A Luncheon Cruise & Tour on the Coast Guard Icebreaker Healy


Coast Guard Icebreaker Healy at it’s slip at the Seattle Coast Guard Base at Pier 36

Last Saturday I had the honor of an Elliot Bay lunch cruise on the USCG Icebreaker Healy which is home-ported in Seattle.

This was a special trip set up to let the family and friends of the crew on the Icebreaker Healy to see the Healy and find out a bit more about the ship, it’s proud history and the many varied missions it has performed over it’s 14 plus years of service.  The trip also served as a short shakedown cruise as the crew has been doing some major work to get the Healy ready for deployment to the Arctic this summer.

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How to Tie a Spilled Hitch Bowline


Spilled Hitch Bowline tied around a handrail

Tying a Bowline using the Spilled Hitch method is a quick and easy, but not a well know way to tie a Bowline.

The Spilled Hitch Bowline can be used to quickly tie a Bowline around an object or through the clew of a Jib or Genoa for example.

No need to remember all about the rabbit and the fox.

The line does about half the work for you, sort of like magic.

When tying a  Spilled Hitch Bowline, the Bowline can be tied so quick that it literally looks like “magic” leaving anyone not familiar with tying a Spilled Hitch Bowline literally standing there with their mouth hanging open and wanting you to show them how you just tied the Bowline.

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NOAA’s paper nautical charts are here to stay


The changing to all Print on Demand Charts is starting to have side effects. In the past with a very few printing agents the price was about the same no matter what. Now with five more Print on Demand certified companies being certified there are the first hints of competition with some companies lowering their prices a bit. It remains to be seen the effect the change will have on companies that used to only stock a few NOAA charts of the area around their store, not sure how they will cope with the changes & still provide charts to their customers and not drive good business to another chart retailer that can print the charts on site.

Originally posted on NOAA COAST SURVEY:

New certified printing agents bring buying options

It won’t be long before mariners and the boating public will have a wider choice of options and special services when they purchase NOAA paper nautical charts, thanks to NOAA’s expanded “print-on-demand” chart production and distribution system, Coast Survey officials announced on April 4. Coast Survey recently certified new print-on-demand chart printing agents, and gave them the flexibility to offer different color palettes, various papers, a cleaner margin, and a range of services.

Rear Admiral Gerd Glang and Capt. Shep Smith inspect sample charts submitted by new print agents.

Rear Admiral Gerd Glang and Capt. Shep Smith inspect sample charts submitted by new print agents.

NOAA has now authorized seven companies to sell NOAA’s paper nautical charts that are printed when the customer orders them — or “on demand.” The information on the charts is still maintained by NOAA, and the charts are corrected with Notices to Mariners up to the week of purchase.

“Last October…

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Pre-Season Checklist – Dewinterizing Your Boat for the Season


A very inclusive list to get you started with the spring checklist no matter what type of boat you have.

Originally posted on BoatSafe Blog:

Spring is here and it is not too soon to start thinking about dewinterizing your boat for the season. Even if you live in an area where the “boating season” doesn’t begin with the start of spring, your “season” will be here before you know it.

Because there are so many variables depending on the size and type of boat you have, we have categorized this list for your convenience.  In order to assure a safe and uneventful season make sure that you go through the list below and make a note of any discrepancies that need attention.

Applicable To All Large Boat Small Boat Sail Boat
Deck Fittings
Required Equipment
Below Decks
Electrical System
Inboard Engine(s)
Head System
Water System
Outboard Motor(s)
Mast & Rigging


  • Do a general cleaning of hull, deck and topsides using a mild detergent
  • Make sure drains and scuppers are clear

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The New Cabin Lights

New LED Cabin Light Parts

Parts for the new cabin lights showing the mounting spacers and the slot for the electrical wiring.

Recently I needed to do something about the old cabin lights when the switches stopped working.

I decided to upgrade the lights to Red / White LED fixtures.  I wanted the Red light  option to preserve the night vision of the crew  if we were using the boat at night.  The old lights were surface mounted and pinched the wiring, I had spaced out the fixtures a bit but I wanted to improve the mounting and not pinch the wires.  I had not intended to buy lights that day (at the boat show) so I had not measured the size of the old fixtures.  When I explained my dilemma about the size to the light guy, he had the answer “the smaller size fixtures are standard on all boats.”   So gullible me bought two of the smaller lights and when I got to the boat a few days later I found out that the lights were smaller than the original lights on the boat.

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Catch the digital wave in NOAA navigation products #Data4Coasts


A nice overview of Digital Charts and other Digital products from the casual a few times a year boater to the large freighters that cross the oceans. Fine job NOAA!! Keep up the good work.

Originally posted on NOAA COAST SURVEY:

Navigation manager Kyle Ward explains some of Coast Survey's new products at the Savannah Boat Show.

Navigation manager Kyle Ward explains some of Coast Survey’s new products at the Savannah Boat Show.

This week, NOAA’s National Ocean Service is inviting you to explore #Data4Coasts that NOS provides to the public, to researchers and decision makers, and to the many industries involved in coastal resilience and maritime commerce. Much of Coast Survey’s data for the coasts is easily accessible by downloading or by using a web map. Other products, like our beautiful printed nautical charts, are available for purchase – as they have been since the mid-1800s – from chart agents.

We’ve been making charts for a long time – and we’ve never been more excited about it! A quickly evolving (r)evolution is transforming the way we plan voyages and navigate, and Coast Survey is reconstructing our nautical product line for the millions of boaters and commercial pilots who are catching the new digital wave.


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More TVMDC – Practice Problems – Correcting and un-correcting the compass

TVMDC – Practice – Correcting and un-correcting the compassCorrecting and Un-correcting a compass is still a useful skill.  Paper charts and plotted course lines are still in use, even with today’s Cell Phone Apps and GPS Plotters.   If you take a Navigation or Piloting class that lasts more than 4 hours you will need these skills.  Here are 48 more Compass Correction practice problems to help polish your skills.

“Correcting” is converting a magnetic (M) direction to true (T). “Un-correcting” is converting from true to a magnetic direction. “True” direction is relative to true north (north pole).  Compass is the compass heading of the vessel.  Wind and current also have an effect on the Course To Steer (CTS), those outside effects are not addressed here but you need to be aware that they exist.

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2013 in review

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2013 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

The Louvre Museum has 8.5 million visitors per year. This blog was viewed about 83,000 times in 2013. If it were an exhibit at the Louvre Museum, it would take about 4 days for that many people to see it.

Click here to see the complete report.

Thanks everyone that stopped by!

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