Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Own a Piece of a Boat

Today, in our continuing series of alternative boat ownership options, we are looking at fractional boat ownership, in which a bunch of people get together to buy a boat and each owns an equal share of it. This differs from the fractional membership programs we looked at last week in which only one person owns the boat and other people are members - with no ownership rights.

Since he lives and breathes this stuff, we asked Rick Matthews, CEO of Fractional Assets, Inc., to explain fractional ownership to us. Rick gave us the following inside scoop:
Our business model is not to be confused with any of the various clubs, as fractional ownership is not renting or leasing, but as the name implies, it is a specific share of a specific boat. Instead of owning a boat alone and dealing with all the associated hassles, fractional ownership is basically a managed partnership, usually handled by a professional management company on behalf of the partners.
Rick told us that he believes fractional ownership is an emerging common-sense approach to owning and enjoying a boat. He stated, "Previously a factor only in the yachting industry, there is a mass-market fractional ownership model now sweeping through the Southeast.”

Indeed, fractional ownership programs are easier to find for yachts and megayachts than they are for boats under 40 feet long. Companies such as Fort Lauderdale-based Monocle and London-based YachtPlus, as well as manufacturers such as Beneteau and Sunseeker offer fractional ownership programs.

fractional boat ownership
Perhaps possessing the same foresight as Rick Matthews, blogger Alan Sorum wrote about fractional boat ownership a few years ago and predicted the model could spread to smaller boats. Alan stated, “As the fractional boat ownership market matures, potential timeshare owners should see more options become available. Purchasing a share of boat may be a great way for the neophyte boater to get started in the vocation and relieve the burdens of boat ownership faced by more experienced hands.”

Maybe Alan and Rick are onto something and we’ll soon see fractional ownership opportunities on boats that don’t require a crew bigger than your family to operate them. We're looking forward to any model of boat ownership that helps more people get into boating. Please share your ideas and thoughts on this business model below.

On the web: Fractional Assets, Inc. | Renting a Boat | Fractional Membership


Monday, August 30, 2010

Weekend Water Rescues

After last week, with a whale collision, a boat explosion and several exciting rescues at sea, we thought things might be a little calmer when we scanned this weekend’s headlines.

But with so many boaters trying to escape the heat or squeeze in one last outing before the kids head back to school, this final weekend before Labor Day was a busy one for the US Coast Guard and other rescuers.

Shark Week?
Chatham, Massachusetts, has been in the news this summer for shark sightings, which probably added to the drama of two incidents on Sunday. In one, an 18-foot Mako had a fire onboard and its passengers had to be rescued by the Chatham harbor master and local firefighters. Not too far from the boat fire, at about the same time, a 19- or 20-foot Boston Whaler overturned by six-foot waves dumping its six passengers into the water near Monomoy Island. According to today’s Cape Cod Times, nobody in either of the Chatham incidents got eaten by sharks.

Chicago Flip
Saturday night in Chicago, a 22-foot powerboat with five people onboard struck a breakwater and overturned near Navy Pier. Rescuers found some of the passengers on the breakwater and some in the water according to mystateline.com.

Stalled, Injured
A 42-foot sports fishing vessel stalled due to an electrical failure about 12 miles south of Point Reyes in California, and needed rescue due to multiple injuries onboard. The boat was apparently on its way to Alaska, and its passengers included a 90 year old. According to the Silicon Valley Mercury News, an EPIRB helped rescuers locate this vessel quickly.

Open Water
A 26-foot boat’s anchor lost hold on Saturday, sending the vessel adrift off Key Largo afternoon. This is usually not that big of a deal, but this story made the Miami Herald because three children were alone on the boat while all three adults were left SCUBA diving as the boat drifted away. Makers of the film Open Water may have just gotten an idea for a sequel here.

Lets hope Labor Day weekend is a little less dramatic! Please boat safely.


Friday, August 27, 2010

Sea Song of the Week: Sailing

We definitely wanted to choose "Sailing" for today's Sea Song of the Week, but couldn't decide between the original by the amazing Christopher Cross, or the harmonic remake by NSYNC.

It turns out there was no need to choose, as they have actually performed the song together on stage. Check out Sailing, by Christopher Cross and Nsync in this video. Cross is the dude with the hat and the guitar who wrote Sailing and won a bunch of grammy awards for it 30 years ago.

