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Dec. 12, 2018
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Captain's Comments

 

'Tis the season to winterize your boat

Time to winterize your boat so it will be ready to go next season.  Go to your computer log that lists the items to be checked on your particular boat. Outboards and inboard/outboards need to have the props removed and check for mono-filament line on the prop shaft which can cause seal wear and cause lower unit oil leak and water to get in the gear case. That can cause considerable damage and failure. Also, if the prop has grounded send it off to be reconditioned. An undamaged prop can increase efficiency where your boat will operate as designed.
 
Your fuel system filters and water separators should be checked and cleaned. Add fuel tank additives to keep fuel clean. Oil should be changed along with a new filter.  Check electronics, repair or replace those not working properly.  Grease all steering fittings. Make a note of any parts or equipment that may need to be replaced. Keep in mind the off-season sales that marine stores have so you can save money on replacements or new equipment. 
 
Have a cleaning and waxing party with the friends you took boating in the summer. 
 
The boats that are trailered also need the trailer serviced. Winch line, rollers and bunkers, license and light, wheels, tires and wheel bearings must be checked. If you don’t have bearing buddies on your trailer, you should. They are inexpensive and make greasing bearing easy. 
 
Check U.S. Coast Guard recommended equipment for wear and replace where needed. Make sure P.F.D.s and anchor and rode are in good condition. Those who keep their boats in the water need to haul them at least once a year and clean growth or barnacles if in salt water. 
 
Remember to log any replacements or special service to your boat so you will have a record of it.  Check out the U.S.C.G. Auxiliary and U.S. Power Squadron for boating classes, which upon completion you could receive a 10 percent discount on your boating insurance and you will be a more qualified captain. 
 
During the winter months you might want to trailer your boat to Florida to cruise and sight see.  Both coasts offer some ideal cruising destinations. Remember, keeping your boat in top condition will ensure safe cruising, so keep your boat and equipment in top condition and you won’t need to call for a tow. 
 
Be courteous and practice safe boating.
 
 

Mike Rudderham is a veteran marine surveyor with more than 40 years experience in the marine industry.






Novembber 2018 column

An update on the America's Cup

The 35th America’s Cup races were held in Bermuda during the summer of 2017. The series started in 1851 and is sometimes called the United States’ oldest sporting event. Originally raced between no-planing sailing mono hulls it has developed into multi-hulls 50’ America’s Cup class catamarans, at speeds approaching 50 knots. Their foils alone pierce the water while their hulls literally fly above it.

The American team was defending the Cup. Team USA was Larry Ellison’s Oracle Team and they competed against the eventual winner, New Zealand. 
 
The next America’s Cup will be in New Zealand with the USA challenger being “American Magic,” sailing against the New Zealanders. Roger Penske of Indianapolis 500 and NASCAR fame is one of the backers of the new American Magic team. Both challengers have agreed to go back to mono hulls, which will incorporate some of the dynamics of the multi-hulls. The 75’ yachts are already under construction and will be launched in March 2019 and testing will start immediately. The new yachts should also be high speed, but probably not as fast as the multi-hull yachts used in last year’s Cup.

Great Britain and possibly Sweden will also launch a challenger for the Cup series. Great Britain was the original challenger in 1851.
 
The series is trying to draw more sailors to race and make sailing more popular. You will probably see more sailboat races between now and 2021, when the New Zealanders will host in defense of the America’s Cup. 
 
If you don’t have a boat or don’t know how to sail, contact a club near you. Remember the US Coast Guard Auxiliary and America’s Boating Club Atlanta have boating classes during the summer. When you pass one most insurance companies will give you a 10 percent discount on your premium. Invite a friend to go boating or fishing with you. Both of you will enjoy it. 
 
Practice safe boating, be courteous, and follow the boating rules and laws. 
 
 

No column October 2018

September 2018 column

Reflections on the Missouri lake tragedy

The recent tragedy of an ex-military duck boat on a Missouri lake could easily been prevented. First and in my opinion, the captain, (who unfortunately was one of the 17 people who drowned when the boat was swamped), should have realized the weather was dangerous, with 65 mile per hour wind gusts. They should never have been on the water. 
 
Second, a military duck boat is not designed for cruising. It was a military vehicle built to take troops to the front when bridges had not been built over rivers and creeks. They could fjord across them to the shore on the other side with 15 to 20 troops on board. 
 
