Wednesday, January 24, 2018

Don’t Do What I Did!

Don’t Do What I Did!

December 31, 2017 by · Leave a Comment 

If it’s not your habit to check a marina’s hours of operation when you pick up or discharge guests or crew you might be in for a surprise. Three of us were heading out to Martha’s Vineyard, Massachusetts at the end of September, looking forward to uncrowded anchorages along the way. The first night we […]

A Nautical Oxymoron

A Nautical Oxymoron

October 31, 2017 by · Leave a Comment 

We boaters are a strange breed. We are all thrilled when we buy a boat, and quite a few are equally thrilled when they sell their boats. What gives? I don’t have all the answers, but perhaps my experiences during a quarter-century on the water can provide some clues. Marriage drove me to my first […]

How Much Boat Can I Afford?

How Much Boat Can I Afford?

October 1, 2017 by · Leave a Comment 

To be brutally honest, boating can become an expensive lifestyle. If you are a first-time buyer or if you are considering upgrading to a bigger or faster toy, you need to resist the urge until you consult your budget. Don’t be blindsided by those who make their living turning the boating bug into a sale. […]

Don’t Do What I Did

Don’t Do What I Did

October 1, 2017 by · Leave a Comment 

A marine sanitary device (MSD), aka toilet or head, is one of the most disliked pieces of equipment on a boat. That’s because an MSD’s equipment frequently breaks down, and if it’s not clogging, backing up, or overflowing, it’s not reliably containing its foul odor. An MSD serves as a handy garbage disposal for clueless […]

The Mysterious Double Green Light

The Mysterious Double Green Light

September 1, 2017 by · Leave a Comment 

Navigating at night can be tricky, even when everything is as it should be. Subtract a missing or misplaced light and even a cautious boater can get fooled. My sailing buddy, Nelson, and I set out for Block Island one fine September day. We figured that with a favorable wind, the catboat could make it […]

Reading Clouds

Reading Clouds

August 1, 2017 by · Leave a Comment 

Clouds are signposts in the sky — if you know how to read them, they are the most accurate weather forecast tools available. They are so local they can predict storms that are half a mile away and may hit your area in the next 10 minutes. Where else can boaters get that kind of […]

When There’s No Doctor Aboard

When There’s No Doctor Aboard

August 1, 2017 by · Leave a Comment 

Boat owners are a happy lot — just ask any of the estimated 13 million skippers in the U.S.! However, according to Dr. Michael Jacobs, our fun in the sun pastime involves some health risks. A longtime sailor and co-author of Marine Medicine, Dr. Jacobs identifies seasickness and sunburn as two of the most common […]

Silly Sailing Superstitions!

Silly Sailing Superstitions!

July 1, 2017 by · Leave a Comment 

Ever since the first sailors stepped aboard a ship’s deck (always on the right foot), they have thought of the sea as a thing over which they had little control and even less understanding. To bolster their confidence, these seafarers built up a series of myths and superstitions over the centuries. They thought they were […]

Big Winds Ahead

Big Winds Ahead

June 1, 2017 by · Leave a Comment 

The time to plan for one of nature’s biggest blows — a hurricane — is not when the local weather forecaster warns in an ominous voice that disaster is just around the corner. That’s too late; the marina will be swamped with last minute requests to pull boats, the shelves at your local marine supply […]

Weather Growing Worse? Ask a Verse!

Weather Growing Worse? Ask a Verse!

June 1, 2017 by · Leave a Comment 

Want to gauge the weather like the ancient mariners? These little jingles and rhymes may help.* North winds send hail, South winds bring rain, East winds we bewail, West winds blow amain. Northeast is too cold, Southeast not too warm, Northwest is too bold, Southwest bows no harm. When the dew is on the grass, […]

Fire Aboard

Fire Aboard

June 1, 2017 by · Leave a Comment 

A fire at sea, just as on land, may start for any number of reasons and quickly turn catastrophic. Are you doing all you can to , and would you know how to act if your boat began to burn? Solid boat materials, including wood, fiberglass, and fabrics, are highly flammable. Fires can start from […]

The Perils of Carbon Monoxide

The Perils of Carbon Monoxide

May 1, 2017 by · Leave a Comment 

The subject of my story can’t be smelled, seen, touched, or tasted by boaters. However, these drawbacks don’t make my subject insignificant — I’m not overstating it to say that what you don’t sense can kill you. Carbon monoxide (CO) is a byproduct of the incomplete combustion of carbon-based fuels like diesel, gasoline, kerosene, propane, […]

Plotting a Course for Dinner

Plotting a Course for Dinner

May 1, 2017 by · Leave a Comment 

Hey, skipper. Do you find your spouse or significant other is sometimes less passionate about boating than you are? In the early days of our marriage, after I had built a sailboat, Meg’s enthusiasm for cruising diminished like an outgoing tide. It wasn’t that she was inept — my first mate is a pretty savvy […]

The Case for Paper

The Case for Paper

April 1, 2017 by · Leave a Comment 

  My marina neighbor boasted to me that the only paper he had aboard was “a roll in the head.” Really? With all of those shiny electronic navigation gadgets lighting up the bridge like a Christmas tree, what would my boater buddy do if a key component, such as a chart plotter, went down? Unless […]

Anchors Aweigh!

Anchors Aweigh!