On the Web
NSYNC (includes links to where they are now)
View previous Sea Songs of the Week on YouTube


Thursday, August 26, 2010

Boat Shows Around the Horn

The weekend is busy with boat shows around the world, of all different flavors. Antique boat shows, houseboat shows, and even a couple of traditional boat shows are starting today.

Among this weekend's events are the following boat shows:
boat shows
  • The 50th Anniversary edition of the Brisbane Boat Show in Australia (Started on Thursday, which is already yesterday in the land down under)
  • The On Water Houseboat Expo in Kentucky (Starts Friday)
  • The Port Credit In-Water Show in Ontario, Canada (Starts Friday)
  • The 28th Annual Antique & Classic Boat Festival in Salem, Massachusetts (Sat and Sun only)
  • The Toledo Antique and Classic Boat Show in Toledo, Ohio (Sat and Sun only)
Come to Boston
After a lull next weekend as we celebrate Labor Day in the US, we jump right into an early autumn boat show season. Among the many shows we're excited about this year is the Boston Fall Boat Show, happening October 1 - 3 at the Seaport World Trade Center. This is Boston's premier showing of the new model 2011 boats, so you'll want to check it out. If you're from out of town, this is a great excuse to come to Boston. Heck, you can even make a long weekend out of it as this is also usually the best time to check out New England's famous fall foliage. Check the show's site for coupons to get into the show.

For details about this weekend and future nautical events, visit our calendar of boat shows at FirstBoat.com.


Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Boat Safety Tips: Flares and Socks

One of the best reasons to read the boating tips we often share on this site courtesy of the About.com Powerboating Guide is that the Guide's author, Ericka Watson, is a former active duty U.S. Coast Guard captain, and she has really seen it all when it comes to dangerous boating mistakes.

boat flares
USCG photo by Barbara L. Miller
Her boating tip today sounds pretty basic at first glance… "carry more flares on your boat." But instead of just preaching (like we usually do) about carrying more flares, Ericka shares a true story from her experience in the Guard where a bad situation was made worse by some inexperienced boaters that got into trouble and had only one flare.

Read the full story of her rescue experience to find out why we mentioned socks in the title, and remember these important safety tips about flares:
  • Check the federal and state requirements for your boat's size, and then carry extra (Perhaps the creators of Office Space had boat safety on their mind when writing the "more flare" scene – video below - with Jennifer Aniston)
  • Make sure your flares have not passed their expiration date. If in doubt, replace them. (More on this from boating safety expert Alan Sorum)
  • Read the instructions carefully when you first buy your flares so you don't have to learn how to use them in an emergency situation when every second counts.
Learn more about boating safety at FirstBoat.com


Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Boat Sharing on the Rise

Even in these tough economic times, cash-strapped but dedicated boaters are still getting out on the water. They're just being more creative about it.

One of the obvious ways to cut down on the costs of boating is to share a boat with one or more people, and many variations of this concept have sprung up over the years. Among the many options is renting a boat (see: Renting a boat instead of trailering and Renting a boat just got easier), shared or fractional ownership (we will review in a future post), and fractional membership programs (this post.) We spoke with several experts in this growing industry to try to learn more about it and help you determine if one of these options might be right for you.

In general, fractional membership usually starts with one person purchasing a boat. Then, with the help of a reputable company such as WindPath or SailTime, up to seven additional people become fractional members – meaning that use of the boat is shared by eight people. As a member, you usually don’t have any long-term commitment and you don't own anything; you simply pay a monthly fee and get to use a boat within your allotted time.

Chris Tucker, owner of the SailTime Channel Islands franchise in Southern California, told us that the big benefit of membership programs over traditional ownership is “both cost and time. No slip fees, bank notes, insurance or maintenance costs.” And he points out that members get to use the boat much more than the average 2-3 times per month that most traditional boat owners actually do.

WindPath Fractional Yachting was founded in our home state of Connecticut and is celebrating its fifth anniversary this year with locations all over the US. Ian Treibick, founder and president of WindPath, told us "WindPath puts the cork into ‘the hole in the water into which you throw money’ and makes experiencing boating affordable, simple, and fun for the whole family." We couldn't agree more with this benefit of membership plans, especially when we realize how much our own boats actually get used each year.

Despite their breezy names, SailTime and WindPath are not just for sailors. Both companies also offer powerboat options to their members.

One additional benefit of membership plans is that they may be a type of "gateway drug" into traditional boat ownership. SailTime’s Tucker stated, "Across the country, 30% of members go on to buy their own boat in a year or two."

