Like that credit card commercial, “What’s in Your Dinghy?”
What you carry in your dinghy may make a difference if the unexpected happens. Whether it is a handheld radio, sunscreen, or a working flashlight, it can make an unexpected situation just another cruising adventure instead of something less pleasant.
I now savor my first taste of the famed Camino de Santiago pilgrimage in Spain, which last year attracted over 300,000 people from around the world. I purposely did not set any expectations for this walking trip, rather deciding to let it happen and see where it went. I was rewarded with new friends, and an experience that I could never have imagined.
While the last bit of jet lag conspires against me along with a strong allergic reaction to the pollen now covering Annapolis, I am sure this trip will linger on in my daily life as I plan my third act in life.
Technology has made remarkable progress in the past decade, making navigation easier, safer, and more reliable. But we're not at the point of autonomous boating, so it is still the operator's responsibility to maintain situational awareness.
It is time to develop a skilled workforce in the marine industry, as many older techs retire. Developing apprenticeship programs is now the focus of industry, federal, and state government who partner to create a talented and quality labor resource for the future.
If you are doing the Loop, ICW, northern canals, or other waterway cruises that involves narrow rivers or canals, reacquaint yourself with the proper signals for passing other boats and marine traffic.
Pam Wall makes a case for the outstanding life choice to cruise with a young family, as she and her husband did in their 39-foot sloop. Whether the vessel is a sailboat or trawler, it can be a life-defining adventure that so totally exchanges today's social media "experience" with the real world in all its diversity and beauty.
Consider how we tie up our boats to docks when cruising. Transient docks, even temporarily for fuel and provisioning, should not be the place to lose control over our boats, which we do when we throw our dock lines to someone on the dock, who may or may not be experienced to know what to do to keep our boat safe.
It is a good idea to inspect your fuel tanks every so often. Keeping them dry and well secured is vital for toruble free cruising. It also helps to check other components that come in contact with the tanks. Having piece of mind is a good thing.
All the what-if scenarios one can dream up due to lack of experience are best handled by managing one’s fears of the unknown. This is the crucial step in safety at sea for yourself and your crew. Too many people are lax when it comes to saying alert and situationally aware, and then are surprised when things happen to them that could have been easily avoided.
We look forward to spring boat projects in my house. Getting the boat ready for the season, fixing what no longer works, and getting familiar with the boat again. But it is already June, postponed after many long weeks of spring rain and other distractions.
It is finally coming together, however, and soon we will be back on the water.
For all the years I have been around cruising boats, there has always been the debate about carrying firearms. I still read neophyte questions by people looking for answers by asking others in social media forums and groups. It is most troubling.
I hope to present you with some facts surrounding guns on cruising boats. Not the legalities of doing so, but the very personal decisions and commitments required if you decide to bring them aboard.
I found a cool product that effectively and instantly relieves the swelling and itching of insect bites, in my case, mosquito bites. The German product really works, so I’m telling you about it as I have not seen it before. With all the rain we’ve had this spring, the mosquito problem will be terrible this summer.