Navigating the unknown

Navigating the unknown

When it comes to cruising in unfamiliar waters, even veteran boaters get sweaty palms and make beginner mistakes. Instead of regaling you with mine, I’m passing along 10 tips I learned the hard way.

1.  Pre-plot your course

This is really a double tip, because you have to buy the right charts before you can pre-plot your course. Get an up-to-date chart that shows an overview of the entire area as well as detailed charts of the harbors along the way. Spread the charts out at home, and plot your route ahead of time. Pencil in the courses you’ll be steering along with their compass headings. Navigating will be so much easier.

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A flare for safety

As a boater, you should have the required flares on board, but do you know how and when to use them?

flare-copywebWhen to use flares

  • You want to use your flares when you are in distress and in a location where they can be seen by someone. If you have radioed or called for help, you may be asked to fire a flare to pinpoint your location, so you can be spotted at sea and from the air.
  • If searching for you, the U.S. Coast Guard may ask you to set off a flare or an orange smoke flare in the daytime. Lighted flares are effective for short time spans (some for 8–10 seconds, others for 2–3 minutes), so use them efficiently with foreknowledge and practice. Don’t wait until the need arises before preparing for action; it could make the difference between life and death.

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James E. Fisher

James Fisher

James Fisher

P/D/C James E. Fisher, SN, passed away 9 Jan. 2014.  Jim served our country in the U.S. Navy and was a member of Masonic Lodge #1098 of Lombard, Eastern Star of Lombard.  Jim’s love for United States Power Squadrons is evidenced by his great track record. He joined the Fort Myers Power Squadron in 1987, became their commander in 1991, and soon after in 1995 became commander of District 22. As a dedicated member of the Fort Myers Power Squadron for 28 years, he earned 19 merit marks.

Loving father of daughter Dawn Fisher and son Greg (Bonnie) Fisher and brother of William Fisher, Jim was preceded in death by his brother, Joseph Fisher. A funeral service was held Saturday, 18 Jan. 2014 at Chapel Hill Gardens West Funeral Home, 17W201 Roosevelt Rd, Oakbrook Terrace, IL. A memorial service in Fort Myers was held on Sunday, 26 Jan. at the Peace Community Church, 17625 Pine Ridge Rd, Fort Myers Beach, FL 33931. The family has requested that in lieu of flowers donations be made to Hope Hospice Health Care Services, 9470 Health Park Circle, Fort Myers, FL, 33908.

Robert J. Heck

P/C Robert J. Heck, SN of N. Fort Myers died suddenly 9 Oct. 2013.

Robert J. Heck

Robert J. Heck

Robert was born in Racine, Wisc., to Clarence and Frances Heck. He was one of 10 children. Robert was a veteran in the U.S. Army Signal Corp. from 1953-1954 and stationed in Germany. Robert attended the University of Wisconsin and worked as an analyst for the Apollo Program. He joined the New Berlin Wisconsin Fire Department in 1967, rising to the rank of fire chief. Bob retired in 1994 and relocated to N. Fort Myers. In 1995, Robert joined the Fort Myers Power Squadron where he taught boating safety education and became commander in 2010. He was also a member of the Fort Myers Beach Yacht Club.

Robert is survived by his wife, Lorraine, of 58 years; six children; 11 grand-children; and 10 great grand-children. A memorial mass was held 15 Oct. at St. Francis Xavier Catholic Church, 2157 Cleveland Ave., in Fort Myers. Interment took place at Southern Wisconsin Veterans Memorial Cemetery.

Gerhardt F. “Gary” Schultz

Gary Schultz

Gary Schultz

Gerhardt F. “Gary” Schultz, 72, of Momence, passed away 9 Aug. 2013 at Presence Heritage Village in Kankakee. Visitation was held at the Cotter Funeral Home in Momence Saturday, 17. Aug. The Rev. David McMillan officiated. In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to the American Cancer Society.

