Boat’s Ready – Is It Safe As Can Be?

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

If you saw the movie Marathon Man, you will surely remember Sir Laurence Olivier holding a dentist’s drill over Dustin Hoffman’s tooth and asking, “Is eet safe? Is eet safe?” Poor Dustin Hoffman kept asking, “Safe about what??” – until he started screaming… Your boat may pass its vessel safety check, which means it at least meets federal minimum requirements… But is eet safe…? This column is about that.

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Ho-Ho-Ho! For the Boaters You Love, and It’s No Laughing Matter

by VINCENT PICA

With the holidays behind us now, it is a good time for all those who stand a watch and wait for the return of those that went to sea to think about being the “safety officer” before they go – because spring is just ahead! And skipper, how about the love you have for those that go to sea with you – kids, grandkids and mates – and creating the safest possible environment aboard? 

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Rescue, Recovery and Re-Warm – 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 that there are many boaters out there on our bays, creeks and littoral areas of the ocean now. But some are out there. And the waters will still be cold once April comes around and the moorings go back in. This column is about that.

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What Side of the Buoy Do I Go On???

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

What Side of the Buoy Do I Go On???

One of the “great mysteries” of boating is “Good Lord, what side of this buoy do I go on?” While conducting a safety patrol last summer for USCG Forces, our crew came upon a skipper bringing a new boat down from Rhode Island, in Moriches Bay near the new buoy system south of Seatuck Cove. The skipper was concerned with his 4-foot draft and being able to make it to Massapequa in the Great South Bay from there. We advised him that, “Tide is near flood now, so stay in the channel and be careful near Nun-18. It has been moved to the north due to shoaling in the original channel. Forget what your GPS says. Use your eyes.” Naturally, he took the buoy on the wrong side and was grounded for a number of hours. So, let’s re-address this now and forever! Here we go… 

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Man Overboard!!!

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

Last week, a friend of mine fell overboard – while boarding a boat at the dock! Sound crazy? Not really. The “victim” wasn’t wearing proper shoes when he stepped on the gunwales and not into the boat…and the wake of a passing boat (who shouldn’t have been making a wake!) rocked the vessel strongly. In other words, things just go wrong at the wrong time…Are you ready to deal with it?

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Hunkering Down – Hurricane Season is Here

Last fall, Superstorm Sandy gave us all a pretty good warning and some of us got a pretty good beating. Almost without exception, we in the Northeast get the tail, shoulder or rump of one or two of the dozen or so hurricanes that form each summer in the Atlantic between the Caribbean. Sandy did most of its damage when it arrived at a flooding spring tide and pushed it higher and higher. Most of us live on an island or along the mainland coast…and hurricane season has just begun. This column is about that.

 

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From the Captain of the Port

by VINCENT PICA

Summer Isn’t Far Away…But Warm Water Is!

We’ve had a few mild days and summer is close aboard. But we’ve had a cold and rainy spring for the most part. So, 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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Drill, Baby, Drill – Reading Weather Reports!

by VINCENT PICA

OK, how many “hurry-canes” can we get (60mph winds and driving rain that last 20 gut-wrenching minutes) before we start paying better attention to the weather? And if you had drilled down a little, maybe there was more information that you could have used to your benefit – and an appreciation of the forecaster.

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Capsize – Can You Survive One?

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

Last month, you read here about what it would take to capsize a boat and, for most people, it is surprisingly little if the stars are lined up against you (see “What!? How Small a Wave Can Capsize My Boat!!?” January/February). But what if it does happen? Can you survive? Or if the boat “swamps,” which makes a sinking even more likely, can you survive? This column is about these questions.

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Waves Upon Waves

Chief of Staff, First District, Southern Region (D1SR)

United States Coast Guard Auxiliary

Anyone who has stood by the seashore and watched the waves roll in must have wondered at least once, “When is the next big one coming?” And, sure enough, just out in the offing, you can see one that just seems head and shoulders above the others. This column is about that.

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