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BoatUS Report

BoatuslogoWhy Boats Sink: 10 Prevention Tips from BoatUS

Your boat has gone down. It’s something none of us wants to ever think of. But it happens. My industry buddy Scott Croft sent this one over in hopes that it just might prevent such a loss from happening. Taking some precautionary steps will go a long way to avoiding such grief. Be safe everyone. -Capt. Ken

When a boat sinks, that’s likely the end of her. That’s because repairs on a sunken boat often cost more than the actual value of the boat. So if boaters want to prevent a sinking at all costs, what can they do? Boat Owners Association of The United States (BoatUS) recently took its first significant look since 2006 at its boat insurance claims files to identify the causes of boat sinkings and found that most were preventable. About two out of every three (69%) boats sink at the dock or mooring, while the remainder (31%) sink while underway.

Of all of the dock/mooring sinkings, 39% occur when some small part gives up the fight with water due to wear, tear and corrosion. When it comes to gradual leaks due to slowly failing parts, too many boats existed in a “zombie state” somewhere between floating and sinking, dependent upon the bilge pump, which merely postponed the sinking until the pump failed or was overwhelmed. This one is a no-brainer: lack of maintenance is the factor here.

For boat sinkings while underway, the most common cause (43%) is hitting something – a log, the bottom or colliding with another boat or dock. Some of these sinkings might have been avoided if some extra care had been taken – and some can be chalked up to simply bad luck.

Interestingly, low-cut transoms that were common on boats in the 1990’s and a cause of sinkings is no longer much of a factor, as contained splash wells separating the interior of the boat from the transom are more common in boat designs today. However, being swamped while tied stern-to waves remains a cause.

Most boats sink at the dock, like this center console that went under due to a failed hose clamp. (Editor’s note: an infographic showing why boats sink is available at: http://www.prweb.com/releases/2014/06/prweb11981774.htm.)

Most boats sink at the dock, like this center console that went under due to a failed hose clamp. (Editor’s note: an infographic showing why boats sink is available at: http://www.prweb.com/releases/2014/06/prweb11981774.htm.)

To prevent a sinking, here are ten tips from the boat owner’s group:

1: For inboard-outboard powered boats, inspect sterndrive bellows annually and replace every three to five years. The shift bellows is usually the first to fail.
2: For inboard powered boats, check the stuffing box every time you visit the boat, and repack – rather than simply tighten down the nut – every spring.
3: For engines with raw water hoses, replace them the moment they indicate wear – such as when small cracks appear or they feel “spongy” when squeezed. Rusty hose clamps are also a concern and should be replaced.
4: Replace the engine cooling system impeller every two to three years.
5: Inspect the boat’s cockpit and live well plumbing – again look at hoses, clamps, and cracked or broken fittings. Make sure you can inspect all such plumbing, and if you can’t, install inspection ports to make the task easier.
6: Each season take are hard look at all below-waterline fittings, hoses, and clamps.
7: Don’t forget the drain plug – you knew this one would be on the list.
8: Keep a good lookout and ask guests to help keep their eyes peeled for deadheads. If you’ve grounded or hit something, consider a short-haul to inspect the bottom or drive gear.
9: Always pull trailerable boats from the water when storms are forecast. These boats generally have too little freeboard to stand up to any kind of wave action.
10: Dock line management systems that keep the boat centered in its slip can prevent snags that sometimes lead to a sinking.

About BoatUS: Boat Owners Association of The United States (BoatUS) is the nation’s leading advocate for recreational boaters providing its over half-million members with government representation, services such as 24-hour dispatch, on water boat towing as well as roadside assistance for boat trailers and tow vehicles, feature-packed boat insurance programs, money-saving benefits including marina and service discounts, and vital information that improves recreational boating. Its member-funded BoatUS Foundation is a national leader promoting safe, clean and responsible boating and offers a range of boating safety courses – including 33 free state courses – that can be found at BoatUS.org/courses.

 
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Posted by on September 8, 2014 in BoatUS Report

 

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Photo Op

vintage camera

Mio caro Capitano Ken: Tu e la tua bella famiglia ho incontrato qualche tempo fa nella città di Deia a Palma de Mallorca. Abbiamo avuto una meravigliosa cena lì e siamo rimasti più gentile con qualche consiglio per me e mio marito con un piccolo problema sulla nostra barca. Eravamo da poco cercando su Internet e scoperto il vostro sito e le belle foto, molti dei vostri lettori eravamo condividere con voi. La prego di accettare questo come un ricordo del nostro tempo e nella speranza che un giorno possiamo ancora una volta condividere una cena, un po ‘di vino, e buone storie sui nostri viaggi. Cordiali saluti a voi e la vostra famiglia. -A. Vincenti, San Remo, Italia

