Category: When things go wrong…

11

Clogged air conditioning condenser coils make for a hot boat

A hot room and air conditioning fans on high blowing warm air isn’t a good way to start your day.  About two weeks ago I woke to just that.  I knew something had to be wrong with the air conditioning but figuring out what involved a few wrong turns before finding what turned out to be a pretty obvious problem…

5

Doane safety advice regarding Transderm patches & psychotic breaks

When the U.S. Attorney’s Office in the Virgin Islands charged Rick Smith with “seaman’s manslaughter” last fall, it kicked off months of press coverage and online sailor chatter… But I did not feel that I understood the incident — or could glean any particular safety lessons from it — until I read “THE TRAGEDY OF DAVID PONTIOUS: Did a Scopolamine Patch Drive Him to Suicide?” by Charles Doane…

14

Debris takes out Garmin Panoptix FLS transducer, boat still floats

Before heading from Chicago down to the Mobile, AL, I had two new holes drilled in the bottom of Have Another Day to install  Garmin Panoptix PS-51 and Simrad Forward Scan forward-looking sonar transducers.   Our travels down the debris-filled rivers revealed a potential problem with anything protruding below the hull, but it also showed how robustly these transducers are built.

4

Accidental grounding, familiarity breeds complacency

My 2018 cruising started with a trip straight up Lake Michigan’s Wisconsin coast bound for Manistique, a small town on Michigan’s upper peninsula.  We had something very rare, three consecutive days of flat water on Lake Michigan.  So we made the most of the conditions and ran all three of those days for a total of 300 nm at 9 kts.  We made it the length of the lake to Manistique without incident.  Unfortunately, we didn’t make it into Manistique harbor without incident.

13

Concerned about the Carolinas, searching for data

This great aerial image from Marinas.com shows the peaceful, safe harbor I so enjoyed while keeping Gizmo at both marinas. But New Bern got pummeled by hurricane Florence last night, and it’s hard to tell the amount of damage or how worse it may get. I find myself unable to think about much else, and while the quality and density of available information is amazing, I want more…

11

Yacht campaigning along RI beaches hits rocks, politician blames NOAA

Yesterday was tough for Rhode Island independent gubernatorial candidate Joe Trillo. To me it already seemed like a poor idea to use his 65-foot yacht to campaign along the state’s summer beaches, especially with the huge banners and his “very, very big sound equipment” playing patriotic music. But then came the navigation issues…

37

Lessons learned by causing a false AIS MOB alert

mission_acomplished_by_USCG_Rockland___cPanbo.jpg

The grins tell the story: Mission accomplished! Due to an obscure but noteworthy electrical glitch, plus oodles of embarrassingly distracted seamanship on my part, a sizable U.S. Coast Guard team spent part of a beautiful Saturday looking for an AIS man overboard alert that seemed to be associated with my boat Gizmo. Fireman Joey Jansen-Hedrick and Petty Officer 1st Class T.J. Iaci (above) were the boarding party that had to deal with an owner/operator (me) who was pretty sure they didn’t know what they were talking about. But they were politely persistent, and they were right…

20

McMurdo SmartFind G8 AIS EPIRB, first of many, PLBs too?

McMurdo_SmartFind_E8_G8_and_G8_AIS_EPIRBs_aPanbo.jpgLet’s first note that McMurdo’s trailblazing SmartFind G8 AIS EPIRB still awaits FCC approval and probably won’t be for sale in the U.S. until spring (along with its more conventional E8 and G8 siblings). But McMurdo has definitely developed this useful combination of local and global rescue beacon, other manufacturers may have AIS EPIRBs in the works, and I’ve got some details about how they’ll work. I also have some safety tips from an acquaintance who just dramatically experienced the effectiveness of a current ACR EPIRB…

16

The Jose Fernandez boating tragedy, some safety thoughts

Jose_Fernandez_crashed_boat_courtesy_Patrick_Farrell_Miami_Herald.jpgYou probably already know the rudiments of the story. At about 3 am on Sunday, three young men died when their 32-foot center console fishing boat engaged at high speed with the long north jetty that guards the Port of Miami’s Government Cut channel. Just the violence of the crash — it was heard by a policeman on shore nearly a half mile away — was noteworthy, but the owner and probable driver was the beloved budding baseball star Jose Fernandez. It’s a deeply tragic story as is, but is there anything in it to learn about boating safety?