I also find it hard to believe it was licensed to take people on a cruise. There was bad judgment used along the way if that was the case. A duck boat does not have the sea-worthiness of a landing craft, which transported troops from ship to the beaches. 
 
Each year when these tragedies happen it almost always relates to bad judgement on the part of the captain. Ignoring weather and water conditions and thinking you can beat the odds is probably the reason for most accidents at sea. 
 
Other causes are ignoring a proper preventative maintenance schedule, which would allow failure of operating equipment on board, and lead to an emergency. Those of us who have been around boats most of our life have had that moment or two when you were caught in a storm and had to head to port. Therefore, we know how important is to check the weather report. If it’s going to be bad weather go watch a ball game. Be safe and save your boat from rough weather. Don’t be the boater that makes the headlines due to your bad judgement. Remember the Coast Guard Auxiliary and U.S. Power Squadron have boating classes and the Coast Guard Auxiliary will inspect your boat. 
 
Finally, this is a good year to buy or trade your boat. The economy is up so your used boat should be worth more.
 
Be courteous and practice safe boating.
 

August 2018 column

Cruises to enjoy this summer

I hope you had a wonderful 4th of July weekend enjoying the good weather for boating. Maybe you and your boating friends are thinking of a cruise later in the summer or over Labor Day. Go online to check out the Tennessee River and the Intercostal Water Way around Florida. On the northwestern part, you can cruise all the way to New Orleans. On the northeast coast, you can go through Jacksonville to enter the St. Johns River and have smooth water cruising and fishing all the way down to Sanford. Farther south is Boca Grande, the Tarpon capital. You can visit Ussepa Island, Cabbage Key, (where Jimmy Buffett wrote the song “Cheeseburgers in Paradise”). Farther down the coast are islands famous for collecting seashells. On the east side of the waterway, you have a large bay with interesting small ports and the entrance to the Okeechobee Waterway at Fort Myers. 
 
The Okeechobee Waterway and its locks are another interesting cruise. Take the canal around Lake Okeechobee and you will see old Florida, No condominiums or motels. It’s an interesting and picturesque cruise and the fishing is good. Those of you who have trailerable boats will find convenient launching ramps and accommodations if needed are close and affordable.
 
Wherever you go cruising, remember to periodically check your items on your preventative maintenance list to make sure everything is in order and working correctly. Recently a cruiser in the Bahamas had an engine fire and blew up killing one person and injuring another. Engine fires are unlikely if your preventive maintenance is conducted regularly and properly maintained. This cruiser obviously had a fuel leak and an electrical problem, which combined contributed to the fire and explosion. 
 
Those of you who don’t want to trailer to a cruise area or don’t have the boat to do it, you can go online and find many cruiser and houseboat rentals available. Remember to check your oil and add a fuel additive. Keep your boat maintained properly and it will bring you home. 
 
I hear boat sales are good this year. So it might be a good time to trade or buy a boat. Stop by one of the many dealers and check out one of the new boats. You might be surprised by the deal you could get.  
 
Be courteous and I will see you on the water.

July 2018 column

Hartwell's marina fire should raise a red flag

Portman Marina on Lake Hartwell had a serious explosion and fire on May 14 on dock No. 6 that held 42 boats. The fire and explosions sunk or destroyed 16 of them. A generator that backfired started it all. A dock like this was second home to many boat owners who spent the weekends on their boat along with their fellow boat owners. 
 
Accidents like this are why I emphasize preventative maintenance and keeping a log so you stay up to date. Obviously, the generator that started the fire needed servicing. One person suffered serious burns and a firefighter suffered heat exhaustion. 
 
It would not surprise me if future boat slip rentals will require an up-to-date marine survey.  Thank God it didn’t happen on a Saturday or Sunday when everyone was on their boats. The worst part about a fire at a dock is that most boats are stored with a full tank of fuel. 
 
This is a perfect example illustrating why, if you have any fuel or electrical problems on your boat, they should be repaired immediately. You will be safer and so will your dock neighbors.  
 
Just to be on the safe side you might want to update your current marine survey each spring and you should be ready for a trouble free season. 
 
Lake Hartwell is ideal for cruising, fishing, and fronts on Georgia as well as South Carolina. They also have camping sites. So look up the location and go visit. If you have photos or something special about your visit, please share it with the Lakeside. 
 
