Time to Check Your Boat’s Fire Extinguisher

Ask any marine surveyor, one of the items they always check is a vessel’s fire extinguishers. Unfortunately, more often than not, they find equipment that is old and in poor condition. Keeping this equipment in working order is vital to the safety of a boat and its occupants. Still, few owners pay much attention to the fire systems onboard. To be honest, these are not very exciting pieces of equipment, and hopefully you will never have to use them. However, in the event of an emergency, it is vital that they are operational. Checking your system is not difficult, but it does require some time and possibly some expense. The first step is to understand your fire extinguishers, what types are available and what is required by law.

 

Types & Sizes of Fire Extinguishers:

While there are many types and sizes of fire extinguishers available, we’ll stick to the most commonly found onboard your average pleasure boat in the 20-60’ range. The types or classes of fire extinguishers are based on letter designations for the type of fuel a fire is burning and are designated by the National Fire Protection Agency as follows:

Type A: Common combustible solids such as wood, paper, cloth, canvas, cushions, and many plastics. Dry chemicals and water work well on these fires.

Type B: Fires involving oils, greases, paints, solvents and gases. These would most commonly be engine, galley, and stored liquid chemical fires. Dry chemical and clean agents work well. Never use water.

Type C: Electrical fires. Dry chemical and clean agents work well. Liquid agents should not be used as they present a shock hazard.

 

What’s Inside the Fire Extinguisher:

These are the agents you are most likely to find on your average pleasure boat:

Dry chemicals: Can be used on B,C and A,B,C fires. The label will indicate which. They are the most common type for small portable fire extinguishers found on most boats. All have a B,C rating which is the minimum required by the USCG. Some are rated for A,B,C and this is preferred for marine use, but not required. Dry chemicals work by cooling and smothering the fire with heavy smoke. The powder can be caustic and if discharged, be sure to completely clean anything the power has come in contact with.

Clean agents: Called clean agents because they leave little or no residue after being discharged. The most common of these are CO2, Halon and now Halon substitutes. The Environmental Protection Agency has banned the use of Halon due to its Chlorofluorocarbons, or CFCs. Halon is now being replaced with FE 241, FE200, HFC-227 and Halotron 1. Clean agents are not as common in small portable extinguishers as is dry chemical but you can find some units that use it. They work by displacing oxygen in the air thereby smothering the fire. The advantage is that they do not leave any residue. The disadvantage is that because they displace the oxygen, they are a suffocation hazard when used in confined spaces such as the cabin of a boat.

 

Sizes of Extinguishers:

Sizes for portable fire extinguishers are set by the US Coast Guard and use Roman numerals, I being the smallest and V being the largest. It’s rare to see anything bigger than a size II on the average sized pleasure boat.

 

Size I is 4-5 pounds clean agent and 2-3 pounds dry chemical. Commonly, this size is not serviceable, meaning it cannot be recharged should it be used or lose its charge. Check the label to see if it can be serviced or not. These are by far the most common size found on the average boat.

Size II is 15 pounds clean agent and 10 pounds dry chemical. As these units are larger and more expensive most (but not all) are serviceable. Once again, check your label. Serviceable units can be recharged by a certified fire extinguisher service center if they lose charge or are used.

 

The US Coast Guard by law requires all pleasure boats with engine compartments, and or with permanently installed fuel tanks to carry fire extinguishers. The minimum number and type are as follows:

16-26’:    One B-I

26-40’:    One B-II or Two B-I

40-65’:    One B-II and One B-I, or Three B-I units

The “B-I” and “B-II” are USCG designations for fire extinguisher types and sizes. The “B” is based on a complicated system set up by the USCG and the “I” and “II” are for the size. Suffice to say, always check the label to make sure it is USCG approved. At minimum it should be for B, C fires with A, B, C preferred.

 

Extinguisher Inspection:

All extinguishers should be professionally inspected and tagged at least once a year and a quick visual inspection done monthly. However, for pleasure boats this is a recommendation and not a requirement. Unfortunately, most boaters rarely do either of these. The USCG requires you have onboard “approved” fire extinguishers; this leaves it up to the boat owner to maintain their equipment in good working order. If you are boarded by the USCG or local waterway officers and you have fire extinguishers that are not fully charged, or are old and in poor condition you are likely to get a citation. It is not cost effective to have a service company come down to your boat once a year for only 3-4 small hand held extinguishers. It would be more efficient to take them to an approved service facility to have them checked. The average cost for this is $35-$75 per extinguisher depending on size and type. For the small disposable units, this might not be cost effective and it might be more realistic to just replace them on a regular basis. Most companies provide a 6-year warranty and a 12-year shelf life. After 12 years, they should be disposed of. We recommend replacing after no more than 6 years. You can tell the age of your unit by looking on the bottom, where you will find a 2-digit date number indicating its manufacture date. It is a good idea to look at this when you purchase a new unit, as you want to make sure you are not getting one that has been in stock for 2-3 years. Whether you take your units in for professional inspections or not, you should know how to inspect them yourself so that you can be sure you have safe working units. How should you inspect them? Here’s a handy step-by-step guide:

 

