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BoatUS Report

BoatuslogoBoatUS: NOAA National Charting Plan Looks to the Future

“We don’t expect paper charts to go away anytime soon.”

Many in the boating community have recently expressed concern after learning of a proposed plan for the “sunsetting” of paper navigational charts, which was listed among the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) National Charting Plan, released earlier this spring.

A closer reading of the strategy however, according to the BoatUS Foundation for Boating Safety and Clean Water, reveals a forward-looking approach that sets a course to enable the Office of Coast Survey’s Marine Chart Division to continue to meet the evolving needs of boaters into the future. The member-funded nonprofit Foundation serves as the safety arm for the more than half-million member Boat Owners Association of The United States (BoatUS).

“The way we access data today is different than how we accessed it 10 years ago, and we believe there’s a good chance it will be different 10 years from now,” said BoatUS Foundation Vice President Susan Shingledecker, who serves as the boaters voice on the 15-member NOAA Hydrographic Services Review Panel, which advises the federal agency on the nation’s navigational charting needs. “The National Charting Plan shows that NOAA is looking to evolve its products and use its resources efficiently to meet the changing needs of its users. Having nautical charts available in a range of formats is key to boating safety, and we don’t expect paper charts to go away anytime soon.”

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Navigational charts are critical to boating safety, and have evolved to meet to the changing needs of boaters and the use of technology.

To ensure concerns were recognized, comments filed today with NOAA by BoatUS Government Affairs said, “BoatUS feels strongly that NOAA’s charting products need to continue to be available in a wide range of formats. …We see some form of paper charts as an essential need for the foreseeable future.”

BoatUS also notes in its comments that charts are likely moving to the metric system and will require boater education. The BoatUS Foundation expects to increase its educational outreach as that occurs.

Among the proposed boater-friendly changes in the National Charting Plan, according to Shingledecker, are more frequent chart updates – weekly, instead of long intervals, and the better integration of data with other agencies such as the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the U.S. Coast Guard, which could mean integrating the latest channel depths and aid to navigation positions. The plan also allows NOAA to focus attention on underserved waterways, such as resolving chart discrepancies in areas of importance to recreational boaters.

“We see a more efficient chart production that allows more frequent updates of obstructions, discrepancy resolution and exploration of using crowd-sourced data,” said Shingledecker. “Boaters on the Intracoastal Waterway, for example, need to know what the channel depth is today – not what it was last year. The plan is simply a starting point to get us there.”

NOAA also responded to boaters’ concerns in a blog post today, ensuring boaters that, “The draft plan does not offer a timeline for ending the production for NOAA paper charts or (Raster Navigational Chart) data. We expect this process may take decades to complete, as user communities continue to adopt electronic navigation and our production system and products continue to improve.”

Suggested Tweet and Facebook post: BoatUS Foundation: NOAA Navigational Charting Plan looks to the future  https://goo.gl/2aPjYA  #BoatUSfdn

About the BoatUS Foundation for Boating Safety and Clean Water: The BoatUS Foundation for Boating Safety and Clean Water is a national leader promoting safe, clean and responsible boating. Funded primarily by donations from the more than half-million members of Boat Owners Association of The United States (BoatUS), the nonprofit provides innovative educational outreach directly to boaters and anglers with the aim of reducing accidents and fatalities, increasing stewardship of America’s waterways and keeping boating safe for all. A range of boating safety courses – including 34 free state courses – can be found at BoatUS.org/courses.

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Posted by on June 9, 2017 in BoatUS Report

 

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BoatUS Report

BoatuslogoBoatUS Fire Facts: Claim Files Show Six Ways Boat Fires Happen

Anything we can do to raise the awareness of fire prevention aboard your boat can help to avoid something terrible from happening. Here is some excellent advice from our friends at BoatUS. Be safe. – Capt. Ken

Fire ranks number five among all boat losses according to the BoatUS Marine Insurance Program claims files. Dig a little a deeper, and those claims files also tell you the six specific areas that lead to most reported boat fires. If every boater paid attention to these six things, over a third of all fires aboard boats would be prevented. So what are the top six ways boat fires happen, and some lessons to take home?

