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'Great Loop Experience' book published, available

Date Reported: Nov 25, 2014

Reported by: Captain George and Pat Hospodar


We are very pleased to announce that our new book, “The Great Loop Experience from Concept to Completion” (A Practical Guide for Planning, Preparing, and Executing Your Great Loop Adventure) has been recently published by Atlantic Publishing Group in Ocala, Florida.

As frequent lecturers on the subject of “The Great Loop”, in this book we address the most-frequently asked questions we have been asked by future “Loopers” at our courses and seminars. Some of its many topics include:

  • Selecting and Equipping Your Boat
  • Route Choices
  • Financial Considerations and Costs
  • Managing Your On-Board Life
  • Personal and Vessel Security
  • Customs and Border Crossings
  • Boating Protocol
  • Locking Procedures
  • Safely Negotiating the Waterways
  • Open-Water Crossings
  • Great Destinations along the way

It is a “how-to” guide which we hope will not only inform and educate our readers, but will also inspire them to confidently and knowledgeably cast off their lines and embark on their own Great Loop journey!

Both “The Great Loop Experience from Concept to Completion”, and our first book, “Reflection on America’s Great Loop”, can be ordered directly from Atlantic Publishing Group, or from Amazon or Barnes and Noble in both paperback and EBook versions on their web-sites, and, because we are proud life-time members of the AGLCA, they can also be purchased from the AGLCA bookstore.

Source: Cruising Contributor

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BoatUS President named industry woman of the year

Date Reported: Nov 25, 2014

Reported by: Mike Ahart, News Editor

Margaret-Podlich-WomanOfTheYear.jpgCongratulations, Margaret! From a BoatUS press release:

Margaret Podlich, president of the Boat Owners Association of The United States (BoatUS), the nation’s largest boat owners’ association with more than 500,000 members, was named the 2014 Darlene Briggs Woman of the Year. Podlich was honored Wednesday morning, Nov. 19, during the Marine Dealer Conference & Expo Awards Breakfast at the Rosen Centre Hotel in Orlando, Fla. The Darlene Briggs Woman of the Year Award is presented annually to an outstanding woman in the marine industry.

For the past 20 years, Podlich has served in various capacities for BoatUS, working her way up to the presidency in 2011. She began her two-decades-long career with the association back in 1994, when she was recruited by BoatUS to run its then-new, non-profit BoatUS Clean Water Trust. In 2005, Podlich was promoted to the position of vice president of government affairs. She ascended to BoatUS’ top position more than three years ago, overseeing the group’s membership activities, recruitment and retention efforts, government affairs and lobbying responsibilities, and consumer and public affairs, among other responsibilities.

Podlich is active beyond her BoatUS duties with organizations such as the Recreational Boating Leadership Council and the American Boat & Yacht Council, where she currently sits on the ABYC Board of Directors. She also served one term on the U.S. Coast Guard’s Boating Safety Advisory Council, ending in 2011.

A lifelong boater, Podlich was raised in a sailing family. After racing in college while attending Tulane University, she competed in a wide range of national and international events, including finishing fourth in the 2011 Rolex Women’s International Keelboat Regatta. In 2006, she also was a member of the three-woman Yngling Team Cronin sailing crew that competed for a place on the U.S. Olympic Sailing Team for the 2008 Beijing Summer Games.

“To be in the select group of women who have received this award before me — who build, sell, service and provide ‘homes’ to the boats that are critical to our half-million members — is very humbling,” says Podlich. “Folks like Volvo’s Marcia Kull and Grady-White Boats’ Kris Carroll have shown great leadership and prove there are successful career paths for women in recreational boating. I hope the industry recognizes that today, women play a central and growing role, and can offer a valuable perspective when it comes to increasing our customer base.”

The recipient of the Darlene Briggs Woman of the Year Award demonstrates leadership and commitment to the boating business. Recipients also must show a willingness to volunteer their time and effort in their communities and social organizations. 

The award was established in 1987 in honor of Darlene Briggs of Wayzata Marine in Wayzata, Minn., who exemplified these qualities, serving as the first retail marine saleswoman in Minnesota and the first female member of her state marine trades association. It is sponsored by the Marine Retailers Association of the Americas and Boating Industry magazine.

At the event, Boating Industry’s national sales director Kathy Johnson introduced the 2007 Darlene Briggs Award winner, Marcia Kull, vice president of Volvo Penta of the Americas, who presented the award to Podlich. Podlich received a trophy furnished by Boating Industry, which will publicize the presentation and feature Podlich in an upcoming issue of the magazine following the event.

