Lake Michigan

Hybrid power refit

Taking a solar-electric hybrid approach to marine propulsion

By Phil Shelley

As an engineer interested in renewable energy, I’ve long considered the viability of electric propulsion for marine vessels.

In recent years, large vessels such as cruise ships, ferries and tugboats have increasingly adopted hybrid electric drives. Now that solar panels have become more efficient and dramatically cheaper, I decided to try converting a medium-sized hull to a solar-electric hybrid. Read More

Honoring the 2016 Charles F. Chapman Award for Excellence in Teaching winners

By Yvonne Hill

You don’t become a Charles F. Chapman Award winner by remaining safely in port; you must chart new educational ground and expand the limits of your teaching skills. The 2016 winners, sailors all, exemplify this Chapman spirit. They share a wealth of boating knowledge and experience, a love of teaching, a dedication to their students, and a desire to make the water a better place through education.

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Outboard problems underway

Troubleshooting outboard problems

Learn how to fix outboard problems while underway

By Rick Lavoie

Before starting to troubleshoot outboard problems on the water, make sure to secure the boat. Anchor if the boat could go aground or if wave action makes moving around difficult. If you can’t anchor, rig a sea anchor using a line with some life jackets and a bucket (or two) attached and deploy it off your bow.

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Senaca Falls Lake

Magical meander on the Finger Lakes

Cruising New York’s Finger Lakes and canals

By Rodger Litchfield

Rather than the usual weekend rendezvous at one port, William Herrick, the District 6 commander, planned a four-day, four-port summer rendezvous to take advantage of New York’s wonderful 500-plus-mile network of canals and inland lakes.

We planned to stop at Watkins Glen on the south end of Seneca Lake and then at Geneva on the north end. After transiting the Cayuga-Seneca Canal to Cayuga Lake, we planned to spend the night at Hibiscus Harbor near the lake’s north end and Ithaca at the south end. From start to finish, we would cruise some 80 miles.

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River adventureL Chartering a boat in France

River Adventure

The joys—and snags—of a river boat charter

By Dave Davies

In recent years, my wife, Jo, and I have taken several powerboat charters in England, France and Germany—most on French rivers and canals. If your ideal vacation is a slow cruise down a tree-lined river with quaint villages, ancient castles and stunning views, you might consider chartering a river boat, too.

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Sailing around the Door Peninsula

Around the Door

Sailors circumnavigate Wisconsin’s Door Peninsula

By Janelle Peotter

After months of planning, anticipation and a little trepidation, Eric Perlman and I set out on our 21-foot sailboat, Moon Dancer, to circumnavigate Wisconsin’s Door Peninsula in 2015. We dock our boat at Sawyer Harbor and normally simply sail out into Green Bay. Since we’d never gone through the bridges, we planned to begin this trip by going through them and heading up the lake side.

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North to Alaska

North to Alaska

Using USPS know-how, a couple takes the cruise of a lifetime

By Mike Kondrat

My wife Chris and I had dreamed about cruising north to Alaska, so after retirement, we took the plunge. Our United States Power Squadrons classes and our 35-plus years of boating experience helped us pull off this 3,592 nautical mile cruise without destroying our marriage or Aqua Therapy, our Bayliner 3988.

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Giving Back

Giving Back

One woman’s transformation from landlubber to captain

By Gary Brower and Sarah Brower

Patricia Brower had no idea she’d one day be called “Capt. Pat.” Although boating found her early in life, the joy of boating didn’t come until much later.

When she married Chip Brower more than 50 years ago, she didn’t know that her husband, then a radio and television engineer, was destined to become a fisherman and tugboat captain. Boats became a big part of their lives, but the couple didn’t always share a passion for them. In the beginning, Pat saw boats as a tool of the seafaring trade—a costly tool at that.

Thirty-five years and five commercial fishing boats later, the couple tentatively began discussing purchasing a pleasure craft the family could enjoy. After years of dreaming, they selected a 42-foot President suitable for sailing the Salish Sea and with the robust construction required for exploring the Gulf of Alaska. After having worked for many years, they fittingly christened their new vessel Time Out.

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What you should know about visual distress signals

What you should know about visual distress signals

By Joan Wenner

As a longtime boater and boating law writer, I know firsthand how important visual distress signals are to have in your onboard emergency equipment arsenal. Particularly for those newer to boating, it’s important to know that the United States Coast Guard sets minimum standards for recreational vessels and associated safety equipment to comply with federal rules.

To meet these standards, safety equipment is labeled Coast Guard “approved” or “certified,” meaning it has met Coast Guard standards and regulations for performance, construction or materials.

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In Transit through the Panama Canal

Panama Canal Transit

Sailing through the Panama Canal and back

By Patricia H–F Moore

After sailing Hope and Glory, our Island Packet 420, down the Central American Coast, we arrived at the Panama Canal Yacht Club in Colon on a dark night to await transit through the canal. We looked around in dismay to find the harbor crammed full of sailboats.

“Let me have a go,” John, an English crew member used to crowded English and Mediterranean coasts, said as he took the helm.

“There’s no space anywhere,” we chorused, but John sailed slowly ahead.

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An Enduring Legacy

USPS Honors the 2015 Charles F. Chapman Award for Excellence in Teaching Winners

By Yvonne Hill

In February, at the 2016 Annual Meeting in Orlando, Florida, USPS honored five top volunteer instructors with the 2015 Charles F. Chapman Award for Excellence in Teaching.

These educators share several traits including a wealth of experience, a love of teaching, a dedication to their students and a desire to make the water a better place.

Each district can nominate one instructor for this award each year. A national committee selects the top five educators from this pool of nominees.

Each winner receives a plaque honoring the achievement, a four-year USPS-certified instructor card and a gold Chapman Award lapel pin. The winners’ squadrons receive a high-quality sextant in a presentation case engraved with the winner’s name and squadron. A permanent log of all winners and nominees resides in the USPS Memorial Library in Raleigh, North Carolina.

Please join us in congratulating these dedicated volunteer educators and honoring their service to USPS and boating education.

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