26% of fires are due to “Off-the-boat” sources: Over a quarter of the time, a BoatUS member’s boat burns when something else goes up in flames – the boat next to theirs, the marina, their garage, or even a neighbor’s house. It’s every boater’s responsibility to prevent fires, but when all else fails, having a good boat insurance policy is the last backstop.

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This shore power pedestal inlet and cable aren’t that far away from sparking a major boat fire.

20% of fires are due to “Engine Electrical”: For boats older than 25 years, old wiring harnesses take a disproportionate chunk of the blame here. A good electrical technician can put one together for you as most boats of this age had relatively simple electrical systems.

15% of fires are due to “Other DC Electrical”: The most common cause of battery-related fires is faulty installation of batteries – reversing the positive and negative cables or misconnecting them in series (when they should be in parallel). So take a picture. Label the cables. Use red fingernail polish to mark the positive lug. By gosh do everything to hook it up right the first time.

12% of fires are due to “AC Electrical”: Most AC electrical fires start between the shore power pedestal and the boat’s shorepower inlet. Inspecting the shore power cord routinely (connector ends especially) and for boats older than 10 years, inspecting or replacing the boat’s shorepower inlet, could prove wise.

9% of fires are due to “Other Engine”: This one is all about when an engine overheats due to blocked raw water intake or mangled impeller, the latter of which can also happen after experiencing a grounding or running in mucky waters. Be sure to check the engine compartment after getting underway and replace impeller every other year.

8% of fires are due to “Batteries”: This fire fact is for the outboard folks to pay attention to. On older outboards, by far the most common cause of fires is the voltage regulator. At 10 years of age, failure rates on these important electrical components begin to climb. Once it hits 15 years old, it’s time to replace.

Does your boat insurance cover boat fires? Get a free boat insurance check up and quote by calling the BoatUS Marine Insurance Program experts at 800-283-2883. Or get an online quote at BoatUS.com/insurance.

About Boat Owners Association of The United States (BoatUS): Celebrating 50 years in 2016, BoatUS is the nation’s largest organization of recreational boaters with over a half million members. We are the boat owners’ voice on Capitol Hill and fight for their rights. We help ensure a roadside breakdown doesn’t end a boating or fishing trip before it begins, and on the water, we bring boaters safely back to the launch ramp or dock when their boat won’t, day or night. The BoatUS Insurance Program gives boat owners the specialized coverage and superior service they need, and we help keep boaters safe and our waters clean with assistance from the non-profit BoatUS Foundation for Boating Safety and Clean Water. Visit BoatUS.com.

 
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Posted by on March 14, 2016 in BoatUS Report

 

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BoatUS Report

BoatuslogoNo-Cost “Boater’s Guide To Winterizing” Offered by BoatUS

Easy to follow steps can help you safeguard your boat.

For those of us who spend our boating season in northerly climes where temperatures and precipitation can often bring with it damaging conditions that can and will make life that much more unbearable, my industry friend Scott Croft has sent over this informational release in order to head off any problems with the soon-to-come cold weather. The price is right and the advice is important. -Capt. Ken

Unlike this vessel, boats that are properly winterized are most likely to enter next year’s boating season without damage and ready to hit water (Photo Credit: Jack Hornor).

Unlike this vessel, boats that are properly winterized are most likely to enter next year’s boating season without damage and ready to hit water (Photo Credit: Jack Hornor).

Water expands in volume by about nine percent when it freezes, creating a staggering force that can crack a boat engine block, damage fiberglass, split hoses, or destroy a boat’s refrigeration system overnight. As cold weather approaches, Boat Owners Association of The United States (BoatUS) dug into its claims data and found that more than three-quarters of winter-related claims involved cracks in the engine block or the exhaust manifolds. Now, the national boating services, safety and advocacy group has available at no-cost a 15-page “Boater’s Guide to Winterizing” that can ensure boaters don’t miss a step for any type of boat.

“Boaters up North know they need to winterize, so their freeze claims almost always involve poor winterizing,” said BoatUS Director of Technical Services Beth Leonard. “In the temperate South, the issue can be a case of no winterizing, or relying on a heater when the electricity goes off, usually when you need it most.”