Wear your PFD, be courteous, practice safe boating, and I’ll see you on the water.

June 2018 column

Boating season is here!

Boating season has arrived, so be sure to practice safe boating.  Wear PFDs and show your passengers where emergency gear is stowed. If you need boating classes for youngsters, or crewmembers, contact the US Coast Guard Auxiliary or the US Power Squadron for date and time of classes. Completing a class will give you a 10 percent discount with most insurance companies. Have a great boating season!
 
World cruise
If you have been boating and cruising these past years, your bucket list has had many accomplishments. Here is one you might have thought of, but was not available. I’ll bet cruising the world is on a lot of such lists, but there were not any organized cruises available. Now it’s available from Viking Cruises. The cruise ship Viking Sun will depart from London on August 31, 2019. The ship will stop at 113 ports in 59 countries. It will visit every continent except Antarctica. The cruise will follow a westerly route with a transatlantic crossing with stops in Iceland, Greenland and Canada.

Then it follows the east coast of the U.S., Bermuda and Caribbean.    Next is the east coast of South America going south and then into the Pacific, and up the west coast of South America. Next, they will go to French Polynesia, New Zealand, and Australia and onto the Philippines, China, Vietnam and Cambodia. The final part of the trip includes passage through the Suez Canal then numerous stops at countries in the Mediterranean Sea.  After Spain and Portugal, it’s back to the U.K., the final stop.
 
Twenty two of the stops will be overnight. The cruise is scheduled for 245 days. It’s called the “Ultimate World Cruise.” Prices start at $92,500 per person. I know it’s expensive, but it would certainly be a once in a lifetime experience! Just think – instead of seeing photos of foreign ports you will actually see them and take your own photos. Let us know if you book it. We would love to report on it! Info: www.vikingcruises.com
 
Wear your PFD, be courteous, practice safe boating and I’ll see you on the water.   
 

May 2018 column

2018 boating season right around the corner

It’s that time of year again. Let’s get the boat ready for the season. If you have your maintenance log schedule you should know what you need to do to have a trouble free boating season. 

If you have an outboard or I/O, checking the lower unit lube is essential. If you find water in it, you will need a seal replaced.  Check your water pump impeller also. Replace if worn. In fact, this should be done every two years.  Also, inspect your prop for damage and send off for repair if needed.
 
If you don’t have a spare prop you might want to get one in case of grounding. You may also want to check your engine for a tune-up. And don’t forget to use a fuel additive when fueling up. Check navigation and anchor lights and all USCG required safety equipment.  You might need to replace PFDs, lines or bumpers, if they show wear. Remember if you are stopped by law enforcement, they will want to inspect required equipment.  Make sure it is stowed properly and in good condition. 
 
Don’t forget to check your boat trailer, lights, winch, bunkers, tires and bearings. You might want to get your boating buddies to help wax and clean the boat. If your boat stays in the water, you need to haul it and clean the bottom at least once a year. In salt water at least twice a year with proper paint. A clean boat bottom gives it better speed and saves fuel.  
 
If your boat has a generator don’t forget to check it, it might need a tune-up. Check sea strainers and shaft logs. Clean and repair where needed. 
 
Remember, the USCG Auxiliary will inspect your boat for free.  This is a good idea, as they will recommend what needs to be repaired or replaced so you won’t have a problem if the law inspects your boat.
 
Make sure you keep your maintenance log up to date and record equipment you replaced or repairs you have made. Remember, an up- to-date maintenance log will help you not only sell or trade your boat, but gives you an accurate time to perform maintenance. 
 
The boating industry is on the rise this year. Therefore, if you are thinking of trading or buying a new boat, this might be a good time.  There should be several in the water boat shows the first part of the season, so if you are thinking of a new boat you can check them out in the water and have a demonstration ride. If you travel to the show by boat they can appraise it and give you trade in value.
 
Have a safe and fun boating season and I’ll see you on the water.

April 2018 column

More about the water war
After 40 plus millions of dollars of Georgia taxpayer’s money to attorneys, we have had hearings and opinions and still no increase in our water supply.