“Margaret’s passion for boating is evident in all she pursues, and she directly translates that passion into action that ensures safe and available boating access for all boaters,” says Kull. “She promotes and protects boating on both a national and regional basis, and works with a wide variety of stakeholders to solve issues facing the boating community tirelessly and enthusiastically. She is an incredible person and thoroughly deserving of the honor of being named the Darlene Briggs Woman of the Year.”

Past recipients include: Rallee Chupich of Gordy’s Lakefront Marine; Debbie Meigs of Cobalt Boats; Jewell “Julie” Crowe of Crowe Marine; Barbara Woodard of Woodard Marine; Nancy Smith of Colorado Boat Center; Ann Baldree of Marine Products Corp.; Marcia Kull of Volvo Penta; Joan Maxwell of Regulator Marine Inc.; Kris Carroll of Grady-White Boats; Lynn Fiorenzano of Silver Spring Marine; and Maureen Dickson of Cap Sante Marine. 

For more information, contact Liz Walz at 315-692-4533 or liz@mraa.com.

Source: BoatUS

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EPA delays decision on ethanol standards

Date Reported: Nov 25, 2014

Reported by: Mike Ahart, News Editor

BoatUS-Govt.jpgOur thanks to BoatUS for being a leading advocate for boaters and cruisers. Here's its latest report on "ethanol" legislation:

Ensuring a safe fuel supply for America’s 12 million registered boat owners may have to wait, said Boat Owners Association of The United States (BoatUS) after the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced today that the agency will further delay the final rule on how much ethanol refiners must blend into the nation’s gasoline supply under the federal Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS). After almost a year of review, the 2014 Renewable Volume Obligations (RVOs), which dictate ethanol levels, are now not set to be released until 2015. 

BoatUS testified before the EPA on the proposed rule in November of 2013, which for the first time would have lowered the amount of mandated ethanol in gasoline and aligned the law with current gasoline usage. BoatUS supported this move that would have held gasoline/ethanol blends to a safe level for boats and small engines. Currently there is not a single marine engine warrantied to run on any fuel containing over 10% ethanol and this fuel is not authorized for use in recreational vessels. However, the national boat owners group has concerns over misfueling and poor pump labeling. Many boat owners trailer their vessels and refuel at roadside gas stations, filling up both the tow vehicle and boat at the same time. 

“There is solid scientific data that supports levels of ethanol in gasoline over 10% damage marine engines,” said BoatUS Government Affairs Program Manager Nicole Palya Wood. “The EPA’s failure to efficiently administer this program, utilize its waiver authority and set standards that provide protections for consumers sends a clear message that congress must act now to reform the RFS. We were hoping the EPA would utilize their waiver authority to ease the pressure on the nation’s fuel supply with regard to ethanol. Now, with their failure to act, it’s even more critical we work for a Congressional legislative fix which would bring the investment in safer, more compatible renewable fuels, which was what the RFS originally intended,” added Wood. 

The refiners and obligated parties under the RFS will be held to comply with 2013 mandates until the EPA issues the final rule in 2015. Today’s announcement comes on the eve of the 90-day comment period expiration for the final rule.

A Federal Register Notice by the EPA can be found at http://goo.gl/MwqSbx. A BoatUS issue brief on the RFS can be found at http://goo.gl/0HFfRo.

See the BoatUS press release: EPA Punts on Renewable Fuel Standard.

Source: BoatUS

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Cold-weather boating in safety and comfort

Date Reported: Nov 25, 2014

Reported by: Captain BullDog Thal

Bull-Dog-Immersion-Suit.jpgWe are entering the winter boating season which for us in the cold Northeast means ‘cold’  – I mean bone-chilling, damp-penetrating cold that once it gets into your system you just can’t get rid of it – sailboat-exposed-cold.

Below are just but a few of the cold weather suits that are available on the market. They include names like Mustang. Musto, Helly Hansen, First Watch, Henri Lloyd, and Gill, to name a few. As a firefighter and first responder as well as a professional ship’s captain, I have had the occasion to wear many of them over a protracted period of time doing a myriad of chores. I will tell you that some are limited and most become very uncomfortable over time.

Even with water temperatures of 70 degrees Fahrenheit, which of course is rare in the Northeast, water immersion of more than two hours becomes problematic. See the chart below.

