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Amendment to mitigate E-15 damage adopted by House Appropriations

Date Reported: Jul 22, 2014

Reported by: Mike Ahart, News Editor

E15-At-The-Pump.jpgThe National Marine Manufacturers Association (NMMA) reports good news on the ethanol front. An amendment to help mitigate the problem of boater's misfueling marine gasoline engines with E-15 has been adopted to a bill working its way through the U.S. Congress:

Last week during the House of Representative’s Committee on Appropriation’s Interior and Environment markup, which directs Fiscal Year 2015 funding for the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), an important amendment affecting the sale of E15 was unanimously adopted and will now be considered by the full House. NMMA’s Washington office was heavily involved in passing the amendment, which will require the EPA to do more comprehensive E15 public education outreach on the dangers of E15 to non-approved engines, like boats, motorcycles, and lawn equipment.

NMMA remains involved in numerous other E15 efforts, including litigation against the EPA for its failure to establish a robust misfueling mitigation plan. For more information on NMMA’s E15 efforts, please contact Michael Lewan at mlewan@nmma.org.

As part of the Renewable Fuel Standard, E15 (gasoline with 15% ethanol) 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 engine issues as well, especially when not used soon after purchase without adding a stabilizer. "Non-Ethanol" gasoline is becoming more available in some areas.

Source: NMMA

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What's wrong with this hull strainer?

Date Reported: Jul 16, 2014

Mile: 0.0

Reported by: Steve D'Antonio

Hull-Strainer.jpgRaw water, after lube oil it’s the very life blood of your engine and generator, supplying it with the medium that absorbs and carries away heat from the combustion process.  In most applications it’s pumped into the boat via a seacock and external strainer, through a raw water pump and on to the heat exchanger, where it encounters but never makes direct contact with, the engine’s coolant.  Finally it’s discharged into the exhaust system, cooling off hot gasses as they leave the engine. 

Ensuring that the supply is regular and reliable is among the more important responsibilities a vessel operator assumes. If it’s impeded, several catastrophes can befall both the engine and the craft...

To view the rest of this article, please follow this link: 

http://www.stevedmarineconsulting.com/ezine/index.php

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.

Source: SDMC Marine Systems Excellence

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Help guide the future of marine information

Date Reported: Jul 15, 2014

Reported by: Mike Ahart, News Editor

ENC-ChartEven if you missed the 21st Century/Future of Navigation Listening Sessions this spring, please share your comments on "user requirements and emerging needs for navigation information and services" to be provided by the U.S. Coast Guard, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, and NOAA Coast Survey.

The three agencies are collaborating in the eNAV environment to promote safety and efficiency of the marine transportation system, and you are invited to visit the initiative's Feedback Website. Here's a sampling of the questions: 

  • How would you like to access the information necessary to regularly update your charts and publications to the latest Notice to Mariners?
  • What features of NOAA's Print on Demand (POD) product do you find effective or ineffective?
  • How can NOAA further improve the PDF chart products available online to be more useful for navigation?
  • Do you use your mobile device for navigation safety purposes on the U.S. waterways?
  • If industry were to develop a mobile phone application using USCG / NOAA / USACE data, what features and information would you want it to provide?
  • Do you currently use NOAA's Physical Oceanographic Real-Time System (PORTS) or tides and water level information? If so, how do you access it?
  • Would you use NOAA's Physical Oceanographic Real-Time System (PORTS) or tides and water level information if it was broadcast over AIS?
  • How much do you rely upon certain programs/services provided by USCG / USACE / NOAA? How effective are they?
  • What additional services/tools do you use for navigation on the U.S. waterways?
  • How much do you rely upon certain aids to navigation? How effective are they?
  • Are there additional services or information that you want/need for navigation on the U.S. waterways?
  • What are your biggest concerns regarding certain ongoing/upcoming initiatives?

Visit the Future of Navigation/21st Century Waterways - Listening Session Feedback web survey today and make your voice heard!

Source: USCG, USACE, NOAA

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AGLCA Radio: Medical essentials for long-range cruising

Date Reported: Jul 10, 2014

Reported by: Janice Kromer

medical-ditch-bagEditor's Note: The America's Great Loop Cruisers' Association Blog Talk Radio Show airs at 10 a.m. each Friday – but each show is archived so you can listen anytime you want after the air date. From Janice Kromer, Executive Director, AGLCA:

This Friday, July 11, we will be rebroadcasting a show featuring Dr. Jerry Reves. He will be discussing what to have in your medicine chest for long range cruising. As usual, the show will air at 10:00 AM Eastern Time. 