On the web: SailTime | WindPath | Renting a Boat | Fractional Ownership


Monday, August 23, 2010

Another Whale Collision, Boat Fire, Rescues

This whale was snapped by Sharon Kiley Mack,
Bangor Daily News, in the same area last year
The busiest boating times are also the busiest times for rescue crews, and this particular August weekend was no exception.

Boat vs. Whale (again)
Five people ended up in the water Saturday night near Head Harbour Passage, Maine, when their boat collided with a whale, shot straight up in the air, and sank. We found this local blog to have the best account of the accident, which occurred near the Canadian border. No one was injured as private boats quickly scooped up the passengers of the capsized boat.

Boat Goes Boom
It was just another day on Lake Erie on Sunday until a boat exploded at the Turtle Point Marina in Ottawa County, moments after filling up with fuel. Full story from WTOL.com

Rescued from the Mud
Two boaters were sitting on a navigation marker for several hours before being rescued Sunday morning after a late night outing at The Jacksonville Landing in Florida. The 17 foot Sea Ray they were in crashed into something around 2:30 in the morning, and the couple made their way to the buoy… by foot. The news articles about this incident point out that the couple’s SOS signals went unanswered until morning, but is it possible that passing boaters did not take the calls for help seriously because they were coming from land? Just sayin'.

Boaters vs. Prop
Lake Waubesa, Wisconsin, saw some excitement Saturday night that resulted in the arrest of a 21 year old man and injuries to the two men on his boat, according to a wire report we found on WCCO.com. The suspect’s two passengers were injured after the boat’s operator, who was later charged with “causing great bodily harm by intoxicated use of a boat”, made a sharp turn which resulted in them being thrown overboard and colliding with the boat’s propeller. The extent of the injuries were not known at the time of this post, but they did not appear to be fatal.

There were many more exciting mishaps and rescues over the weekend, but that’s enough excitement for us for one post.


Friday, August 20, 2010

A Modest Sea Song

When someone suggested we use a Modest Mouse tune as our Sea Song of the Week, we realized we never showcased this band before in all our years of doing this. When you think about Modest Mouse's albums and songs, there are so many nautical-sounding titles, we'll surely be selecting another Modest Moust tune in the future. This week we chose "Ocean Breathes Salty", and next time maybe we'll pick a tune off of the band's "We Were Dead Before the Ship Even Sank" album. Anyway, enjoy this video:

BTW, if you liked this tune but never heard of Modest Mouse, you can find them currently on tour in the UK. Check their website for tour dates, see more videos, and buy t-shirts, art and more at ModestMouse.com.


Thursday, August 19, 2010

Lost at the Boat Show

View Larger Map
Looking for something to do this weekend that involves boating, but can't get out on the water? There are several boat shows going on around the US, but they are in places like Michigan City, Indiana, and Port of Toledo, Oregon... If you're not from around there, some of these towns might sound like they are in the wrong states. So if you are heading out to one of these events, make sure you check our calendar of boat shows twice to make sure you are in the right place.

Michigan City In-Water Boat Show
We have heard a lot of good things about this big show, which is in Michigan City, INDIANA, only an hour east of Chicago. One reader told us, "I have attended the Michigan City show just about every year for the past 15 years. And while I've only owned 3 boats with none larger than my current 20' Four Winns, it's nice to walk the docks and dream about the boat that will be part of my future. :)"

Poster for the Port of Toledo show
Smaller Shows, Wooden Boats
There are several other smaller boat shows around the country, including a few antique boat shows featuring those classic woodies on the water, in upstate New York, as well as in Toledo, Oregon and Raleigh, North Carolina. While these shows are not as large as others, they can often be even more fun with lots of activities for the whole family.

Canadian Boat Show Canceled
If you bet that you'd go to the Georgian Boat and Sportsmen's Show at Georgian Downs Racetrack in Ontario this weekend, you lost. The show organizers were "forced to cancel" a couple of weeks ago because they stated that "poor attendance at several other shows in this region are putting a damper on enthusiasm."

For details about this weekend's boat shows, visit our calendar of boat shows.


Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Do Not Fear the Float Plan

Do you suffer from Float Pan-Itis?

If you’ve read any of the boating rescue news articles we’ve run recently on the Daily Boater, you’d know that many successful rescue missions are initiated when a friend or family member notifies authorities that the boaters in question did not return when they were supposed to. What do you think the Coast Guard will ask them next? Usually it’s something along the lines of, “when and where were they boating?” Knowing where they shoved off from and what time they left the house may not be enough information to save a boater's life.