(My dear Capt. Ken: I met you and your lovely family some time ago in the town of Deia on Palma de Mallorca. We had a wonderful dinner there and you were most kind with some advice to my husband and myself with a small problem on our boat. We were recently looking on the Internet and discovered your site and the beautiful photos many of your readers were sharing with you. Please accept this one as a memory of our time there and in hopes that one day we may once again share a dinner, some wine, and good stories about our travels. Best regards to you and your family. -A. Vincenti, San Remo, Italy)

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Posted by on August 2, 2014 in Photo Op

 

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Green Dock

        earthFace Off With The Enemy: Lionfish

 

U.S. Congressman Steve Southerland considers congressional hearing on invasive lionfish

I have met a lot of people during my tenure at the mastheads of the magazine end of the boating industry and many of them have quite passionate feelings about an overall concern for the environment we have decided to dedicate our lives to. Pete Johnson is an articulate, well-spoken gentleman and has taken up the cause of invasive species and the particular problems associated with them. To help get the message out, Pete sent me this latest release. Take a read and decide for yourself. -Capt. Ken

During a recent trip to Key West, Fla., U.S. Congressman Steve Southerland, (R), who serves on the House Natural Resources Committee and its Fisheries Subcommittee, got an up-close, personal look at an invasive lionfish.  Two rapidly reproducing and voracious non-native lionfish species, imported from the Indo-Pacific region, are wreaking havoc on fisheries and marine ecosystems in the Gulf of Mexico, Western Atlantic and the Caribbean Sea.

Southerland, who was attending a Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council meeting, spent extra time to learn more about the lionfish invasion which is also growing more populous on the reefs near his hometown of Panama City, Fla.  The congressman serves Florida’s second district which includes over half of the Florida Panhandle’s coastal waters.

The  culprit. Beautiful and deadly at the same time. Photo by Dr. James Morris.

The culprit. Beautiful and deadly at the same time. Photo by Dr. James Morris, NOAA.

“We discussed the significance of this invasion and impacts on indigenous species,” said Kelly.  “While the typical fisherman may not know much about them, since lionfish are rarely caught on conventional fishing tackle, thousands of recreational divers, descending to 100 ft. depths, have observed growing numbers of them on popular Florida reefs, submerged wrecks and other underwater sites.  However, these population densities pale in comparison to lionfish aggregations found deeper (120-300’ or more) beyond safe recreational diving depths.”

“Anglers and the general public should be very concerned,” Kelly said. “For example juvenile groupers and snappers are among some 100 documented fish which lionfish prey on and despite its now 1-1/2 pound average size, the lionfish can live for about 15 years and most likely double in size again.”  Marine researchers at the Lionfish Summit reported a single lionfish necropsy verified consumption of 20 tropical fish in only 30 minutes time.  In highly infested areas native fish populations have been reduced by as much as 80% in five weeks.

“Crustaceans like crab, shrimp and even juvenile spiny lobster are also popular food sources found in the stomach contents,” Kelly added, “as are herbivores, the very important small colorful fish that help keep coral reefs free of algae. Divers in many communities have helped keep lionfish populations in check through organized lionfish derbies and contests by spearing and hand-netting them.”

“In the five-year history since 2009 when lionfish were first spotted in the Keys, commercial lobster trappers have been finding increasing numbers as by-catch in their spiny lobster traps.  The numbers and sizes of lionfish have skyrocketed from 49 lbs at a 1/3 lb average caught the first year, to more than 10,000 pounds in 2013 averaging more than a pound apiece, as reported by just one commercial fisherman during an eight month fishing season.”

U.S. Congressman Steve Southerland (left), of Panama City, Fla., and Capt. Bill Kelly, Exec. Dir. of the Florida Keys Commercial Fisherman’s Association, view a lionfish on display in an aquarium at the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary’s Eco-Discovery Center in Key West, Fla. Two rapidly reproducing and voracious non-native lionfish species, imported from the Indo-Pacific region, are wreaking havoc on fisheries and marine ecosystems in the Gulf of Mexico, Western Atlantic and the Caribbean Sea. (Photo courtesy of Melissa Thompson)

U.S. Congressman Steve Southerland (left), of Panama City, Fla., and Capt. Bill Kelly, Exec. Dir. of the Florida Keys Commercial Fisherman’s Association, view a lionfish on display in an aquarium at the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary’s Eco-Discovery Center in Key West, Fla. Two rapidly reproducing and voracious non-native lionfish species, imported from the Indo-Pacific region, are wreaking havoc on fisheries and marine ecosystems in the Gulf of Mexico, Western Atlantic and the Caribbean Sea. (Photo courtesy of Melissa Thompson)

“And as we explained to Congressman Southerland, our commercial lobster trappers have seen denser populations of lionfish in deeper waters from 100 to 300 feet,” said Kelly.  “By developing the right trapping methods, lionfish could become a very valuable and nutritious consumer commodity while protecting our ecosystems.”

