Wednesday, April 30, 2008

FISHING FOR AN EXCUSE TO WEAR LIFE JACKETS

Or

FISHING IS MORE DANGEREOUS THAN YOU THINK

 

Ask any experienced boater about life jackets and they will tell you that they put them on at the first sign of danger.  Ask those same people if they think fishing is inherently dangerous and they will probably say no.  Unfortunately this is a severe disconnect in boating safety logic.

 

There is something almost hypnotic about fishing. Fishermen get so entranced in the act of catching a fish that they wander off shore without an EPIRB or radio and believe they are protected with insufficient near shore life jackets.  They get so focused on catching a fish that they fail to see approaching weather. When they do see an approaching storm they refuse to head for safety if the fish are biting. If they have a fish on the line, it is “Katie Bar the Door” until that fish is landed.

 

My home State of Florida has the highest mortality rate per boating accident in the Nation. In just the past few months there have been several needless deaths, all to fishermen. One man was reported missing and was found drowned near his 16 foot boat.  His fishing rod was floating nearby with a fish still on the line. Recently a man in the Florida Keys was fishing with a companion.  He hooked a fish and in the process of landing it, fouled the fishing line on his outboard propeller.  Leaning over to free it, he fell overboard and drowned. I bet these men didn’t think that fishing was dangerous since neither one was wearing a life jacket.

 

The majority of fishing is done in a 16 to 24 foot craft.  National statistics show that the majority of boating accidents happen on small craft.  This immediately puts you at risk. While your best protection on the water is an off shore life jacket, I know they are too bulky to ask an active fisherman to wear.  This is one instance where a type 5 inflatable life jacket may be a reasonable alternative.  These safety devices are no more bulky to wear than a pair of suspenders.  While the models with automatic inflators are a little pricey, those with a pull cord inflator are quite reasonable and simple to operate. Fishermen please believe me.  The sport of fishing is dangerous and you should have a life jacket on at all times.  If you don’t believe me I will be glad to direct you to the families of the two men mentioned above.  Perhaps they can convince you!

 

The United States Power Squadrons has 45,000 members in over 450 squadrons throughout the United States and abroad. Its members are men, women, and young adults who volunteer and give freely of their time and energy to teach boating safety courses and seminars, provide vessel safety checks, assist the National Ocean Service in updating our nation's over 1000 nautical charts, and in other ways contribute to making boating on our waterways safer. For further information please visit the USPS Web site at www.usps.org or call (toll free) 888-367-8777.

 

“Boating is fun…we’ll show you how”

 

William B. Hempel, P

Member of the National Marketing and

Public Relations Committee

United States Power Squadrons

 

Bill Hempel is a year round resident of Punta Gorda, Florida and a regular writer for the Waterline in the Charlotte Sun. His articles have appeared in publications throughout the recreational boating world. He is a recipient of the United States Power Squadrons’ "Ship’s Bell Award" which is the organization’s highest accolade for the promotion of boating safety.

billmarl@comcast.net

 

 

 

TIPS TO MAKE BOATING LESS "FUELISH"

At $4.00 per gallon, many boaters are finding it much too costly to enjoy a day on the water. At two hours each way, a run to a nice marina restaurant can cost a twin engine boater upwards of $500.00.  That makes for one very expensive hamburger.   Following are ten helpful tips that will help you increase your fuel economy, save a few dollars and maybe increase the time you can afford to be on the water.

 

1. If you keep the boat on a lift, make certain your hull is clean and well waxed. If you keep your boat in the water, be sure to maintain a good coat of bottom paint. A slippery boat has less drag.

2. Proper size, pitch and number of propeller blades are important.  Select the optimal combination for your boat. Sacrificing a little top end speed can give you a 10% increase in fuel economy.

3. Nicks, dings or bends in a propeller can increase fuel consumption by up to 15%. Check your prop regularly.

4. Clean your carburetor, injectors and flame arrestor to maximize air fuel blend and optimal performance. Commercial gasoline additives are fine to clean your fuel systems and be sure to use a non flammable cleaner on the flame arrestor.

