Welcome to the "Q's" Corner | 2015
Keep watch here for a collection of boating safety and helpful tips for both on and off shore.
• Carbon Monoxide the Silent Killer
Bob Cusack US Coast Guard Auxiliary
As more and more boaters use auxiliary generators to power the electrical needs of their boats, or small fossil fueled stoves to heat their boats now that fall is here, the incidents of carbon monoxide, “CO” poisoning have been increasing. CO forms from the incomplete combustion of fuels such as gasoline and diesel. On average about 10 to 12 percent of exhaust, gas is CO. It is colorless, odorless and is a killer. Your first defense against it is to outfit your boat with a carbon monoxide detector, which will set off an alarm when CO is detected. A little over 650 parts per million can be toxic, so if you have an engine of any type running and you develop any of the following symptoms, a headache, dizziness and nausea consider that CO might be the cause. At the first sign of these symptoms immediately, get into fresh air and shutoff the motor. Continued exposure may be fatal.
What should you be on the lookout for? While underway, the flag on the stern instead of flapping aft is actually flapping forward. This is known as the station wagon affect as the forward motion of the boat and the superstructure cause the exhaust to be sucked over the transom and into the boat. I know as it happened to us a few years ago during a flat calm as we motored off the coast of Maine. Fortunately, we recognized the symptoms, ventilated the boat by opening as many ports as possible, lowered the dodger and stood up in the cockpit. We kept everyone out of the cabin and in fresh air. No more CO problems.
Among the other dangerous situations is what is known as teaking. Done mostly by kids, it is being towed by or on something directly behind the boat and right in the exhaust stream. Additional potential problems are having ventilators close to exhaust ports, having generator exhaust ports under swim platforms, and enclosing your boat if it is not designed to be enclosed. A survey of your boat to identify where the exhaust ports are in relation to openings where the CO could enter is critical to the safety of all aboard. In the end recognizing the symptoms, shutting off the source of the CO and getting the affected person(s) into fresh air are what you should do. Later you may be able to remedy the problem by altering your boat if alterations done by a professional will alleviate the problem. Stay safe!
• NOAA Chart Announcement
NOAA announces end of traditional paper nautical charts
NOAA-certified Print-on-Demand partners will continue to sell up-to-date paper nautical charts
NOAA’s Office of Coast Survey, which creates and maintains the nation’s suite of a thousand nautical charts of U.S. coastal waters, today announced major changes ahead for mariners and others who use nautical charts. Starting April 13, 2014, the federal government will no longer print traditional lithographic (paper) nautical charts.
“Like most other mariners, I grew up on NOAA lithographic charts, and have used them for years,” said Rear Admiral Gerd Glang, director of NOAA’s Office of Coast Survey. “We know that changing chart formats and availability will be a difficult change for some mariners who love their traditional paper charts.”
Since 1862, those lithographic nautical charts -- available in marine shops and other stores -- have been printed by the U.S. government and sold to the public by commercial vendors. The decision to stop production is based on several factors: the declining use of lithographic charts, the increasing use of digital and electronic charts, and federal budget realities.
“With the end of traditional paper charts, our primary concern continues to be making sure that boaters, fishing vessels, and commercial mariners have access to the most accurate, up-to-date nautical chart in a format that works well for them, ” explained Capt. Shep Smith, chief of Coast Survey’s Marine Chart Division. “Fortunately, advancements in computing and mobile technologies give us many more options than was possible years ago.”
NOAA will continue to create and maintain other forms of nautical charts, including the increasingly popular Print on Demand (POD) charts, updated paper charts available from NOAA-certified printers. NOAA electronic navigational charts (NOAA ENC®) and raster navigational charts (NOAA RNC®), used in a variety of electronic charting systems, are also updated weekly and are available for free download from the Coast Survey website. NOAA announced a new product as well: full-scale PDF (Portable Digital Format) nautical charts, available for free download on a trial basis.
The world of navigation is benefitting from advances in technology, Smith explained. He said that NOAA will consult with chart users and private businesses about the future of U.S. navigation, especially exploring the use of NOAA charts as the basis for new products.
“Customers frequently ask us for special printed features, such as waterproof charts, special papers, or chart books containing additional information,” he explained. “We are investigating new opportunities for companies to fill these market niches, using the most up-to-date information directly from NOAA.”
NOAA’s Office of Coast Survey is the nation’s nautical chartmaker. Originally formed by President Thomas Jefferson in 1807, Coast Survey updates charts, surveys the coastal seafloor, responds to maritime emergencies, and searches for underwater obstructions that pose a danger to navigation. Follow Coast Survey on Twitter @nauticalcharts, and check out the NOAA Coast Survey blog at noaacoastsurvey.wordpress.com for more in depth coverage of surveying and charting.
• Care and Cleaning Of Your Sails
A special word of thanks to Greg Marie of Doyle Sails for proofing this.
When you put your boat away for the winter, remember to take the time to put your boat’s engine, its sails, through an end of season checkup. If you do not bring them to a sailmaker here are some things to do to ensure that you avoid having to replace them before you need to, and to keep them looking clean if they get stained. It is a good idea to have a sailmaker give them an inspection and good cleaning every couple of years.