Schultz was the plant superintendent at Gilster Mary Lee in Momence for 27 years. He was born 17 May 1941, in Cleveland, Ohio, the son of Leonard and Connie Mensch Schultz. He was a veteran of the U. S. Army. He was a member of the Coast Guard Auxiliary for 23 years, the Power Squadron in Kankakee, Ham Radio Club, Kankakee River Patrol, CERTS and Momence Police Auxiliary Department.

Surviving are his wife, the former Linda Moore, of Momence, whom he married 18 Nov. 1972 in Momence; one sister and brother-in-law, Connie and Donald Sims, of Goffstown, N.H.; one brother, Dale Schultz, of Baraboo, Wisc.; mother-in-law, Elsie Moore, of Momence; sister-in-law and brother-in-law, Beverly and Willard Hamann, of Momence; and many nieces and nephews. He was preceded in death by his parents.

Bill J. Ehrman

Bill Ehrman

Bill Ehrman

All who knew Bill Ehrman would agree that he certainly put the spice into life. He was resourceful, a man who thought outside of the box, and the sort of person who never let life get the best of him. Bill was blessed to spend the majority of his life alongside his true love with whom he welcomed the children and grandchildren who were his life. He was a true patriot who knew what it meant to work hard, yet he also made sure that he took time to enjoy life to the fullest each day. Life will never be the same without Bill here, but he leaves behind a timeless collection of memories that will remain forever near and dear to the hearts of his friends and loved ones.

On 18 Nov. 1953, a young couple from Morris, Ill., was delighted to welcome a healthy baby boy into their hearts and home on . Bill was one of several children born to his parents, Fred and Emma Ehrman, and his earliest years were spent in the family home. By the time he was a young man, both of Bill’s parents had died, which sent him to Kankakee, Ill., where he lived with his sisters while he finished his education. Bill was a student at local schools, including Morris Elementary School and Eastridge High School beginning with his freshman year.

After graduating from high school, Bill was ready to embrace all that life had in store. In November 1974, he joined the Navy and finished submarine school in Groton,
Conn. Bill was stationed in Charleston, S.C., for a time and was given permission to come home for a quick visit before he was sent out for a three-month patrol. He also took classes at University of South Carolina while in the Navy.

Not to be forgotten during his years as a young man was Bill’s introduction to the young woman who would forever hold the key to his heart. Her name was Kathy Lamb, and they were a great pair. While in the military, Bill visited Kathy at Illinois State University when he could. With a desire to establish a life together, the couple was united in marriage on 7 Aug. 1976 at the Salvation Army. Together Bill and Kathy were blessed with the births of three children: Adam, Amy and Ashley.

Along his entire life’s journey Bill loved the water. He and Kathy complimented each other perfectly as they spent numerous days on the beach with him in the water and her on the beach. Bill loved scuba diving, especially at some of his favorite places such as Folly Beach and Isle Palms in South Carolina. Memorable vacations were taken to Singer Island, Fla., where he discovered tropical beach drinks and his Tommy Bahama hat, in addition to Beaver Island, Apostle Islands, and Kentucky Lake with family. There was also the time he went to Door County for 11 days and almost forgot to come back! In everything he did, Bill was one to work hard. He graduated from Governor’s State University is University Park, Ill., with a degree in chemistry. Bill spent more than 33 years working as a project leader for Henkel Chemical Corporation.

Bill loved playing the drums, and when he was laid off from his job he bought a new set of drums and formed a band as a means of providing for his family. A devoted father through and through, it was not uncommon for Bill to come home from a late night with the band to take care of Adam as he treasured spending time with his children. He loved cooking out with his friends, and as his friends and family can attest he was a master of the grill.