You can listen live by going to our website at www.GreatLoop.org, clicking on AGLCA Radio in the Free for Everyone section of the top navigation bar, then scrolling down to the Great Loop Radio player. Then, just left click on the arrow below the name of the show to start listening. Be sure not to tune in too far in advance or you will be listening to the show from the prior week. 

You can also listen to the show on Blog Talk Radio's website. Just click here, or go to www.BlogTalkRadio.com and type AGLCA in the search box. That will take you directly to AGLCA's page where you can listen live, or, check out the archives. The show is also available on iTunes.

Source: AGLCA

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Virtual boat show and marketplace online - BoatsandShore.com

Date Reported: Jul 10, 2014

Boats-and-Shore.jpgThe online boating world is now easier to navigate. BoatsandShore.com is a virtual boat show and marketplace – your one-stop boating advertising source with text, photos, links and YouTube Videos. No matter what your interest, from yacht sales to mooring, rigging to fishing and diving, electronics, kayaking, or finding a mate on the open seas, BoatsandShore.com is the place to buy, sell, and trade. Brokers and individuals can list one item or hundreds.   

Join the community of boaters and share your news and photos, search other marine publications, share fish stories or find fishing equipment and electronics. Some of the best information we get is from talking on the dock or after the sun goes down at a local restaurant. We want to hear from you. Ready to buy, sell, or trade? Have some interesting info, photos, YouTube videos or news? Love cruising or just cruising the aisles of a boat show? Do it from the comfort of your own home or cockpit. Give it a try - and welcome aboard www.BoatsandShore.com.

"The best part is, at no charge."   

No membership and no fees for listing or posting. You’ll also find deals, discounts, and coupons in your favorite ports of call. Listings for crew, jobs, events, waterfront real estate sales, rentals, boating, and land services you want or need. 

Go to www.Boatsandshore.com and start buying and selling today.

Source: BoatsandShore.com

Comment submitted by Frank Ruark - Wed, Jul 16th

I\'ve used this, this is like a craigslist for boaters, I just sold my boat on boatsandshore - cool site and it\'s free

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NOAA improves access to wreck and obstruction data

Date Reported: Jul 08, 2014

Reported by: Mike Ahart, News Editor

NOAA has made a boatload of improvements of late (the magenta line removal excepted), and now is building onto the enhancements to the Automated Wreck and Obstruction Information System (AWOIS) database we reported on last year. It is easier than ever to get detailed wreck and obstruction information to aid in safe navigation – and to benefit divers, anglers, archeologists, scientists, and perhaps treasure hunters. From the NOAA Coast Survey press release: Coast Survey improves access to data on thousands of wrecks and obstructions:

wrecks-webmap.jpg

Knowing the locations of shipwrecks and other obstructions has always been important for safe navigation ‒ but mariners are not the only people who want to know about wrecks. They are also important for marine archeology, recreational diving, salvage operations, and fishing, among other interests. Now, Coast Survey has improved our Wrecks and Obstructions Database, giving everyone easy access to new records to explore.

Historically, Coast Survey has maintained two separate sources of information on wrecks. We recently combined the sources, bringing together information on nearly 20,000 wrecks and obstructions.

AWOIS

Coast Survey established the Automated Wreck and Obstruction Information System (AWOIS) database in 1981 to help estimate the level of effort required to investigate items during a planned hydrographic survey, but maritime users were also interested in AWOIS’ historical records. However, because the emphasis is on features that are most likely to pose a hazard to navigation, AWOIS has always had limitations. Most notably, AWOIS is not a comprehensive record and does not completely address every known or reported wreck. Additionally, for a number of reasons, AWOIS positions do not always agree with a charted position for a similar feature.

NOAA ENC

Coast Survey compiles NOAA’s electronic navigational charts (NOAA ENC®) from sources on features that are navigationally significant. As the official chart data used in electronic chart and display information systems (ECDIS), ENCs are the authoritative source of information about known or reported wrecks and are much more comprehensive than AWOIS. However, the features in an ENC typically lack the historic information and context provided by AWOIS.