5. Remove all unnecessary weight to minimize the amount of hull being pushed through the water.  Every pound of weight creates the need for one more pound of displacement.

6. Trim your tabs, outboards and stern drives to keep your bow up and out of the water to minimize drag.

7. Whenever conditions allow, keep the boat up on plane. (Be certain to adhere to all speed and wildlife control zones).

8. Conduct some control runs and create an RPM vs. fuel consumption curve.  This will help you pick your optimum cruising speed.

9. Pick your boating days with care. Rough seas and headwinds can increase your fuel economy by over 25%.

10. Lastly, but most importantly; tell your friends the days of the free boat trips are over.  At $4.00 per gallon it isn’t unreasonable to tell guests up front the approximate cost of the days gas bill and that “we will be splitting the cost amongst us” Just do so up front so they have a chance to opt out of paying $100.00 each for their burger.

 

The United States Power Squadrons® has 45,000 members in over 450 squadrons throughout the United States and abroad. Its members are men, women, and young adults who volunteer and give freely of their time and energy to teach boating safety courses and seminars, provide vessel safety checks, assist the National Ocean Service in updating our nation's over 1000 nautical charts, and in other ways contribute to making boating on our waterways safer. For further information please visit the USPS Web site at www.usps.org or call (toll free) 888-367-8777.

 

                        “Boating is fun…we’ll show you how”

 

William B. Hempel, P

Member of the National Marketing

and Public Relations Committee

of the United States Power Squadrons

 

Bill Hempel is a year round resident of Punta Gorda, Florida and a regular writer for the Waterline in the Charlotte Sun. His articles have appeared in publications throughout the recreational boating world. He is a recipient of the United States Power Squadrons’ "Ship’s Bell Award" which is the organization’s highest accolade for the promotion of boating safety.

billmarl@comcast.net

 

Monday, April 28, 2008

International Boating and Water Safety Summit



San Diego, California. Thursday, 17 April 2008.

Delegates of the world’s boating organizations stood at attention while Sea Scouts from Orange County presented the colors for the opening of the eleventh annual International Boating and Water Safety Summit. The gathering is the foremost coalition for the advancement and promotion of safer boating through education.

The National Safe Boating Council and the National Water Safety Congress hosted the meeting in San Diego, California from April 17-19, 2008. Delegates participated in a program encompassing nearly all aspects of boating and water safety; including risk management, boating education, waterways management and law enforcement.

The color guard, wearing the white dress uniform of the Sea Scouts, demonstrated Sea Scouts commitment to youth development and safety through programs on the water. The ceremonial detail included Eagle Scout Nathaniel Erwin (National Flagship 2006 DELMAR) of Brea, CA; Able Sea Scout Jeff Adam (National Flagship 2006 DELMAR) from Dana Point, CA; Eagle Scout Ruben Hipolito (Orange County Squadron Boatswain) from Midway City, CA; and Eagle Scout Dale Stoica (National Flagship 2006 DELMAR) from Fullerton, CA. Stoica also serves as the International Boatswain for the upcoming William I. Koch International Sea Scout Sailing Championship at the United States Naval Academy in Annapolis, MD July 13-19, 2008.

Sea Scouts Erwin, Adam and Stoica are all members of Balboa Power Squadron, District 28, United States Power Squadrons®. Balboa PS is the sponsoring organization for Sea Scout Ship DELMAR and partners with Sea Scouts-BSA nationwide to promote and teach safe boating education with America’s youth.









Friday, April 25, 2008

All Hands On Deck For "Carrier"

My company "Computer Sciences Corporation (CSC)" is a major sponsor of this 10-part PBS Special which begins on this coming Sunday evening at 9:00 PM.

I just saw the first "very unvarnished episode" over my lunch hour at CSC Headquarters 

 

This series doesn't pull any punches [and the language is "salty"] as the camera crews follow 15 young sailors, and a couple of Officers, around the ship for 6 months.  This is the type of life your Skipper signed up when he went to sea back in 1965 - the ships were still made of wood back then.  It

hasn't change much.  