History of the Lionfish Invasion

The first sighting of lionfish in U.S. waters was reported in 1985 in the Atlantic waters off Dania Beach near Ft. Lauderdale, Fla.  It was believed to have been released by a tropical fish enthusiast who may have grown tired of caring for the exotic import, which may have been eating other expensive and colorful fish in his tank.

Indigenous to the tropical waters of the South Pacific, lionfish populations are held in check in their native habitat by natural predation. However, invasive lionfish have no natural predators and have spread rapidly in the past 29 years in sub-tropical and temperate waters of the northern hemisphere.  Just one female is capable of producing as many as 30,000 eggs every four days or more than two million eggs a year.

With a thermal tolerance of about 50 degrees, some 35 degrees less than their native habitat, lionfish have been found in Atlantic waters as far north as Rhode Island. In the U.S. the heaviest concentrations have been from Carolina waters south to the Florida Keys. They have also spread throughout the waters of the Gulf of Mexico, the Bahamas, the Caribbean Islands and eastern Central and northern South America.

The ornate red and white stripped lionfish possesses 18 venomous spines on its dorsal fin and its pelvic and anal fins, which are used for defense. Its venom, a protein-based neurotoxin, can cause severe pain and swelling. Spearfishermen and commercial fishermen use safety techniques such as long spears, hand nets and puncture proof gloves to carefully avoid the spines. Though the spines, which are removed during the cleaning process, are venomous, it has no effect on the lionfish meat which is considered a delicacy and cooked in a variety of recipes.

Next Steps

Kelly said he and Southerland discussed several core issues. “Besides talking about how quickly this invasion occurred, the damages to the ecosystem and how widespread it has become, our hour-long conversation included containment methods such as divers using spears and nets near shore, and major emphasis on a well-monitored commercial trapping program offshore. Once that begins we’ll tie-in consumer awareness and educational program, leading to bigger demand for these fish in more restaurants, seafood houses and grocery store fish counters.” Southerland, Kelly said, was very concerned and indicated he would call for a subcommittee hearing before the House Natural Resources Committee.

“The alarm was sounded over 20 years ago by NOAA biologist and ecologist Dr. James Morris.  Now, in a relatively short period of time, we may very well be facing one of the most threatening marine invasions of our lifetime.  Until such time as native species of fish acquire an appetite for lionfish, if they ever do, our most promising method of containment will be a well-designed and closely monitored commercial trapping venture.  Time is of the essence,” said Kelly.

           GREEN DOCK is dedicated to supplying a forum to discuss important issues, products, and trends that can better help all of us protect the environment. Your thoughts, ideas, opinions, and desire to make a change is most welcome. Please contact us by using the COMMENT tab at the lower right hand corner of this page.

 For more information, contact Pete Johnson, Johnson Communications, Inc. E-mail: JohnsonCom@aol.com, ph: 480-951-3654

 

 
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Posted by on July 31, 2014 in Green Dock

 

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Photo Op

vintage cameraA stroll along the beach resulted in this picture. I found it interesting to note all the textures, patterns, and materials present: the weathered and whorled wood; the rusting iron; the rocks; the sand, all being impacted on by nature and all showing different results. Your blog is most attractive for those of us who are into the boating lifestyle and I would assume, many who just happen to find the site. I am sure all these pictures reach across the interest level as well. Your featured image here–the vintage camera–is also quite creative. Thanks for your years of outstanding writing with the magazines and now, for this most informative site.
-A. Bartley, Seattle, WA

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Posted by on July 25, 2014 in Photo Op

 

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Boat US Report

BoatuslogoIs it Drowning, or Electric Shock Drowning?

What You Need to Know to Help Save a Life

No matter how you participate in the boating lifestyle, whenever you begin a new day on the water there is always the chance of something going wrong. My industry friend, Boat US’s Scott Croft, who has sent along relevant and interesting postings in the past, has forwarded this one to me in order that I might share it with you. It is a timely read and one that all of us should pay attention to. Be safe. -Capt. Ken

While standing at the end of your boat dock, you see a person struggling in the water. Do you recognize that the person is drowning, or is something else going on? And what should you do? Doing the right thing could help save someone else’s life, and might keep you from losing yours.

Electric Shock Drowning (ESD) occurs when faulty dock or boat wiring causes electricity (alternating current or “AC” power) to enter fresh water and pass through a swimmer. The swimmer does not need to be touching the bottom, a boat or dock structure, and even minute amounts of electricity can be incapacitating. As more light is shed on this danger, it is likely that some ESD fatalities have been misidentified as drowning, preventing awareness of this summertime boating danger. The risk of ESD is greatest in fresh or brackish waters, so some areas such as estuaries or rivers may only be in the danger zone after heavy rains. In saltwater, electric current takes the path of least resistance, bypassing swimmers.