Hypothermia-BullDog.jpgI have the luxury of visiting Landfall Navigation to try on most of my gear before I buy it, since it is close by my homeport in Stamford, Connecticut. It's a major outfitter both locally and on the internet for serious offshore sailors. I also own and wear much of my exposure gear with the fire department on calls and training.

This is what I have found: The drysuits and wetsuits that we use for swift water and cold water rescue are expensive ranging from $600 to $1,200 and they tend to be restrictive. When I am up and about sailing into frigid headwinds on boat deliveries to cold ports, I have no choice but to be exposed to the spray and cold water – damn if I don’t want my crew and myself to be comfortable and flexible to do chores, both on deck and below in the engine room and cramped quarters. Most high-end foul weather gear with full uppers and lowers that do allow flexibility will be in the $500 to $800 range and may be fine for 70 degree Fahrenheit weather, but becomes a little thin when the temperature starts dipping in the 40’s. The season has much to do with your ability to tolerate dropping temperatures. For example, a 50-degree day in September where the water is still in the 60’s is much more comfortable than a 50-degree day in March or April where the water temperature is still in the low 40’s. Even if you layer up with a good fisherman’s woolen sweater and Hot Chillys long underwear the foul weather gear may not be enough to stave off the cold. You also need the ability to put on a harness and hank on to safety lines or jack lines when performing work forward on deck.

First-Watch-Suit.jpgThal-Ice.jpgThe truest comfort, mobility and warmth comes from something in the trade called “Anti-Exposure Suits,” largely developed under ANSI and Coast Guard standards for commercial use on or around vessels or offshore oil rigs. They allow comfort for protracted work hours and mobility to perform chores, keeping the wearer warm and dry and most importantly safe – and they are ideal for us cold-water delivery captains and crew. Best of all, they tend to range in price of around $350 to $425 – certainly affordable for the average boater – and provide the added benefit of USCG Class V PFD flotation. The Big Old Captain Bull Dog, after trying on the various anti-exposure work suits, decided on the First Watch over the Mustang principally for its ample fit, and preferred the bright yellow-green color over the Mustang orange, black or red. It seems that a couple of engineers from Mustang left and went on their own to produce a superior product, at least for me – but you really have to try them on for yourself.

Captain "Bull Dog" Thal
Professional US M-M Master Captain
Pro Captains Delivery Service
Entire East Coast from Fla. to the Great lakes
Sail or Power
cell: (203) 550 1067
email: s.thal@snet.net

Source: Contributing Professional

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Has ethanol ruined your day on the water?

Date Reported: Nov 23, 2014

Reported by: Mike Ahart, News Editor


The National Boating Federation wants to know, according to a press release:

The National Boating Federation would like to compile YOUR information related to any incident you may have had that can be documented as being influenced by ethanol.

The attached form asks you to insert a short capture of the situation you have experienced. Should you need more than the box provided for such comment, please use another blank paper to continue. The reason is: We need your signature and contact information on the first page, with the beginning of the comments. Please, also, sign the last page of the comments you provide, if there are more than the one page.

Supporting documentation is encouraged to be included in your submittal. This can include pictures, assessments from professionals, repair bills that show the name of the business, the actual repairs being assessed and/or made, and the final charge.

Where possible, please also include the percentage of ethanol involved in the damage. Currently, there is as much as E85 available in some areas. We must know whether this E85, as the most ethanol content fuel available, or E10, the most dominant form being sold today, is the blend that caused your failure.

We encourage this form be passed to your friends and family, and ask them to do the same. We are NOT limiting this to boats! If you have an automobile, a lawn mower, or even a chain saw that was damaged by ethanol, wherein there is documentation to support the claim, we would like to know about it.

Our mission in this situation is not to get you reimbursement! We are compiling information of "harmed" individuals in order to launch this campaign against the current "Renewable Fuel Standards". Today, we see 10% to 15% ethanol impregnation in our daily fuel supplies, but that could increase with the way these standards are currently written.

As stated on the submittal form, please provide the information to: Ed Payne at email address: nbfsec14@hotmail.com

For those who have issues with scanning their document information, please make copies and mail to: National Boating Federation, P.O. Box 4111, Annapolis, MD 21403-4111. If doing this, PLEASE email to the above address anything you can, such as the form included here, as the priority communication.

We thank you, in advance, for providing your information!

Source: National Boating Federation

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Anchoring in Florida - Your input is needed!