COMBINED DATA

Correcting for some overlap between the two source databases, Coast Survey’s new wrecks and obstructions database now contains information on about 13,000 wreck features and 6,000 obstructions. Wreck features from each original database are stored in separate layers but can be displayed together. Users may also choose a background map from several options.

The new database also offers users additional data formats from which to choose. Historically, shipwreck data in AWOIS was available in Adobe PDF and as Microsoft Access Database (MDB) format. More recently, KML/KMZ files replaced PDF and MDB formats, making it easier for public users to view AWOIS data, by using freely available software such as Google Maps or Google Earth. Now, in addition to KML/KMZ and Microsoft Excel formats for general users, Coast Survey provides the data in ArcGIS REST services and OGC WMS services, for use in GIS software programs or web-based map mashup sites.

Source: NOAA Coast Survey

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Public meeting planned for Florida anchoring regulation - July 21, 22

Date Reported: Jul 08, 2014

Mile: 0.0

Reported by: Mike Ahart

Anchorage-With-Sunset-MA.jpg

The Florida Anchoring and Mooring Pilot Program has been extended three more years while the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) continues to gather more data and information. In a couple weeks we'll have an opportunity to help FWC set up a framework for the components of potential future vessel anchoring regulations in Florida, and recommendations on outreach to the boating public.

The new framework will hopefully capture the voice of the cruising community, leading to a permanent protection of our anchoring rights, especially in the light of the recent attempts by local legislators to circumvent the Pilot Program altogether (see related Waterway Guide article: Anti-anchoring amendments defeated in Florida).

A message from Capt. Tom Shipp, Director of the Law Enforcement Division of the FWC:

I want to make sure that you, representing boating and/or local government interests in Florida, are personally made aware of the upcoming public meeting FWC will be hosting to begin earnest dialogue on the topic of possible anchoring restrictions to help solve many of the issues faced by both boaters and local governments. 

The meeting is scheduled in Tallahassee for Monday afternoon, July 21st with an evening break, then picking back up on the morning of Tuesday, July 22.  We prefer that participants plan to take part in both sessions, since the morning session will build upon the previous afternoon’s session.  

Here is the meeting notice: 

The Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC), Division of Law Enforcement, announces a public meeting to which all persons are invited.

DATES AND TIMES: Monday, July 21, 2014, 1:00 p.m. – 5:00 p.m.; Tuesday, July 22, 2014, 8:30 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. (participants should plan to attend both sessions).

PLACE: Douglas Building, Conference Room A, First Floor, Department of Environmental Protection, 3900 Commonwealth Boulevard, Tallahassee, FL 32399

GENERAL SUBJECT MATTER TO BE CONSIDERED: To provide an opportunity for representatives from FWC to inform and take comments from the general public and the agencies and organizations interested in potential future vessel anchoring regulations in Florida.

A copy of the agenda may be obtained by contacting the FWC, Division of Law Enforcement, Boating and Waterways Section, 620 South Meridian Street, Room 235, Tallahassee, Florida 32399-1600, or by calling FWC’s Boating and Waterways Section at (850)488-5600. Parking is available around the Douglas Building, including parking spaces not marked by visitor parking signs. Participants should bring identification for security purposes when entering the Douglas Building.

Pursuant to the provisions of the Americans with Disabilities Act, any person requiring special accommodations to participate in this meeting is asked to advise the agency at least five days before the meeting by contacting: ADA Coordinator, (850)488-6411. If you are hearing or speech impaired, please contact the agency by calling (800)955-8771 (TDD) or (800)955-8770 (Voice).

For more information, you may contact FWC’s Boating and Waterways Section at (850)488-5600.

Source: Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission

Comment submitted by Frank Ruark - Wed, Jul 16th

Tallahassee - in July? I agree with everyone else, not exactly reaching out the demographic that is most affected by these anchoring restrictions. Too bad Florida\'s gaining such a negative reputation for out-of-state boaters. We have money and we will spend it elsewhere.

Comment submitted by Mike Ahart, Waterway Guide News Editor - Tue, Jul 15th

I will not be be able to physically attend, but am planning on participating as best I can.

