Skipper Emeritus

Skipper Emeritus – Captain Michael Brough

Recently Seattle Singles Yacht Club honored me with Skipper Emeritus Award for my contributions to boating, sailing, boating safety, member education and taking many many people sailing over more than 20 years and over 1,000 trips, sometimes up to 80 or 90 trips a year.

They had a nice Zoom meeting and several people shared stories of their good experiences on my boats or of times that I went the extra mile to help someone with a boating question or problem. I was also presented with a nicely bound book of stories, I have scanned it and the link is below.

Over the years I contributed in many ways. I taught something over 300 “mini-classes” at the end of the meeting. Some of the classes were “simple” such as how to tie a fender or How to Tie a Bowline, How to Tie a Spilled Hitch Bowline, How to Tie a Bowline with Your Left Hand, others like Rules of The Road were more involved and took extra time. I am quite proud to have passed on a bit of information to many people and made their on the water safer or easier.

Continue reading
Posted in Boating Safety | Leave a comment

Why Don’t Ships Have Headlights?

Recently a friend sent me an interesting link to a video on Why Don’t Ships Have Headlights?

Why Don’t Ships Have Headlights?

I found the video interesting even though I teach this subject in boating safety classes, the videos author also has many other videos covering different subjects including, Why Do Submarines Float So Low? Gyrocompass: How Ships Navigate Using The Earth’s Rotation, Why Did Her Stern Vibrate So Much? Icebreakers: How Do They Break Ice? How does GPS work?

And as noted in the comments, some ships do have headlights, here in the Pacific Northwest we think of lights on crab boats so they can pick post at night.

So I thought I would pass on the video and encourage you to check out some of his other videos.

Continue reading
Posted in Boating Safety, Navigation, Safety Thoughts | 1 Comment

Puget Sound Lighthouses

Puget Sound Lighthouses Poster
Puget Sound Lighthouses Poster

This is a poster I made a while ago about 14 Lighthouses in the Puget Sound area. There is a short description and history of each Lighthouse along with a picture.

This poster has been a popular viewing item at the Alki Point Lighthouse during summer tours.

The file prints OK at 11×17 size but the type size is a bit small but even my old eyes can read it. Printed 16 inches wide it makes a very nice poster for your friends that like Lighthouse’s. Printed 24 inches wide it is very spectacular.

The Alki Point Lighthouse should be open for tours this summer after being closed for two summers due to COVID. The final plans are still being worked out since the inside of the Lighthouse is quite cramped and there are safety concerns for both those giving the tours as well as those attending the tours.

In the past the tour lasted about 30 minutes but you could spend time looking at over 100 years of history if you want after the formal part of the tours is finished.

Continue reading
Posted in Boating Safety | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Anchoring and Storm Tackle [Updated]

A friend recently sent me a link to a very interesting article on anchoring. Includes a ton of information about deep water and heavy weather anchoring, there are a ton of links for more information from types of anchors to use (or not use) and a lively comment section with questions answered and feedback from readers.

One bit of caution the article is a little long so you might want to go over the information presented and come back and digest the information slowly.


Denali Rose is 50 ft. LOA and displaces 22+ tons cruising weight. We typically frequent deeper anchorages above 56°N. [e.g., We anchor in 50 to 90 ft. of water about 80% of the time, with the remaining 20% spent at anchor in 30-50 ft.]

We adhere to the philosophy of setting one recent generation [AKA ‘Modern’] oversized anchor and sleeping well…

Continue reading
Posted in Boating Safety | Leave a comment

Mike’s Quick Rope Whipping

Recently a friend bought a sailboat that all the ends of the lines were tired or missing, he was struggling with a method from a rigging book and I sent him this link and he is much happier with this easier/simpler/quicker way of whipping the ends of his lines (PS: this was so much quicker he finished before the Seattle rains let loose)

Boating Safety Tips, Tricks & Thoughts from Captnmike

Mike’s-Quick-Rope-Whipping Mike’s quick line whipping

This is the quick and secure whipping I use to whip the ends on double braid line.  I have not seen this in any book.  It has some of the elements of the classic quick temporary whipping but this method is much more secure  and almost as quick as the classic quick temporary whipping.  Properly whipped line ends in addition to keeping line ends from fraying also helps give your boat more “style points” and adds to your reputation as a knowledgeable sailor.

Whipping the ends of the line with this whipping is much easier for me to do than the classic regular whipping that has two frapping turns at 90 degrees from each other and the tough (for me anyway) ending knot and bury.  I use a single set of frapping turns to hold the whipping together with a quick secure bury of the two…

View original post 988 more words

Posted in Boating Safety | Leave a comment

The Untold 9/11 Boat Lift or How They evacuated 500,000 People Safely Off Lower Manhattan Island in Eight Hours

Evacuation of 500,000 people from Lower Manhattan on 9/11 by boat

This is the 20th Anniversary of September `11, 2001 when planes crashed in the World Trade Center, What is not known is how 500,000 people were taken off Lower Manhattan Island by a volunteer flotilla of boats that just showed up to help the refugees / commuters from the tower collapse.

The Coast Guard put out a request for vessels to help evacuate people from Lower Manhattan, in response a motley mix of tugs, tour boats, ferries and others came steaming over the horizon to help. Sometimes the dust from the towers was so thick the boats had to feel their way with radar in zero/zero visibility.

Continue reading

Posted in Boating Safety | Leave a comment

NOAA Live from 1,250 Meters (4,100 feet) Below the Sea

NOAA Live Stream from 950 meters down from the NOAA Ship Okeanos Explorer off the East Coast of the United States

NOAA is live streaming their exploration of the North Atlantic Stepping Stones: New England and Corner Rise Seamounts off the East Coast of the United States from June 30 through July 29, 2021. The live stream is open to anyone, no registration required.

The NOAA Ship Okeanos Explorer deploys two Remote Operated Vehicles (ROV’s) to explore previously unexplored or lightly explored areas under the sea. One of the ROV’s is tethered to the Okeanos Explorer

The Okeanos Explorer is equipped with high speed data links that allows it to send high quality real time data and video world wide and for scientists from around the world to observe and provide feedback by a chat room (sorry the chat room is closed to the general public but I sent in a suggestion that they open the chat room to the public for read only). During the dives real time play by play is provided with the video feed.

Continue reading
Posted in Boating Safety | Tagged , | Leave a comment

The importance of making a good first impression when sailing

Making A Good First Impression

As all sailors soon figure out that proper style is a vital ingredient to sailing, here are two true tales of style from the archives.

Making an unforgettable impression on your advance sailing instructor.

Sometime back when I was just beginning to sail I took an advanced sailing class at J World in San Diego, Basic Keelboat and Basic Cruising all in five days with two 60 question written exams and an on the water practical exam. In other words a serious class and maybe not one for someone that has been on a boat only a few times, also suggested that maybe doing a bit of serious studying before the first day of class.

Monday morning was warm and bright for the beginning of the class. There was a general meeting for all the students taking any class first thing Monday morning, quite a few students as they had about 5 classes going at the same time from racing to very beginning “this is a sailboat.”

Continue reading

Posted in Boating Safety, History, Sailing and Boating Skills | Leave a comment