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Expert Advice

  • How To Dress Ship

    For national holidays, at regattas, and on other special occasions, yachts often dress ship with International Code of Signal Flags. The ship is dressed at 0800, and remains so dressed until evening colors (while at anchor only, except for a vessel's maiden and final voyages, and participation in a marine parade or other unique situation)For national holidays, at regattas, and on other special occasions, yachts often dress ship with International Code of Signal Flags. The ship is dressed at 0800, and remains so dressed until evening colors (while at anchor only, except for a vessel's maiden and final voyages, and participation in a marine parade or other unique situation) In dressing ship, the national ensign is hoisted at the stern staff (and the Union Jack...
  • Boating is Affordable

    Boating is affordable and there’s a boat for every age, lifestyle and budget. Most people don’t realize how affordable boating is: in some instances, you can buy a brand new boat financed for around $250.00 a month, like a car. Boats provide tax deductible and cost effective second homes. Interest on a boat loan can be deducted if the boat has a galley, berth and head. • Visit a boat show to see what boating products are available and line up the best deals. Fuel: The typical boater only operates his or her vessel about 75 hours a season. Nearly 95 percent of boats on the water today are under 26’ in length. These crafts do not require exorbitant amounts of gas, so any impact...
  • EPIRBS, PLBS and AIS: Behind The Acronyms

    One of the greatest advances in marine safety is the ability to quickly summon help in an emergency anywhere in the world. Emergency beacons give us this piece of mind, but the different varieties on the market can land the layperson in a morass of complicated acronyms. Here we are going to try and make sense of EPIRBs, PLBs, and Personal AIS beacons. These are the devices that mariners will typically see available. EPIRB The EPIRB (Emergency Position-Indicating Radio Beacon) is a communications device which is used to alert rescue services that a vessel is in distress. As the name indicates these devices use the 406MHz radio frequency to alert the the Search and Rescue Satellite aided Tracking also known as the COSPAS-SARSAT Syetem system. This network...
  • “Delivered” by Captain BullDog

    Finally we were able to depart on time. We only had now 10.5 hours of daylight....we picked up a full 60 more minutes by heading south. The owner was opposed to leaving at daybreak. With the Right Whale speed restriction West of the 80th meridian we had to leave port at first light. The owner also insisted on showing me how good he was in pulling into a slip. Each time "wham, Bam"....way too fast. We braced for impact every time. We had pulled into Port Canaveral at Sunshine Marina. Nice restaurant nearby. The next day we made it to Bahia Mar, Fort Lauderdale or should I say - we crash landed again. Leaving Port Canaveral, the owner forced the hydraulic steering piston beyond the...
  • “The Sixth Day of the Delivery to Fort Lauderdale” by Captain BullDog

    We took Calvin under our protected wing after leaving Charleston SC at daybreak. The strong projected winds turned into a full Winter Gale. He was getting beat up. We were getting roughed up in a big behemoth 70' 120,000 lb boat. I called to him to turn back and wait for another day. Calvin is an ex-Alaskan Crabber and an ex-marine with 2 hours of duty in Iraq. "MARINES DON'T TURN BACK, C'MON Captain BullDog. I told him then to snuggle up close to our transom and we would slow down to accommodate him in our wake. Conditions continued to deteriorate. While riding off a big wave, the Big Hatt caught Big Air and caught a 45 knot gust and rolled close to 30 degrees...
  • “Pecking Order Re-established by Third Day” by Captain BullDog

    Every new delivery has its burning-in process. Crews and owners, if Captain BullDog does commit to them (I am not big on this-I want my ‘no excuses’ crew) always take time to adjust. Crews and owners are anxious to show the Bulldog "how we do it”) and this, of course is a mistake. On Captain Bulldog’s company, there is room for only two ways of doing boat chores, "My way and again!” My job is to make the boat safe for the trip, make the scheduled progress benchmarks promised in the Float Plan, weather and sea conditions notwithstanding, and to keep everyone happy as much as possible. If the owners on board think "who is this little upstart telling me what to do on my...
  • Radio Check: Using Your VHF Correctly

    Written by Lt. Cmdr. Connie Braesch. Knowing how to reach the Coast Guard in an emergency is an important step in getting help quickly. Dialing 9-1-1 may be the best for an emergency on land, but not on the water. Boaters should use marine two-way radios, not cell phones. These broadcast radios allow everyone to listen; whereas a phone call only goes to the number dialed. Okay, so you have your two-way marine radio. But, how do you know which frequency to use? Choosing the right radio channel or frequency can be confusing. What is VHF and when do you use it? Very High Frequency, or VHF, is for emergency and routine line of sight for communications over short distances. Channel 16, is the voice...
  • Captain Henry's Safety Article June 2012

    By: Captain Henry Marx Anytime we are in restricted visibility - which includes at night - we should fly a Radar Reflector. Given the relative low cost of Radar today and the prevalence of boats equipped with Radar - it would be awfully stupid to be hit and sunk because the other boat "did not see you"! On that note, for those of you equipped with Radar - How well do you understand your Radar receiver and how well do you understand what it displays. Many sailors believe that Radar gives them a "Color TV Picture" of the water ahead, which is certainly not the case. Remember, you will be judged more severely after an accident if you have Radar on the vessel, but did...

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