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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

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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BoatUS Report

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BoatUS has been an invaluable resource for lots of great information here at the Boat & Yacht Report. For this edition, we look at some helpful tips to get you more informed about how to best protect your investment. If you have any questions on this particular topic, be sure to get in touch with BoatUS at http://www.BoatUS.com -Capt. Ken

Five Ways Your Boat’s Insurance Policy Can Fail You
A Quick Check Up

Insurance is one of those things you hope you never have to use, but if you do, you expect the policy to fix the boat or compensate you fairly. If you haven’t taken a close look at your boat insurance, you could be surprised to find that you may not be entitled to a payout with some common types of claims. That’s because unlike home or auto, boat insurance policies offer a wide range of coverage, from very little to a lot. Boat Owners Association of The United States (BoatUS) recently took a look at the most common claims over the past five years, and has these tips so you will know if your boat’s insurance policy will live up to your expectations:

Consequential Damage: If you take hurricane losses out of the list of common claims, the number one claim is for sinking, and half of all sinkings occur at the dock when some small part below the waterline fails. The most common culprits include hoses/hose clamps, stuffing boxes, outdrive bellows, and sea strainers. But these parts most often fail due to “wear, tear, and corrosion” which is a lack of maintenance issue, so policies won’t pay you for a new outdrive bellows or sea strainer. But what about the rest of the boat sitting sunk on the lake bottom? Some policies won’t cover that, either, as they exclude any “consequential” damage as a result of wear, tear and corrosion. That’s why you need “Consequential Damage” coverage that covers losses that often start with a failed part.

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Boat owners may be surprised to find their boat’s insurance policy may not cover a common sinking like this.

Salvage: Hurricanes lead the list of most common claims from 2008 to 2012. In every hurricane boats get scattered and need to be salvaged and safely brought back to their storage area. That takes cranes, travel lifts, flatbed trucks, and other heavy equipment that typically costs hundreds of dollars per foot of boat length. However, as a few boaters found out with Hurricane Sandy, some policies subtract the money paid to salvage the boat from what you get paid to fix the boat, while others only offer salvage coverage up to 25% or 30% of the insured value. A better policy provides separate salvage coverage up to the insured value of the boat – in addition to any payments to fix the boat or replace equipment.

Wreck removal: When fires, sinkings, hurricanes or running up on a shoal destroy your boat, you end up with a “wreck.” Most boaters assume their insurance company will cover the cost of cleaning up what’s left, but some policies will give you a check for the insured value and only a specified percentage for wreck removal – 3% to 10% is typical – and walk away. That leaves your wallet short and you managing a job you have little knowledge of. Better policies pay up to the liability limit, usually $100,000 or more, to clean up the mess, and don’t let you go it alone.

Liability-only policies: Looking through the claims files, injuries make the top ten list for payouts not because of their frequency, but because settlements tend to be expensive. Having no insurance could leave you open to a six-figure settlement. If you have a liability-only policy, the better ones will cover injuries as well as salvage, wreck removal and fuel-spill liability.

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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.

 
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Posted by on January 31, 2014 in BoatUS Report

 

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BoatUS Report


SPOT Proves Invaluable With Two Recent TowBoatUS Cases
Far Out to Sea

“Calling” BoatUS Towing Dozens of Miles from Shore

Twice in the last month, SPOT Assist Maritime service with BoatUS Towing Services has proven invaluable for a couple of offshore anglers with disabled fishing vessels far out in the Gulf of Mexico. SPOT combines satellite messaging communications and GPS technology with the nation’s largest fleet of towboats for recreational boaters. By enrolling in SPOT Assist Maritime and pressing the non-emergency “Help” button on their handheld SPOT Satellite GPS Messengers, each angler was able to summon TowBoatUS assistance and safely return to shore.

Having SPOT Assist Maritime service aboard your boat brings peace of mind. If a motor breaks down or you run out of gas, BoatUS Towing Services can be summoned by pressing your SPOT unit.