  1. Remove the extinguishers from their bracket and check the gauge. If the needle is in the red, or even very close to it, you should replace it.
  2. Visually inspect the canister and nozzle. Check for rust, corrosion, and dents. Look into the nozzle to be sure it is not blocked by anything. Make sure the safety pin is intact and that the handle is not bent or broken.
  3. Check the bracket to make sure it is in good condition. Too often, units are tossed into a locker or cabinet, unsecured. Check the label to verify it is USCG approved; this is often in very small print.
  4. For dry chemical units, turn the fire extinguisher upside down and tap the cylinder with a rubber mallet. You should feel or hear the powder move inside. This is important as the powder tends to get packed down at the bottom.
  5. For clean agent units you should weigh the extinguisher to verify it is within manufactures specifications. The minimum and maximum weights will be on the label, make sure it falls within that range. Even with these self- inspections, it is still important to have professionals look at all units at least once a year.
  6. Lastly, consider the number and location of your fire extinguishers. Just because the USCG has set a minimum number to be onboard doesn’t mean this is all you should have. When installing fire extinguishers, think about likely places a fire could start. The galley, the engine compartment, battery compartments and electrical panels are all places fires commonly start. Place fire extinguishers near these areas and near all exits from the cabin. You want to make sure if there is a fire you are not trapped inside so have units placed so that you can use them to clear your exit. Also, it is a good idea to have units in all sleeping spaces so that if a fire should break out at night, you will not be trapped. Lockers containing fire extinguishers should have a red label on the outside reading “Fire Extinguisher Inside.” As skipper, it’s your duty to make sure your guests know where all safety equipment is kept as well.

 

Remember, keeping your boat’s fire extinguisher in working order is vital to the safety of your boat and its occupants. Key points to be aware of are:

  1. Purchase only USCG approved fire extinguishers. The minimal rating for your extinguisher is B,C. A rating of A,B,C is recommended.
  2. It is recommended to professionally inspect and tag your extinguisher yearly.
    1. This can be accomplished by taking the extinguisher to an approved service company.
    2. A more expensive option is to have a service company come to your boat each year.
    3. Finally, for small disposal units, the most cost effective way might be to replace them each year.
  3. In addition to the yearly professional inspection, extinguishers should be visually inspected monthly.

The most important thing to consider is, when you need your extinguisher, you want it to work! If you have any questions about the fire extinguishers you have onboard, don’t hesitate to reach out to the Service Department!

4th of July Boating Safety Tips


Photo by Visit Annapolis

The 4th of July Holiday is the busiest, and often most dangerous time of the boating season. The U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary is urging all boaters to exercise extra caution while boating during the upcoming July 4th holiday. 4th of July, along with Memorial Day and Labor Day, typically account for more than one-third of all boating-related accidents and fatalities. Still, the holiday is a terrific opportunity to gather with fellow boating enthusiasts and enjoy the festivities in the comfort of Port Annapolis Marina’s premium facilities. Here are seven tips on how to stay safe this Independence Day.

Always Wear a Life Jacket: While it can be hot and steamy in Annapolis, don’t be tempted to forgo wearing a life jacket. Accidents happen quickly, and often there isn’t time to put on a life jacket once an accident has happened. Statistics consistently show that 80% of those who perished in boating accidents were not wearing life jackets.

Make Sure Your Boat is Properly Equipped and Equipment is Functioning Properly: The 4th of July is sometimes the first and only time people venture out on the water after dark. Make sure your navigation lights work so you can be seen. Better yet, request a free Vessel Safety Check to make sure your boat has all the legally required and recommended equipment onboard.

Be Prepared for Emergencies: Accidents happen quickly, often with little or no warning. Take the time to familiarize your crew with basic emergency procedures, and show them how to contact authorities for help via marine radio or cell phone. Make sure your flares are up to date, but never use flares as a form of fireworks. Doing so constitutes a false distress call, which is a class D felony, punishable by up to six years in prison and up to $250,000 in fines, plus the costs associated with the false distress.

Boating and Alcohol Don’t Mix: Boaters are also reminded of the dangers of drinking and boating. Along with decreasing the operator’s ability to make good judgments, the consumption of alcohol also negatively affects the ability of passengers to respond in the case of an emergency on the water. The effects of the sun, wind, waves and a boat’s motion in the water can add to an operator’s impairment. Intoxicated boaters can face both federal and state charges with penalties of up to one year in prison and up to $100,000 in fines.

File a Float Plan with a Friend: A float plan for a boater is similar to a flight plan for a pilot. It lists who is going, where you’re going, what the boat looks like, and when you expect to be back. Don’t file this with the Coast Guard; rather, share it with a friend who will be staying ashore, and instruct them what to do in the event that they don’t hear from you within a reasonable time of when you expect to return home. CLICK HERE for a complete plan along with instructions

Keep a Sharp Lookout for Other Boats, Weather, or Anything Unusual: The Coast Guard asks the public to be more aware of their surroundings, including carefully watching the weather, celebrating responsibly and understanding the hazards of boating under the influence of alcohol and misusing emergency flares as fireworks. Report any emergencies to local authorities by calling 911 or VHF-FM Channel 16. Any suspicious activity that might involve terrorism should be reported to America’s Waterway Watch at 877-24-WATCH.

Practice the 3 Cs – Caution, Courtesy, & Common Sense: Use caution, especially in close quarter maneuvering situations with other boats. In such situations, slow speeds are better. Be courteous to your fellow boaters, and use common sense. Don’t cut people off at the launch ramp, and never light fireworks from your boat!

By following these seven simple tips, you could save your life, the life of your passengers or fellow boaters and swimmers – and will make your Independence Day less stressful and more fun!

