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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“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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Rescue, Recovery and ReWarm – The Maritime 3 Rs

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

When we were kids, it was all about readin,’ ritin’ and ‘rithmetic. On the sea, especially in cold water environments, it’s all about rescue, recovery and re-warming. I don’t expect many boaters are on our waterways now, but some are out there. And the waters will still be cold once April comes around. This column is about that.

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Mal de Mer – Oh, My Aching Stomach!

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

As an avid student of the sea, I am always amazed when I read that even some of the ‘round the world sailors get “mal de mer” – seasickness. While they get over it in a few days, which everyone will if they are just out there long enough, I wonder how they can put to sea knowing with certainty that they will be sick as dogs for two or three days. 

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Fog!

By Vincent Pica

Commodore, First District, Southern Region (D1SR)

United States Coast Guard Auxiliary

We’ve had some foggy mornings and as we make the “clubhouse turn” towards cool air and warm water, we will have more.  For those of a more scientific-bent, fog that forms when water is warmer than the air is called “steam” fog (fall). Think of that pot of spaghetti water you are boiling. Fog that forms when the water is colder than the air is called “advection” fog (spring). There is a third kind of fog called “radiation” fog. That is the fog that you see float in across the backyard or linger in a dip in a country road. But fog is fog. You can’t see the land or the buoys or, worse, the bow! What to do?

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You Know “Boat Trim” – But Do You Know “Boat Squat?”

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

When I teach seamanship classes, inevitably somebody raises their hand and asks about how “flat” the boat should be. I ask, “By ‘flat,’ I am guessing that you mean relative to her waterline. But do you mean when she is sitting at the dock, going slowly forward but only at a ‘slow bell*’ or making all deliberate speed?” As their eyes glaze over, I know that we will have to take it by the numbers. This column is about that.

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Ahoy, Skipper! Prepare To Be Boarded

By Vincent Pica, Commodore, United States Coast Guard Auxiliary

Captain of the Port Prepare to be BoardedUnlike any other law enforcement arm, the U.S. Coast Guard (USCG) may board your boat at their discretion — they need no search warrant, no provocation, and no reason other than ensuring your boat is in full compliance with all applicable federal laws and regulations.

The U.S. Coast Guard boards vessels to conduct safety inspections to identify any obvious safety hazards and ensure the seaworthiness of the vessel. U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 3rd Class Tara Molle/ © northeast.coastguard.dodlive.mil
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Life Jackets Save Lives – Yours!

By Vincent Pica

Assistant National Commodore, Recreational Boating Safety, United States Coast Guard Auxiliary

For many years, we referred to life jackets as “PFDs” – Personal Flotation Devices. Jeesh, can the lawyers get over it? OK, not everyone in a life jacket survives. Roughly only 14 out of 16. Conversely, for every 16 boaters that go into the water without a life jacket, only one comes out. The other 15 died. Life jackets save lives. This column is about that.

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Going Down For The Third (and Last) Time

By Vincent Pica, Assistant National Commodore, Recreational Boating Safety, United States Coast Guard Auxiliary

Obviously, the most top-of-mind danger that all mariners face is drowning. We live, work and play in a marine environment – a hostile marine environment, if one is not careful. And, even you are careful, things happen. This column is about that.

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