Date Reported: Nov 22, 2014

Reported by: Mike Ahart, News Editor

The long-awaited Florida Anchoring Survey has arrived, and your comments may be very important in determining the future of cruising in Florida – and possibly beyond. The survey link is available at the end of this article. The survey will "close" December 7, 2014 at 11:59 p.m. – I strongly urge all cruising boaters to invest the time to complete the survey.

FWC-MikeA-setback-comparision.jpgWhat is at stake for cruisers? 

The outcome of new Florida legislation expected in May 2015 may hamper the ability for a captain (you) to safely anchor your vessel without undue scrutiny from unqualified persons. Proposed "setback distances from waterfront residential property" could effectively close many of the anchorages in Florida we rely on. Even a minimal setback of 50 or 100 feet, while certainly a reasonable and prudent distance, would create an environment of confusion and animosity for boaters and homeowners – and likely an increased burden on law enforcement.

Why is new legislation being proposed now – was this not the purpose of the Anchoring & Mooring Pilot Program?

The extension of the Pilot Program to July 2017 did not satisfy certain municipalities that are under increased pressure from homeowners to "do something about these boats" anchored near their waterfront homes. Common complaints include derelict boats – both stored and lived upon, and non-derelict boats at anchor, stored or attended. Some of the loudest voices come from waterfront homeowners who don't want people they don't know "living" in the waters adjacent to their property – or as many of them put it – "in my backyard."

A major problem with some of the concepts for legislation you will find in this survey is that the stated issues cannot be solved without severely hampering navigation rights for considerate, law-abiding cruisers. Perceived "privacy issues" will not be satisfied by 100 or 200 feet of setback. "Fear of damage to property" will not be allayed by a 150-foot buffer zone.

Why can't they regulate derelict, stored, and live-aboard boats, letting cruisers navigate and anchor freely?

Legal or not, many municipalities in the past had created ordinances limiting anchoring to one week, 72-, 48-, or even 24-hours. The ensuing litigation basically threw out the idea that any ordinance could include time limits for anchoring. You will notice that this concept is not included in this survey – only time limits for boats "stored" at anchor.

Although some homeowners have clearly stated that they do not want any boats anchored near their homes, even for one night, most have reasonable concerns: 

  • Derelict boats that could sink or break free
  • Party boaters making noise into the wee hours
  • Live-aboards – legally or practically – parked for weeks or months just a few hundred feet from their homes on junky, cluttered, unattractive vessels
  • Other inconsiderate boaters – running generators all night, showering naked in the cockpit, etc...

Derelict and stored boats are addressed specifically in the concepts; however, a distinction is not made between typical cruising boats and those that tend to "park" for weeks or months. (The latter are boaters with rights, too – and I don't mean to throw them "under the bus"...or "under the boat" – or in other words, "keel-haul" them as a group – many of them are fine citizens of their communities – but as a representative of cruisers and the lifestyle of cruising, I've got to pick my battles.)

But cruisers won't really be affected as long as the "safe harbor" requirements are protected...right?

Wrong. If anchoring in a certain location invites the scrutiny and hassle from homeowners and law enforcement, a skipper may be more likely to settle for alternatives that afford less safety and comfort.

I see how a residential setback could really limit my options, but doesn't a marine infrastructure setback make sense?

Yes, and no. Marine infrastructure is typically managed by people who understand navigational needs, including anchoring, and who can reasonably judge whether a vessel poses a hazard or impediment to other vessels. A setback amount might be helpful, but a single setback standard cannot cover every situation, which is probably why the current law doesn't include numbers. For example, a busy boat ramp or a mega-yacht marina might require 150 feet or more of buffer for safe, unimpeded use, whereas a small marina or day-dock might require less than 50 feet. Curiously, the concept in the survey includes an exemption for vessels anchored for four hours or less while actively tending fishing gear – if the purpose of the setback is for safe, unimpeded operation, why would it include this exemption? 

Don't we all just want consistency of the rules across the state (or the country, for that matter)?

This point has been played up, even by some of cruisers' best advocates. I say, "be careful what you wish for." Spend a little time online or in your log books and think about where you anchor. Most of us like to have as much space as possible between us and other boats and shorelines; however, "protection" from storms or high winds often means tucking in to smaller coves and basins (and in many areas of Florida, nearly all of the anchorages are small coves and basins). Consistent regulation throughout the state may result in anchoring restrictions even where municipalities and citizens have no issues. If legislation gets put into place, let each county or city decide whether it wants to project itself as cruiser-friendly or not.

