Coast Guard halts illegal charters on Lake Washington, Lake Union

The crew of the USCGC Sea Lion (WPB 87352), an 87-foot coastal patrol boat homeported in Bellingham, Washington, conducts vessel safety inspections, boating under the influence enforcement, and counter illegal charter operations on Lake Washington, Washington,, Sept. 6, 2020. The Coast Guard terminated the voyages of three illegally chartered pleasure crafts over Labor Day weekend. U.S. Coast Guard Photo by Petty Officer 1st Class Cynthia Oldham

The U.S.Coast Guard is charged with safety on Federal Navigable Waters among their many areas of responsibilities. Boats carrying passengers for hire are required to have licensed Masters/Captains in charge and onboard. This is to help keep passengers safe. The lowest level of licensing that would be required for Masters in charge of 100 Gross tons or less is a significant task. When I earned my 50 ton Coast Guard License, I went to school and spent about 100 hours class then add about 200 hours studying. I had to document 365 days on the water and pass a tough exam. For instance the Rules of the road part of the exam is 50 question, closed book with passing being 90%, for added challenge sometimes 3 of the answers are almost correct with a very small technical difference between the almost correct and the proper answer. The exam is difficult and designed to weed out those who are not qualified.

Below is part of a press release from District 13 here in Seattle and the 11th District Pacific Southwest regarding their recent enforcement of illegal charters in their areas and some of the penalties for those operating an illegal charter.

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Boating Safety Tips For The Holiday Weekend

The Coast Guard urges boaters across the country to use extra caution while on the water this Labor Day weekend. Here is the safety advice from two districts with additional suggestions I have learned over the last 30 years as a boater and Boating Safety Instructor.

Labor Day weekend marks the unofficial end of the traditional boating season and is usually a very busy few days on the water.

We want people to enjoy this holiday weekend safely, said Capt. Jeremy Smith, commander of Coast Guard Sector Columbia River. It’s important that you wear a life jacket and tell friends or family your plans, in case there is an emergency.

Consider these safety tips for boaters before leaving the dock:

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Book Review: Falling By Brion Toss

Falling By Brion Toss

Falling by Brion Toss is a delightful and entertaining must read for anyone that works aloft, while the adventures are mostly from the marine field, anyone that has ever worked aloft will find something interesting and maybe even amusing as they grasp the direction of the adventure, such as a pointy tool taken aloft without a lanyard on it to keep it from falling to the deck right next to a trusting soul standing a bit too close to the fall zone.

Falling is a nice book on the adventures of Rigging and lifting loads. The examples are all short and told in a very easy to read format. The book is an easy read well written in a conversational tone like sitting around the table at the end of the day and someone starts out “do you remember the time Rich was working on” and the adventure/lesson is off to the races.

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Quick Lighthouse Tour – Nine Lighthouses Viewed From The Water In 4 1/2 Hours!

Muckelteo Lighthouse

Recently I went on a Saturday afternoon tour of selected Puget Sound Lighthouses organized by The United States Lighthouse Society (USLHS).     The USLHS chartered a high speed whale watching catamaran that cruised at 40 mph which let our tour cover 142 miles and 9 Lighthouses in one afternoon.   The United States Lighthouse Society decided in celebration of their 35th anniversary to organize a tour with views from the water since most people only see lighthouses from the land side when they tour a Lighthouse.

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Book Review: Into the Raging Sea, Thirty Three Mariners, One Megastorm, And The Sinking of the El Faro

Into the Raging Sea
Thirty Three Mariners, One Megastorm, And The Sinking of El Faro

Into the Raging Sea

Thirty Three Mariners, One Megastorm, And The Sinking of El Faro

By Rachel Slade

The loss of the 790 ft U.S. Flagged container ship in Hurricane Joaquin three years ago on October 1, 2015 with 33 souls on board sent shock-waves through the marine industry.

How everyone wondered in today’s world with weather satellite’s and super computers helping with the weather forecasts why a modern ship would sail into the eye of a hurricane. The captain and TOTE Shipping had a good reputation according to the news reports.

Rachel Slade does a great job covering the events leading up to the loss, she goes back and fills in the background giving us a sense of the personality of many of the players involved including those that conducted the investigation.

I highly recommend the book to any mariner even if they are a recreational boater as there are many lessons to be learned for everyone that has eve been on the water and answered some questions I still had after reading the 288 page NTSB report on the loss of the El Faro.

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“YOU MIGHT BE A COASTIE, IF…”

Funny even if you have never been in the Coast Guard

Chuck Hill's CG Blog

Misappropriated this from Fred’s Place Tribute Group on Facebook.Feel free to add more in the comments. 

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1. You know instantly that “work smarter, not harder” means billet cuts.
2. People ask you what you’re doing beyond the three mile limit.
3. You get married to move out of the barracks.
4. You precede every public speech with, “I was going to tell a sea story, but seeing the lack of Cutterman’s pins out there, you all just wouldn’t understand.”
5. An Alaskan cruise is not an option for your honeymoon.
6. You are still trying to figure out what TQM was all about.
7. You’ve ever laughed when watching the CG commercial at 0300 and wondered why all they show is helo’s and small boats.
8. You’ve successfully avoided at least one inspection, Change of Command, or urinalysis.
9. After boot camp, you’ve never fired a rifle.
10. You…

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NOAA charts new hazards and helps ports recover following Hurricane Florence

I like NOAA and know several current and retired NOAA people and I find the speed of response to be incredible

“Since these dangers to navigation will remain in place while the port reopens, NOAA updated its charts with the new hazards and distributed them to the port, Coast Guard, and key stakeholders. The time from the survey to the publication of the chart was less than 24 hours, an unprecedented accomplishment for Coast Survey.”

While conducting hydrographic surveys at the request of the U.S. Coast Guard following Hurricane Florence, NOAA’s Office of Coast Surveynavigation response teams (NRT) identified hazardous obstructions in the Cape Fear River channel. Since these dangers to navigation will remain in place while the port reopens, NOAA updated its charts with the new hazards and distributed them to the port, Coast Guard, and key stakeholders. The time from the survey to the publication of the chart was less than 24 hours, an unprecedented accomplishment for Coast Survey.

“NOAA has streamlined all phases of our ping-to-chart process over the past 10 years,” remarked Rear Admiral Shepard Smith, the director of NOAA’s Office of Coast Survey, “this milestone results from dozens of technology, workflow, and distribution changes that have dramatically improved the level of service to the American public. We would not even have imagined doing this in the paper chart era…

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Hoax calls affect us all – A Bit of History

Coast Guard RBM going quickly, photo courtesy USCG

A rather sobering bit of information from the U.S. Coast Guard 5th District Mid-Atlantic on the impact of false MAYDAY calls.

This is the fishing vessel SOL E MAR. This is a MAYDAY, were sinking, we need help now! were the some of the last words of 19-year-old Billy Hokanson, as the fishing boat that he and his father, William was on sank to the bottom of the ocean on March 25, 1990.

Coast Guard Stations Menemsha and Brad Point, both off the coast of Cape Cod, Massachusetts, received the distress call on marine radio channel 16 distorted by heavy amounts of static. Both stations attempted to call the boat back, but did not get an answer. About a minute after Hakansons transmission, a separate call came through channel 16.

SOS, I’m sinking, the caller said in playful tone with laughter.

Both distress calls were presumed to be related and deemed as hoaxes.

The bodies of the Hoakansons never found.

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