Comment submitted by carl e jackson - Mon, Jul 14th

mabe boatus can be there.

Comment submitted by Gary d. Smith - Fri, Jul 11th

The majority of the cruisers that go to Florida do so during the fall, winter and spring. It is unfortunate this "public hearing" is being held in July. Chances are the FWC will not be hearing from the cruisers, who are most affected by the restrictive regulations on anchoring and mooring. Perhaps this is being done intentionally.

Comment submitted by Jim Healy - Thu, Jul 10th

Mike, can you be there to represent the cruising community? It seems ridiculous and irresponsible for Mr. Shipp to hold such a meeting in July, when cruising in Florida is virtually shut down for the season. This approach prejudices the input to represent only the interests of wealthy waterfront landowners. That is clearly NOT good for the cruising community. How can we get that feedback to Mr. Shipp?

Comment submitted by John - Thu, Jul 10th

These offical moorings are way too expensive.

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'Dead Zone' update for Gulf and Chesapeake

Date Reported: Jul 03, 2014

Dead-Zone.jpg

Scientists are expecting an average, but still large, hypoxic or "dead zone" in the Gulf of Mexico this year, and slightly above-average hypoxia in the Chesapeake Bay .

NOAA-supported modeling is forecasting this year's Gulf of Mexico hypoxic zone to cover an area ranging from about 4,633 to 5,708 square miles (12,000 to 14,785 square kilometers) or about the size of the state of Connecticut.

While close to averages since the late 1990s, these hypoxic zones are many times larger than what research has shown them to be prior to the significant human influences that greatly expanded their sizes and effects.

The Gulf of Mexico prediction is based on models developed by NOAA-sponsored modeling teams and individual researchers at the University of Michigan, Louisiana State University, Louisiana Universities Marine Consortium, Virginia Institute of Marine Sciences/College of William and Mary, Texas A&M University, and the U.S. Geological Survey, and relies on nutrient loading estimates from the USGS. The models also account for the influence of variable weather and oceanographic conditions, and predict that these can affect the dead zone area by as much as 38 percent.

A second NOAA-funded forecast, for the Chesapeake Bay, predicts a slightly larger than average dead zone in the nation's largest estuary. The forecast predicts a mid-summer low- oxygen hypoxic zone of 1.97 cubic miles, an early-summer oxygen-free anoxic zone of 0.51 cubic miles, with the late-summer oxygen-free anoxic area predicted to be 0.32 cubic miles. Because of the shallow nature of large areas of the estuary the focus is on water volume or cubic miles, instead of square mileage as used in the Gulf.

The Chesapeake Bay prediction is based on models developed by NOAA-sponsored researchers at the University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science, University of Michigan, and again relies on nutrient loading estimates from USGS...

Read NOAA/USGS press release: NOAA, partners predict an average ‘dead zone’ for Gulf of Mexico; slightly above-average hypoxia in Chesapeake Bay (pdf).

Source: NOAA/USGS

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BoatUS: Why boats sink - 10 prevention tips

Date Reported: Jul 03, 2014

Causes-of-Boat-Sinkings.jpgBoatUS takes a look at how boats sink and what boaters can do to prevent a sinking.

When a boat sinks, that’s likely the end of her. That’s because repairs on a sunken boat often cost more than the actual value of the boat. So if boaters want to prevent a sinking at all costs, what can they do? Boat Owners Association of The United States (BoatUS) recently took its first significant look since 2006 at its boat insurance claims files to identify the causes of boat sinkings and found that most were preventable. About two out of every three (69%) boats sink at the dock or mooring, while the remainder (31%) sink while underway.

Of all of the dock/mooring sinkings, 39% occur when some small part gives up the fight with water due to wear, tear and corrosion. When it comes to gradual leaks due to slowly failing parts, too many boats existed in a “zombie state” somewhere between floating and sinking, dependent upon the bilge pump, which merely postponed the sinking until the pump failed or was overwhelmed. This one is a no-brainer: lack of maintenance is the factor here.

For boat sinkings while underway, the most common cause (43%) is hitting something – a log, the bottom or colliding with another boat or dock. Some of these sinkings might have been avoided if some some extra care had been taken – and some can be chalked up to simply bad luck.