Be a Greener Boater: Protecting the Environment

Environmental-friendly boating practices help seafarers look beyond the bow and make a difference to maintain clean, healthy waters for years to come. Boating goes hand-in-hand with wildlife watching, swimming, fishing, snorkeling and diving—and each of these experiences is enhanced by the clean water required for a healthy bay. Unfortunately, mishandling a boat can be detrimental to marine ecosystems, wildlife and water quality. Improper handling, irresponsible or neglectful vessel maintenance, and poor refueling, repair and storage habits all present significant environmental risks. Reducing these risks not only helps preserve clean water and protect the animals that live in it, but also keeps boaters and their families safe – and can even save money!

 

Below, the experienced staff of Port Annapolis Marina lays out some best boating practices for a greener boating experience—practical steps you can use every time you hit the water. Learn more about how boaters can develop and incorporate environmentally friendly management strategies in six key areas:

  • Oil and Fuel
  • Sewage Pollution
  • Vessel Maintenance and Repair
  • Marine Debris
  • Storm Water Runoff
  • Vessel Operation

It’s important to realize you can make a tremendous difference and impact in preserving the health of the ocean and waterways!

 

Oil and Fuel

Diesel fuel and motor oil are toxic to people, plants and wildlife. They can also block life-giving sunlight in the water. Most oil pollution results from accidents and/or carelessness.

  • Refueling is when most spills happen. The U.S. Coast Guard recommends filling the tank to only ninety-percent to capacity to reduce the chance of spills from overfilling.
  • Even small oil spills spell trouble for water quality; bilge pumps can often discharge oil directly into the water. Be sure to use oil absorbent pads in the bilges of all boats with inboard engines.
  • Inspect thru-hull fittings often. A sinking boat is not only a safety risk for passengers, but also leaks dangerous fuel, oil and chemicals into the water.
  • DO NOT use soaps to disperse spills – it is ILLEGAL.

 

Sewage Pollution

Think one boat doesn’t make a difference? A single overboard discharge of human waste in a shallow enclosed area like a bay can be detected across one square mile. Excess nutrients disrupt natural cycles and pose a human health hazard.

  • Install and use a marine sanitation device as required by law.
  • Sewage and chemicals from holding tanks readily contaminate water.
  • Bring portable toilets ashore for proper disposal.

 

Vessel and Maintenance Repair

Sanding, cleaning, painting and degreasing boats can pose major threats to our waters. Particles of dust and paint in the water can block life-giving sunlight, and toxic substances from cleaners and antifouling compounds can sicken or kill marine life.

  • Use nonhazardous materials—if it’s hazardous to you, it’s hazardous to the environment.
  • Old batteries can leach dangerous lead or cadmium, and expired marine flares contain toxic materials as well so dispose of them properly.
  • When you paint your hull, choose officially certified environmentally-friendly materials

 

Marine Debris

Trash in the water isn’t just an eyesore; it damages boats and threatens the well-being of marine wildlife. It also undermines tourism and economic activities that create jobs. But there’s good news. Litter in the water is entirely preventable.

  • Bring your food containers, cigarette butts and other trash back to shore and recycle them whenever possible.
  • Let your marina know if it can provide better waste collection facilities.
  • Boaters are known for being good stewards and routinely picking up trash. For greater impact, raise awareness and collect data on what’s out there by participating in programs like Ocean Conservancy’s International Coastal Cleanup.

 

Storm Water Runoff

At marinas, storm drains can carry pollutants – including toxic metals from boat hull scraping and sanding, oil and grease, detergents, litter, and hazardous bilge waste – directly into the water.

  • Use nontoxic cleaning products.
  • Discard worn motor parts carefully so oil doesn’t wash from them into storm drains.
  • Dispose of trash properly in onshore bins.

 

Vessel Operation

Marinas and individual boaters must play a role in reducing vessel operation damage. Vessel operation damage occurs whenever improper handling, irresponsible use or neglect of a vessel results in damages to the environment. The effects can be costly.

  • Anchors aweigh: Choose anchor sites carefully and use proper techniques to avoid damaging sensitive habitat.
  • Avoid boating in shallow water, where you can stir up sediments and disturb underwater habitat—not to mention damage your propeller, hull and engine if you run aground.
  • Know where to go slow to prevent shore-damaging wakes.

Port Annapolis has been recognized by the Department of Natural Resources as a Certified Clean Marina, so if you have any questions about how you can be a greener boater, please contact us! We’re happy to point you in the right direction and get you connected to local organizations in Annapolis that support green initiatives and cleaner water. Happy boating!

Fire Prevention Tips: Stop On-Board Fires Before They Start

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What’s the best way to deal with any problem? Stop it before it starts—and the same maxim hold true when it comes to boating. Experienced sailors are some of the most cautious people you’ll meet—and for good reason. While boating is an exhilarating and enjoyable pastime, there’s no getting around the inherent risk involved with heading out on the water, miles away from medical and professional assistance in the case of an emergency.

Fires are perhaps one of the most dangerous, yet preventable, potential threats to safety that can occur onboard a boat. Nothing can replace the effectiveness of fast, efficient action combined with a cool head—critical procedures of effective on-board fire management for dealing with fires before they spread out of control. Following these procedures can not only help sailors prevent a fire, or contain it in the event one breaks out, but they can additionally help them save the lives of their crew members.

First of all, make sure you have the proper size and classification of marine fire extinguishers on board your vessel. You may be required to have more than one depending on the size of your boat—the U.S. Coast Guard has published these requirements along with other highly useful safety information in its Federal Requirements brochure. The document is available for free online and can be accessed at www.uscgboating.org. Ensure that all fire extinguishers are mounted in such a way so that they are readily accessible and positioned in locations that you can get to quickly in the event of a sudden emergency. As with all on-board equipment, regular inspection and maintenance is key. You need to inspect your fire extinguishers at regular intervals to verify they are fully charged and have not exceeded their expiration dates. If your boat has an internal fixed firefighting system along with sprinklers, be sure that it is also inspected and professionally serviced annually in accordance with the manufacturer’s recommendations.