In today’s edition of Boat Tips at the Powerboating Blog on About.com, Ericka Watson reminds us that there is nothing to fear in filing a float plan – it doesn’t have to be a complex, formal document, and it could save your life.

The basic concept is to let someone who is staying on land know where you are planning to boat, and when you are planning to return. Honestly, even the Coast Guard float plan form that we have available on the boating safety page of FirstBoat.com looks overwhelming at first glance (view printable PDF of float plan). But at its core the form is simply a way to let a friend know where you’ll be boating, who will be with you, and when you will return. This basic information can save your life and the lives of your passengers.

Next time you head out on the boat, make sure you file a float plan and, as always, boat safely.

Resources mentioned in this article:

  • Ericka Watson's Boat Tips

  • About.com How To File a Float Plan

  • FirstBoat boating safety page

  • Printable Float Plan from the US Coast Guard

  • ###

    Tuesday, August 17, 2010

    My Boat is on Fire

    While “My Boat’s on Fire” may sound like a great line from a sad country song, this is NOT our Sea Song of the Week. After mentioning several incidents over the past few weeks involving boats on fire (e.g., here, here and here), we realized this happens more often than you might think.

    Photo: US EPA Great Lakes National Program Office

    According to Seaworthy Magazine, more than half of boat fires are caused by electrical wiring faults - battery cables, bilge pump wires, instrument wires, shore power cables and appliances. About a quarter of boat fires start from an overheating engine, and just under 10% of fires are the result of a fuel leak.

    Now what can you do about it? Vincent Pica, a District Captain in the United States Coast Guard Auxiliary, runs the Atlantic Maritime Academy. Pica suggests that boaters should be prepared by at least having the required fire extinguishers onboard, and to make sure that they are located in convenient places, using common sense. They should be kept where they are easily accessible as well as in the sleeping berths in case you need to fight your way through a fire at night. 

    Pica’s website also has tips for what to do if a fire does break out on board, and lists the required fire extinguishers based on boat size. As a member of US Coast Guard Forces charged with protecting boaters, Pica knows first hand that fires onboard can be dangerous business. On boat fires in general, Pica stated, "What could be more frightening than fighting a fire on an ever-decreasing amount of boat and then leaving into a hostile environment - the sea?" For more info, visit AtlanticMaritimeAcademy.com.
    • All power boats, except outboards, less than 26 feet and of open construction must carry one B-I, U. S. Coast Guard approved fire extinguisher.
    • All power boats 26 feet to less than 40 feet must carry two B-I or one B-II U. S. Coast Guard approved fire extinguishers.
    • 40 feet to less than 65 feet must carry three B-I or one B-II and 1 B-I U. S. Coast Guard approved fire extinguishers.


    Monday, August 16, 2010

    Cell Phones May Be Banned On Boats

    Just as mobile devices have finally reached the point where they can easily run useful apps for boaters, they are on the brink of being banned by the Coast Guard. If an iPhone or Droid is mounted on your console running a navigation application, that’s probably not going to get anybody into trouble. However, someone chatting on a cell phone or having a text conversation while at the helm is another story altogether. This could prove as dangerous as texting while driving a car, especially in a crowded river, lake or harbor.

    What’s behind the story
    The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB – the same US agency that figures out how plane crashes happen) is currently investigating two collisions involving Coast Guard craft and civilian boats in which Coast Guard personnel were using cell phones. After determining that a Coast Guard crew member was using a cell phone, either for a conversation or texting, just before one of the collisions in which an 8-year old was killed, the NTSB called on the Coast Guard to adopt policies banning the use of cell phones and other devices. "The use of wireless communications devices while operating vehicles in any mode of transportation poses an unacceptable distraction," NTSB Chairman Deborah A.P. Hersman said. "State governments and federal regulators have been acting to combat these safety hazards and we urge the Coast Guard to do the same."

    The current action
    Ahead of the NTSB recommendation, the Coast Guard in July issued a ban on the use of cell phones and other wireless devices by the operators of Coast Guard vessels while underway. The Coast Guard has also agreed to take the NTSB’s recommendations seriously and to respond appropriately.

    What’s next
    If the NTSB recommendations are followed, the Coast Guard may extend their ban to all operators of commercial and recreational vessels. For now, the Coast Guard is just passing along a warning. Coast Guard spokesman Lt. Commander Chris O'Neil stated, "Just like when driving a vehicle on the road, when you are operating a boat, you must maintain situational awareness - and cell phone devices take away from that situational awareness."

