By Dan FannonHow many times have we heard someone say, “Remember to eat a balanced diet,” or “Don’t forget to balance work and play”? Maintaining balance is a primary life skill, but one easily overlooked in these harried times of pressured work schedules and few moments set aside for reflection and refreshment. I encourage you to give serious thought to the effects of balance as it applies to our life on the water.
By Dave OsmolskiI’ve been vacationing in Southwest Florida for longer than I have been a member of United States Power Squadrons. I haven’t visited every yacht basin and marina, but out on the water and along the Intracoastal Waterway, I have never seen a vessel flying the USPS ensign save for the one on my boat.
USPS encourages members to introduce our organization to the public with seminars, classes and by our presence at boat shows. While these are important, I think one of the best ways to advertise our presence is to fly the ensign.
By Gene ClarkAn older U.S. Coast Guard safety pamphlet indicated that “a cup of gasoline spilled in the bilge has the potential explosive power of 15 sticks of dynamite.” With that in mind, let’s review safe fueling recommendations.
by John SchwabGround tackle refers to all the parts of an anchor system between the boat and the anchor.
If you use only line, the ground tackle may be referred to as simply the anchor rode or line. Most experts recommend either a combination of chain and nylon or all chain. The terminal connections between the rode and the anchor are critical. Look for weak links in your own anchoring system. A proper connection will consist of a properly sized galvanized shackle rated for the intended use. Always mouse or seize the shackle pin with Monel seizing wire to prevent the pin from backing out. Plastic tie wraps are unacceptable.
By Dave OsmolskiIn much of the United States, autumn marks the end of the boating season. Many boaters simply open the drain plugs, throw a tarp over Leakin’ Lucretia and hope for a mild winter. I know because I have watched their antics at the boat ramp on those first days of spring boating. They show up with dead batteries, unburnable gasoline, frozen engines and flat tires, causing a steady stream of blue language from those stuck on the launch ramp as well as those waiting to use it.
You can avoid all this by taking one day to provide Leakin’ Lucretia the tender loving care it deserves to survive a long, cold winter.
By Cliff SchmidtStaying afloat requires preventing the failure of water hoses and their fittings, including through-hulls, valves, strainers and hose clamps supplying raw water cooling to boat systems—the leading cause of vessels sinking at the dock. I look at the following areas when surveying a boat; you should check these items at least once or twice a year.
By Dave OsmolskiBoats of all sizes have canvas and clear vinyl panels to keep the weather out. During the boating season, these panels have a place and use, but storing these relatively fragile panels in the off-season can become a problem. Although it’s summer now, winter is coming.
Sun exposure deteriorates both canvas and vinyl. Cold, windy weather makes vinyl brittle, and the wind can cause it to crack and break. Unless you wrap your boat, exposing these panels to the elements in winter drastically decreases their useful life.
By Gary BainOver time, I have made many changes and improvements to Gone With The Wind, a 1990 MK1 Catalina 36. This year I decided to convert all the interior lights to LED.
Several years ago a good friend gave me an LED light fixture to replace the one adjacent to the chart table. The original light had a warm glow, and I was hesitant to change it out. I decided to put the new fixture over the galley sink, but I didn’t care for the extreme blue/white light.
By Burrage WarnerMany years ago during a trip to the Bahamas in a 30-foot Pearson sloop powered by a gasoline engine, we got caught up in the winds of Hurricane Agnes. We spent 10 days holed up at Boot Key Marina in Marathon, Florida, while the hurricane ravaged the Keys on both sides of us. Fortunately, we escaped damage and spent the next four weeks cruising the Bahamas.
By Michael McBrideOne summer I joined our Sea Scout Ship 912 for a long cruise from St. Petersburg, Florida, to the Dry Tortugas and back. We spent nine days and eight nights aboard Bonne Femme, a 35-foot Pearson sloop with an inboard drive diesel. We towed a 14-foot dinghy.
We took the Intracoastal Waterway to Sanibel Island. From there, we would head southwest across the Gulf of Mexico to Key West. On the way to Sanibel, we would have to navigate at least 13 bridges, the most challenging of which was Albee Road Bridge.
By Dave Osmolski and Peter Jenkin
For this article, I’ve invited longtime friend and coconspirator, Peter Jenkin, to share his experience adding solar power to his boat. I have known Pete since high school. He’s the only other person ever to ride in my canoe, which leaked in gallons per minute. Former sailors, Pete and his wife, Nancy Miller, now cruise Long Island Sound and coastal New England aboard a 26-foot trawler.As a new convert to the “dark side,” I had a lot to learn about my new old boat, a 26-foot Nordic Tug. Unlike my old sailboats, it doesn’t have an icebox. Instead, it has a refrigerator like one you’d find in a college dorm room.
We keep the boat on a mooring, anchor out when cruising and never go to marinas. After five to six hours at anchor, the refrigerator would start to die. This happened even with two new group 31 AGM batteries in the house bank. After a few weekends of this, I solved the problem by going solar.
According to the Coast Guard, replacement lighting from some manufacturers fails to meet technical certification requirements, making the lighting improper for its application. The Coast Guard also cautions boaters that the use of LEDs, rope lighting, underwater lighting and other types of decorative lighting may violate navigation light provisions of the Nautical Rules of the Road. Consult bit.ly/navrules for more information.