Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Running Aground by Sail

Sailboats hit bottom, too. What can you do about it?

Yesterday we ran a very informative guest blog post from Vincent Pica (a District Captain with the USCG Auxiliary) about what to do when your boat runs aground. To paraphrase Vin, it's not a matter of if you'll run aground someday, but when.

Waiting for the tide to come in?
However, as our sailboat correspondent Sean McQuilken pointed out via a Facebook comment, Vin's tips were mostly powerboat-centric. Sailboats get beached, too. So, for those of you with sailboats, Sean offered these suggestions for when you run aground:

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

When Your Boat Runs Aground

What to do when you are the skipper and you run aground. And you WILL run aground.

boat runs aground Boston
A 50 ft cabin cruiser runs aground in Boston Harbor in August, 2010. U.S.C.G. photo.
By Vincent Pica
District Captain, Sector Long Island Sound/South, D1SR
United States Coast Guard Auxiliary

When I teach seamanship courses to private boaters on the South Shore of Long Island, New York, I note that, if you boat in our local waters and have never run aground, you're lying. Even USCG regulars have been known to "touch bottom" at times in these waters... So, the issue is not if you run aground but what you do afterwards.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Merry Christmas from the Daily Boater

Each week we post a nautical tune to help you get your weekend off to a great start, even if you can't get out on the boat.

Our Sea Song of the Week is always nautically-themed, but at this time of year it's usually holiday-themed as well. Our choice for Sea Song of the Week this Christmas weekend is for anyone who wishes they were somewhere a little bit warmer for the holidays. How would you like to spend Christmas on a tropical island?

Enjoy Jimmy Buffett's Christmas Island, and have a Merry Christmas everyone!

We also want to wish a happy birthday to Jimmy, who celebrates his birthday on Christmas day each year... not that he visits That's okay, we still visit his... In fact, for official Jimmy Buffett videos, news and concert information, visit and read all about it. Tell him the Daily Boater sent you.


Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Best of the Best Sailboats

Sailing World announces Boat of the Year winners, but who really makes the best sailboats?

RS Sailing RS100 Boat of the Year
Photo courtesy of the RS Sailing Facebook page
With Sailing World's recent announcement of their Boat of the Year awards, we decided to take a look at their top sailboats along with those of Sail Magazine's selections for their recent Best Boats Awards to see which boats were good enough to make both lists.

Sailing World's Boat of the Year contest is in its 25th year, and all six winners of the 2011 awards will be published in their January/February 2011 issue. Of course, in today’s tradition of instant gratification, you don’t have to wait for the old fashioned print version to find out which boats Sailing World selected as the best. Sailing World has already announced all six winners online.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

States Surpass Last Year’s Boating Deaths

Florida, South Carolina both experience surges in boating fatalities in 2010

Photo Courtesy of The U.S. Coast Guard
This year has been a tragic one for boaters in many states, especially South Carolina and Florida. According to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC), the state has seen 76 boating fatalities so far in 2010, a significant increase over the 66 deaths related to boating in 2009.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Abandon Ship

When to ditch, what’s in a Ditch Bag, and other advice to save your life

By Vincent Pica
U.S. Coast Guard Photo by Lt. Frank Wolfe
District Captain, Sector Long Island Sound/South, D1SR
United States Coast Guard Auxiliary

Help is on the way. It will take time to get to you. What have you done to stay alive while the rescue team is heading for you? This column is about those steps.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Second Sprint of Round the World Race Begins

The second sprint of the Velux 5 Oceans got underway yesterday after a four day delay. The oldest single-handed round the world yacht race, the Velux 5 Oceans is considered the longest and toughest event for ANY individual in ANY sport. This second sprint is perhaps the most dangerous of the five as it entails a grueling 7,000 nautical mile sprint across the Southern Ocean through some of the worst weather conditions known to man.

Photo © Ainhoa Sanchez/

Christmas at Sea

Our Sea Song of the Week is always nautically-themed, but at this time of year it's usually holiday-themed as well.

Today is no exception. We found a song Sting released with harpist Mary Macmaster last year, based on the Robert Louis Stevenson poem Christmas At Sea. Enjoy Sting's musical version of Christmas At Sea, and have a safe journey, wherever you're going this holiday.

If the above video gets taken down, here's another performance on YouTube.

And if you're a huge Sting fan, did you know you can buy a membership to his official website ( Your $45 gets you access to exclusive contests and a chance to buy his concert tickets before they go on sale to the general public.


Tuesday, December 14, 2010

When Someone Goes Overboard

5 things to do when someone falls off your boat, and how to keep from falling overboard in the first place
Photo © istockphoto/pete collins

By Vincent Pica
District Captain, Sector Long Island Sound/South, D1SR
United States Coast Guard Auxiliary

Recently, a friend of mine fell overboard – while boarding a boat at the dock! Sound crazy? Not really – when the “victim” isn’t wearing proper shoes… when he stepped on the gunwales and not into the boat… and when the wake of a passing boat (who shouldn’t have been making a wake!) rocked the vessel strongly… In other words, things just go wrong at all the wrong times … Are you ready to deal with it?