Proto Credit: BoatUS, Al Posnack

Proto Credit: BoatUS, Al Posnack

The downloadable brochure addresses the reasons for more than 95 percent of the freeze claims handled by the BoatUS Marine Insurance Program in the past decade. Included are chapters on: Storing your boat – The options and the tradeoffs; a Winterizing Checklist to use as the starting point for creating your own boat’s winterizing list; Engines and Drives – The dos and don’ts; and Plumbing – Getting the water out, which is great for larger boats.

Additional information includes tips on choosing antifreeze, lessons learned from BoatUS Consumer Affairs about protecting yourself with a winterization contract, and green winterizing information.

The checklist is available at www.BoatUS.com/winterizingguide.

About Boat Owners Association of The United States (BoatUS): BoatUS is the nation’s largest organization of recreational boaters with over a half million members. We are the boat owners’ voice on Capitol Hill and fight for their rights. We help ensure a roadside breakdown doesn’t end a boating or fishing trip before it begins, and on the water, we bring boaters safely back to the launch ramp or dock when their boat won’t, day or night. The BoatUS Insurance Program gives boat owners the specialized coverage and superior service they need, and we help keep boaters safe and our waters clean with assistance from the non-profit BoatUS Foundation for Boating Safety and Clean Water. Visit BoatUS.com.

 
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Posted by on September 16, 2015 in BoatUS Report

 

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BoatUS Report

BoatuslogoBoaters Find Newest Portable Outboard Fuel Tanks Are Not All They’re Cracked Up to Be: Installing A Fuel-Demand Valve Is A Wise Move

Here is the latest BoatUS Report from my industry friend Scott Croft. It is safety oriented and will help to give you a bit more peace of mind while out on the water with family and friends. Enjoy your boating and be safe. -Capt. Ken

Owners with outboard powered boats have lived with portable fuel tanks for years, but recent well-intentioned efforts to stop smog-causing gas fumes from escaping by eliminating the familiar two-way vent is causing new concerns. Without a vent – typically a small screw type fixture on the tank’s cap or top – a portable tank can swell up like a balloon in the hot sun with the internal pressure forcing gas into the outboard where it can spew inside the cowling, eventually dribbling out. It’s a wise move to install an inexpensive fuel-demand valve in the fuel line that will prevent any gas from reaching the motor unless the motor calls for it, and BoatUS has a video and easy to follow instructions to show you how.

The newest fuel portable fuel tanks require installation of a fuel demand valve and BoatUS shows you how.

The newest fuel portable fuel tanks require installation of a fuel demand valve and BoatUS shows you how.

“Our members are telling us that the new tanks aren’t all they are cracked up to be,” said BoatUS Magazine Executive Editor Mike Vatalaro. “These new EPA compliant portable tanks and jerry jugs have special fittings that greatly reduce evaporative emissions from gasoline. But where traditional tanks simply vent to the atmosphere, the new tanks won’t vent until the internal pressure reaches five pounds per square inch. In the meantime, fuel could be forced up the fuel line into the outboard, many of which have no means to hold it back.”

“Leaving the tank disconnected just results in the same gush of gas once you do hook it up, either from the tank end or through the engine,” added Vatalaro. “Installing an inexpensive fuel-demand valve in the fuel line will prevent any gas from reaching the motor unless the motor calls for it.” The video and instructions can be found at:

BoatUS.com/installfueldemandvalve

The video was done in partnership with the American Boat & Yacht Council (abycinc.com) and is part of BoatUS Magazine’s Practical Boater series that offers skills building, techniques and best practices to get the most out of boating.

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About Boat Owners Association of The United States (BoatUS): BoatUS is the nation’s largest organization of recreational boaters with over a half million members. We are the boat owners’ voice on Capitol Hill and fight for their rights. We help ensure a roadside breakdown doesn’t end a boating or fishing trip before it begins, and on the water, we bring boaters safely back to the launch ramp or dock when their boat won’t, day or night. The BoatUS Insurance Program gives boat owners the specialized coverage and superior service they need, and we help keep boaters safe and our waters clean with assistance from the non-profit BoatUS Foundation for Boating Safety and Clean Water. Visit BoatUS.com.