A longtime member of the community he loved, Bill was a member of the Aroma Park American Legion, Aroma Park Boating Association, Kankakee Yacht Club, Kankakee Valley Sail & Power Squadron and the Moose Lodge. A true gift, Bill brought such light and life to the world around him. He fully devoted himself to whatever task was at hand and never took even one moment for granted. Bill’s family was always his main focus in life, and it was when he was gathered with his family that he was happiest. He will be dearly missed and warmly remembered.

Bill J. Ehrman died 10 July 2013 at his home in St. Anne. Bill’s family includes his wife, Kathy Ehrman of St. Anne, Ill.; children Adam (Lacy) Ehrman of Springfield, Ill., D (Justin) Marques of Gilman, Ill., and Ashley (Nick) Benjamin of Kankakee, Ill.; grandchildren Henry Gerritson, Hayden Gerritson, Justyne Marques, Kate Ehrman and Ellen Ehrman; sisters Karen (Wendell) Darling of Morris, Ill., and Clara Rutledge of Vermont; brothers David (Maureen) Ehrman of Port Orange, Fla.,, Ben (Beth) Stillwell of Marshalltown, Iowa, and Steve (Vicki) Cobb of Buford, Ga.; brother- and sisters-in-law Judy Ehrman of Morris, Ill., Rosemary Ehrman of Coal City, Ill., Ben and Betty Hale of Manteno, Ill., and Marilyn Friant of Morris, Ill.; and father-in-law Ray Lamb of Aroma Park, Ill. Bill was preceded in death by his parents; brothers Paul Ehrman, Fred Ehrman, Roy Ehrman and Red Osman; and sisters Eva Hale and Rosemary Ehrman.

Please visit where you can leave a memory or sign the online guestbook.

Louis Otis Lugo

Louis Otis Lugo, 85, of Morehead City, passed away Friday, 19 April 2013, at Carteret General Hospital.  Louis served in the U.S. Army and later retired from the U.S. Postal Service. He was very athletic in his younger years and enjoyed golfing, scuba diving and surfing; he even built his own long board. He also built his own 33-foot Yawl, The Capitana. He was a lifetime member of U.S. Power Squadrons at 50 years and a lifetime member of the NRA.

He is survived by six nieces and nephews: Tony Cortina and wife Linda Kimbell of Raleigh; Amy Fariss and husband Tony of Raleigh; Mike Cortina and partner Darrell Renfroe of Charlotte; Catherine Cortina of Raleigh; Chrissy Cortina and husband Jeff Crews of Durham; and Ann Fields and husband Dan of Raleigh; and seven great nieces and nephews.  He was preceded in death by his parents Joseph and Carrie Thomas Lugo, wife Frances Lugo, and sister Amy L. Cortina.

A graveside service was held at Gethsemane Memorial Park with the Rev. Manley Rose officiating. Arrangements were made by Munden Funeral Home and Crematory Inc. of Morehead City.

Online condolences may be made to the family at

William A. “Bill” Struve

Bill Struve

Bill Struve

William A. “Bill” Struve, 90, of Cary, Ill., passed away Tuesday, 21 May 2013, at home. He is survived by his three daughters, one son, five grandchildren and three great-grandchildren.

Bill was born 22 Nov. 1922 in Chicago. He served in the U.S. Navy during World War II and visited many foreign ports during his tour of duty. After his service, he remained an avid sailor, boater and boat builder. He had been retired from Illinois Bell/AT&T for more than 30 years.

Bill had been a member of the Chain-O-Lakes Sail & Power Squadron since its inception in 1962 and remained a member for 42 years of the squadron’s 50 years. His family vacations usually involved boating of some sort. Bill was the squadron commander in 1978 and held other positions at the squadron level. The past six years Bill was the flag lieutenant and was always on time at the formal events setting up the flags and leading the Pledge of Allegiance.

Bill was also a member of the Blackhawk Chapter of the Antique and Classic Boat Society (Lake Geneva) as well as the Lake Pepin (Mississippi River) Messabout Boat Club. He traveled near and far in order to boat and snowmobile. His last project was completed last year, at the age of 89, for the Messabout club gathering in June.