As for the other concepts, any laws that can help rid the waterways of derelict boats, protect the waters from pollution, and keep boating safe and accessible will be welcomed by prudent, considerate, "clean wake" cruisers.

The survey is "live" – thank you for making your voice heard. (Note: The fields that say they have a limit of characters do NOT limit your typing. I don't know if it's just a "suggestion" to keep comments reasonably short or whether they will be truncated or ignored.)

From the Florida Fish & Wildlife Conservation Commission:

This message is your invitation to contribute your thoughts on this subject through an online survey FWC has developed in response to feedback received at three prior public meetings this year. This survey has crucial explanatory language in the form of a video and audio messages (text options are available). To minimize the risk of confusion please listen to the messages in their entirety. Immediately following each video or audio message are questions specifically related to the information contained in that message. It is our desire to obtain the most widespread response possible from all parties with an interest in this subject. Thank you for your time and interest in completing this survey.

The survey may be accessed at this site:https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/AnchoringSurvey

Source: WG Staff, FWC

Comment submitted by Allan Horton - Tue, Nov 25th

I've cruised the Florida West Coast for 73 years (since my 4th birthday aboard) and always anchored with respect for waterfront landowners' properties (of which I was one until three years ago). I've seen abusive behavior on both sides of the shoreline, but adamantly oppose any change to federal navigation rights to extend property ownership privileges into public waters.

All that really is needed is mandatory boater education that emphasizes courtesy.

Comment submitted by Jack - Tue, Nov 25th

Water Front Property owners own the property not the water. That's public property,whats going on here is the top 2% talking to their top 2% buddies in the state legislature asking to grant them special rights they don't have and should not be given. Dealing with derelict boats is a different issue, that needs work and a solution. Derelict boats can be a hazard to navigation and the health of the waterways and estuaries.

Comment submitted by jim - Mon, Nov 24th

Some of the loudest voices come from waterfront homeowners who don't want people they don't know "living" in the waters adjacent to their property – or as many of them put it – "in my backyard." Move to Arizona -- NO BOATS or WATER to SHARE

Comment submitted by Glenn Parker - Sun, Nov 23rd

I think most of us agree that abandoned and derelict vessels are a problem for both waterfront property owners and boaters alike. However, new restrictions on legitimate anchoring will not solve this problem and will unnecessarily restrict freedom of the public waterways. Every problem, whether real or perceived, does not need a new law.

Comment submitted by Clay Showen - Sun, Nov 23rd

I agree that there are many boat bums on the water, anchoring for extended periods and using faculties that they have not paid for or deserve. These should be prosecuted as nuisances and thieves and there are probably statues that already cover this. When a person buys property on the water, they get a mixed bag. They must share their water front with boaters but they also get a nice view. Many now want it all, nice view but no sharing. They knew the trades when they bought and accepted them. Let existing statutes take care of problem boaters and hold the arrogant home owners at bay. No changes needed.

Comment submitted by Kurrt - Sun, Nov 23rd

Money and Noise are ALWAYS successful. Just look ay all kinds of legislation federal, state and local that are poorly written and now THE LAW just because the money or niose makers suceed . . I agree with those that do not want ugly, derelect, or messy boats in their "back yard" but they do not own the water. Which by the way I see as our right to use just as guns are a right to own. . SO do the right thing and rid the waterways of the offensive vessels. amd leave the real cruisers a lone, unlike gun laws which have become very resterictive. Where and when have criminals or crazies followed any law. As to the prior analogy, what makes legislators think new laws will keep a squatter, low life or derelect boat owner away from their shores. "SO areste me- I get 3 hot meals, a warm room on land, hot and cold running water ade if there long enough, medical and dental care AND IT IS ALL FREE.

Comment submitted by Bill F. - Sun, Nov 23rd

I heartily agree with comment by Thomas Kjerulff QMCS USCG ret. After a rough sailing overnighter from Key West or other port, a sailor needs a rest and some sleep in a safe, quiet anchorage. Fatigue leads to errors, maybe life threatening. Laws that would prevent a traveler from resting must not be enacted. Most sailors are responsible and courteous people.

Comment submitted by Capt. Dick de Grasse - Sun, Nov 23rd

I own waterfront property and boaters -mostly cruisers- frequently anchor out front. I've always believed my rights stop at the low water line. Sure, occasionally noise or derelict boat problems occur. They soon go away. I'm a USCG licensed skipper and a frequent cruiser. We must not let selfish waterfront property owners dictate the use of our public waterways.