The majority of on-board fires are caused by fueling and electrical complications or errors. Prior to fueling your boat, request that all passengers disembark the vessel and shut off all open flame sources such as stoves or grills. Close all windows, doors and hatches to prevent excess gasoline fumes from entering the boat and providing a potential source of combustion. During the fueling process, make sure the nozzle maintains in direct contact with the tank in order to prevent contact sparks and avoid overfilling the tank so the fuel has adequate space to expand. Obviously, do not smoke while fueling. After you’ve completed fueling, be sure to wipe up any spillage and dispose of the rag in an off-board, designated location. Re-open all the windows, doors and hatches and run the exhaust blower on full power for approximately four minutes. Prior to turning the engine over, perform a “sniff” test of the bilge and engine compartment. If you detect the odor of gasoline, turn the exhaust blower back on until it dissipates.

In order to prevent electrical-based fires, routinely inspect all electrical connections. Furthermore, inspect any shore power connection lines that you may be accessing prior to connecting them to your boat’s power system. If any wires appear to be fraying or if you see sparks, quickly disengage the main power source and have the problem repaired before attempting to use the device again. As the weather gets colder, be careful when using heaters in enclosed spaces and never leave one running unattended.

In the event that a fire breaks out, be sure that all those on board are fitted with a life jacket in case they have to abandon ship. If possible, steer the boat so that the flame is downwind and direct all passengers and crew move upwind away from the fire. Never attempt to use water to extinguish a gasoline, oil, or grease fire as it will only spread the flames and if there is an active electrical current there is a very real threat of shock—access one of your on-board fire extinguishers and use it instead. To use your fire extinguisher, simply remember the saying “PASS”:

                  Pull pin

                  Aim at the fire’s base

                  Squeeze the handle

                  Sweep from side to side

Finally, radio for help on your VHF radio or cell phone if you have service and prepare to abandon ship if unable to prevent the fire from spreading out of control.

Cruising into Fall: 2016 United States Sailboat & Powerboat Shows

 

Looking to kick off the fall season with a bang? Join Port Annapolis Marina and thousands of fellow boating enthusiasts from around the world for seminars, prizes and more at the 2016 Sailboat and Powerboat shows! We’ll be representing the local seafaring community—be sure to stop by Tent C39 to support your favorite Annapolis marina, learn more about our outstanding staff and services and join the area’s premier full-service boating location. Here’s everything you need to know about the upcoming festivities so you can enjoy a stress-free day at the largest in-water sailboat and powerboat shows in the world!

Sailboat Show

2016 United States Sailboat Show

The economic upturn and subsequent industry growth means boaters will be out in full force this year—the collection of attendees is ever-changing so there’s never a dull moment regardless of how many times you may have attended in the past. There’s something for every interest: last year the show featured over thirty boats under thirty feet—a trend that will be continued this year with several entry-level cruising boats, custom-designed race boats, trailerable monohull and multi-hull boats and more registered. On top of all the wonderful boats and cutting-edge equipment featured, the show is jam-packed with educational opportunities for boaters of all ages and levels of experience. Those new to sailing can register for a brief training on board a brand new Beneteau First 22 in the First Sail Workshop. For those looking to potentially purchasing a boat can learn more about their buying options during the interactive “Take the Wheel” workshops that features an all-inclusive day of classes; sea trials on two of eight demo boat choices ranging from 35 to 54-feet; and breakfast, lunch, and an evening reception. Here’s the need-to-know info for those looking to partake in what promises to be one of the most exciting shows in the event’s history! Still have questions? Visit the show’s official even page at: www.annapolisboatshows.com.

