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Challenge to E-15 approval dismissed

Date Reported: Oct 23, 2014

Reported by: Mike Ahart, News Editor


The National Marine Manufacturers Association, other marine interests and the petroleum industry lost its latest fight Tuesday. They have been challenging the approval of E15 (gasoline with 15% ethanol) as a standard at gasoline pumps across the country. Their latest appeal was dismissed, according to an American Ag Network article, which is decidedly pro-ethanol:

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia dismissed a lawsuit Tuesday challenging the EPA’s approval of E15. The suit, brought by anti-ethanol groups, was dismissed on the grounds that none of the petitioners had standing to bring the action.

The suit alleged that 15 percent ethanol blends harm engines and push up the price of both food and gasoline. While much data to the contrary exists, the lack of subject matter jurisdiction ensured the claim did not proceed...

As part of the Renewable Fuel Standard, E15 was introduced; however, studies have shown "serious and well-documented human safety, environmental, and technology concerns associated with ethanol blends over 10 percent in recreational boat fuel tanks and engines," according to the NMMA website. The fuel currently stocked at the majority of our nation’s gas pumps is E10 (10% ethanol), which has been reported to cause issues in marine engines, especially when not used soon after purchase without adding a stabilizer.

"Non-Ethanol" gasoline is becoming more available in some areas, but illegal to sell in some states.

Read American Ag Network article: U.S. Court of Appeals dismisses lawsuit challenging EPA approval of E15.

Source: American Ag Network, NMMA

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Partial solar eclipse late this afternoon

Date Reported: Oct 23, 2014

Reported by: Mike Ahart, News Editor

eclipse-map-NASA.gifFor most of the Waterway Guide coverage area, a partial solar eclipse would be visible late this afternoon – that is, if the clouds decide to cooperate. The eclipse will happen near sunset for most of the Eastern US, but too late for most of New England.

Even though it's just a partial eclipse, remember: Do not look direcly at any solar eclipse. You'll want special glasses or filters, or by projectiing the image through a pinhole and watching the projection. See the NASA article, How to Safely Watch the Oct. 23 Partial Solar Eclipse, for much more information and ideas on how to safely view a solar eclipse. 

What time will the eclipse happen in your area? Consult NASA's pdf list of times, or check out the very cool widget to the left (image credit: NASA/Sinclair).

Or you can watch live, safe-to-view coverage on the internet from the Slooh Community Observatory website.

See more information at the NASA-Goddard site.


Source: NASA

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Oh #!*&@! We’ve run aground!

Date Reported: Oct 22, 2014

Mile: 0.0

Reported by: Scott Zeien


Sooner or later, if you use your boat, you will have an unexpected encounter with the bottom. Just knowing that it happens to everyone can help, preventing you from doing something rash to save face in the heat of the moment. So, after the intial “Oh #!*&@!” what should you do?

  • Don’t panic. Check if anyone has been injured, and then check for damage to the hull, especially taking on water. Whether you’re freed quickly or not, anytime your boat bumps bottom, check the bilge for rising water. Inspect rudder and shaft stuffing boxes, and on sailboats, the keel bolts. If the boat is leaking badly, man the pumps and call for assistance immediately. Even if the bilge seems dry initially, keep checking periodically to make certain it’s still dry.
  • Determine exactly what you’re aground on – sand, mud, rocks, coral, etc. – and where deeper water might be.
  • Check the tide tables to determine the next high tide.
  • Don’t attempt to back off without assessing the situation thoroughly. Accelerating in reverse could cause more damage and put you harder aground. The boat’s engine gets its cooling water from somewhere under the boat, and if it sucks up enough mud or sand, the engine could be ruined. This could also damage or tear off the boat’s running gear. Shut the engine down until you’ve ascertained how far the intake is from the bottom.
  • If you were moving slowly when you grounded and hull damage looks to be minimal, you may be able to simply back off by shifting the weight farthest from the point of impact and using an oar or boat hook to push off. As you start to move, be sure to check once again to make sure you are not taking on water from a hole caused by the grounding.
  • Try to reduce draft by emptying water tanks, moving heavy gear into a dinghy, or having passengers go over the side to push the boat into deeper water. If backing off is not a viable option or if it doesn’t work, you could consider using a kedge anchor to kedge off. You do this by pulling or winching in on the anchor line that you’ve set astern of the boat.
  • If you’re hard aground, set an anchor toward the wind and waves and as far from the boat as you can – using a dinghy, if you have one – to keep the boat from being pushed farther aground with the rising tide.
  • If you’ve sustained serious damage or injuries, contact the U.S. Coast Guard and other boats in the area immediately over the VHS-FM Channel 16 of your marine radio.