Bill always had time to take someone boating or help with teaching knot tying. He had a very casual attitude and enjoyed sharing his boating experiences. He will be greatly missed.

Francois R. Barfuss

Francois R. Barfuss, 82, resident of New Canaan, Conn., since 1977, passed away 8 June 2012. Frank and his late wife, Carolyn, had three children and 10 grandchildren.

Frank was born in New York City on 18 Nov. 1929. After graduating from Fordham University summa cum laude, he served in Germany with Army Intelligence and then joined Deloitte & Touche, where he remained for nearly 40 years as a partner.

His leisure time was consumed with family and a passion for sailing that he shared with Carolyn. Frank was a life member of USPS with 29 Merit Marks. He was a past commander of the Darien Sail & Power Squadron and served the squadron in many other ways, including many years of service on the Audit Committee. Frank also had a long tenure as treasurer of the Milford Yacht Club.

Fair winds, Frank.

D/Lt Donald E. Baker, JN

Don Baker sailing

Don Baker sailing

Donald E. Baker passed away on 9 December 2012. He was born on 16 December 1931 in St. Louis, Mo. After serving in the U.S. Army in Japan during the Korean War, Don returned to his home town. He took a job as an usher for Loews Theaters and worked his way up to Vice President of Marketing in New York City until his retirement in 1990. He and his wife Theresa had three children.

Boating was Don’s passion, and he was happiest while plying the waters of Barnegat Bay aboard his 34-foot sailboat Integrity with family and friends. The name he gave his boat also signified the way he lived his life.

Don joined Raritan Bay Power Squadron in 1973. He served as commander, taught courses, and chaired the membership, public relations, and USPS seminars committees. He was District 4’s boating course chair and legislative chair for New Jersey. At the national level, Don served on the Boat Handling and the Government and Partner Relations committees. He also helped develop the new USPS Sail course and authored countless articles in The Ensign. Don was a life member and earned 39 merit marks. A modest man, he believed he was only doing what needed to be done.

Despite his many contributions to USPS, whenever someone needed help, Don was happy to give it. And no matter how busy he was, he always made time for friends and family, and for sailing his beloved boat. Fair winds, Don!

Lt/C Fred G. Roffe, SN

Fred Roffe

Fred Roffe

Fred G. Roffe passed away on 29 December 2012. A graduate of Georgia Tech, he worked as an engineer for Grumman Aerospace in Bethpage, N.Y., for 35 years, and enjoyed spending summers in Hampton Bays. He and his wife Fran had two children.

In 1969, Fred joined the Neptune Power Squadron. He later became a member of the Peconic Bay Power Squadron, where he served as squadron education officer. His love for boats and for helping everyone learn about safety on the water was evident in the advanced classes he taught in piloting, navigation, marine electronics and cruise planning. Students particularly enjoyed his teaching aids, which included animated power point slides Fred created. He could explain complex concepts so anyone could understand them. For his expertise and dedication, Fred won the 2008 Charles F. Chapman Award for Excellence in Teaching. He was a life member and earned 32 merit marks.

P/C Hal A. Hartvigsen, P


Hal Hartvigsen

Hal A. Hartvigsen passed away 1 January 2013. He was born 29 September 1926, and served in the armed forces during World War II in the Manhattan District Project. A journalism graduate of the University of Iowa, Hal had a long career in public relations and ultimately ran his own consulting firm, Hal Hart Communications. He and his wife Nan had two sons. Hal authored several books under the pseudonym Hal Hart. His memoir, The Road to Madison Avenue, was published in 2012.

In 1975, Hal joined the Darien Sail & Power Squadron, where he served as commander. He was a district public relations officer and a USPS Life Member. While Hal lived in Florida, he was a member of the Gulf Breeze Sail & Power Squadron. He will be missed by many friends.