I did read where the state government was again investigating the mistake that was made by the original surveyors for the state lines of Georgia. The line was supposed to go down the middle of the Tennessee River, but they made a mistake and marked it south of the river where it is now. If they could get it changed to where it was supposed to be we would be visiting the Tennessee River for extra water supply. 
 
On the plus side, Lake Lanier is almost at full pool. That doesn’t mean we don’t need an additional amount of water as our state and cities grow. Just think if development continues in the Atlanta area. For instance, what if Amazon decides that Atlanta is the place for its second headquarters. That would bring 50,000 more folks and the people who service them. That will put a dent in our water supply. I haven’t read or heard about any increase in water supply which certainly would have to be increased to satisfy the growing population. 
 
My solution for solving the water problem is to use the Tennessee River. Make a canal that would go to a holding lake. Not as big as Lake Lanier but large enough to hold ample reserve water. Have it empty into the Chattahoochee River after the water passes through a hydroelectric generator, such as in the south end of Lake Lanier. The electricity that is generated would help pay for the project and into the future.
 
This project would provide enough water for Georgia and give Florida and Alabama back the water they say they are short. The reservoir that would be created would become a popular fishing and recreation spot. Taking water from the Tennessee River will not bother navigation of barges, tugs and recreational craft. My question is, “Why haven’t the powers that control this done anything?”
 
History tells us Lake Lanier will not stay at full pool to satisfy everyone’s water needs. Let’s hope we hear something soon.

Practice safe boating and I’ll see you on the lake.

March 2018 column

Remembering the Haiti anchorage
The country of Haiti has been in the news lately so it reminded me of my brief experience there.

In 1961, I was assigned to the USCGC (U.S. Coast Guard Cutter) Androscoggin, a 280-foot cutter, with Miami being her homeport. 

The Cuban missile crisis was in its early days so we patrolling the waters between Cuba and the Bahamas. Our patrols eventually took us to Haiti. We anchored in Port au Prince Harbor and immediately as many as 30 bumboats approached. They were selling or trading everything from coffee tables to salad bowl sets. Sailors were trading old shirts and socks and if you threw coins into the water, they would dive for them. 

I had a Chief Petty Officer on another ship that told me if I ever go to a Third World country, be sure to take a couple of silver dollars. Well, when I went on liberty I had a silver dollar. There were several cars and drivers along the wharf. I selected one who looked fairly clean and had a 1948 Chrysler New Yorker. Me and my buddies went for a tour after I paid the driver a silver dollar. He lit up like a Christmas tree. We got to visit several of the better hotels where we did not get propositioned every five minutes. People in Port Au Prince thought the only restroom was the streets. Our driver drove us around on the same silver dollar on three more liberties. 
 
Papa Doc. (François Duvalier) was the Haitian dictator at that time. He had several TV sets mounted on poles at intersections in Port au Prince. People gathered around to hear his political speeches.  He also had the Tonton Macout death squad that used 45 caliber machine guns to carry out Papa Doc’s laws. 

I had several nighttime anchor watches where we had to bring out fire hoses to keep the men and women from clamoring aboard via the anchor chain. The next day while I was on watch the Captain called me and said, “I heard you have a man on the beach.” I said, “Yes sir.” He said a certain electrician’s mate was AWOL from liberty and wanted me to try and find him. I said, “Yes sir.” The next thing I knew I was on a two rut logging road south of Port Au Prince and it dawned on me I had no idea where I was and who I was with. 

About that time, a concrete block building appeared in a clearing. It was Haiti’s version of a tavern and other things, if you know what I mean. We went inside and there was the half-drunk electrician’s mate. My driver grabbed him and I got his uniform. We stuffed him in the back seat and we got him back to the ship. Port Au Prince was quite a trip, I will never forget.

Remember, if you go to a Third World country, take a silver dollar and see what it can do for you. Practice safe boating and I'll see you on the lake.
 

February 2018 column

It's time for a few safety reminders
Remember all of your crew members should be wearing a PFD (Personal floating device). The name the USCG uses for what used to be called “life jacket,” or “Mae West.” Fortunately, PDFs are not as uncomfortable as in days past. You can now get smaller inflatable PFDs which can be fitted to you to be more comfortable when moving around the boat. They even have self-inflatable ones that work if you fall overboard. Some come equipped with electronics that will give your position. This helps for a faster discovery of the man overboard or rescue of your crew and vessel in case of sinking or grounding. 