Comment submitted by Bill Storm - Sat, Nov 22nd

We must consider the fact that waterfront property owners own only the space to the mean low water mark. Space beyond that is federally controlled national property and should be legislated as such.

Comment submitted by Emerson White - Sat, Nov 22nd

Aren't "Public Waterways" supposed to be just that, available to the public? They are not for the private use of the landowners fronting those waterways. They are & should be for the unregulated use of fishermen, cruisers, water sports enthusiasts, kayakers, any & all water lovers. Has Florida lost site of how important the public waterways are to it's economy?

Comment submitted by John Kettlewell - Sat, Nov 22nd

Where are the documented facts that there are significant problems that must be addressed with new laws and regulations? These ideas are basically a license for local law enforcement to hassle cruisers enough to make them move on. How would the measurements be made and by whom? How do you measure a swinging circle accurately? Personally, I'd rather see time limits and then move on. It would get rid of the true derelicts, and would have minimal impact on most cruisers if the limit was maybe 2 weeks or a month. Doesn't really impact navigation. Make an exception for bad weather or emergency. Easy to measure and easy to comply with.

Comment submitted by Roger Shulzinsky - Sat, Nov 22nd

Because someone owns a waterfront home does not give them right to that water and 150 feet out from their property line. Their right to have access to 150 feet out in the water is as ridiculous as having 150 feet of their rights on their neighbors property on each side. Public waterways are for the public and for someone to anchor there or to fish is a right but below the high water line and stay off of their property and respect the homeowners property. There are plenty of laws that are very clear about trespassing on someone\'s property. A boat that is not current registered or that is unsafe should be the responsibility of law-enforcement to enforce the laws for that boat.

Comment submitted by G Price - Sat, Nov 22nd

You don't pay water front property tax so get the hell out of my backyard. I've had 17 years of idiots, load and obnoxious morons, and extremely few responsible cruisers looking for a night's anchorage. God forbid you'd spend a little money and patronize a local marina when in an urban environment.

Comment submitted by S. H. Melfi - Sat, Nov 22nd

The only restriction to anchoring is that the anchored boat should not interfere with other boat traffic. If you want to prevent liveaboards and derelict boats from anchoring then laws/rules should be developed for that purpose. Please don't restrict anchoring for cruising boats.

Comment submitted by Thomas Kjerulff QMCS USCG ret - Sat, Nov 22nd

Restricting anchoring by arbitrarily establishing setbacks will create situations where transiting vessels will not be able to safely anchor at night. Skippers will be forced to run the ditch at night or anchoring close or in the channel thus creating a hazardous situation. I spent 22 years in the Coast Guard maintaining aids to navigation on the ICW in Florida, coordinating search and rescue ops as well as other duties as assigned. Now that I am retired I want to be able to cruise and enjoy the waterways I helped maintain. I am incensed that a handful of wealthy waterfront owners want to control the federally maintained waterways for thier benefit alone. I did not bust my ass on numerous buoy tenders just to enhance their waterfront property values. Freedom of navigation is paramount and this principle must not be infringed upon no matter what.

Comment submitted by Ed Borges - Sat, Nov 22nd

Most cruisers are retired people that have worked hard for 25 to 30 years to finally pursue their dram. I would hardly consider people like that " boat bums" I have been cruising for 2 years and though I do know of the existence of cruisers that display less than exemplary behavior I have not met one yet. Don must cruise in some really rough neighborhoods. We can't let the few spoil it for the majority of cruisers. We must fight for the right to cruise

Comment submitted by Pete Little - Sat, Nov 22nd

This not in my backyard concept by property owners is the same as the beach home owners use in trying to restrict access to public beaches, it must be stopped. Public waterways are just that, for the use of the public which includes cruisers and fishers.

Comment submitted by Tom Geren - Sat, Nov 22nd

Lecturing all about the deadbeat few isn't remotely helpful, hardly news, and really is just self-serving noise.

Let's come together here. I've been on the scene since the SHTF in Coconut Grove way back in the last century. The waterfront homeowners will fight this as long as they have leverage in their communities. We need some deep pockets to continue to press for the notion that navigable waterways are not anyone's "backyard."