    Do you use your cell phone while boating? Is texting while boating as dangerous as texting while boating? Please let us know what you think.


    Friday, August 13, 2010

    Beyond the Sea Song

    This week's choice for Sea Song of the Week was so obvious it's hard to believe we never featured any version of it here over the past several years.

    Once we decided to choose Beyond the Sea, we faced an even harder decision - which version to use... Bobby Darin, Bobby Caldwell, Kevin Spacey and Robbie Williams are just a few of the crooners who belted out this ballad over the years.

    After much thought and some feedback on Twitter, we decided to go with a version of Beyond the Sea by the British singer Robbie Williams. After all, the chap has been in the news quite a bit after getting married last week, and he definitely belts the heck out of this song.

    For our fellow Americans who are not as aware of Robbie Williams as our friends across the pond are, have a look at his official website - www.robbiewilliams.com - and his wikipedia writeup.


    Thursday, August 12, 2010

    Boat Shows on the Corners

    There are nautical events on both the northeast and northwest corners of the lower 48, and several other boat shows happening this weekend.

    Boat Show in the Northwest
    We'll start with the big one. The Seattle Boat Show starts today (Thursday) and runs through Sunday at Shilshole Bay Marina.
    Photograph ©2010 Jeff Scher / Maine Boats, Homes & Harbors
    Boat Shows in the Northeast
    There are two nautical events in northern New England this weekend. You can celebrate the lake at the Lake Champlain Maritime Festival today through Sunday in Burlington, Vermont, or you can enjoy the coast of Maine at the 8th Annual Maine Boats, Homes & Harbors Show in Rockland, Maine.

    Stuck in the middle
    The Les Cheneaux Islands Antique Wooden Boat Show is this Saturday in Hessel, Michigan.

    Too far to drive
    If you stayed in South Africa for several weeks after the World Cup, and you like boats, then you're in luck. This weekend South Africa's biggest boating event, the National Boat Show, comes to the Coca-Cola Dome in Johannesburg. Stick around for that, then go home!

    For more info about all of this weekend's events, including a flip flop regatta in Boston, visit our boat show calendar.


    Wednesday, August 11, 2010

    Lend Me a Life Jacket

    Life Jacket Loaner Programs Reach Across the Country

    The Idaho Department of Parks and Recreation just announced that they will lend life jackets to boaters at selected boat launches around the state. The life jackets will be free to use for both kids and adults, but must be returned the same day to the same location. Boaters who would otherwise be operating their boat illegally without the proper life jackets onboard will get a reprieve, but surely will also get a little education from the park rangers issuing the jackets.

    This reminded us of the fantastic program that the BoatU.S. Foundation has been running for years, which includes over 500 locations around the country that will lend out kids’ life jackets for the day or weekend to families who have a temporary need for one.

    Alaska, California and other states have similar programs, and Alberta, Canada just announced a trial program as well.

    A common theme in our boating safety tips, life jackets are one of the most essential ingredients to a safe day on the water. Hopefully programs like this will help more boaters get with the program when it comes to life jackets.

    Let us know if there's a program like this near you, or if you would take advantage of such a program.


    Tuesday, August 10, 2010

    Bow Riding Kills

    In an effort to improve boating safety on the east coast, the United States Coast Guard began Operation Bow Rider last week. Their goal is to increase awareness of the dangers associated with bow riding.

    "Bow riding" refers to the unsafe practice of passengers remaining on the bow of a recreational vessel while it is making way.

    They don't seem to be talking about sitting in the seats of a bow rider style of boat or a deck boat – those are made for riding as long as the passengers are safely seated while the vessel is underway. The danger of bow riding exists when passengers are sitting on the slippery surface of the bow, often without a railing or seat (just like this editor used to do all the time as a kid, feet dangling in front of the bow across the waters of Long Island Sound.)

    Wearing a life jacket does not make bow riding much safer, as the danger lies in being hit by both the boat and propeller after falling off the bow unexpectedly. Ouch. Apparently this is more gruesomely common than you might think… In the Coast Guard's 5th District, where Operation Bow Rider has begun, from North Carolina to mid New Jersey, 20% of the boating fatalities two years ago were directly linked to bow riding.

    But many boaters don’t realize that bow riding is dangerous, the same way we didn’t realize driving without seatbelts was dangerous 40 years ago. The Coast Guard’s 5th District commander, Rear Adm. Dean Lee, puts it this way: “You wouldn’t allow your kids to sit of the hood of your car, so why would you allow them to sit on the bow of your boat?”