Make sure everyone onboard is wearing one, including the young girls that just turned bikini age and think it will make them look ugly. Before starting your cruise, show everyone onboard how to use the safety devices. You should be OK if the Coast Guard or water patrol stops you as long as your other equipment passes inspection.  This is why I recommend a USCG Auxiliary inspection before the boating season starts. Information on auxiliary inspections are in Lakeside with the numbers to contact them. Have a safe and pleasant cruise.

Designated captain
If your crew is going to partake in alcoholic beverages, make sure you appoint a non-drinking captain to pilot your vessel. Almost 90 percent of boating fatalities involve alcohol. Also, if you are stopped and checked and have been drinking while piloting a boat, you could receive a BUI (boating under the influence). Just designate a sober captain and have a safe trip.

New cruise ships
Royal Caribbean is launching the new “Symphony of the Seas” (230,000 tons) with home ports in Barcelona and Miami. The maiden voyage will be March 31, 2018.  For information, phone 866-562-7625 or www.royalcaribbean.com. This will be the world’s largest cruise ship with 5,535 passengers. Truly a small city.

The Norwegian Bliss” will feature homeports in Seattle and Miami. The maiden voyage will be April 28. This is a new, large cruise ship that will have up to 4,000 passengers, along with its numerous bars and restaurants. It also has go-cart racing ... that’s the first time I have heard of that. Contact: www.norweigiancruiselines.com or phone 866-234-7350.

January 2018 column


New year is time to get your boat ready

Most boaters around these parts have probably been watching football knowing their boat is safe, secure and winterized. 
 
But now it’s time to start planning for the boating season. 
 
Resolution #1: Check all of your safety USCG required equipment. That includes PFDs (personal flotation devices), anchor rode, running and anchor lights, fire extinguishers, fenders and spare lines. Inspect and replace where necessary. You might want to make a list of possible replacement items so when you go to the Atlanta Boat Show you could take advantage of the sales there. Make sure you have noted the replacements and or updates in your log book.
 
Resolution #2: Make a list of work that need might need a mechanic’s attention. The quicker you get this done the faster you can hit the water in the spring. (Don’t forget to record these in your log book as well.)
 
Resolution #3: Get some of your friends together (those who enjoy your boat with you) to help with spring cleanup and maybe a wax job. 
 
Atlanta Boat Show
The Atlanta Boat Show is set for January 18-21, 2018. The boating industry is in a growth stage so there will be lots of new boats and equipment on display. 
 
If your boat uses electronics you will be amazed at the new gadgets that will be available. There are so many machines now to help catch fish it kind of makes you feel sorry for them. Enjoy the show and let’s get ready for another boating season!

December 2017 column


Recalling the customer who couldn't say to to the boat

 
Florida has a lot of winter visitors who buy second homes with docks. A lot of them came to Harbour Yacht Sales to find a boat. 
 
I had a client who fell into this category. He fell in love with a well used 34’ Hatteras Flybridge. I tried to talk him out of it but simply couldn’t. So I had him bid low enough to where he could replace parts, including an engine. Well, the offer was accepted and he hired my other company, Precision Marine, to handle the job. 
 
The finished boat was beautiful, almost better than new. All the sea trials were better than expected. My customer was satisfied. I was, too. About four months later I got a call from the customer’s neighbor. He said the thought the boat was low in the water. I went to check and sure enough, the boat was sunk and on the bottom at the dock. While checking it out I found the bilge pumps were shut off and the running garden hose was in the cockpit. 
 
It was obvious someone wanted to sink the boat. Police were called and they investigated. Turns out the owner had a trucking company with union drivers on strike. Authorities suspected it was one of the strikers but could never prove it. Precision Marine repaired the boat and the last I heard the owner was still satisfied. 
 
Navy ship collisions
It’s hard to believe the rash of collisions involving the U.S. Navy. Clearly people weren’t paying attention. I was part of the bridge gang in the U.S. Coast Guard and when we had a collision course possibility we solved it before the ship was in danger. Obviously the Navy didn’t have anyone assigned to a “collision course situation.” That’s where the court martials should begin. Or maybe they should ask the Coast Guard how they handle such situations. The collisions could have been prevented with proper watches installed.
 
Merry Christmas to all and here’s wishing a Happy New Year as well!
 


 



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