Comment submitted by Gene Klinck - Sat, Nov 22nd

Like all regulation, this will be just the beginning. Once they limit cruisers from anchoring on the PUBLIC waterway, who is to say they won't be happy about fishermen. Those that fish around piers and waterfrontage from a boat, you may be next! When does it stop? The fishermen better join with the cruisers and share in this fight to stop the regulating. Isn't docking a boat or storing it on a rack over the water the same as anchoring? Will that be included in the restrictions?

Comment submitted by Don Schwarz - Sat, Nov 22nd

The "cruising community" brought this upon themselves by becoming "boat bums", expecting local communities to underwrite their vagabond lifestyles. They expect to drop the hook anywhere they please, come ashore to empty their garbage, shower in the public facility while swiping all the toilet paper and paper towels, then fill their water tanks before departing after "hanging out" the entire winter. I say this from personal observations while cruising the entire East coast for over 30 years. True, this behavior isn't displayed by ALL cruisers, but enough do it as to paint them all with the same brush.

Comment submitted by Wally Moran - Sat, Nov 22nd

Once again, we have to fight for our rights. This time, I trust that our representatives at the SSCA and Boat US will not back down on things such as setoffs, and will tell FL that we've had enough of this crap. It's been going on far too long.

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BoatsandShore.com welcomes West Marine aboard

Date Reported: Nov 20, 2014

Reported by: Mike Ahart, News Editor

Boats-and-Shore-sm.jpgThe virtual boat show and marketplace – BoatsandShore.com – is a one-stop boating advertising source with text, photos, links and YouTube Video, offering free classified listings and lots of information.

Now you can also shop – and save – at one of boatings biggest retailers, according to the website's founder, Don Douglas:

Do you shop at West Marine? 

We are excited and proud to announce that West Marine is now a featured seller on www.boatsandshore.com! Click their link from our site, and enter the coupon code WMAFF at checkout to save $15 on any purchases over $200!

Visit BoatsandShore.com for more information.

Source: BoatsandShore.com

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New web access to NOAA hydro survey plans

Date Reported: Nov 20, 2014

Reported by: Mike Ahart, News Editor


The planned hydrographic projects for the next three years are predominately off-shore, with the following exceptions:

  • The Rigolets and Chef Menteur Pass, both connecting Lake Borgne and Lake Pontchartrain near New Orleans.
  • Lower Mobile Bay and an adjoining section of the Mississippi Sound
  • Dry Tortugas and Rebecca Shoal at the western end of the Florida Keys
  • The bays at the eastern end of Long Island, NY
  • Fishers Island Sound in CT
  • Buzzards Bay, MA and areas south of Naragansett Bay
  • Several sections along the eastern coast of MA and ME

Mariners can now access an online map with NOAA's survey plans for coming years, according to a news release:

With over 3.4 million square nautical miles of U.S. waters to chart, NOAA’s Office of Coast Survey is constantly evaluating long-term hydrographic survey priorities. Now, for the first time, Coast Survey is posting its three-year survey plans and making them publicly available at the Planned NOAA Hydrographic Survey Areas (2015-2017) in ArcGIS Online. In addition to seeing the outlines of planned survey areas for the next three years, users can obtain additional metadata (project name, calendar year, and area in square nautical miles) for each survey by simply clicking on the outlines. Other features display the survey area information in a tabular format, and can filter the information using metadata fields.

The Hydrographic Survey Division is Coast Survey’s primary data acquisition arm. They plan and manage the large survey ships’ hydrographic operations. (The Navigation Services Division manages the smaller survey boats used by the navigation response teams. Their survey plans will soon be added to this webmap.)

Because of the enormity of our area of responsibility and limited resources, Coast Survey develops long-term survey priorities using a number of parameters, including navigational significance, survey vintage (when the area was last surveyed), vessel usage, and potential for unknown dangers to navigation. Coast Survey then culls the long-term priorities for annual survey plans using other factors such as urgent needs (recent grounding, accidents, etc.), compelling requests from the maritime industry and U.S. Coast Guard, traffic volume, and identified chart discrepancies.

While Coast Survey tries to consider operational constraints, ice coverage, and weather patterns while making plans, sometimes the unexpected does occur. We have to emphasize that these are plans, subject to reevaluations, operational constraints, weather, and resource allocation. Because plans often change, people should bookmark the site and check back often. This is an operational site, and we will update plans as they change.

For more information about specific survey areas or to request a survey, please submit an inquiry through NOAA’s Nautical Inquiry & Comment System or contact the regional navigation manager for your area.

