Friday, May 30, 2014


Something quite different from NAUTICAL LOG this time.  My mother always had a camera with her when we went anywhere.  It was a "box" Brownie Kodak camera and she had been taking photos since childhood.  Going through some of them to build an album NAUTICAL LOG came across a rather unique photo of one of Ireland's wandering workmen a "spailpín  fánach" in our Gaelic language.

Life in Ireland when my mother was growing up was quite difficult and not made any easier by the rather vicious laws imposed by the British Administration.  The life of an itinerant farm worker into the 20th. Century was particularly harsh.  Hard physical work, low wages and maltreatment by landowners (not always the British ones unfortunately) had to be endured.  Even the word from Gaelic "spailpín" means a low person or one of poor character.  Both men and women could be found wandering the countryside looking for work and carrying a collection of tools with them to do it.

They were most often people who had been evicted by the British Laws from their farmhouses and labourers cottages which viciously were then torn down to the four walls and can still be seen in parts of Ireland today.

The eviction battering ram used to destroy the home
One such man finally gave it up and went to France to join the French Army most likely the French Foreign Legion.  There is a poem in Gaelic and English at  **(** which tells his sad tale.

While the quality of the photograph is not very good please remember it is around 100 years old.  NAUTICAL LOG would be very interested to hear from you if you have any similar information.  Please contact  me at

**  It appears this link is not working.  If you do a general Google® search under "spailpin fanach" you can get in to the irishpage website.

Count D. Peter Boucher, Kt. SMOM

BTR #9

When navigation rules were originally developed amongst seafarers the vessels were sailing ships so that when steam-driven vessels came on the scene Rules had to be developed to cover them also. 

At London's Trinity House the issue was addressed and this resulted in the British Parliament passing the Steam Navigation Act of 1846.  Other Nations adopted these Trinity House Rules which became known as the International Regulations for Preventing Collisions at Sea.  They have been reviewed and changed several times over the years 1972, 1981 amendments took effect in 1989 and the latest International Amendments in 1993 which came into Maritime Law in 1995.

Two definitions were found to be necessary when two power-driven vessels meet one is designated the "give-way vessel" and the other the "stand-on vessel".

Rule 16:  Defines the action to be taken by the Give-way Vessel.
Rule 17:  Defines the action by the Stand-on Vessel.  There are four (4) points listed guide mariners.

Rule 16:  Is the same as for the International Rules
Rule 17:  Is the same as for the International Rules

These definitions can give seafarers problems in some situations because the Stand-on Vessel is supposed to do just that until the last screaming moment!!  The Rules say until the action by the Give-way Vessel alone will not avoid a collision.  It is important to realize that IF you do decide to alter course you do not turn towards the give-way vessel.  There is also some risk in stopping your vessel because you might end up in the path of the give-way vessel.  Yes it IS a tricky situation and one of the many reasons those Traffic Separation Schemes came into being.


NAUTICAL LOG strongly recommends you join one of the towing service organizations such as BoatUS® they are the red hulled rescue boats or Seatow® these are the yellow hulled rescue boats.  If you do get in trouble while out on the water their services will save you a lot of misery.  There are links to both organizations in our Blog List.

NAUTICAL LOG would also highly recommends "The Colregs Guide" by Klaas van Dokken   It covers the International Rules and is excellently illustrated making a nice addition to a navigation library - one sits in the bookcase behind me in my study.

Good Watch.

Thursday, May 29, 2014

BTR #8

As the Series continues on with Section II of the Steering and Sailing Rules we now come to what most of us are involved with that is power-driven vessels.  The International and Inland Rules differ here so be careful when learning them.

Rule 14:  Addresses the "head-on situation" when two power-driven vessels meet.  There are three (3) points that guide you in the correct procedure to follow.
Rule 15:  Addresses the "crossing situation" when two power-driven vessels meet.

Rule 14:  The "head-on situation" has four (4) points to guide boat operators.  Point (d) addresses the upbound and downbound vessels and who has the "right-of-passage".
Rule 15:  The "crossing situation" has two points to guide the boat operator and point (d) addresses "ascending and descending" vessels on the river.  (Guess they got bored using upbound and downbound!!)


We have several more of the Steering and Sailing Rules to cover so this is a good time to revise all you have learned so far.  Remember the Inland Rules only apply in United States Waters.

The easiest way to understand these Rules is to see illustrations of the vessels interacting in the situations.  If you go online and look at the State boating courses you will see clear illustrations showing vessels correctly following these Rules while underway.

Do not hesitate to e-mail me at if you have any questions.

Good Watch.

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

BTR #7

The BTR Series now comes to Section II of the Steering and Sailing Rules which covers Conduct of Vessels in Sight of One Another.

Rule 11:  States that this section applies to vessels in sight of one another.  This is done for legal definition.
Rule 12:  Instructs how two sailing vessels should conduct themselves if risk of collision is involved in accordance with the wind direction.  This is somewhat complex if you are not a sailor so careful study is needed.
Rule 13:  Covers overtaking and has four (4) points to guide mariners.  Point (a) refers to the Rules of Part B, Sections I and II.