  • WHEN: OCTOBER 6-10, 2016
    • Thursday, October 6, 2016 (VIP Day): 10:00am – 6:00pm
    • Friday, October 7, 2016: 10:00am – 6:30pm
    • Saturday, October 8, 2016: 10:00am – 6:30pm
    • Sunday, October 9, 2016: 10:00am – 6:30pm
    • Monday, October 10, 2016: 10:00am – 5:00pm
  • WHERE: CITY DOCK, ANNAPOLIS MARYLAND
    • Directions & Parking
      • United States Sailboat Show is located 1 Dock Street, Annapolis MD 21401.
      • For safety reasons, strollers are strongly discouraged.
      • Absolutely no pets.
      • Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium:
        • Boat show visitors are encouraged to park at the Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium and take the free shuttle bus from the Navy Stadium to the United States Sailboat Show. Buses run continuously from 9:00am until one hour after the show closes.
          • Stadium Parking: $10.00
          • Stadium GPS Address: 550 Taylor Ave, Annapolis, MD 21401
        • Directions to the Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium: Take Route 50 to Annapolis/Rowe Blvd (exit 24). Follow signs along Rowe Blvd. to the Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium.
        • On Saturday October 8 ONLY** boat show visitors should follow signs to alternative parking. Shuttle buses will deliver attendees to the City Dock free of charge.
  • THINGS TO DO:
    • FREE COCKTAIL & WINE TASTINGS
      • Free cocktail and wine tastings throughout the show Sponsored by HENDRICK’S GIN, NOBILO WINES and PAPA’S PILAR
    • FIRST SAIL WORKSHOPS
      • Experience the joy of sailing on a Beneteau First 22. Taught by expert instructors, this two-and-a-half-hour class is designed for the beginning sailor.
    • PREMIER LAUNCH PARTY: OCTOBER 6TH
      • Celebrate opening night and kickoff the Sailboat Show with a star-studded cast from the sailing industry at an evening filled with island music, delicious food, complimentary wine all evening, rum and gin tastings, cocktails, chocolate, door prizes, and fun.
    • VIP PREVIEW DAY
      • A special day for the serious sailor, the VIP Preview Day is the best day to shop. Take advantage of a day ideal for talking with exhibitors and touring sailboats. Be the first for the unveiling of new boats and products, and shop opening day specials. Avoid the crowds.
    • VACATION BASIN
      • Dedicated to chartering, travel, and vacations and charter boat ownership in the Chesapeake Bay and exotic island locations.
    • GRAND PRIZE SPONSORED BY MOORINGS
      • A lucky boater will win a 6-night, 7-day charter in the British Virgin Islands aboard the award-winning Moorings 4800 Sailing Catamaran, ideal for up to 8 guests. Charter valued at approximately $15,000. Airfare for two sponsored by British Virgin Islands Tourist Board.
    • BROKERAGE COVE
      • A show within a show, overflowing with previously owned sailboats presented by regional boat brokers and available for immediate sale.
    • LARGEST COLLECTION OF MULTI-HULLS IN THE WORLD
      • Miles of docks are constructed to exhibit the largest collection of catamarans and trimarans in the world. Visitors also tour new cruising sailboats, kayaks, paddleboards, and canoes.
    • PREMIERING BOATS
      • The most exciting new sailboats from major manufacturers, including many new designs and models, make their debut.
    • SAILBOAT MANUFACTURERS
      • Only boat show in which virtually every major sailboat manufacturer is represented. Sailors have the unique opportunity to board and inspect most new models on the market, make side-by-side comparisons, and talk to industry representatives about all aspects of buying and owning a boat.
    • ACRES OF ON-LAND EXHIBITIONS
      • The sailboat show has the latest in navigational equipment, high-tech electronics, boating accessories, clothing, gear, and related services such as boating clubs, charter companies, insurance firms, and lending institutions. Boat show goers shop from a vast display of boating products and services.
    • EXCITING HIGH-PERFORMANCE RACING SECTION
      • A sailboat show venue is dedicated to sexy high performance racing sailboats.
    • CRUISER’S UNIVERSITY: OCTOBER 10-13TH
      • A comprehensive and expanded curriculum on cruising and boat preparedness for sail and power cruisers. More than 40 courses taught by expert instructors. Register for 1- 4 days of classes.
    • FREE SEMINARS ON SAILING
      • Daily programs presented by the Chesapeake Bay Magazine and Annapolis School of Seamanship.
    • TWO CAN SAIL COUPLES CRUISING SEMINAR
      • Individualized cruising lifestyle training, includes boat shopping, surveying, and personal training aboard your boat.
    • 74-FOOT SCHOONER SAILING CRUISES
      • Cruises will be available aboard the 74-foot Schooner Woodwind. All cruises depart from inside the Unites States Sailboat Show and pass by the United States Naval Academy and then into the Chesapeake Bay. Additional fee required.
  • TICKET INFO:
    • VIP Preview Day – $35
    • VIP Preview Day + Additional Day – $48
    • Adult One Day – $18
    • Adult Two Day Combo – $31
    • Children – $5 (6 & under FREE)

 

 

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2016 United States Powerboat Show

The powerboats are back with a bang at the 2016 United States Powerboat Show. The Annapolis Boat Shows have gotten bigger and better every year—and this year is looking to keep that trend going! Hundreds of inflatables, small trailerable boats, kayaks and paddle boats, along with express cruisers, sport fish, and long-range blue water cruisers are all being featured this year—virtually all styles of boats from eight to eighty feet are powering into Annapolis from far and wide! Besides the jaw-dropping array of featured vessels, there’s a full range of events to keep attendees engaged. The Demo Dock offers potential boat buyers an exclusive opportunity to try out boats before purchasing; Cruisers University gives power cruisers all the info they need to know before hitting the water; and you can meet Paul Hebert, the Wicked Tuna captain of the Boat Wicked Pisah at the party at Brokerage Cove. Here’s the event details for the largest powerboat show north of Florida—additional information can be found on the show’s official page: http://www.annapolisboatshows.com/united-states-powerboat-show/