 

Life aboard any Ship is long hours, exhausting, boring, and yet the duty is rewarding all at the same time.  These young sailors grow up with real world problems like the local sailor your will meet from Manassas, VA who got his girlfriend pregnant just before deploying.  These young people learn to make better decisions in the world around them as they mature. 

 

It's worth your time to check this 10-part Series out beginning on Sunday evening at 9:00 PM, if any of you are in the least bit interested in joining up into any military service?  You won't be on the fence after watching "Carrier," your mind will be made up one way or the other after seeing this PBS Special.

 

Don't Give Up the Ship,

Skipper Tom Ballew

Sea Scout Ship 1942

"2007 National Flagship"     

 

*****************************

USA Today

April 25, 2008

Page 9E

All Hands On Deck For 'Carrier'

PBS series follows life aboard the USS Nimitz By Gary Strauss, USA Today Life aboard a naval aircraft carrier isn't Top Gun - but at times on PBS'

multi-part documentary Carrier (premieres Sunday, 9 ET/PT, times may vary), it sure seems that way

 

Among the 5,300 sailors aboard the USS Nimitz (and especially among hotshot fighter pilots), the 1986 Tom Cruise film is a mainstay, shown more than 200 times a year. But Carrier's unprecedented 10-part, 10-hour chronicle of life aboard the Nimitz is no Hollywood fantasy.

 

The tone is set in Episode 1 - "All Hands" - which underscores Carrier's warts-and-all, unvarnished study of character, work ethic and the complexities of operating one of the world's largest, most lethal combat ships.

 

"It's really the stories of young men and women on the tip of the spear, their lives, their hopes and fears. That's what drives you back hour after hour," says PBS programming chief John Wilson.

 

At its core, Carrier is the story of a handful of 15 enlisted men, women and officers, including gruff Master Chief Christopher Penton, a 27-year veteran, and Lt. Laurie Coffey, an F-18 pilot on her first deployment (a "nugget," in Navy parlance)

 

To be sure, there are ample big-screen-style bravado and heroics, particularly among pilots and flight deck grunts. Yet no guns were fired or bombs dropped - except for target practice - during the filming of Nimitz's six-month deployment to the Persian Gulf in 2005.

 

There are ample displays of grousing, boredom and tedious grunt work that offsets romantic notions of life at sea. Carrier captures a range of human emotion and activity largely because film crews were granted unparalleled access to Nimitz and its crew of mostly teens and twenty something's, many pimply-faced and barely ready to shave.

 

Carrier wasn't an easy launch, says Maro Chermayeff, co-creator and executive producer. It took a year of negotiations and backdoor schmoozing between retired Navy aviator David Kennedy, now a Hollywood technical adviser, and Nimitz's officers to counter Pentagon resistance. Eventually, a 17-member film crew was permitted on the Nimitz. It took two months at sea before the ship's personnel warmed to Carrier's film crews and both fell into a groove, Chermayeff says.

 

Ultimately, filmmakers shot 1,600 hours of life on a floating city, much of it mundane and unflattering. When the Nimitz is put on night alert because of a possible man overboard, an officer is quick to anger upon learning it's a false alarm. Sailors ponder the politics of the Iraq war. Some face the wrath of superiors for everything from poor performance to drunkenness. Yet Carrier also shows the close-knit bonds of the flight deck crews toiling in hazardous, ear-shattering conditions, as well as the tight camaraderie of fighter jocks determined to give one another as much good-natured grief as possible.

 

"What I like best about (Carrier) is it portrays us as being human, not just the military dropping bombs and killing people," says Penton, 47. "It's about us working hard, our way of life and the sacrifices we make for this country. It's an honest look at what goes on (aboard) a combat ship."

 

Coffey, now a flight instructor, says Carrier offers a realistic look at how women function in the testosterone-fueled atmosphere of a fighter squadron.

Still, she was initially reticent about being filmed. "My priority was doing my job and doing it well," says Coffey, 30. "Eventually, you forgot the cameras. That's what allowed them to get open, honest stories. There's an authenticity to it. It's not a Navy commercial."