How are Your Boat Roping Skills?


The RNLI shows how to lasso a runaway boat.

The Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI) demonstrate their cowboy skills in this video with a lass rope to get a runaway boat under control.

In the Public Education Classes we make a big issue of why boaters should attach the kill switch lanyard to their person or lifejacket.  In this case the operator was preparing the boat for docking and slipped overboard bumping the throttle to full open when they went overboard.

The old saying of “One hand for you and one hand for the boat” is still good advice today, as is the advice to keep your weight low especially when moving around on small boats.

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Drowning Does Not Look Like Drowning

I found this article over on gCaptain, they published it in June of 2010 and they have republished it by popular demand every Labor Day Weekend since then.  A very enlightening article on why you will not recognize a drowning person.

By Mario Vittone

The new captain jumped from the cockpit, fully dressed, and sprinted through the water. A former lifeguard, he kept his eyes on his victim as he headed straight for the owners who were swimming between their anchored sportfisher and the beach. “I think he thinks you’re drowning,” the husband said to his wife. They had been splashing each other and she had screamed but now they were just standing, neck-deep on the sand bar. “We’re fine, what is he doing?” she asked, a little annoyed. “We’re fine!” the husband yelled, waving him off, but his captain kept swimming hard. “Move!” he barked as he sprinted between the stunned owners.

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Making Pelican Hook Lanyards & Key Fobs

Pelican Hook Lanyards - Portuguese Sennit - shackel lanyard

DIY Pelican Hook Lanyards made using a Portuguese Sennit Knots

You can save money by making your own colorful Pelican Hook / Shackle Lanyards.  They are quick and easy to make and you can pick your own colors.

Key Fobs make great Christmas and Birthday gifts for your non sailing friends.

These lanyards can also be used on shackles, the lanyards can be sized to match the shackle, large enough to give a good grip, but not too large where the lanyard will get in the way.  Using bright colors make finding the release easier, the rough texture gives a good grip.  Making your own lanyards lets you color code the shackles if you want.

I have given many Key Fobs & Pelican Hook Lanyards to friends and others as gifts, since everyone seems to like different colors, I made a large assortment of many different colors and line types then let people choose their favorite color.

Red & Green Lanyards work nice when given as a set to sailboat owners.

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Repairing the Forward Hatch & Catch Blocks


Catch Block on the forward hatch before repairing

The Catch Blocks on the forward hatch needed repair after the Pop-Rivets came loose.

I thought about using Pop-Rivets like the original catch blocks were mounted with.  However getting the Pop-Rivets to seat in the counter bore looked to be a problem and I wanted a repair that I never needed to do again.

I decided to replace the 1/8 inch Pop-Rivets with 6-32 stainless steel machine screws.  The 6-32 screws just slipped into the existing rivet holes and the head of the screw fit into the countersink.  The length was just long enough to go through the frame and allow for a hex nut without protruding past the outside of the mounting frame.

The back of the Catch Block was roughed up with coarse sandpaper to remove the shiny finish to provide some “tooth” for the epoxy to grab onto.

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Your boat is ready? Don’t forget your nautical chart…


A very nice overview of the many types of charts offered by NOAA as well as the many other services NOAA provides

Originally posted on NOAA COAST SURVEY:

Ah, the boat is ready, the safety vests are stowed on board, the sky is blue, and the water beckons… But hold on a sec, sailor! Where is your nautical chart?ChartDefinitionTransparent

A terrific t-shirt is sold in tourist shops at some of our nation’s harbors. It has a “definition” of a nautical chart splayed across the front: “chärt, n: a nautical map that shows you what you just hit.” It’s funny… but unfortunately, too true too often.

Resolve to get your nautical chart this year and consult it before you hit something. Advancements in Coast Survey’s digital processes now allow us to review and update charts weekly, and get them to boaters’ fingertips faster − and with less expense − than was possible years ago.

So, what product is best for you? Check out the options…

Paper nautical charts, printed “on demand.” Coast Survey maintains 1,025 nautical charts and provides the digital chart images to

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Class Aids For teaching Marine Rules Of The Road

Materials for making magnetic class aids for teaching Marine Rules of The Road.

Materials for making magnetic class aids for teaching Marine Rules of The Road.

Here are some of the class aids I use for teaching Marine Rules of The Road (ColRegs).

The class aids are magnetic backed boats, lights and day shapes.  The magnetic class aids can be moved around quickly on a magnetic white board.  I have two sizes of White Boards, one small, 16 x 22 inches with a small table top tripod, the larger White board is 24 x 36 inches with a floor standing tripod that was originally used with a flip chart.

Print the class aids you want to use from the PDF file then glue (double sided tape can be used but be careful to make sure the edges are fastened down solid) the class aids to Poster Board or thin cardboard.

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Man Overboard – An Interview With A Survivor

Man Overboard Interview

Man Overboard Interview

Nine fisherman went overboard off Great Britain in 2009.  This is an interview with the single survivor and his story of going overboard at night.  Very calm in his own words, gives us all something to think about.

The water temperature in Puget sound is not all that different from what he went into.

“I wasn’t wearing a lifejacket. When I surfaced, the cold caused my blood to go to my core, so my arms and legs started to weaken. I was only in the water for about 4 minutes but it was hard to stay afloat. If I hadn’t been rescued quickly, I wouldn’t have been able to keep up for very long.” -Wayne Evans, man overboard survivor

This was published in May 2010, the lessons are still relevant today.
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Improved Fender Whip–Part 2

Fender Whip

Improved Fender Whip for fenders with an eye

This improved Fender Whip is easier to handle and holds knots much better than a regular three strand or double braid fender whip.

Standard fender whips made of three strand or double braid are stiffer and over time become even stiffer as they age, and can be difficult to tie well around small objects.

Stripping the core from double braid makes the line easier to handle and it holds knots much better.

The fender whip in the example is tied with a Slippery Spar Hitch, it is the only knot I have found that will hold when a 1/2 inch line is tied around a 1/4 diameter polished chrome rod.

I have converted all my fender whips to this style with the stripped core and this has made tying the fenders on much easier and more reliable.  Several friends have had me help them make new fender whips when they found out how well these work.

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