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Winterizing – Now or Later, It Has To Be Done

by VINCENT PICA - COMMODORE, FIRST DISTRICT, SOUTHERN REGION (D1SR) - UNITED STATES COAST GUARD AUXILIARY

Winterizing – Now or Later, It Has To Be Done

The arrival of November is a reminder that many months of kindly weather are behind us and many months of dark, cold and dreary weather are ahead of us. Even if you hand off your boat to your dockmaster and say, “See you in the spring,” there are some tips in here that you will want to be aware of. This column is about that.

 

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Hunkering Down: Hurricanes

By Vincent Pica, Commodore, First District, Southern Region (D1SR), United States Coast Guard Auxiliary

Hurricanes Harvey and Irma caused catastrophic damage in parts of Texas, Louisiana and Florida with the latter. This is a grim reminder that we are not immune. Almost without exception, we get the tail, shoulder or rump of one or two of the dozen or so that form up in the Atlantic between Africa and the Caribbean and bring so much destruction and misery with them as they thunder west and north…and the 2017 Hurricane season runs to November 30. In the Northeast, we live on or around the sea. This column is about that.

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May-Day, May-Day, May-Day!! We Are Lost and Sinking!

By Vincent Pica, Commodore, First District, Southern Region (D1SR), United States Coast Guard Auxiliary

Search & Rescue (SAR) is the most recognizable and time-honored task of any mariner, especially the United States Coast Guard. “You have to go out but you don’t have to come back” is a wizened catchphrase long gone from the guidance offered by senior officers to eager-to-prove-themselves-worthy boat crews. Now, it is risk management, technology and technique. Having saved well over 1,000,000 lives since its founding in 1790, the U.S. Coast Guard can safely claim that they know how to do it. But just what happens in the Command Centers and on the search vessels when a May-Day cry comes in? This column is about that.

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Calling Dr. Skipper, Calling Dr. Skipper – The Onboard Medical Kit

By Vincent Pica, Commodore, First District, Southern Region (D1SR), United States Coast Guard Auxiliary

About 35 years ago, while trying to sail out of Hurricane Alberto’s way in the North Atlantic, a rogue wave hit us and I went airborne. Catching the side of my head on a brass runner, I managed not to be thrown below at a high rate of speed. Of course, it didn’t do wonders for the side of my head. I was crewing with a new captain for the first time and, when the Chief Medical Officer Marty Boorstein grabbed the scotch because there was no alcohol in the medical kit, I started to worry that more was at work here than Alberto. This column is about the advances since…

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Hurricanes May Miss Us - HOWEVER They Leave Deadly Rip Tides

By Vincent Pica, Commodore, First District, Southern Region (D1SR), United States Coast Guard Auxiliary

Rip tidesWe read often about hurricanes, great and small. Of note, forecasters predict a 70 percent likelihood of 11 to 17 named storms (winds of 39 mph or higher), of which five to nine could become hurricanes (winds of 74 mph or higher), including two to four major hurricanes (Category 3, 4 or 5; winds of 111 mph or higher) for this season. An average season produces 12 named storms of which six become hurricanes, including three major hurricanes.

Courtesy of Michigan Sea Grant College Program

The 2016 season was the most active since 2012, with 15 named storms, including seven hurricanes and four major hurricanes. This column is about rip tides, rip currents and undertows – which are what distant storms often leave us. Lest one of us comes to grief…

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The Rules of the Road, Set to Poetry

By Vincent Pica

Commodore, First District, Southern Region (D1SR)

United States Coast Guard Auxiliary

Over 130 years ago, Captain George Eldridge set to poetry the most essential aspect of the Rules of the Road (COLREGs.) From this, the renowned Eldridge Tide and Pilot Book, the most respected tide and current guide since 1874, was born. I’ve had one at the helm of my vessels since, well, I can’t remember that far back. Here is what the Captain penned, and the dissection…

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Whither The Weather, Heather?

By Vincent Pica
Chief of Staff, First District, Southern Region (D1SR)
United States Coast Guard Auxiliary

With dozens killed in the southeast of our country, it puts into perspective our complaints about heavy fog, drenching rain and the largely cold and damp spring that we’ve had until of late. But, like hurricanes vs the tails of hurricanes, weather like we’ve been seeing is far more likely to affect us and thus we should understand the forces at play.  This column is about that.

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Gentlemen (and Ladies), Start Your Engines!

By Vincent Pica

Commodore, First District, Southern Region (D1SR), United States Coast Guard Auxiliary

Back in the fall, we talked about how to get the boat ready for a long, cold and dank winter. Time and tide are now on our side. Here on Long Island’s East End, most bay constables allow moorings back in the water as of April 1 – and the weather will turn our way, too. So, before you start your engines, ready the boat!

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Sounding Smart on the Radio

By Vincent Pica
District Commodore, First District, Southern Region (D1SR)
United States Coast Guard Auxiliary

There is a natural tendency to shy away from the unfamiliar, especially when you can’t get the words back. Remember the first time you were faced with a phone answering machine: “leave your message after the beep” – BEEP! Now what? Even today, that beep can strike fear into the hearts of some. Now, how about multiplying that a hundred-fold to everyone tuned to channel 16…?

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Boat Insurance – Friend or Foe? An Update

By Vincent Pica, Commodore, First District, Southern Region (D1SR), United States Coast Guard Auxiliary

Even though the boating season is drawing to a close, we are well advised to be sure that we have insurance in place, even over the winter. This column is about that.

To File or Not to File

Most of us are familiar with insurance from owning a car. I don’t know about you, but the fear of “assigned risk” and massive spikes in the cost of annual insurance premiums keeps me from putting in for anything on my car unless an asteroid landed on it and totaled the car. How does that translate into boat insurance and, unlike your car, where it is mandated by state law that you must have it? Do I need it?

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WindCheck Magazine November December