you are on a collision course with another vessel?

Let’s suppose you’re taking a little cruise on your local waters, and you see a boat off your starboard side, about 1,000 feet away. It’s angled slightly in your direction, but you cannot tell if there’s any eventual danger of collision.Read More

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Tips for older boaters

By Gino Mottino, M.D.

With the average age of Americans advancing and the cost of boats increasing, most new engine-powered boats are bought by older boaters. Regardless of age, a skipper must be responsible for the safety of the boat and everyone onboard.

As an operator, you must be aware of your abilities, limitations, and health, including sight, hearing, mobility, stamina and mental acuity. You must also keep in mind the abilities and limitations of your crew: As we get older, so do all our family and friends.

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Woman to Woman

Make anchoring out a pleasure

By Capt. Katherine Redmond

In my opinion, anchoring out is one of the greatest pleasures of boating. Whether relaxing near the beach, rafting up with friends, or hiding out in one of the little coves that can only be reached by water, anchoring out is awesome.

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Boating and COVID-19

By Gino Bottino, MD

As a member of the US Sailing Sports Medical committee, I have been working on plans to reopen sailing centers for sail training and Olympic sailing, as well as big boat sailing, amid the pandemic. Here are a few recommendations that can be made applicable to recreational boaters as well:

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