Last fall, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), the source for official US government nautical charts, abruptly announced it would no longer distribute lithographic nautical charts as of April 2014. The printer of NOAA charts, the US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), made the decision to stop printing charts after the US budget shutdown last September. Is this the beginning of the end of paper charts as we know them? Will printed charts from the Canadian Hydrographic Service (CHS) be next?
In researching this article, we spoke to a number of marine industry professionals and started by asking, “Have you ever noticed boats on the water at night with incorrect or missing lights?
“Or none at all!” was the frequent response we got as people laughed out loud about how common it is for navigation lights to be faulty.
That’s the question I asked fellow-boaters over the past year. About half reported some real doozies, while the rest reported minor mishaps such as running out of gas in their dinghy or losing their winch handle overboard. Accidents happen to the best of us. The key to happy boating is to learn from our mistakes and the mistakes of others so we don’t repeat them.
Effective communication is the key to smooth, stress-free docking. I am an extraordinarily lucky guy. My wife Corinne is the skipper of our American Tug 41, Ocean Mistress, and she loves and excels at her job! I am completely delighted when we bring the boat into a difficult docking situation and make the perfect no-fuss, no-stress landing. I’m even more tickled when folks on the dock see Corinne come out of the pilothouse and are surprised to learn that she just docked that big boat. She has received everything from whispered compliments to standing ovations.
Whether you’re a novice or an experienced boater, nothing helps build competence and confidence like boating courses and instruction. There’s nothing like being out on the water, spending time with family and friends, letting the wind fill our sails and whisk us away to new adventures. Or if power is your preference, casting off and throttling up catch a few waves or discover a new destination.
Summer may be fleeting but the rewards of autumn cruising include a slower pace, quieter destinations, surprisingly good weather, and maybe even a few thrills. The full moon rose big and bright, its track shimmering across the water into our anchorage near the head of Salt Spring Island’s Long Harbour. Golden lights winked on one by one in the cottages around the bay, reminding me that I wasn’t completely alone. After a precious sunny, almost-warm late-autumn day, it was one of the most beautiful evenings I’ve ever spent on the hook. It was also one of the coldest, for we had yet to install a heater in our 27’ sailboat Squid.
I've been a pilot for 37 years and spent 28 years flying passenger aircraft for the airlines – you can bet that the weather was always one of my foremost concerns. I've retired from the airlines, but my interest in the weather, in forecasting weather and in all of the available resources to help me plan a safe journey, are just as important as ever. It’s still a matter of my personal safety, the safety of my loved ones and my friends, except now, I’m at the helm of my own boat.
Discipline is paramount in implementing a total starting strategy for each and every boat race. Without a sound understanding of the procedure by every team member on a boat, and allowing time to gather information before the start of every race, your chances of making well calculated decisions are substantially reduced. Many different sailors and teams have their own ideas and plans for the start of the race. The guide outlined here is a system that works well for me and you may find that modifying this works better for you – but the only way to establish this is to start practicing and sticking to a plan from the outset.
A number of weeks ago I received an e-mail from a Canadian who owned and operated a recreational boat in the U.S. The boat, for the most part, stayed in U.S. waters and was licensed in a U.S. State. The owner wanted to know where he could fly a Canadian flag to indicate his citizenship.
The simple answer was that he could not, if he was operating in U.S. waters. The National flag indicates the Country of registry, or where the boat is licensed, in this case the U.S. A courtesy flag indicates where the vessel is being operated, for the most part, also the U.S. These flags do not indicate the citizenship of the owner/operator.
Every trip, whether it is a day trip, series of day trips, single or multiple overnight trips, will consist of three primary areas of activity: Pre-departure planning, the trip itself and post trip follow up. Let’s start with the planning.
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Georgian Bay: Just the words evoke ethereal images, stirring something special in the hearts and minds of all boaters whether you explore silently by kayak, traverse under taut sails or power through her more than 30,000 Islands.
This vast body of water is technically part of Lake Huron, but is often referred to as the sixth Great Lake for its sheer size and diversity of destinations. It’s a lake of legends, lost ships, forgotten coves, iconic windswept pines, artistic inspiration, rich history and endless islands each packing plenty of personality all their own.
Where to start? Good question. Boaters could spend a lifetime travelling the bay and never know all of its nooks and crannies; never stay in the same spot twice and still not see it all...
As a semi-recent transplant to the Pacific Northwest from New England’s historic waters, I was thrilled to learn that the boating season in Seattle is much longer than it is in the East, provided, of course, that your boat is up to the task. While our summer months here at 48 degrees north are characterized by massive high-pressure systems that park-up over the Olympic Peninsula and Vancouver Island, delivering bluebird days that are void of any real breeze, our fall, winter and spring months offer plenty of pressure, usually combined with some lively seas, especially when the wind angle disagrees with the tide. This combination of distinctive seasonal weather, paired with the Pacific Northwest’s (in)famous rain and grey, rewards cruising boats that offer some on-deck protection from the elements, as well as a comfortable saloon and galley for après sailing, once the sails have been furled and the cabin heater has been switched on...
As I approached the Hanse 575 at Port Sidney Marina in Sidney, Victoria, B.C., I noticed three things...