This is an excerpt from the Boating Tips blog from Kingman Yacht Center, Cape Cod's largest full-service marina, nestled in scenic, sheltered Red Brook Harbor on the eastern shore of Buzzards Bay. See location on the Waterway Guide Planner Chart. See Marina Close-Up for Kingman Yacht Center.

Source: Kingman Yacht Center

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True or False? Take the Boat Winterizing Quiz

Date Reported: Oct 22, 2014

Reported by: Mike Ahart, News Editor

BoatUS-Winterizing.jpgI sure hope you're cruising south to stay comfortable, but if you aren't and need to winterize her (like me), you should probably take this quiz, courtesy of BoatUS:

You’re putting the boat away for winter. So what half-truth, wive’s tale or tall story have you heard about winterizing a recreational boat? Boat Owners Association of The United States (BoatUS) helps to set the record straight.

Ethanol (E10) fuel and engines: If a boat has a built-in gas tank, it’s recommended to leave the tank as full as possible over the winter with a smidgen of room for fuel expansion.

TRUE: Leaving the tank nearly full limits the amount of moisture that can potentially condense inside on the tank’s walls as outside temperatures fluctuate, preventing phase separation of ethanol (E10) fuel. Note one caveat: If your boat is stored in a rack system or indoor storage, check with the marina. They may require you to empty the tank to minimize the risk of fire. TIP: Never plug a fuel vent. Ever.

Ethanol and phase separation: Come springtime, any phase-separated gasoline in the tank can be fixed by adding a fuel stabilizer or additive.

FALSE: Once gasoline phase separates, that’s it. Kaput. End of story. The only solution is to have a pro remove the contaminated fuel and water mixture and start anew -- a difficult, hazardous and costly task for boats with built-in fuel tanks. However, it’s critical to use a fuel stabilizer each fall to help keep fuel fresh over the winter, keep corrosion at bay and to help prevent the onset of phase separation. TIP: Put the stabilizer in before you nearly fill the tank for its long winter nap. This will allow stabilizer to fully course through the fuel system as you run the engine when filling with anti-freeze.

Freeze damage: Because it’s cold up there, BoatUS insurance claims for engine block freezing come from northern climates.

FALSE: While there are quite a few claims from the colder climates, many boat insurance freeze damage claims also come from southern, temperate states hit by an unexpected freeze or when space heaters fail due to sudden storm power loss. In the northern climes, storm power outages also are to blame for engine block freeze related claims, however, both areas of the country have their fair share of winter freeze claims due to one reason: the failure to follow winterizing procedures. TIP: Don’t let your buddy do the job – it’s a common refrain BoatUS claims staff hears every spring after a cracked block is discovered. Having your marina winterize your boat and systems may offer better protection if there is an issue come springtime. Another option is adding ice and freeze insurance to your boat insurance – most insurers do not charge much for it, but there are deadlines to purchase (BoatUS offers it for as little as $25 to its insured members until October 30). 

Space Heaters: It’s okay to “winterize” the boat by leaving a space heater running onboard.

FALSE: In addition to the sudden power outage problem, every winter BoatUS sees fires from heaters, plugs and cords, and from heaters that were left running on unattended boats. Unless you live in Hawaii or the Florida Keys, BoatUS recommends winterizing your engine if you will be laying up the boat for even a few weeks to lessen the chances of sudden freeze damage. TIP: Save time and make winterizing easier by installing an engine flushing system -- typically a simple valve with a connection for a garden hose along with an anti-freeze pick-up hose/strainer -- on your engine.

About BoatUS:

Boat Owners Association of The United States (BoatUS.com) is the nation’s leading advocate for recreational boaters providing its over half-million members with government representation, services such as 24-hour dispatch, on water boat towing as well as roadside assistance for boat trailers and tow vehicles, feature-packed boat insurance programs, money-saving benefits including marina and service discounts, and vital information that improves recreational boating. Its member-funded BoatUS Foundation is a national leader promoting safe, clean and responsible boating and offers range of boating safety courses – including 33 free state courses – that can be found at BoatUS.org/courses.