    Monday, August 09, 2010

    Boaters Found Drifting, Treading Water

    Two separate incidents over the weekend remind us to boat safely.

    Jacksonville, Florida
    After drifting for three days at sea on a 32 ft center console fishing boat, three men were found safe more than 80 miles off the coast of Jacksonville. The men were forced to survive on sushi as both their vessel (boat name: the Shade Maker) and VHF radio bit the dust. A Gulf Stream current then apparently carried them far off course before they were spotted by a Navy ship on Sunday afternoon. The fact that a family member reported the boaters missing when they didn’t arrive on schedule shows the value of a float plan. A GPS transponder, flares, back-up radio are a few items that might have gotten them rescued sooner according to some of the comments below the CNN article about the rescue.

    Chicago, Illinois
    In an incident with a less fortunate ending, all four of the young adults aboard an untethered 31-foot sailboat (boat name: Joan's Arc) jumped off the boat to go for a swim in Lake Michigan in the wee hours of Saturday morning.

    Unfortunately, after the boat floated away, only two of the four were found treading water about five hours later. It is an understatement to say that it's sad that they didn’t think to drop anchor or put on life jackets before they leaped into the lake from their perfectly good sailboat. One of the survivor’s stories is in the Chicago Tribune.

    Hope you enjoyed a safer weekend on the water than these folks did.


    Friday, August 06, 2010

    Synth Sea Song

    Close your eyes and listen to this song and try not to imagine sailing. By the way, in case you didn't know, this is what the cool kids are listening to these days.

    "Brielle" is a new tune from Adam Young (Owl City) in his new musical project called Sky Sailing. Hope you enjoy the water this weekend and enjoy this video.

    Want more Adam Young? Check this article on MTV.com.


    Thursday, August 05, 2010

    Hot and Old Boat Shows

    Perhaps we should say "Antique" or "Classic" instead of "Old", but no matter what you call them, boats of another era will be on display at two different shows this weekend.

    In Wisconsin this weekend? Check out the Door County 20th Annual Classic & Wooden Boat Show in Sturgeon Bay. The actual boat show is Saturday and Sunday, but they have other events going on leading up to it.

    If you are in Traverse City, Michigan, then check out the 23rd Annual Classic Boats on the Boardwalk - Saturday only.

    If OLD boats aren't your style, you can attend a modern boat show in Florida this weekend. The Orlando Hot Summer Boat Show is Friday through Sunday at the Orange County Convention Center.

    For more info about all of this weekend's boat shows, including directions and links to each show's website, visit our boat show calendar.


    Wednesday, August 04, 2010

    Fins Up, Deaths Up

    It's shark week on the Discovery Channel, there are an unusual amount of great whites along the coast of Cape Cod, and Jimmy Buffett is in the middle of his summer tour. But instead of saying "fins up" this week, a new Coast Guard report has us saying "deaths up".

    The United States Coast Guard Office of Auxiliary and Boating Safety released statistics from the 2009 boating season, and the report shows that boating deaths were up by more than 3% over the previous year.

    And as scary as sharks are to many boaters, it's the more mundane things like not wearing a life jacket that kill the most boaters according to the USCG. In fact, Rear Adm. Kevin Cook, the Coast Guard's director of prevention policy, sums up why boaters should always wear a life jacket: "Nearly 75 percent of the 736 people who died in boating accidents in 2009 drowned, and 84 percent of those victims reportedly were not wearing a life jacket." This is why "wear a life jacket" is the number one tip on the FirstBoat boating safety page.

    Alan Sorum has a nice summary of the report on his boating blog so you don't have download a 78 page PDF from the Coast Guard site (the full PDF is available here). If you're still not interested in wearing a life jacket while boating after reading this report, maybe you should just stay home and watch shark week.


    Tuesday, August 03, 2010

    How Not to Run Aground

    If you've read our posts about rescues over the past few weeks, you know that many boating mishaps are caused by boats running aground. Even a former American President recently ran aground in familiar waters when he unexpectedly got caught in rough seas.

    Running aground is all too common, but can often be avoided or remedied if you are armed with the right knowledge. And that knowledge was provided just last week by About.com Powerboating guide Ericka Watson in her latest edition of Boat Tips, which explains what to do if your boat runs aground - and how to prevent it from happening in the first place.