In the first case, which occurred in the early hours of July 4th, Capt. Lee Eckler of TowBoatUS Tarpon Springs, FL, received a dispatch from the BoatUS 24-hour call center indicating a mariner was summoning towboat assistance from a location 25 miles offshore of Anclote Key — far beyond cell phone range. With the SPOT and BoatUS partnership, Capt. Eckler was immediately provided with precise GPS coordinates as well as name, contact information, type and color of boat, which was identified as a 17-foot center console. Upon arrival on scene, he found three anglers with a dead engine “loaded for fishing,” said Eckler.

Alone on the water, there were no Good Samaritans for miles around. Incredulously, Eckler learned the trio had broken down long before reaching their desired destination – a fishing spot some 60 miles out in the Gulf. “It was a textbook SPOT dispatch case. We knew exactly were they were, which greatly speeded response times,” said Eckler.

In the second case, an angler requested towboat assistance in the early morning hours of July 12th after his 30-foot power catamaran became disabled approximately 52 miles offshore of Tarpon Springs, FL. As with all SPOT cases, especially when contact via cell phone and VHF cannot be made, BoatUS call center dispatchers also notified the US Coast Guard, which elected to dispatch a helicopter and response boat to verify everyone onboard was safe. Capt. George “Red” Ingram, also of TowBoatUS Tarpon Springs, responded to the disabled vessel and towed it safely back to the owner’s dock by the early afternoon. A broken lower unit was the source of the angler’s troubles.

“When VHF and cell phones were unavailable, the SPOT satellite-based service was able to summon a towboat for non-emergency assistance miles offshore,” said BoatUS Towing Services Vice President Jerry Cardarelli. “That’s a valuable communications tool to add to any boater’s toolbox.”

BoatUS Towing Services offers towing plans for freshwater lakes and rivers for just $34 annually and just $125 for saltwater, plus BoatUS or BoatUS Angler membership of $24. SPOT units start at $99.99 plus a $99.99 annual basic SPOT service plan. To add SPOT Assist Maritime to a BoatUS membership, there is a one-time $10 SPOT Link connection fee. SPOT Assist for Maritime is available throughout the continental US as well as coastal British Columbia and select regions of Northern Mexico and the Bahamas.

BoatUS strongly recommends boaters have a properly registered and GPS enabled DSC-VHF radio aboard to be able to hail the closest potential rescuers — fellow boaters and the US Coast Guard — in an emergency. For offshore passages, BoatUS also recommends having an EPIRB (Emergency Position Indicating Radio Beacon). For more information on SPOT Assist Maritime, visit www.findmespot.com/assist

About BoatUS Towing Services: Boat Owners Association of The United States (BoatUS) is the nation’s leading advocate for recreational boaters providing over half a million members with a wide array of consumer services, including on-the-water towing assistance provided by TowBoatUS and Vessel Assist. Combined, these two towing fleets offer boaters, anglers and sailors the world’s largest network of towing ports with over 300 locations and over 600 towing assistance vessels — three times larger than the closest competitor.

 
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Posted by on July 29, 2012 in BoatUS Report

 

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BoatUS Report


Boaters, Anglers: Gear Up for Summer Boating Season With

BoatUS Towing App

Easily Get On-the-Water Assistance From the Largest Towing Fleet in the World

The summer boating season is heating up, but are you ready to handle a boat engine breakdown, grounding or dead battery far from the launch ramp or marina? Just in case, download the free BoatUS Towing App to your smart phone now at BoatUS.com/towing/app. If you do have a problem on the water, you’ll be able to summon assistance from the largest on-the-water towing fleet in the world.

“We’ve got your back,” said BoatUS Vice President of Towing Services Jerry Cardarelli. “Relax and have a great time knowing that if you do have a problem on the water, we are there to assist 24 hours a day with over 600 TowBoatUS and Vessel Assist response vessels across the country ready to go at a moment’s notice, as well as hundreds of additional towing resources.”

