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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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Vessel Afire!

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

fire aboardIt would seem to me that one of the most frightening circumstances to be caught in is a boat afire. It is loaded with high-octane fuel creating toxic smoke; using water to fight the fire can sink the boat; leaving the boat may entail going into another hostile environment – cold and unforgiving water.

Safety at Sea seminars, such as those offered by the Storm Trysail Foundation, the Cruising Club of America and Landfall, provide hands-on opportunities to use fire extinguishers in a non-emergency situation.   ©stormtrysailfoundation.org

It doesn’t sound like there are many – if any – good alternatives. Also, fire prevention professionals quote that on average a fire will double in area every 5 minutes.  At that rate, it wouldn’t take long to engulf an entire boat. So, time is of the essence and it’s highly unlikely that anyone can get to you in time to assist in the fire suppression. You and your crew, most likely, are it.

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Hunkering Down: Hurricanes

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

Hurricane Earl was inflicting damage in the Caribbean and Mexico as I wrote this, providing 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 Hurricane season still has time to run. In the Northeast, we live on or around the sea. This column is about that.

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Seamanship – Set and Drift – “Leaning In”

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

Imagine that you are walking along the sidewalk, trying to get to the coffee shop on the corner. But the person next to you is leaning against your shoulder, keeping pace with you and pushing you away from it. There is only one way you are going to make it to the coffee shop (short of belting the guy!). You have to lean into him to such a degree that you overcome the force of his push and the speed at which he is applying it. This is the essence of “Set and Drift” when navigating as well.

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“Hello? Hello? Can You Hear Me Now?” Cell Phones and Boats

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

When I wrote in the past about the need and use of a VHF radio, I noted that if you didn’t have a radio aboard that you were risking your life over a couple of hundred dollars – it was “nutty” not to have a radio aboard. Nonetheless, many don’t! And those skippers rely on their cell phone for emergency assistance. OK, I guess you can lead a horse to water but you can’t make him drink. Here is the “scuttlebutt” on cell phones on the water…

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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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Summer Isn’t Far Away, But Warm Water Is – Cold Water Boating

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

We’ve had a few mild days lately. This reminded many of us that summer isn’t far away – and my wife to say, “You’re not thinking of putting the boat in the water already, are you?” We’ve had a cold and rainy spring for the most part, but summer is close aboard. However, even then the water will be cold for several weeks and you need to be aware of how dangerous that can be – if you aren’t prepared and savvy. 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 is now on our side. 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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“Get Me in This Thing…” – Joining the US Coast Guard Auxiliary

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

In the days that followed September 11, 2001, those words kept running through my head… What could I do that would be something more concrete that writing a check to the Red Cross? While many Americans turned to volunteerism in order to put their hearts, hands and minds at work, I was faced with two realities – at nearly 48, I wasn’t exactly what the Army Recruiter at Times Square in New York had as #1 on his list of potential (or wanted) candidates and, secondly, it was apparent that the terrorists were seriously dedicated to wiping out as many Americans as possible. The unthinkable – suddenly – became thinkable. “Terrorists are coming here to kill my wife and kids” kept running through my mind.

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The Dangerous Dock

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

Sinking at the DockIf I told you that statistics on boats sinking showed that the dock is four times more dangerous than the open waters, you might tell me to check my calculator, amongst other things. But study after study show that four times as many boats sink at the dock than under way! Why is that???

© boatus.com

 

 

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Key West Race Week 2017

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Charleston Race Week

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