April 1, 2017 by · Leave a Comment 

  Nothing sounds as satisfying to a sailor as the splash of an anchor. I consider it the ultimate nautical security blanket. However, without the right anchor for the job at hand, security quickly turns to anxiety. The first seaman to set sail thousands of years ago likely attached the heaviest stone he could lift […]

Choose the Right Boat Insurance

Choose the Right Boat Insurance

April 1, 2017 by · Leave a Comment 

Many skippers look upon the experience of filing a boating-related claim with their insurance company as being on par with a root canal. While there’s always pain or hassle preceding a claim, having the right insurance company shortens the duration of aggravation. In my experience, the key to a pain-free encounter depends upon choosing a […]

Become a Green Boater

Become a Green Boater

April 1, 2017 by · Leave a Comment 

  We all want a non-polluting boating environment with clear waters, clean beaches, and healthy marine life. While we cannot control every assault on our environment, boaters can curtail or eliminate our human-generated pollution. Petroleum products are high on the list of marine foulers. Before you leave your slip, take a look over the side […]

Go, Coast Guard, Go!

Go, Coast Guard, Go!

March 1, 2017 by · Leave a Comment 

If a maritime disaster such as terrorism on the high seas, a hurricane, fire, grounding, or sinking occurs, it’s comforting to know that the U.S. Coast Guard (USCG) will respond 24/7. As the principal federal agency responsible for maritime safety, security, and environmental stewardship in U.S. ports and waterways, the USCG protects and defends more […]

Boating or Camping? You Decide!

Boating or Camping? You Decide!

March 1, 2017 by · Leave a Comment 

  If you think there’s a world of difference between boating and camping, you’re likely someone who goes home when the sun goes down. As far as I’m concerned, sleeping on my 19-foot catboat is an exercise in advanced survival camping. At six-feet, six-inches, my boat’s two bunks are long enough, but as each narrows […]

A Seaworthy Toolbox

A Seaworthy Toolbox

March 1, 2017 by · Leave a Comment 

  Do you have an onboard toolbox? If so, does it contain the most helpful tools? Toolboxes are neither space wasters nor for show. Having a properly stocked toolbox may save you from a soaking, a tow, or from running up a big repair bill. Let’s start with the toolkit itself. As space on small […]

When It’s Time to Quit

When It’s Time to Quit

February 1, 2017 by · Leave a Comment 

Boating may be your passion, but do you know when to call it quits? I’m not talking about canceling an afternoon’s outing because of nasty weather — I’m referring to gradual changes in physical and mental capacity that pose challenges. If not acknowledged and addressed, these challenges may endanger the safety of the captain, the […]

Know the Ropes

Know the Ropes

February 1, 2017 by · Leave a Comment 

Choosing the right ropes for your boat can become a rat’s nest of confusion. Three strand, laid, braided, hollow core, solid core, single braided, double braided — it’s a challenge to match the right rope to its intended application. An anchor line, a dock line, and a towline each perform a specific function. Get it […]

Boat Lingo

Boat Lingo

January 1, 2017 by · Leave a Comment 

Shiver me timbers, mate. Yo ho ho and a bottle of rum! Salty boating language? You bet, right out of Hollywood. However, the actual language spoken by recreational boaters today has everything to do with safety. New boat owners and inexperienced passengers without boating experience need to understand and utilize common nautical terms to communicate […]

Books at Sea

Books at Sea

January 1, 2017 by · Leave a Comment 

  If something goes wrong on your boat, do you have the resources and the knowledge to fix it before you get into trouble? An onboard floating reference library of how-to books on the basics of seamanship and marine repair will give you that knowledge you need.   I know space is at a premium […]

Tyranny of Timidity of the Tiller

Tyranny of Timidity of the Tiller

October 1, 2016 by · Leave a Comment 

I used to glance at the flag flying off my front porch as a sign of whether the sailing gods were going to smile on me before a cruise. Never mind that the day dawned sunny with blue sky and lots of fluffy white clouds — what was the message from Old Glory? If the […]

Nature Strikes!  Avoid Close Encounters on Water and Shore

Nature Strikes! Avoid Close Encounters on Water and Shore

August 1, 2016 by · Leave a Comment 

Boaters flock to the waters, relaxing as they go. While the usual safety warnings are never far from their minds, most boaters don’t think about some dangers lurking in protected bays and coves and within pristine beaches and parks. The menaces are the multitude of wildlife and vegetation in the waters and along the shores […]

Law Enforcement on the Water

Law Enforcement on the Water

August 1, 2016 by · Leave a Comment 

Have you ever had an encounter with marine law enforcement? Depending upon the circumstances, the meeting can be either a life-saving experience or a nautical humiliation. The good news is that there are men and women at the ready to engage in search and rescue missions, protecting lives and saving vessels. These first responders react […]

Smart Tips to Sell Your Boat

Smart Tips to Sell Your Boat

August 1, 2016 by · Leave a Comment 

Selling a boat on your own takes both luck and preparation. I’ve compiled a list of tips for you to follow; do the legwork, make the right moves, and you’ll be in position to enhance a quick sale. Survey your vessel. Unless you are selling your vessel “as is” (seen by some buyers as a […]

The Last Sail

The Last Sail

July 1, 2016 by · Leave a Comment 

It was a match made in marine heaven. He wooed her on a cruise to Maine and for the next 25 years they sailed every weekend from early spring until late fall. “We have explored every harbor, gunk hole, and sand bar on Long Island,” says Caroline (we’re using first names only here). They signed […]

Going Aground

Going Aground

June 1, 2016 by · Leave a Comment 

Crunch! You have just run aground. You feel embarrassed to do so in view of your family and friends, and your ego is dinged. Welcome to the club — you’re not really a true boater until you have experienced a scraping. What distinguishes an old salt from a newbie is what you do to minimize […]

Next Page »