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Featured Stories on Boating and Boater Safety

An electrical check list

• Carry spare parts, such as wire and electrical connectors, fuses, bulbs, engine belts, distilled water for the batteries and engine fuel filters.

• Carry electrical tools, such as crimpers, a wire cutter and a voltmeter.
• Be sure all battery terminals are tight, clean, corrosion-free and sealed against moisture.
• Avoid using wing nuts for battery connections because vibration can loosen them and they are difficult to adequately tighten. Use nylock hex nuts. Loose connections create resistance arcing and heat, and can lead to overheated wires and possibly a fire.

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Yet another collision where fishing vessels work

The fishing vessel Dictator was struck by a ship and damaged off Cape May, N.J., shortly after the Lady Mary went down.A container ship and a fishing boat collided in May at night in a ship’s channel eight miles south of Gulfport, Miss., with the loss of three of the fishboat’s 16 crewmembers — another tragedy that raises concerns about ships steaming through waters where fishing vessels are at work.
The 660-foot Eurus London, en route to Freeport, Texas, with a load of bananas, and the 163-foot Sandy Point collided about 8:45 p.m. May 18 in the cut between Cat Island and Ship Island on a night that was dark but not foggy, the Coast Guard says. The Sandy Point, a menhaden boat based out of Omega Protein Corp.’s processing plant in Moss Point, Miss., took on water and sank.

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Lady Mary sinking: boaters should take heed

The 72-foot Lady Mary sits on the bottom 65 miles off Cape May, N.J.The March 2009 sinking of the fishing vessel Lady Mary off Cape May, N.J., with the loss of six crewmembers inspired a 20-page Pulitzer Prize-winning newspaper account of the tragedy and, with the loss of five other fishermen off New Jersey in 2009, raised an alarm that helped push far-reaching fishing vessel safety measures through Congress.

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Boaters balk at DSC despite its capabilities

A DSC radio can summon help with the push of one button.At the press of a single button, DSC radio technology can put a Coast Guard rescue helicopter overhead within minutes. But in the 12 years since the government required manufacturers to include this technology, only a small fraction of U.S. boaters have done the two things to enable their VHF radios for digital selective calling.

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Should the C.G. embrace mobile phones?

Smart phones are capable of providing GPS-generated position data.Eric Kunz and Todd Crocker are veterans of the U.S. marine electronics industry. Ask them about the boating public’s failure to embrace VHF digital selective calling technology and they turn the conversation to mobile phones.

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