From the Captain of the Port

Vincent Pica, a Commodore of the U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary First District, Southern Region, provides vital information on tides and currents, navigation, emergency procedures and more to help keep everyone safe on the water.

From the Captain of the Port

Cleanliness is Next to Godliness

By Vincent Pica

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By Vincent Pica Commodore, First District, Southern Region (D1SR) United States Coast Guard Auxiliary With Earth Day last month, we are reminded of this expression from Biblical days – when there were fewer people and even fewer boats. If each generation wants to hand over waterways to their children and grandkids in the condition that we were entrusted them with, there are a few simple rules, rubrics and guidelines to follow. Every storm ups the challenge as…

From the Captain of the Port

No Fuss, No Muss – and Your Favorite Price (Free!) – Vessel Exams

By Vincent Pica

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By Vincent Pica Commodore, First District, Southern Region (D1SR) United States Coast Guard Auxiliary While we still have a ways to go to “splashing the boat,” I would say that getting the “gilt-edged” United States Coast Guard Auxiliary Vessel Safety Check – better known as the Vessel Exam – is always a great idea. Oh, and it’s free. What It is Not! USCGAux vessel safety checks are not a regulatory event. If your boat doesn’t pass all…

From the Captain of the Port

We’re Being Boarded by the Coast Guard – Now What?

By Vincent Pica

If you’ve ever seen the reflection of the blue-rotating hailing light in your windshield, you’ve felt the quickening in certain parts of your body: “Jeez, what did I do wrong?” The United States Coast Guard can and will board your vessel at their discretion. They need no search warrant, no provocation, no reason other than, “Good Morning, sir. My name is Officer Jones with the U.S. Coast Guard. The Coast Guard is here today to ensure you…

From the Captain of the Port

We All Get Heavier As We Age – Even Our Boats!

By Vincent Pica

As we (probably) all made New Year’s resolutions to go on a diet, we keep getting reminded that we are getting heavier as we get older. No matter where we turn, someone is telling us that we’re getting fat and need to be thinner! Guess what? So are our boats! Yes, as boats get older, they get heavier and that has a lot to do about being less “sea-kindly” and more “tender” as they get older (and…

From the Captain of the Port

Celestial Navigation 101: Sailors Always Knew…

By Vincent Pica

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By Vincent Pica, Commodore, First District, Southern Region (D1SR), United States Coast Guard Auxiliary Going back centuries, journals of seafarers are peppered with language indicating that they knew the Earth was round.  “In the offing” meant, and means today, the waters you can see from where you are to the horizon.  “Ahoy, captain, vessel off the starboard bow! Hull down, sir,” might yell the lookout from the crow’s nest aloft. This meant that all he could see…

From the Captain of the Port

Hard Aground! Now What?!

By Vincent Pica

When I teach seamanship courses to private boaters on the south shore of Long Island, I note that, if you boat in our local waters and have never run aground, you’re lying. Even USCG regulars have been known to “touch bottom” at times in these waters… I also note that God left a lot of sand on the south shore and not so much water – and plenty of water on the north shore/Long Island Sound but lots of rocks… So, the issue is not if you run aground but what you do afterwards.

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