Author: Vincent Pica

From the Captain of the Port

The Dangerous Dock

By Vincent Pica

If 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 shows that four times as many boats sink at the dock than underway! Why is that??? Real Time Reactions Well, candidly, there are lies, damn lies and statistics… If you are underway and you see water coming up from below,…

From the Captain of the Port

Hunkering Down for Hurricanes: NOAA Updates “Average” Season

By Vincent Pica

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As of June 1, hurricane season is upon us. Almost without exception, we in the Northeast USA get the tail, shoulder or rump of one or two of the dozen or so that form up in the Atlantic between the Caribbean and Africa and bring so much destruction and misery with them as they thunder west and north…and now, an “average” season is worse than ever. This column is about that. As the time of this writing…

From the Captain of the Port

Technology Overload and the Private Boater – Talking Cell Phones, Part 2

By Vincent Pica

Previously, we talked about cell phones aboard boats and the issues thereto. But they are fantastic devices – and therein lay another issue. As the functionality of cell phones starts to rival computers (did I say “rival” – I should have said “outpaces!”), we are right at the cusp of technology overload. This can’t be good for safety of life at sea. This column is about that. U.S. Coast Guard Advisory On October 29, 2010, Rear Admiral…

From the Captain of the Port

“Hello? Hello? Can You Hear Me Now?” Cell Phones and Boats, Part 1

By Vincent Pica

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When I have written in the past about the need and use of a VHF radio, I noted that if you didn’t have a radio aboard 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….

From the Captain of the Port

Rescue, Recovery and Re-Warm – The Maritime 3 Rs

By Vincent Pica

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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 out there on our bays, creeks and littoral areas of the ocean now. But some are out there. And the waters are cold and will still be cold once April 1 comes around and the moorings go back in. This column is about that….

From the Captain of the Port

Quick, Honey, Put on a Life Jacket!

By Vincent Pica

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A number of years ago, as I was doing a (free) U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary vessel exam for the owner of a very substantial yacht, I got to the part where I ask to see the life jackets. He pointed me to a locker, which I opened to find the life jackets, stowed under an anchor, chain and additional rode. This column is about that. No Good If You Can’t Get To Them I promptly asked him,…

From the Captain of the Port

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

By Vincent Pica

As we (probably) all make 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 are 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…

From the Captain of the Port

Strokes Go Up, Weight Goes Up, Pollution Goes Down

By Vincent Pica

So, after a couple of seasons with my new 4-stroke 3.5hp engine (had to drop down to 3.5hp or face putting 80 pounds on the transom where formerly 40 pounds of 5hp had ridden), the engine just wasn’t as friendly to an all-outdoor environment as the old 2-stroke was. Happily, my mechanic was able to address – and explain – what the changes from 2-stroke to 4-stroke means. This column is about that. The Old 2-Stroke engine…

From the Captain of the Port

Cleanliness is Next to Godliness, Part 2

By Vincent Pica

By Vincent Pica Commodore, First District, Southern Region (D1SR) United States Coast Guard Auxiliary When people write about keeping our waterways clean, the focus is largely on the things we drop in the water. So, what about the things we bring out there, like our copper-oxide bottom paint? This column is about that.   Painting with Poison Yes, if you really think about it, we paint the bottoms of our boats with poison. Intentionally. We’re trying to…

From the Captain of the Port

Prevention of Collision at Sea – Cleaning Up “Lights and Shapes”

By Vincent Pica

By Vincent Pica Commodore, First District, Southern Region (D1SR) United States Coast Guard Auxiliary Let’s finish up on the Lights and Shapes section of the Rules and be armed with the knowledge of what the merchant sea captain is saying to us… What Does Rule 28 Say? Rule 28 is about the Shapes and Lights that a vessel “constrained by her draft” uses to proclaim that she is drawing pretty much all the water there is –…

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