Interestingly, low-cut transoms that were common on boats in the 1990’s and a cause of sinkings is no longer much of a factor, as contained splash wells separating the interior of the boat from the transom are more common in boat designs today. However, being swamped while tied stern-to waves remains a cause.

To prevent a sinking, here are ten tips from the boat owner’s group: 

  • For inboard-outboard powered boats, inspect sterndrive bellows annually and replace every three to five years. The shift bellows is usually the first to fail.
  • For inboard powered boats, check the stuffing box every time you visit the boat, and repack – rather than simply tighten down the nut – every spring.
  • For engines with raw water hoses, replace them the moment they indicate wear – such as when small cracks appear or they feel “spongy” when squeezed. Rusty hose clamps are also a concern and should be replaced.
  • Replace the engine cooling system impeller every two to three years.
  • Inspect the boat’s cockpit and livewell plumbing – again look at hoses, clamps, and cracked or broken fittings. Make sure you can inspect all such plumbing, and if you can’t, install inspection ports to make the task easier.
  • Each season take are hard look at all below-waterline fittings, hoses, and clamps.
  • Don’t forget the drain plug – you knew this one would be on the list.
  • Keep a good lookout and ask guests to help keep their eyes peeled for deadheads. If you’ve grounded or hit something, consider a short-haul to inspect the bottom or drive gear.
  • Always pull trailerable boats from the water when storms are forecast. These boats generally have too little freeboard to stand up to any kind of wave action.
  • Dock line management systems that keep the boat centered in its slip can prevent snags that sometimes lead to a sinking.

See Press Release: Why Boats Sink: 10 Prevention Tips From BoatUS.

Source: BoatUS

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Manatee may lose its 'endangered' status

Date Reported: Jul 03, 2014

Mile: 0.0

Reported by: Mike Ahart, News Editor

manatee-calve.jpgIf a status review warrants it, the manatee may be reclassified from "endangered" to "threatened" according to an announcement by the U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service on July 1, 2014.

The reclassification may affect "Manatee Speed Zones" which are prevalent in Florida waterways.

The West Indian manatee and its subspecies – the Florida manatee and Antillean manatee – are currently protected under federal law by the Marine Mammal Protection Act of 1972, the Endangered Species Act of 1973, and the Florida Manatee Sanctuary Act of 1978. It is illegal to harass, hunt, capture, or kill any marine mammal, and that will not change for the manatee if its status is changed.

The finding and additional information on the West Indian manatee is available online at http://www.fws.gov/northflorida and http://www.fws.gov/caribbean/ES/Index.html.

To ensure that the status review is complete and based on the best available scientific and commercial information, USFWS is opening a 60-day comment period and requesting information concerning the status of the West Indian manatee throughout its entire range.

Specifically, the Service seeks information on:

  • The species biology, including but not limited to distribution, abundance, population trends, demographics, and genetics;
  • the factors that are the basis for making reclassification determinations for a species under Section 4(a) of the ESA;
  • habitat conditions, including but not limited to, amount, distribution, and suitability;
  • whether or not climate change is a threat to the species, what regional climate change models are available, and whether they are reliable and credible to use as step-down models for assessing the effect of climate change on the species and its habitat;
  • past and ongoing conservation measures that have been implemented for the species, its habitat, or both;
  • threat status and trends within the geographical range currently occupied by the species; and,
  • any other new information, data, or corrections, including but not limited to, taxonomic or nomenclatural changes, and improved analytical methods.

Information can be submitted by one of the following methods:

  • Electronically: Go to the Federal eRulemaking Portal: http://www.regulations.gov. In the Keyword box, enter Docket Number FWS-R4-ES-2014-0024, which is the docket number for this action. Then, in the Search panel on the left side of the screen under the "Document Type" heading, click on the "Proposed Rules" link to locate this document. You may submit a comment by clicking on "Send a Comment or Submission."
  • U.S. mail or hand-delivery: Public Comments Processing, Attn: Docket No. FWS-R4-ES-2014-0024, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Headquarters, MS: BPHC, 5275 Leesburg Pike, Falls Church, VA 22041-3803.

In order to allow sufficient time for biologists to review and consider submitted information and conduct the review, submissions must be received on or before September 2, 2014.

See U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service press release: Petitioned Action on West Indian Manatee May Be Warranted.

Source: USFWS

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