 
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Posted by on June 30, 2015 in BoatUS Report

 

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BoatUS Report

BoatuslogoReadiness, Preparation, and Action

It is prudent to have a storm plan in place, just in case.

It’s hurricane season for those of us who live on or near eastern coastal areas of the United States, including the Gulf of Mexico, With the devastating aftermath of Superstorm Sandy still a painful memory for most of us here in the northeast, having a storm preparedness plan in place is key for weathering any system that may present itself in the area. The Boat & Yacht Report’s close editorial friends at BoatUS have sent along this latest update to assist us as we enter 2015’s storm season. Take heed; all it takes is one of these to hit a particular area and the result can be devastating losses.-Capt. Ken 

With 2015’s FEMA Hurricane Preparation Week now come and gone, that being 5/24-5/30, waterfront towns and boating businesses are learning how to better prepare their local boating community. In the aftermath of 2012’s Superstorm Sandy, orphaned boats littered the streets around Staten Island, New York’s Great Kills Harbor, hindering the clean up and delaying the return of electrical power. Keeping boats better contained in Sandy would have sped recovery efforts on every front. To help do a better job preparing for this hurricane season, Boat Owner’s Association of The United States (BoatUS) has some no-cost, downloadable hurricane prep guides to help boaters, marinas and boat clubs.

 Boats tossed around in a hurricane can hamper a community's recovery effort, like these boats that floated into streets and power lines after Superstorm Sandy.

Boats tossed around in a hurricane can hamper a community’s recovery effort, like these boats that floated into streets and power lines after Superstorm Sandy. Photo: BoatUS


They include:

  • Boater’s Guide to Preparing Boats and Marinas for Hurricanes available atwww.BoatUS.com/hurricanes/boaterprep is a boater’s guide and has the details on protecting your own boat as well as a marina.
  • What Works: A Guide to Preparing Marinas, Yacht Clubs and Boats for Hurricanes available at www.BoatUS.com/hurricanes/ycmarinasprep is a resource for marina and boat club staff, community resiliency managers and local government that focuses on preparing boating facilities.

Local emergency managers, marina or club fleet operators can also download at BoatUS.com/hurricanes a sampling of marina hurricane preparation plans to see how their local marinas compare, learn about the value of strapping down boats stored ashore, and view features on why some marinas fare better than others. If a storm approaches, the website also offers up-to-the-minute storm tracking tools with live satellite images, as well as checklists for what to do before and after a hurricane strikes.

Much of the information comes from BoatUS and its Marine Insurance Catastrophe Team, which over the course of 30 years has seen first hand how better storm preparation can keep boats from drifting away and reduce damage. Go to BoatUS.com/hurricanes for more.

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About Boat Owners Association of The United States (BoatUS):

BoatUS is the nation’s largest organization of recreational boaters with over a half million members. We are the boat owners’ voice on Capitol Hill and fight for their rights. We help ensure a roadside breakdown doesn’t end a boating or fishing trip before it begins, and on the water, we bring boaters safely back to the launch ramp or dock when their boat won’t, day or night. The BoatUS insurance program gives boat owners the specialized coverage and superior service they need, and we help keep boaters safe and our waters clean with assistance from the non-profit BoatUS Foundation for Boating Safety and Clean Water. Visit BoatUS.com.

 
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Posted by on June 8, 2015 in BoatUS Report

 

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BoatUS Report

BoatuslogoBoat Motor Oil Analysis Made Simple

I am sure most of you are hands-on boaters; that is, you take care of all those preventive maintenance items each and every time you leave the dock. My media friend, Scott Croft at BoatUS has me up on his radar screen with this latest addition to our continuing efforts to make your boating experience that much more enjoyable by being safe. -Capt. Ken

A lot goes on inside a boat engine, and akin to drawing blood, an engine oil sample analysis (OSA) can tell you a lot about the health of your boat’s motor. While a single sample may not give you the whole story, an OSA creates a “baseline” that helps you look at your engine’s health over time. That’s why some mechanics and surveyors recommend taking one sample every year. But what does a typical oil sample analysis include and what does it tell a boat owner or buyer? BoatUS, the nation’s largest boating advocacy, services and safety group has some answers.

It’s easy to take an oil sample with the right gear (Credit: Alison Mazon).