Source: BoatUS

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2014 Best Marina Contest winners

Date Reported: Oct 22, 2014

Reported by: Mike Ahart, News Editor

The winners of the 5th Annual Marinalife 2014 Best Marina Contest are....

Nantucket Boat Basin in Nantucket MA, for winning Best Transient Marina.

Haven Harbour Marina in Rock Hall MD, voted Best Customer Service Marina.

Congratulations to you and your crews!

From a press release:

Nantucket-Boat-Basin.jpgVoted Best Transient Marina 2014, Nantucket Boat Basin in Massachusetts goes the extra step to welcome boaters with complimentary pre-arrival concierge services, pump-out at slip, Wi-Fi, welcome bag and also pet and kids amenities. The 240-slip full-service marina caters to the boater and is just two blocks from Nantucket Center, a historic and charming seaport with unique shops, galleries and fantastic restaurants.

“We are ecstatic to be voted the Best Transient Marina. Our staff takes pride in working every day to exceed our guests’ expectations and ensure their stay with us is second to none. We appreciate our customers’ support and thank them and Marinalife for this great recognition. It is an amazing honor and we look forward to hosting our guests again next season,” said Christina Martin, Director of Marina Operations, Nantucket Boat Basin.

See the Marina Close-Up for Nantucket Boat Basin. See location on the Waterway Guide Planner Chart.

Tucked into the protected cove of The Haven on beautiful Swan Creek, Haven Harbour Marina is a complete yachting center and full service boatyard for those who want a family-oriented marina, resort amenities and transient dockage. Voted Best Customer Service Marina, The owner and staff strive for perfection, anticipating all your needs by creating an environment to make your boating a pleasurable experience.

“At Haven Harbour Marina we strive daily to make every customer’s experience a positive one,” says Woody Loller, General Manager. “We are very honored to receive this award and wish to thank all of our customers for their support.”

See location on the Waterway Guide Planner Chart.

Congratulations to Newport Marina in Newport, RI who came in a close as the runner-up for Best Customer Service Marina. Harbour Town Yacht Basin in Hilton Head, SC and Pink Shell Beach Resort & Marina in Fort Myers Beach, FL tied as the runner-up marinas for Best Transient Marina 2014.

Source: MarinaLife

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Photo essay: Cored composite - its strengths and weaknesses

Date Reported: Oct 22, 2014

Reported by: Steve D'Antonio


Look around any boat yard, boat show or marina and you'll see acres of shiny gelcoat, beneath which lies glass fiber reinforced plastic, otherwise known as fiberglass. In most cases, primarily for cabins and decks as well on some hulls, beneath that you'll find a core material sandwiched between still more fiberglass. This construction technique, referred to as cored composite, and first used in aircraft production during WWII, which included the famed British Mosquito fighter bomber, and the American PBY flying boat, revolutionized boat building, while making boat ownership more affordable and more practical, as owners no longer needed to be shipwrights to maintain their vessels.

For all its value, it's extremely stiff and strong for its weight; cored composite construction suffers from one, sometimes fatal, weakness: water intrusion. Depending on the material, it may be end grain balsa wood or...

To view the remainder of this post, please follow this link:


This is an excerpt from Steve D' Antonio's "Marine Systems Excellence" blog. With nearly 25 years of experience as a marine mechanic, electrician, consultant and boatyard manager, Steve ranks as one of the most knowledgeable boating experts in the country. His ability to explain highly technical information on a wide array of boating topics in a clear, easy to read and easy to use manner has made him one of the most widely read boating writers and lecturers today. Steve's commitment is to strive to improve the safety and reliability of boating products while increasing the confidence and enjoyment boat owners. In short, Steve strives to help bring the fun back to searching for, building, maintaining, repairing and owning a boat. Text and photos by Steve D'Antonio - © 2014

Visit Steve's website for more information.

Source: Contributing Professional

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Tropical update - Tropical Depression 9

Date Reported: Oct 22, 2014

Mile: 0.0

Reported by: Mark Malsick


Editor's Note: Although Mr. Malsick provides his updates primarily for South Carolina, his witty prognostications often apply to all of the East Coast, Gulf Coast, and Bahamas. Some models show this storm could affect South Florida next week, although it also looks like it is falling apart – so stay tuned!

Good Morning,

The National Hurricane Center began issuing advisories on Tropical Depression Nine late last night. TD 9 is just west of the Yucatan Peninsula over the Bay of Campeche. Good luck trying to find a center of circulation in that mess. More importantly, TD 9 is 1144 miles southwest of Beaufort SC tracking east at 5-6 mph. There is a brief window today in which TD 9 could be upgraded to a tropical storm.  Shear and interaction with land as the storm tracks over the Yucatan will limit any significant intensification.