  • WHEN: OCTOBER 13-16, 2016
    • Thursday, October 13, 2016 (VIP Day): 10:00am – 6:00pm
    • Friday, October 14, 2016: 10:00am – 6:30pm
    • Saturday, October 15, 2016: 10:00am – 6:30pm
    • Sunday, October 16, 2016: 10:00am – 5:00pm
  • WHERE: CITY DOCK, ANNAPOLIS MARYLAND
    • Directions & Parking
      • United States Sailboat Show is located 1 Dock Street, Annapolis MD 21401.
      • For safety reasons, strollers are strongly discouraged.
      • Absolutely no pets.
      • Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium:
        • Boat show visitors are encouraged to park at the Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium and take the free shuttle bus from the Navy Stadium to the United States Sailboat Show. Buses run continuously from 9:00am until one hour after the show closes.
          • Stadium Parking: $10.00
          • Stadium GPS Address: 550 Taylor Ave, Annapolis, MD 21401
        • Directions to the Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium: Take Route 50 to Annapolis/Rowe Blvd (exit 24). Follow signs along Rowe Blvd. to the Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium.
  • THINGS TO DO:
    • EXPLORE HUGE RANGE OF FISHING BOATS FROM 40 MANUFACTURERS
      • From Everglades to Boston Whalers and everything inbetween. Click below for complete list of fishing boat manufacturers displaying at 2016 boat show.
    • MEET CAPTAIN PAUL HEBERT OF WICKED TUNA
      • Sponsored by Maui Jim, Wicked Pissah’s Captain Paul Hebert will be at the United States Powerboat Show October 14-15, 2016.
    • GRAND PRIZE: EDGEWATER 170CC DEEP-V CENTER CONSOLE
      • This year the Annapolis Boat Shows is celebrating the 45th birthday of the United States Powerboat Show and center console fishing boats by giving away an EdgeWater 170CC Deep-V Center Console Power Boat.
    • GRAND PRIZE: MARINEMAX VACATION
      • Win an exotic 7-day and 6-night charter vacation aboard a luxury bareboat MarineMax Power Catamaran!
    • DEMO-DOCK—TRY BEFORE YOU BUY
      • Dealers and manufacturers will be offering demos and sea trials from inside the boat show. Try before you buy new models, engines, and stabilizing systems.
    • CRUISERS UNIVERSITY FALL SERIES: OCTOBER 10-13TH
      • Come to the show a day or two early. Cruisers University offers a comprehensive curriculum on cruising and boat preparedness. The expert instructors will help you plan your cruise, equip and maintain your boat.
    • PREVIEW DAY: THURSDAY, OCTOBER 13TH
      • This is a special day for the serious boater to take advantage of any opening day specials. Preview Day is by far the best day to shop for new and previously owned powerboats and an ideal day to talk with exhibitors.
    • BROKERAGE COVE
      • Brokerage Cove, a show within a show, is overflowing with previously owned boats, presented by regional boat brokers and available for immediate sale.
    • PUSSER’S PAINKILLER PARTY BARGE
      • Enjoy an Annapolis favorite, the Painkiller, on Pusser’s Painkiller Party Barge.
    • FEE SEMINARS ON BOATING
      • Free daily seminars on boating are presented by the Chesapeake Bay Magazine and the Annapolis School of Seamanship
    • ARES OF ON-LAND EXHIBITORS
      • The powerboat show has the latest in navigational equipment, high-tech electronics, boating accessories, clothing, gear, and related services such as boating clubs, charter companies, insurance firms, and lending institutions. Boat show goers shop from a vast display of boating products and services.
  • TICKET INFO:
    • VIP Preview Day – $35
    • VIP Preview Day + Additional Day – $48
    • Adult One Day – $18
    • Adult Two Day Combo – $31
    • Children – $5 (6 & under FREE)

What to Do if You Run Your Boat Aground

What to do if you run your boat aground

Caught Between a Rock and a Wet Place?

Regardless of how careful you are, sooner or later it will happen to you—unfortunately, as anxiety-inducing and potentially dangerous running aground is, it is an inherent risk of the boating lifestyle. Whether they’ll admit it or not, most experienced boaters have “touched bottom” so to speak. But whatever you call it, accidents happen, even to the most capable seafarers, so it’s important to be prepared. Grounding-induced damage is often needlessly compounded by panicked reactions from the skipper who hasn’t developed a coherent course of action in advance. Here’s some tips on how to stay safe and limit costly damage to your vessel when you run aground.

Stay Calm

The first step when running aground is to calmly assess the situation. Your first reaction might be to apply throttle power and attempt to push your way across the obstruction. Unless you’re absolutely sure you only hit a small shoal with deeper water beyond, doing so will only put yourself harder aground and cause greater damage. Conversely, don’t immediately shift into reverse to try and ease off the blockage as you run the risk of clogging your engine intake with mud or sediment or inflict more damage to the propellers. Shut down your engines immediately and leave them off so that the cooling water intakes don’t get jammed with sand or silt.

Check for any hull damage, if there is a considerable breach, cast anchor to keep you in place. Prioritize safety. If they aren’t already, ensure that all passengers have donned lifejackets and even if you think you don’t need immediate help, radio the Coast Guard or local marine authority and inform them of your location, assessed damage and planned course of action.

Take Action

If the hull damage is minimal and the tide is rising, the increased water level should be enough to float your vessel without further assistance. While getting towed off by another ship might be faster, this option is safer for both your hull and passengers—just make sure you set out an anchor in the direction of the wind to prevent the incoming tide from running your further aground. If you are less fortunate, and the tide is falling and there are no fellow boaters in the vicinity to help tow, you may attempt to “kedge off” by casting an anchor in the direction in which you intend to move and then use an anchor windlass or sheet winch to take in the line.

If there is serious damage to your hull and you find yourself taking on water, you can use a bunk to keep your sinking boat afloat. When assessing hull damage after running aground, keep in mind that just a three-fourths of an inch hole situated two-and-a-half feet below the waterline lets in water at 24 gallons-per-minute, or 1,440 gallons-per-hour! Even if you have a bilge pump handy, it would have a hard time stemming the flow long enough for you to reach shore. An effective method to stop a leak is to plug it with a tapered piece of softwood commonly referred to as a “bung” that swells to fit the hole and form a watertight seal. Be sure to manually push the bung in place, hammering it into place can cause more damage or enlarge the hole.

3 Boating-Safety Steps When Celebrating the Red, White & Blue

3563866 - u.s. flag at back of boat

A nautical safety primer for Annapolis 4th of July celebrations

July 4th is right around the corner, and for many boaters this means watching fireworks, family get-togethers, barbecues . . . and a trip to the emergency room? Unfortunately, that’s the stark reality for many patriotic seafarers.