Downloading the BoatUS Towing App is easy, and you don’t have to be a BoatUS member to use it to summon on-the-water assistance.

The App also reduces towboat response times by using the accuracy of the GPS latitude and longitude technology built into smart phones, and also adds helpful location and tracking features. Since its launch last year, over 80,000 boaters, sailors and anglers have downloaded it and over 500 dispatches have been safely completed.

In addition to on-the-water towing dispatch, the App can be used to summon roadside assistance when you’re trailering your boat down the highway. BoatUS has access to over 18,000 roadside service providers with the ability to safely handle boat trailer breakdowns and get you on your way.

BoatUS offers on-the-water towing service plans – much like a roadside assistance club for boaters – for freshwaters for $58 a year and saltwaters for $149 which includes BoatUS or BoatUS Angler membership. Roadside Trailer Assist can be added for an additional $14. Go to http://www.BoatUS.com/towing or call 800-395-2628 for more information. Boaters can also contact their local tower on VHF channel 16, or by calling the BoatUS toll-free Dispatch Service at 800-391-4869

About BoatUS: BoatUS – Boat Owners Association of The United States – is the nation’s leading advocate for recreational boaters providing over half a million members with government representation, programs and money-saving services. For membership information visit www.BoatUS.com or call 800-395-2628.

 
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Posted by on June 5, 2012 in BoatUS Report

 

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BoatUS Report

With the 2012 Hurricane season officially beginning June 1, forecasters are predicting a ”near normal” year of storm activity, which means there’s a good chance that tropical storms will strike the US coastline. However, BoatUS has found a new tactic for preparing for incoming storms — using tie downs with boats stored ashore — that has proven to significantly lessen the impact of storm damage.

“We’ve known for a long time that the most effective storm preparation tactic a boat owner can do is to remove the boat from the water and store her ashore in a location above the anticipated storm surge,” said BoatUS Director of Damage Avoidance Bob Adriance. “That’s why we created the Hurricane Haul-out Coverage overage included in all our boat insurance policies that helps defray the cost to remove a boat from the water.”
“But over the last few years, we’ve now learned that if you add tie-downs on both sides of a boat that are secured to deck cleats and either embedded in the concrete pad or deeply screwed into the earth with helical anchors, you can almost eliminate storm damage from all but the most severe storms. Of course, you also have to include other measures, such as reducing windage by removing roller-furled sails and biminis, and ensuring that jack-stands rest on a firm surface, but if you want the least damage and want to get back on the water after a storm as quickly as possible, pulling the boat from the water and firmly tying her down are a winning plan,” added Adriance.

Using a simple tie-down system for their “Hurricane Club” members, Sebastian River Marina & Boatyard in Sebastian, FL has been successful in preventing hurricane damage to customers’ boats.

BoatUS also offers free online help with the web’s most complete Hurricane Resource Center designed specifically for boaters, clubs and marinas at www.BoatUS.com/Hurricanes. It includes detailed storm-tracking information as well as the no-cost, downloadable Boater’s Guide to Preparing Boats and Marinas for Hurricanes.

All BoatUS boat policies include “Named Storm Haul-out Reimbursement.” When a boat is in the path of a NOAA-named storm (within the five-day “cone”), a boater is eligible to be reimbursed for 50% of the cost of labor, up to $1,000, to have the boat professionally hauled, prepared and tied-down, or moved to a safe location. With BoatUS, a hurricane haul-out “claim” does not penalize a policyholder.

About BoatUS:
BoatUS – Boat Owners Association of The United States – is the nation’s leading advocate for recreational boaters providing over half a million members with government representation, programs and money-saving services. For membership information visit www.BoatUS.com or call 800-395-2628
 
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Posted by on June 1, 2012 in BoatUS Report

 

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