Models are in decent agreement with TD 9 making a slow eastward slog into the western Caribbean. Given the  sub-tropical jet streak aloft and the strong ridge of high pressure over the eastern US, the model(s) solution(s) passes the initial sanity check and keeps the tape off our windows. The models (ECMWF, GFS, Navy GEM) hint at TD 9 or remnants of TD 9 re-firing over the warm waters of the western Caribbean after a 120 hour soak, then tracking the storm north through the Yucatan Channel into the GoMex next week. That solution may be carved in Jello; yet the Prudent Mariner abides by the weatherglass.

Mark Malsick
Severe Weather Liaison
South Carolina Department of Natural Resources
State Climate Office
1000 Assembly Street Columbia, SC 29202

Source: South Carolina Department of Natural Resources

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New Waterway Guide 2015 Editions available

Date Reported: Oct 21, 2014

Reported by: Mike Ahart, News Editor


DELTAVILLE, VA – October 21, 2014 –Waterway Guide Media, LLC announces the release of four newly updated 2015 editions of the Waterway Guide: Bahamas, Southern, Atlantic ICW and Chesapeake Bay. Updated annually by on-the-water cruising editors and office staff, these resources are the indispensable cruising companions for boaters exploring the Bahamas as far south as the Turks & Caicos to Cape May, NJ, on the northern Chesapeake Bay, and include the Gulf Coast to South Padre Island, TX.

Each guide features mile-by-mile navigation information, aerial photography with marked routes, marina listings and locater charts, anchorage information and expanded "Goin' Ashore" articles on ports along the way. Helpful cruising data like GPS waypoints, detailed planning maps, distance charts and tide and bridge tables help get cruisers reach their destinations safely. Flexible spiral binding and heavy laminated covers with bookmarker flaps ensure durability and easy use in the cockpit and at the helm. The Waterway Guide is updated daily at www.waterwayguide.com. While on the website, check out all the latest cruising news, navigational updates, fuel reports and other such resources.

The 2015 editions of the Waterway Guide have been expanded to include hundreds of anchorages, which are shown on the charts and described in the text. The “Skippers Handbook” section has been streamlined and features added, including an article on Automatic Identification Systems and an updated guide to nautical charts. There are more “Goin’ Ashore” sections, offering quick-read features on ports and towns cruisers visit along the way. And, of course, the content has also been updated to reflect changes to the over 3600 marine facilities in our database.

“Perhaps the biggest change from 2014 is the Bahamas edition,” states Jeff Jones, President of Waterway Guide Media, LLC and Publisher of Waterway Guide. “The Goin’ Ashores have been streamlined so cruisers can quickly find the information they need. Our focus this year is quick and easy access, whether looking at a print guide or our developing comprehensive web site. Stay tuned for some exciting changes.”

The Northern and Great Lakes 2015 editions will be available in the spring. Retailing for $39.95, the guides are available from the Waterway Guide web site at www.waterwayguide.com and from marine stores and booksellers in the Bahamas, up and down the Atlantic and Gulf Coasts and along the Great Lakes.

Source: WG Staff

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Fred Wehner wins Skipper Bob Award

Date Reported: Oct 21, 2014

Reported by: Mike Ahart, News Editor

Fred-Wehner-Skipper-Bob-Award.jpgFred Wehner is this year's winner of the "Skipper Bob Award for Making it Better."

A long time cruiser on his beloved Tug 44, he has assisted boaters on the New York waters, particularly the New York Canal System, providing free dockage at his residence, transportation from many locations, and updates on canal status and projects.

"He sends out updates and weather reports that concern the locks and floods in the area, and keeps us all informed about changes in locking times and other things that are important for boaters," said Elaine Reib, co-founder of Skipper Bob Publications and first mate of the late Skipper Bob – Bob Reib.

A close friend of Skipper Bob, and instrumental in the start of the canal guides, Fred continues to be a contributor. Fred was Elaine Reib’s personal choice for this year's award.

Fred has documented his travels with many interesting stories and photos on his website, tug44.org.

"Thank you, Fred, for all you do and have done to help your fellow boaters throughout your boating years," said Ted Stehle during the presentation of the award at the AGLCA Fall Rendezvous, October 16, 2014, in Rogersville, AL. Stehle is the current editor of the Skipper Bob series of cruising guides.