Research conducted by the Maryland Natural Resources Police (NRP) indicates more than half of Maryland’s annual total of boating accidents occurs between July and August. Last year, Maryland recorded 130 boating accidents that resulted in 12 fatalities and 96 injuries. These daunting statistics prompted the NRP to focus on a simple, yet obviously essential goal for this July 4th holiday: fewer boating accidents. Their game plan is straightforward, with officers deploying in full force to all state waterways from the Atlantic Ocean to Deep Creek Lake.

“Maryland has seen eight boating fatalities so far this season and that’s eight too many,” said Col. George F. Johnson IV, NRP superintendent. “Our officers will be aggressively targeting reckless and negligent boaters, and those whose judgment is impaired by alcohol or drugs.”

In 2015, the NRP conducted Operation Dry Water, a nationwide campaign to curb alcohol- and drug-impaired boating in the weeks leading up to and including July 4th. Officers arrested six people for operating under the influence of alcohol and three for drug-impaired boating while issuing 87 tickets for other violations and conducting 727 vessel safety checks. Despite these efforts, Maryland recorded four boating accidents, three of them fatal, but the NRP aren’t giving up—and they’re turning to YOU to reign in these less-than-stellar statistics.

This year, the NRP is urging Maryland boaters to take precautions to ensure the safety of passengers and those in other vessels during their 4th of July celebrations—as Johnson puts it: “When it comes to safety, you are the first line of defense, by using common sense and following simple safe boating rules you can help NRP make this a safe and happy holiday.” So avoid a citation, and more importantly, the risk of serious injury or death, by following these safety measures this holiday weekend!

1. KEEP CALM AND FLOAT ON

Before heading out, ensure your lights are in working order. Even if they worked the night before, double and triple check. With the heavy boat traffic, don’t risk your safety! Will you have enough lines and fenders for the day? Bring some extras as backup; chances are good you or a fellow boater will end up needing them!

Make sure there are enough life jackets for ALL passengers on board and that they fit well. While it may be warm and unfashionable, don’t be tempted to forgo wearing a life jacket. Remember, children ages 12 and under are required by law to wear a life jacket at all times while the boat is underway. Accidents happen quickly, and often there isn’t time to put on a life jacket once an accident has happened. Statistics consistently show that 80% of all boating fatality victims were not wearing a life jacket.

Don’t overcrowd the boat. Heed the boat’s capacity plate on the transom or by the helm, or look up the passenger capacity in the boat’s manual.

Don’t rush to get home after the fireworks display. Allow some of the boat traffic to dissipate before raising anchor.

Take the time to thoroughly brief your crew with basic emergency procedures, and show them how to contact authorities for help via marine radio or cell phone.

Ensure that you have flares and that they are up to date, but never use flares as a form of fireworks. Doing so constitutes a false distress call, which is a Class D felony, punishable by up to six years in prison and up to $250,000 in fines, plus the costs associated with the false rescue response!

2. IF YOU’RE A SKIPPER, YOU’RE NOT A SIPPER

Appoint a sober skipper to remain at the helm all evening and be responsible for returning the boat and its passengers safely to shore after the conclusion of the fireworks display. Simply put, boating and alcohol do not mix—in addition to impairing the operator’s ability to make sound judgments, intoxication also negatively affects the ability of passengers to respond in the case of an emergency on the water. The combined effects of the sun, wind, waves and a boat’s motion in the water can add to an operator’s impairment. Intoxicated boaters can face both federal and state charges with penalties of up to one year in prison and up to $100,000 in fines.

3. BE THE MAN (or woman!) WITH A PLAN

Follow the directions issued by NRP, the Coast Guard and Coast Guard Auxiliary and local police as to where you may safely anchor to view the fireworks away from sparks and ash. For Annapolis-area boaters, keep in mind that the drawspan of the Eastport Bridge will be closed to boat traffic from 8:30 p.m. to 11 p.m. Boaters must avoid the 1,000-foot SAFETY ZONE around the fireworks firing area which will be established and maintained by the U.S. Coast Guard. At approximately 9:15 p.m., the fireworks will be launched from a barge in Annapolis Harbor.

Also be sure to file a float plan with a shore-bound friend that lists all passengers aboard, your intended destination, what the boat looks like, and when you expect to return. Instruct them what steps to take in the event that they don’t receive notification from you within a reasonable time of when you expect to reach shore at then end of the evening. Visit http://floatplancentral.org/ for a complete plan along with instructions. Select in advance the route to your fireworks-viewing destination and use a GPS to help keep you on course. While on the water, be on the lookout for other boats in the vicinity, stormy weather, or anything that appears unusual. The Coast Guard advises the public to stay aware of their surroundings, including monitoring watching water conditions, celebrating responsibly and not misusing emergency flares as fireworks. Report any emergencies to local authorities by calling 911 or VHF Channel 16.

Boating Must-Haves

Boat Safety

Safety First! 

Whether you’re piloting a 60-foot high-end yacht on a multi-day voyage or paddling a canoe across the bay, the United States Coast Guard (USCG) requires that every boat—regardless of size or type—has essential safety equipment aboard. Luckily, these items aren’t overly expensive or hard to find and, more importantly, they could save your life in the event of an emergency. Check to make sure your vessel has all of these items, or you could be risking both stiff fines as well as your life.