Monday, December 13, 2010

Sailing Report: Velux 5 Part Deux

Second Leg of Perilous Ocean Race Delayed

Photo: Christophe Bullens/
By Sean McQuilken
Special to the Daily Boater

While most people are finishing up their holiday shopping and preparing to spend time with their family and friends, a group of elite athletes is waiting out a treacherous storm with 45 mph winds and 30 foot waves so they can begin to sail across one of the world’s most dangerous stretches of waters, each of them alone in their 60 foot ocean racing yachts.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Dock of the Bay

Today's Sea Song of the Week is in honor of Otis Redding

© Nautical Sites Media
Each week we post a nautical tune to help you get your weekend off to a great start, even if you can't get out on the boat. It's not always about boating, but usually the songs have some reference to the water - enough, hopefully, to get your mind wandering and thinking about boating.

Sadly, Otis Redding died on this day back in 1967 in a plane crash at the way-too-young age of 26. So, in honor of Otis, we picked his classic (Sittin' On) The Dock of the Bay, which was released a month later, as our Sea Song of the Week.

Of the hundreds and hundreds of covers of this song - by artists as diverse as Michael Bolton, Pearl Jam, Cold Play, Bob Dylan, Sammy Hagar and Willie Nelson - we picked one of the newest and most compelling versions.

Thursday, December 09, 2010

Boat Shows in the Desert and in the Snow

Fishing and Boat Shows Around the World This Weekend from Syracuse to Saudi Arabia

Saudi International Boat Show is going on now
There are boat shows, fishing shows, charter yacht shows and boat parades all over the world this weekend. Unfortunately for us, other than the many boat parades, most of the big shows are outside the US until after the New Year.

A couple of the events we mentioned last week are continuing through this Saturday, including shows in Paris and Antigua.

Wednesday, December 08, 2010

Five Tips To Fight Fog

You can't make the fog go away, but you can wait it out safely with these tips and a bit of common sense. Here's what to do when the fog rolls in, whether you are operating a small boat or a large yacht or ship - by guest contributor Vincent Pica
U.S. Coast Guard photo by PO2 Etta Smith

By Vincent Pica
District Captain, Sector Long Island Sound/South, D1SR
United States Coast Guard Auxiliary

For those of a more scientific-bent, fog that forms when water is warmer than the air is called “steam” fog (most often occurs in the Fall). Think of that pot of spaghetti water you are boiling. Fog that forms when the water is colder than the air is called “advection” fog (Spring). There is a third kind of fog called “radiation” fog. That is the fog that you see float in across the backyard or linger in a dip in the country road…

But fog is fog. You can’t see the land or the buoys or, worse, the bow of your own boat! What to do?

Monday, December 06, 2010

States With Weak Boating Safety Laws

Two US states don’t require children to wear life jackets, 13 have no mandatory safety education

At least he's wearing a PFD! ©istockphoto/Jason Lugo
The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB), the US Government Agency that is perhaps best known for investigating airplane accidents, recently removed recreational boating from what it calls its “Most Wanted List of Transportation Safety Improvements.” The NTSB says that many states have “responded favorably” to federal recommendations to improve boating safety, but there are still many states pushing back. Such states have insufficient boating safety requirements, specifically in regards to children’s life jacket laws and mandatory boater education.

Thursday, December 02, 2010

Boat Shows and Parades: Paris, Antigua, St. Pete and More

Several boat shows and parades in amazing locations over the next few days
Boats in Antigua © Rushton
Are you looking for a reason to escape to St. Petersburg, Florida, or perhaps even to Paris or the West Indies this weekend? Well, if you like boat shows, you now have an excuse to start packing.

Of course, if you want to stay close to home, you can still whet your nautical appetite by going to a boat parade. There are plenty of those around the US this weekend and over the next couple of weeks as local maritime communities celebrate the holidays by parading lighted boats through their harbors and rivers.

Wednesday, December 01, 2010

Lanyard Law Coming Soon

Boaters May Soon Be Required to Wear Engine Emergency Kill Switch Lanyard

boat lanyard law
Do you use your kill switch?
Have you ever used that red cord that dangles from somewhere on your boat’s dash? As you probably already know, its purpose is to kill the engine if the operator of a boat is tossed overboard. Many people simply leave it dangling or coiled up, but have you ever seen anyone clip it on while operating a boat?

A new boat owner often sees the lanyard and wonders:
Is it illegal not to use it?

Does it work?

What is the big deal?

What’s coming next?