The Skipper Bob Award, first presented in 2008, is given at the AGLCA Rendezvous to individuals who make extraordinary efforts to assist the recreational boating community, just as Skipper Bob did during his life. The award was created by his widow, Elaine Reib, with the assistance of AGLCA members Ann and Bob Levine. Each recipient is given a signal flag from a set that Skipper Bob flew from his vessel. Fred Wehner is the 14th recipient, and the last. The Skipper Bob Award has now been retired.

"I think it is fitting that Fred be the last one to receive the award, as he was the last person to be in contact with Skipper Bob before his passing," said Elaine Reib. The full list of Skipper Bob Award recipients is available at SkipperBob.net.

Congratulations, Fred – and thanks for your service to the cruising community!

Source: WG Staff

Comment submitted by Pauline Wells - Fri, Oct 24th

Fred deserves this award. We first met Fred when he went out of his way at 9pm to get us to a safe place just before Hurricane Irene hit Ft. Edward.

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Ask Steve - monohull vs. catamaran

Date Reported: Oct 16, 2014

Reported by: Steve D'Antonio

ArrowCat32.jpgHowdy Steve,

I would like your thoughts on a subject that seems to have no real answer from the manufactures.

You're a well-traveled boating person and have experienced various boat hulls in your tenure in the marine industry. Would you mind sharing your thoughts on the old debate between ' mono hulls vs. catamaran hulls '. Is cost the driving factor in the choice between the two? For my retirement I have been looking at the 26 ft. to 32 ft. length boats, as a fair weather coastal cruiser between the USA and the islands of the Bahamas.

Henry Schweinbold


Power catamarans have steadily grown in popularity and with good reason; they are stable, comfortable and uncharacteristically spacious for their length. Generally speaking, they also tend to be more fuel efficient than similar size and speed mono-hull vessels. Up to a point, they pierce through rather than ride over waves, affording them an exceptionally smooth ride in choppy conditions. Once the waves progress beyond a given point, however, where they begin to make contact with the center span, that advantage diminishes.

The primary drawbacks to power catamarans are...

To view the rest of the answer and more, please follow this link: http://www.stevedmarineconsulting.com/ask-steve-october-2014 


This is an excerpt from Steve D' Antonio's "Marine Systems Excellence" blog. With nearly 25 years of experience as a marine mechanic, electrician, consultant and boatyard manager, Steve ranks as one of the most knowledgeable boating experts in the country. His ability to explain highly technical information on a wide array of boating topics in a clear, easy to read and easy to use manner has made him one of the most widely read boating writers and lecturers today. Steve's commitment is to strive to improve the safety and reliability of boating products while increasing the confidence and enjoyment boat owners. In short, Steve strives to help bring the fun back to searching for, building, maintaining, repairing and owning a boat. Text by Steve D'Antonio - © 2014

Visit Steve's website for more information.

Source: Contributing Professional

Comment submitted by Rick Johnson - Fri, Oct 17th

As an owner of both hull types and the current owner of my third catamaran, I feel comfortable in commenting on this subject. With the extra room, economical cruising, and much more stable ride (think bad back and knees), the cat is a very viable alternative to a monohull. IN addition, catamarans usually have two engines, set wide apart, for excellent handling. My wife, dog, and I completed the Great Loop in a 26ft Glacier Bay 2690 cat. We currently own a 36ft Endeavour PowerCat. Our boat is 15ft wide, which is the width of many monohulls and easily handled by most travelifts and docked in the same slips. I would recommend a look-see to a cat before purchasing any boat.

Comment submitted by David Doyle - Thu, Oct 16th

I have owned fast mono hulls for years. We have cruised the loop, gone back to Canada for a whole summer, and spent another summer up and down the East coast in a Rinker 270 Express cruiser.
This summer after much reasearch and walking numerous marinas we bought a 34' PDQ powercat. So far all I can say is why did I wait. I was very concerned about the learning curve and still have a lot to learn, but it is scary maneuverable. So far performance has been astounding, cruise at 12 to 14 kts with barely a 4 gal per hour fuel burn. Big wide walk around decks ( the admiral loves this part) and a cabin you can almost get lost in. We see many many happy miles cruising in this boat. Engine access is easy peasy even for a big old fart like me. Catch me doing happy hour up on the spacious bridge and I'll be glad to tell you all about it.

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