See NOAA Coast Survey news release: Public has new web access to NOAA hydro survey plans.

Source: NOAA Coast Survey

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Hull strainers revisited

Date Reported: Nov 17, 2014

Reported by: Steve D'Antonio


In the July Marine Systems Excellence Photo Essay, I covered hull strainers and one particular weakness, overzealous paint application. This month I'd like to revisit the subject.

Hull-mounted strainers can prove valuable in ensuring that the water making its way to your vessel's engines, generators, air-conditioning, water maker and other raw water consumers is free of large debris. Additionally, scoop-shaped strainers can provide pumps with positive inlet pressure, assisting them and maintaining their prime. This is especially valuable for comparatively weak, non-self-priming pumps like those used for air-conditioning systems and some water makers. If air passes the intake through hulls while a vessel is underway, it will be ingested, often causing the pump to become air-bound, at which point it stops pumping. While scoop strainers are valuable in this respect, they...

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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

Source: Contributing Professional

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A tradition since the first landing - Cruiser's Thanksgiving

Date Reported: Nov 13, 2014

Reported by: Mike Ahart, News Editor

The-First-Thanksgiving.jpgThanksgiving is a special day to share with family and long-time friends, but many times, cruisers cannot make it "home" for this celebration of gratitude. But we won't let a good holiday go to waste...

Enjoy Thanksgiving with your fellow cruisers! Several towns, marinas, and local groups have annually reached out to the cruising community with their gracious hospitality. For most of the following events, the hosts provide the turkey (roasted, smoked, or deep-fried), and cruisers bring side-dishes to share; however, check with the organizers for specifics, and let them know if you plan to attend. Here are just a few notable celebrations:

Lady's Island Marina, Beaufort, South Carolina (just off ICW Mile 536) – The marina hosted over 30 cruisers last year, but no word yet on plans for this Thanksgiving...see its Facebook Page for photos from last year's celebration.

Port Royal Landing Marina, South Carolina (ICW Mile 539) – The marina smokes the turkeys the night before, which turns into a big party, then everyone brings a side, drinks, plates, utensils, and a big appetite for a 1pm supper Thanksgiving Day. See Thanksgiving at Port Royal Landing Marina - Nov. 27 for more information.

Brunswick Landing Marina, Georgia (just off ICW Mile 680) – A Cruiser's Thanksgiving Feast! The marina provides all of the turkey and ham and asks cruisers to please bring a side dish or dessert. Last year there were 85 boats signed up for the event and they expect it to be even bigger this year! See Cruiser's Thanksgiving at Brunswick Landing for more information.

St. Marys, Georgia (off ICW Mile 712) – The heralded "Port of Thanksgiving" is holding its 14th Annual Cruisers Thanksgiving this year – just a couple miles up the St. Mary's River at the Georgia-Florida line. The gracious town residents bake turkey and ham in their own home kitchens, and cruisers bring side dishes, veggies, salads, or deserts. See 14th Annual Cruisers Thanksgiving - St Marys GA, Nov. 27 for more info.

Thanksgiving, Cruisers' Style, St. Augustine, Florida (ICW Mile 777.7) – The St Augustine Cruisers Net hosts a Thanksgiving Potluck. Turkeys and hams are provided, paid for by a "pass of the hat" – and cruisers coordinate to bring side dishes, plus plates, utensils, napkins and drinks. See Thanksgiving, cruisers style - St. Augustine, Nov. 27 for more information.

City of Vero Beach Municipal Marina, Florida (ICW Mile 952) – A perennial favorite event for cruisers – a HUGE potluck dinner. No details yet for this year, but expect the usual. See Marina Close-Up for Vero Beach Municipal Marina.

Indiantown Marina, Florida (OWW Mile 29) – Indiantown Marina celebrated its 5th Annual Thanksgiving Rendezvous last year, and the four-day celebration was all compliments of the marina! No confirmation yet on plans for this year – See its Marina Close-Up and contact them for more information.

Staniel Cay Yacht Club, Exumas, Bahamas – This is not a pot-luck or free event, but if you happen to be in the Exumas for Thanksgiving, you may be one of the very first guests to enjoy Staniel Cay's brand-new, waterfront dining room! See Exumas: Staniel Cay opens new 'Captain's Lounge'

Are we missing any important Cruiser Thanksgiving Events? Click "Add Comment" below and share the details. Happy Thanksgiving!

Source: WG Staff

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