THE ANNUAL INSPECTION | First thing to do is to spread the sail out and look carefully at the corners, as they are the highest loaded area on every sail. If you have the use a large hall make sure the floor is swept clean. If you must use your lawn, make sure it is dry and as free of leaves and grass clippings as possible. Check the stitching to make sure it is sound, then the webbing that it is not frayed or sun-bleached and that layers are not coming loose. Any fraying at the top of the boltrope on mains and genoas needs to be neatened up with a hot knife.
For your mainsail, if it the main has a boltrope, check both sides of it to make sure there are no cuts in the tape around the rope, check all the slides and the webbing that attaches them to the sail, check the batten pockets for wear from scraping against the shrouds,
For your genoas, check the leech for wear as it gets dragged across the shrouds and the front of the mast as like a radar, deck light, whisker pole fittings, loud hailer, etc, all act like claws trying to scratch and cut your genoa.
Take a good look at roller furling covers as they are designed to absorb the sun's harmful UV rays. In addition to abuse fro the sun, they also get beat up in every tack because they are dragged across the rig. Check the cover's stitching and the integrity of the material. If you have a cover made of UV Dacron, look for cracks in the material, which are a sign that the cover needs to be replaced. An alternative to a UV cover is a separate sleeve that is hoisted on your spinnaker halyard.
After the inspection, wash your sails. First soak them in a warm soap solution for a couple of hours. Are If the sails are particularly dirty, add a small amount of bleach to the water before soaking. Dirty spots can be lightly scrubbed. (See below for treating stains) If doing this at home use the bath tub then hose them off thoroughly. Make sure they are completely dry before folding. You'll need a big space to do this. If it‘s the back yard make sure the grass is dry and before you start folding that there are no leaves or grass clippings on the sails. Laminate sails should be hosed off, dried and folded. Try not to soak or scrub them.
Blood and Mildew:
Soak the stained area in a mild bleach solution for two hours; scrub lightly.
Rust removers are offered under many commercial names and are available at just about any hardware store. Just make sure you rinse the cleaned area thoroughly. One product that works well is Whink's Rust and Iron Stain Remover.
Oil, Grease, and Tar:
Dab the stained area with acetone or lighter fluid and then rub the stain with clean rags. Once the stain is lightened, scrub the area with a detergent and water solution. Rinse all the acetone out of the material!
All sails should be folded or rolled in a manner that avoids sharp creases. Sails should be stored under well-ventilated, clean conditions. Dampness, which may encourage mildew should be avoided. Mildew does not effect the strength of sails , but mildew causes unsightly stains that are not easily removed.
If you notice any wear on the sail, get it to your sailmaker for repair. Likewise, if you find any holes, weak spots or rotted webbing, get your sail back to your sailmaker for a professional repair
Bob Cusack 11/23/11
• Fire Extinguishers At Sea Article
Read about Commodore Cusacks important safety presentation.
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• MMSI Important Update
Maritime Mobile Service Identity (MMSI) Entry Required for DSC Radios to Function
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If you are shopping for a new DSC (Digital Selective Calling) radio for your vessel, be forewarned that it will not transmit any DSC call until you obtain and install your nine-digit MMSI (Maritime Mobile Service Identity). The radio's user manual *must* be carefully followed during installation, and great care must be taken when inputting the MMSI, as mistakes are not easily corrected, if at all. Once the MMSI is stored, it should not be possible to alter it without contacting the manufacturer or possibly returning the equipment for a factory reset. Trying to save money by buying a DSC radio at a swap meet or flea market is obviously a bad idea. Purchasing a DSC radio from a reputable and knowledgeable dealer is the only way to be sure that the unit meets current requirements and will function as intended.
DSC radios are programmed to display the vessel's MMSI on start-up, so obtain your MMSI as soon as you purchase your radio. If the equipment is not configured with an MMSI, it will generate distracting auditory and visual alerts indefinitely and will not function properly. The manufacturers of DSC equipment are including these alerts to convince us to obtain and enter an MMSI so that this equipment can perform its intended lifesaving functions. A thorough tutorial on the installation and use of DSC radios is available at this BoatU.S. Foundation website <http://www.boatus.com/foundation/dsc/player.html>, and a free registration process for obtaining an MMSI is available here <http://www.boatus.com/MMSI/>.
• Navigation News
Link below to the latest Light Lists corrected through Coast Guard LNM 01/12 for each Coast Guard District.
Updated Coast Guard Light List Webpage
Learn About The 50/50 Rule Water Survival Rule
Click here to view the video
US Coast Guard Vessel Safety Checklist
Click here to download this helpful safety checklist.
Stay With The Boat To Avoid Tragedy
Bob Cusack says tragedies like the recent one in Boston Harbor can be avoided.
Web Link | Read the article here:
Safety First When Fueling Your Boat
Bob Cusack of the Coast Guard explains how to fuel your boat without causing an explosion.
Web Link | Read the article here:
Americas Waterway Watch and You
Bob Cusack offers tips on protecting local shores.
Web Link | Read the article here:
Program Aims To Keep You Safe On The Water
Bob Cusack of the Coast Guard explains how a radio can keep you safe
Web Link | Read the article here:
Metal Cleaning On Board and At Home (PDF)
Please send your tip's or links to Bob for posting on this page. Also check out our LINKS webpage for more websites and informational links. Thanks!
Bob Cusack: (781) 581-1159