It’s easy to take an oil sample with the right gear. (Credit: Alison Mazon).

Most oil sample analyses will include the following:
-Spectral Exam: A spectrometer is used to find the quantity of various metals and additives in the sample – useful for finding excessive wear in bearings, pistons, rings, cylinders, valve train and gears. It also determines the composition of any oil additives.

-Viscosity Test: The thickness of the oil at a specific temperature is tested – useful for finding fuel dilution, the breakdown of viscosity enhancers or other contamination.

-Flash Point: Tests the temperature at which vapor from the oil ignites – contamination can cause a specific grade oil to flash higher or lower than the design flash point.

-Insolubles Test: insoluble are typically abrasive solids – higher readings are usually byproducts of incomplete combustion.

An OSA typically costs about $25 by mail or at a local repair shop. If you’d like to learn how to take an oil sample or need more information, see the story “Oil Sample Analysis” by Alison Mazon in the magazine for it’s insured BoatUS members, Seaworthy, at BoatUS.com/oilsampleanalysis.

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About Boat Owners Association of The United States (BoatUS):

BoatUS is the nation¹s largest organization of recreational boaters with over a half million members. We are the boat owners’ voice on Capitol Hill and fight for their rights. We help ensure a roadside breakdown doesn’t end a boating or fishing trip before it begins, and on the water, we bring boaters safely back to the launch ramp or dock when their boat won’t, day or night. The BoatUS insurance program gives boat owners the specialized coverage and superior service they need, and we help keep boaters safe and our waters clean with assistance from the non-profit BoatUS Foundation for Boating Safety and Clean Water. Visit BoatUS.com

 
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Posted by on May 12, 2015 in BoatUS Report

 

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BoatUS Report

BoatuslogoMedia Alert:
If You Don’t Want More Corn In Your Gas Tank,
BoatUS Says Boaters Need to Speak Up Now

Always on the alert for issues that affect the boating community, BoatUS has had its collective ear to the ground on this particular news for quite some time now. Here at the Boat & Yacht Report, we also feel it is important to get the information out as well. You decide. Thanks for listening. -Capt. Ken

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THE ISSUE: The Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) is the 2005 federal law that requires the blending of biofuels such as corn-ethanol into our gasoline. When it was written, it assumed that America’s use of gasoline would continue to rise and mandated escalating amounts of biofuels to be blended with our fuel. Since 2005, however, gasoline usage has actually declined steadily, which today forces more ethanol into less gasoline.

To keep up with this RFS mandate, in 2010 the EPA permitted E15 (fuel containing up to 15% ethanol) into the marketplace. Even though E15 is prohibited from being used in marine engines, snowmobiles, motorcycles, small engines like lawnmowers and leaf blowers, as well as any vehicle made before 2001, this fuel can now be found at over 100 stations in 16 states at the very same pumps as E10 and ethanol-free gasoline.

Over 60% of Boat Owners Association of The United States (BoatUS) half million members as well as millions of recreational boaters fill their boat’s fuel tanks at roadside gas stations where the higher blend ethanol fuels are often the cheapest fuel at the pump. This creates a huge potential for misfueling and puts boaters at risk.

ACTION NEEDED NOW: For years, BoatUS has been battling in Washington to make sure recreational boat owners can buy gasoline that works with their recreational boat engines. Senators Diane Feinstein and Pat Toomey have now introduced S. 577, the “Corn Ethanol Mandate Elimination Act of 2015” in the US Senate.

This bill, which has both Democrat and Republican support, will effectively remove the government mandate for higher blends of corn-based ethanol fuels (more than 10%) and allow for investment in other more compatible biofuels. BoatUS believes it is a critical step to solving the ethanol issue and urges America’s boat owners to contact their Senator now to become a co-sponsor and supporter of S. 577. Boaters can easily do this at: http://goo.gl/S4bWMu. For more on the Renewable Fuel Standard go to www.BoatUS.com/gov.

WHO: 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, fighting against unfair federal taxes, fees and regulations that single out boat owners. BoatUS is also non-partisan working on both sides of the aisle as well as with state agencies to promote boating laws that make sense.

 
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Posted by on March 24, 2015 in BoatUS Report

 

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