Unlike a drowning swimmer, who typically can’t yell out for help because their mouth is mostly underwater, an ESD victim is often confused about what is happening to them, may be able to shout, and will feel numbness, tingling, pain and paralysis. A drowning victim often looks “playful”, moving their arms in a ladder climbing fashion, while an Electric Shock Drowning victim looks “distressed” and may simply roll on their back – if wearing a life jacket – or roll face down into the water, totally unresponsive.

A typical drowning can take as up to a minute for an adult or just 20 seconds for a child, with the victim’s arms moving in a climbing-a-ladder type motion, taking quick gulps of air, with the mouth below the water much of the time. ESD victims can be instantly paralyzed and not move at all.

Innocent enough? But is there electricity in the water? Boaters and parents need to know about Electric Shock Drowning, and what to do to save a life. Photo Credit: Brian Fitzgerald

Innocent enough? But is there electricity in the water? Boaters and parents need to know about Electric Shock Drowning, and what to do to save a life. Photo Credit: Brian Fitzgerald

So what do you need to do for both cases? Don’t jump in the water – call 911, and follow the “Reach, throw, row, but don’t go” mantra. Only a professional lifeguard has the training to handle a drowning victim. Far too often, news reports show well-intentioned rescuers increase the fatality count. If the problem is ESD – which may not be abundantly clear – going in the water could kill you.

Whether the person is drowning or suffering from ESD, use an oar, boat hook or throw a floatation device, or get into a boat and try to reach the person from there. Do everything you can – tossing a line, throwing life jackets, grabbing a nearby dinghy – but don’t go into the water yourself. Once you have retrieved the person, start CPR if there is no pulse. Automated Electrical Defibrillators are also becoming more common – just make sure the victim’s chest is dry.

For more information, parents, dock owners, boaters, and marina and boat club operators can go to the Boat Owners Association of The United States’ Electric Shock Drowning Resource Center at www.BoatUS.com/seaworthy/ESD.

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About BoatUS:

Boat Owners Association of The United States (BoatUS) is the nation’s leading advocate for recreational boaters providing its over half-million members with government representation, services such as 24-hour dispatch, on water boat towing as well as roadside assistance for boat trailers and tow vehicles, feature-packed boat insurance programs, money-saving benefits including marina and service discounts, and vital information that improves recreational boating. Its member-funded BoatUS Foundation is a national leader promoting safe, clean and responsible boating and offers a range of boating safety courses – including 33 free state courses – that can be found at BoatUS.org/courses.

 
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Posted by on July 24, 2014 in BoatUS Report

 

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Equipment

boat63 AMP PRODUCTS DELIVER POWER IN INTERNATIONAL WATERS

For those of us who call stateside home, traveling to foreign ports can often present a minefield of problems one just has to navigate through. Besides the usual waiting time for customs clearance, and the sometimes grueling and seemingly never ending inspection process, visiting boaters trying to plug their boats into dockside power can leave one no other choice but to run the on board generator to keep things going.

Now U.S. boats destined for international waters can rely on safe ship-to-shore power options from Hubbell and its 63 amp, 230 volt products. This is the only CE-certified electrical shore power system dedicated to overseas use.

hub21816-x7hWhile featuring traditional marine styling, Hubbell’s 63 amp products are intended for use with 50 cycle systems only, and not interchangeable with US systems. Like other Hubbell international shore power offerings, this configuration utilizes standard NEMA designs not normally found in the marine market.

Constructed of 316 stainless steel, the 63 amp products resemble ordinary shore power fixtures. Built to Hubbell’s high quality standards, they offer a watertight seal. A nickel-plated rear enclosure and contact blades ensure corrosion resistance. The unique thermoset interior resists arcing and heat build-up 400% more than typical interiors. Pressure-screw terminals deliver secure terminations.

Hubbell also offers 100, 125 and 200 amp pin and sleeve shore power systems, including back boxes and feed-through boxes for inlets and receptacles.

Contact Hubbell Marine Electrical Products, 40 Waterview Dr., Shelton, CT 06484.
475-882-4838; Fax: 203-783-9195. www.hubbell-marine.com

 

 
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Posted by on July 23, 2014 in Equipment

 

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Photo Op

vintage cameraMy friends and I have been following your postings and are really enjoying all the personal photographs that are being sent in. I thought you might find this one interesting: We are regulars in the waters off of Carbon Beach in Malibu and with the wind and surf down a bit, decided to take a break. I snapped off this shot and hope you and everybody else checking in, likes it. -J. ‘Gus’ Medwick, Carbon Beach, Malibu, CA

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Posted by on July 19, 2014 in Photo Op

 

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