Rule 11:  States the legal definition of this Section under Inland Rules.
Rule 12:  Is the same as for the International Rules.
Rule 13:   Covers overtaking and has four (4) points to guide mariners BUT point (a) refers to Rules 4 through 18 of the Inland Rules.   Be careful to understand the difference between the International and Inland Rules on this point.


NAUTICAL LOG strongly recommends you take an approved Safe Boating Course.  These are given by the USCG Auxiliary and the United States Power Squadron.   State boating courses for several States can be found online. 

In addition to Unlimited Masters from five Nations to satisfy Flag State Maritime Laws NAUTICAL LOG has also completed the USCG Auxiliary Safe Boating Course and the Florida State Boating Safety Course for his small boat work.

Good Watch.

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

NLIN #4 - 2014

The following M-Notices are now available at .  If you experience any difficulties contact 023 8032 9391.

MIN 478 (M)  Amendments to the International Convention on Load Lines, 1966, as modified by Protocol of 1988.

MIN 480 (M)  New Requirements for Security Training for Shipboard Personnel

MIN 483 (M)  Written examination dates 2014/2015: Deck and engineer officers (Merchant Navy)

MIN 484 (M)  Written examination dates 2014/2015: Engineer officers (yachts and sail training vessels)

MGN 506 (M) Navigation: Deep-Sea Pilotage in the North Sea, English Channel and the Skagerrak

Good Watch.

BTR #6

Here we introduce something new it is Rule 10 which applies to Traffic Separation SchemesNAUTICAL LOG is quite sure many perhaps most of you know nothing about them.  Introduced due to the increasing  traffic in the Dover Strait between France and England, the crossing high speed ferries all in addition to fishing vessels from every country in Europe. 

In 1967 the first scheme was approved and laid out on the Dover Strait chart.  From then on the schemes grew rapidly and by the end of the 20th. Century just about every Port and every strait had a traffic separation scheme.  Off the Ports they usually involve the Pilotage berthing area and they are laid in a roundabout form.  It is of course necessary to have a navigational chart of the area to see how the scheme works and very necessary to follow the rules of the Traffic Separation Schemes in Rule 10.

Rule 10:  There are twelve (12) points listed to guide you in following a traffic separation scheme.  The key point is (a) which states; this Rule applies to traffic separation schemes and does not relieve any vessel of her obligations under any other Rule.  There is a lot to learn, understand and follow and you do not want to be trying to figure out what is going on in the middle of a Port approaches busy traffic.

Rule 10:  The twelve (12) points are also listed under the Inland Rules.  The biggest risks are when vessels are manoeuvring in the Pilotage area and entering or leaving the junction it involves.


The tip this time is to read, understand and follow the NAVIGATION RULES most particularly the Steering and Sailing Rules.  There is a lot to learn too become familiar with them so always have the U.S. DHC/USCG NAVIGATION RULES International - Inland COMDTINST M16672. latest edition with you in the boat.  Remember it is required by Maritime Law that you do so.

Good Watch.

Monday, May 26, 2014

BTR #5.

Refer to your copy of the NAVIGATION RULES and open it at Rule 9 which covers Narrow Channels.  Mostly these narrow channels are in Inland Waters and those sailing on the oceans are not much affected by them.  However to get to the open seas means leaving the confines of the Marina and travelling through "narrow channels".  Both the International and Inland Rules cover these in detail.

Rule 9:  Instructs that a vessel proceeding along a narrow channel shall keep to the starboard (right) side of the channel.  There are seven (7) points to learn and follow some of which address sound signals which must be made.

Rule 9:  Similar to the International Rule 9 the Inland Rule gives more detail in the first of the seven (7) points.  (a) has a long paragraph about power-driven vessels operating on the Great Lakes, Western Rivers or waters specified by Secretary (this has a specific legal meaning).  For those of you proceeding in the Intracoastal Waterway along the East and South Coasts this is all very important information to learn, understand and follow.  Remember vessels proceeding downbound with the current have the right-of-way over upbound vessels.  The vessel proceeding upbound against the current shall hold as necessary to permit safe passing particularly of tugs and tows.

If you usually operate on International Rules remember when you enter Inland Waters you cross the Demarcation Lines and only INLAND RULES apply.  The demarcation lines are listed in the NAVIGATION RULES COMDTINST M16672. latest edition.


NAUTICAL LOG was checking on some other publications to see what boat tips they have and this is a summary list of what we found. 
  • Be weather wise
  • Follow a pre-departure checklist
  • Use common sense
  • Designate an assistant skipper
  • Develop a float plan
  • Make proper use of lifejackets
  • Avoid alcohol
  • Learn to swim
  • Take a boating course
  • Consider a free Vessel Safety Check

Good Watch.