  • Personal Flotation Devices: The USCG requires you provide a personal flotation device for every person aboard. Although federal law doesn’t require the device to be worn at all times the boat is underway, certain states regulate children below a certain age have to do so. Maryland law states that all children under the age of 13 must wear a USCG approved personal flotation device while underway on a recreational vessel under 21 feet in length on Maryland waters. The life jacket must be the proper size for the child and must be in good and serviceable condition. Additionally, in states where no children’s life jacket law is in place, a USCG interim rule requires children under 13 on moving boats to wear a USCG approved life jacket that fits. Furthermore, the USCG mandates that if your boat is over 16 feet in length, a throw-able personal flotation device (ex. a life ring) needs to be available at all times.
  • Whistle/Horn: The USCG also requires that every boat carries a noise-generating device to both warn other boats in the vicinity of your presence and to use as a distress signal in case of emergency. For vessels longer than 39.4 feet, there must be both a bell measuring at least 7.87 inches in diameter and a whistle that can be heard at a distance of ½ a nautical mile on-board.
  • Visual Distress Signals: If you plan on boating at night, you must carry visual distress signals that may include emergency flares, flags, flashlights, water dye markers and smoke signals depending on your vessel’s size and the area in which you are planning to set sail.
  • Fire Extinguisher: Motored boats 26 feet and over, or less than 26 feet if there are permanent fuel tanks installed, must carry a USCG-approved marine-type fire extinguisher—although it’s a good idea to have one where you can get to it quickly and easily regardless of how big your boat is.

In addition to the USCG-required items, it’s a good idea to consider the following list of recommended items to ensure your safety while enjoying the water:

  • Blanket/Dry Clothes: You don’t have to be in the water to be at risk of hypothermia—and being stuck in wet clothes or exposed to the elements will only expedite the loss of body heat. Always keep a change of clothes and blankets in waterproof containers.
  • Oars: In case you have engine problems, you should have a pair of oars in order to remain mobile.
  • First-Aid Kit: Injuries happen. Make sure you have an adequately stocked first-aid kit and know how to use all the items properly.
  • File Plans: Even if you’re just planning a short trip, it’s always a good idea to file your route plans with a trustworthy 3rd party in case you experience trouble so any potential rescue efforts will have a starting point to begin their search efforts.
  • Tool Kit: Make sure your on-board tool kit has everything you need for any repairs you may have to make.
  • Bilge Pump: In case you start taking on water, you’ll want a bilge pump to prevent accumulation until you can repair the source of the leak.
  • Non-Perishable Food: If an emergency situation turns your ‘short trip’ into an extended ordeal, make sure you have adequate food reserves to keep your energy up.
  • Chart & Compass: Electrical navigation systems inevitably fail—have these items aboard and know how to use them if you have to find your own way to shore.

For all your equipment needs, be sure to check out The Ship Store at Port Annapolis that combines a wide selection of boating essentials and provisions with a personable, experienced staff always at the ready to ensure you find exactly what you need. For personalized attention to your specific marine supply requirements, contact The Ship Store today at (410) 286-1215.

A Checklist to Spring Into Ship-Shape

Port Annapolis Marina, Annapolis MD“The sea finds out everything you did wrong.” This invaluable truism comes from Francis Stokes, a guy who knew a thing or two about boats—he completed six solo trans-Atlantic in the early 1970’s before the advent of many technological advances sailors today take for granted. So what’s the takeaway from Francis’s advice? The open water is an unforgiving place—meaning an ounce of preparation is worth its weight in gold.

Sure, the weather’s warming up—but you’d rather not take an unanticipated dip in those all-too recently thawed waters thanks to a neglected maintenance routine to get both you and your boat up to speed for the new sailing season. To make sure you’ll be trimming the sails instead of treading water this spring, here’s a checklist to help you prep your vessel after a long winter.

Keep in mind; the advice below assumes you have previous boating experience. If you’re new to boating, or simply not technically inclined, consider hiring an American Boat and Yacht Council (ABYC)-certified technician or mechanic to regularly perform maintenance inspections.

“Spring-Cleaning” Checklist

  • Reinstall and recharge all batteries and fill lead acid batteries with distilled water. Make sure all electrical connections, including battery terminals, are free of debris and secure and insulate with protective spray/grease.
  • Reopen seacocks and make sure handles move freely. All hoses should be double-clamped with stainless-steel fasteners. Replace any that look rusted.
  • Check the raw-water intake strainer is tight and free of any irregularities.
  • Ensure running lights are operational and replace bulbs if necessary.
  • Check VHF and GPS antenna connections.
  • Look for signs of leaking at trim cylinders and hoses as well as at hydraulic steering pumps and rams. Replace the O-ring or gasket if necessary.
  • Inspect port lights, hatches, and deck fittings for dirty or displaced caulking, water trails, dirt, and green corrosion, any of which signals a leak that needs to be re-caulked.
  • Check flares, fire extinguishers, carbon monoxide and fire alarms. Replace/recharge as necessary.
  • Make sure all fuel hoses are flexible, with no leaks, protrusions, or corrosions.
  • All engine hoses should fit snugly and be solidly secured in place. Replace any clamps that show signs of corrosion.
  • Replace fuel filters and clean or replace air filter.
  • Make sure your oil change is up-to-date. Check fluid levels in the transmission, hydraulic steering fluid, and coolant devices.
  • Check engine belts for signs of stress and wearing.
  • Examine exhaust manifolds for signs of corrosion and water seepage that indicate blockage. If you suspect a problem, remove the manifold and inspect thoroughly.

Remember: This list is by no means exhaustive. Every boat is unique and the work required to ensure it’s seaworthy will depend on whether it’s used in fresh or salt water, its size, manufacturer, model and the state in which it’s registered. Be sure to get the specific precautionary information you need for your vessel to ensure you prepare adequately and your boating season is safe and enjoyable.