Author: Vincent Pica

From the Captain of the Port

“Get Me in This Thing.” – Joining the U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary

By Vincent Pica

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 than 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…

From the Captain of the Port

Waves Upon, and Within, Waves

By Vincent Pica

  There was a rogue wave incident involving the cruise ship Viking Polaris on November 29, 2022, at 22:40 local time, while the ship was sailing towards Ushuaia, Argentina. What is a “rogue wave incident”? Rogue, freak, or killer waves have been part of marine folklore for centuries but have only been accepted as real by scientists over the past few decades. This column is about that. A rogue wave estimated at 18.3 meters (60 feet) in…

From the Captain of the Port

Safety on the Ice – Barely and Very Carefully

By Vincent Pica

Here’s how the story goes. In the dead of winter, two duck hunters and their trusty hunting dog drive their brand-new Range Rover out on to the ice of (choose: [a] Long Island Sound, [b] Moriches Bay, [c] Shinnecock Bay, [d] Great South Bay, [e] body of water of your choice) and, seeing that there were no open leads to entice migratory birds to land, take out a stick of dynamite, light it and throw it as…

From the Captain of the Port

The Rules of the Road – Set to Poetry

By Vincent Pica

Nearly 150 years ago, Captain Eldridge created the renowned Eldridge Tide and Pilot Book, the marine industry’s most respected tide and current reference guide since 1874, capturing the most essential aspect of the Rules of the Road (COLREGs.) I have had one at the helm of my vessels since, well, I can’t remember that far back. Captain Eldridge has carried an old sea ditty that has captured the essence of avoiding collisions at sea. This column is…

From the Captain of the Port

Vessel Afire!

By Vincent Pica

It 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. It doesn’t sound like there are many, if any, good alternatives. Also, fire prevention professionals quote that on average a fire will double…

From the Captain of the Port

Boat Insurance – Friend or Foe? An Update

By Vincent Pica

Even though the boating season is half over, we are well advised to be sure that we have insurance in place, even through 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…

From the Captain of the Port

Weighing the Anchor – Or is it Waying?

By Vincent Pica

Sometimes, the simplest thing can take on monumental proportions – if you get it wrong. And setting a proper anchor and retrieving (or “weighing it” so you can “make way”) can make all the difference in the world when the wind starts to stiffen and all the other boats around you start to look askance at you – as you drag your anchor towards them. Setting the Anchor The art and science of anchoring are closely akin….

From the Captain of the Port

Hunkering Down: Hurricanes

By Vincent Pica

Article Cover

NOAA Calls for “Near Normal” Season As of June 1, hurricane season is upon us. Almost without exception, we in the Northeast U.S. 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 as they thunder west and north. Many of us live on an island. And now an “average” season is worse than…

From the Captain of the Port

Before You Throw in the Towel, Give it a Go!

By Vincent Pica

OK, you’re done fishing and you turn to the engine and give the key a turn. Ominously, you don’t hear a thing. Or…she turns over but as soon as you give it forward propulsion, she stalls. No one is going home soon. Before you call for a tow, here are some tips. Calling for Help v Self-Help Any good tower only wants to help where help is needed. We’re graced with real pros out on our bays…

From the Captain of the Port

Gentlemen (and Ladies)! Start Your Engines!

By Vincent Pica

Back in the Fall, we talked about how to get the boat ready for a long, cold and dank winter. Time and tide are 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! Getting Started As with any project, starting at the beginning is the best place to start and for…

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