Photographers show us what they love most about boatingMembers voted for their favorite photo in The Ensign’s Nautical Delights Photo Contest via an online poll and a traditional ballot at the 2017 Annual Meeting in Orlando, Florida. We invited photographers to submit their favorite photos to encapsulate what they love most about boating.
Learn how to fix outboard problems while underway
By Rick LavoieBefore 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.
Cruising New York’s Finger Lakes and canals
By Rodger LitchfieldRather 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.
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.
Sailors circumnavigate Wisconsin’s Door Peninsula
By Janelle PeotterAfter 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.
Using USPS know-how, a couple takes the cruise of a lifetime
By Mike KondratMy 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.
One woman’s transformation from landlubber to captain
By Gary Brower and Sarah BrowerPatricia 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.
By Joan WennerAs 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.
Sailing through the Panama Canal and back
By Patricia H–F MooreAfter 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.
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.
New boater plugs experience gap
By Michael G. D’AversaThese days, most people know me as an avid touring motorcyclist. But long before I became a biker, I was a boater. Before I became a boater, I was just a guy who wanted a boat. All that changed on 4 July 1990 when I was thrust into the world of recreational boating by the makers of Royal Crown Cola.
It had been a typical Fourth of July in Bensenville, Illinois, where my wife and I lived at the time. While grilling outside, I’d been drinking copious amounts of Diet RC Cola. I’d been drinking Diet RC for weeks because of a contest the company had been running. Specially marked cases proclaimed, “Win A Boat Instantly!”
While doing dishes in my kitchen, I drained another can of Diet RC and was about to toss it into the trash when I remembered the contest. I stopped mid-toss, brought the empty can to my right eye and peered inside. The winning code was printed across the bottom.
USPS member shares boating safety insights with fellow retirees
To some, a boat is just a hole in the water that you throw money into. They say their happiest days were when they bought it and when they sold (or sunk) it.
True boaters call these people landlubbers who never found their sea legs, felt the power of the tides or navigated to the call of a sailing wind. Imagine relaxing in the warm sun, being lulled into serenity by the motion of the waves, charting a course through waterways that display a panorama of nature’s beauty not seen from land or air, and savoring the briny scents and salty drops that spray up with each dip into the sea.
Whether sailing or motoring to lounge, fish, snorkel, or simply watch sea life and birds at sunrise or sunset, the Shell Point marina at Shell Point Retirement Community in Fort Myers, Florida, is home to some avid boaters who choose to cruise their way to tranquility each fine-weather day. Boating represents the freedom to discover new worlds.