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Boating Know-How with Mike Saylor

When chaos reigns supreme on the water

It’s all too common. You set out for a pleasant day on the water and things just don’t go right. Seasickness rears its ugly head. The engine fails. You foul the prop. The list goes on. Sometimes it’s a matter of carelessness; sometimes it’s Mother Nature. Let’s have a look at some of the ways a day on the water can go wrong.

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Your eyes can be a technological wonder

“There are none so blind as those who will not see.” I don’t recall where those words of wisdom came from, but they’re true. Every year, all manner of vessels come to sad ends because the people who were on watch did not see what was developing before their very eyes.

You don’t need the dark of night, dense fog or driving precipitation to miss a developing situation that will put you in harm’s way. A lack of situational awareness can develop from a lack of attention.



There are plenty of ways to boat on the cheap

I  think it was the water rat in “The Wind in the Willows” who said (and I paraphrase) there is nothing quite as worthwhile as messing around in boats. I couldn’t agree more. In today’s economy, though, can boating be affordable? I think it can, and it’s worth the effort as long as it doesn’t wipe you out.



Teamwork can take the angst out of docking

There is nothing quite as funny or sad as an ill-prepared and insecure skipper and crew docking or anchoring — usually husband and wife, girlfriend or significant other. It’s funny if you realize what a spectacle you made of yourself in the past. It’s sad when you realize what a spectacle you made of yourself in the past.
When I taught sailing, we would tackle this toughest and most critical problem for new boaters from the get-go. I would explain that when they mastered these steps everything that followed would be a piece of cake. (So I exaggerated a little.)



Running in fog requires exceptional diligence

Fog stinks. I hate it at sea and on land. It makes me more vulnerable to idiots, whether they’re on a boat or in a car.

Advection fog forms day or night when warm air flows over cold water. It’s the heavy, moving fog often found near the coast. It can be associated with wind.

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