Sunday, May 25, 2014

BTR #4.

Rule 8 is the Steering and Sailing Rule that tells boat operators how to avoid collision with another vessel.  Using your copy of the NAVIGATION RULES you should study them carefully and become fully familiar with the actions to take.

Rule 8:  States that any action taken to avoid collision must be taken in accordance with these Rules.  Therefore you must read, know, understand and follow these Rules to avoid a collision.  There are six (6) points that will instruct you as what action to take when meeting other vessels.

Rule 8:  States exactly the same instructions as to what action to take to avoid collision.


There are quite a few things to remember to bring to and check in the boat before setting off.  It is a good idea to prepare a checklist, seal it in plastic, keep one at home and another handy aboard so that you do not forget anything. 

The person who is operating the boat has the responsibility to instruct those who will be on board so show them the "man-overboard" procedure and how to operate a fire extinguisher.  If you are taking a turn in running the boat - the formal term is standing a Watch - you will be responsible for several things these are;
  • Safe navigation of the boat
  • Safe and efficient handling of the boat at all times
  • Giving assistance to those in danger if it is safely possible to do so
  • Keeping the boat tidy, no loose lines and fenders inboard once away from the berth

Good Watch.

Saturday, May 24, 2014

BTR #3

Rule 7 of the Steering and Sailing Rules addresses Risk of Collision which when you think about it is a continual situation when underway in boating.

Rule 7:  The boat operator must use every means available to assess the risk of collision.  If in doubt about a particular situation then risk of collision must be deemed to exist.  The Rule lists four (4) points to guide your assessment.

Rule 7:  States uses exactly the same wording as one might expect. 

Remember when boating inland there is usually much less room to manoeuvre your boat. You may have to slow down or even stop to allow tugs and tows to manoeuvre around river bends.


Always carry and learn how to use a First Aid kit.
Learn to use Tidal Current Tables, remember while the Range (low to high) of a tide may not be too great the current can still be quite strong.

As you advance in boating knowledge learn how to navigate by plotting your position on the chart.  Learn how to convert Magnetic directions to True directions this will involve learning about Variation, Deviation and obtaining a Compass Error to apply.  It is quite simple just adding and subtracting two numbers.  Once you are familiar with the conversion procedure you can use a handy calculator (such as Simex®) to do the job. 

NAUTICAL LOG would strongly suggest that you always use True directions to plot your positions and courses, so that by always following a standard procedure you will avoid making errors.  Of course you are the Navigator so choose a procedure you are comfortable with and then use it always.

Good Watch

Friday, May 23, 2014

BTR #2

Continuing the series of the Steering and Sailing Rules and some tips. Travelling too fast on the water can quickly get boat operators into trouble. 

Rule 6:  Every vessel shall at all times proceed at a safe speed so that she can take proper and effective action to avoid collision.  It then goes on to list six (6) points that will help to assess that safe speed.  In addition it lists a further six (6) points for vessels that have operational radar.
Rule 7:  Every vessel shall be able to access if risk of collision exists and which vessel must be the first to react  to the situation.  It includes the use of radar information.

Rule 6:  Again the Inland Rules address this same issue in the same manner.
Rule 7:  Once again the Inland Rules say the same thing and make the same points of responsibility.


Before leaving the dock file a Float Plan, there is usually a box at the Harbor or Dock Masters Office.  Once you return safely remember to cancel the Float Plan.

Always carry a navigation chart of the area you are operating in.  Learn how to read the symbols and use the chart for safe navigation.  Also learn the system of buoyage - USATONS - used by the USCG it is extremely simple and effective when used correctly. 

There used to be a Uniform State Waterway Marking System of black and red buoys USWMS but this was discontinued in 2003.  The black and red buoys were replaced USATONS aids. This would be something to ask advice about from the VSC Examiner mentioned in BTR #1.

Good Watch.

Thursday, May 22, 2014

BTR #1

In this the first of the series we shall look at the Steering and Sailing Rules which instruct vessels in sight of each other how to conduct themselves.  You should now open your copy of the NAVIGATION RULES COMTINST,  read and understand the actual wording. 

Rule 4:  States that these Rules always apply.
Rule 5:  States that you must always keep a proper look-out.

Rule 4:  States that these Rules always apply.
Rule 5:  States that you must always keep a proper look-out.

So there is the message for all boating in all waters follow the Rules and keep fully alert to what is happening around you.


If you are the boat operator ALWAYS wear your lifejacket as there will not be time for you to put it on and look after other persons in the boat if something does go wrong.  Of course all children should have their jackets in CHILD size and be wearing them. 

NAUTICAL LOG has been boating for 60 years and on arriving at the launching site parking lot puts his lifejacket on.  Yes there is usually some smart guy who makes a remark and he is often the same guy who later in the day goes aground, runs out of fuel or smacks into another boat.  Never a weekend seems to go by without some such "wiseguy" getting into trouble!!

Another useful tip is always get a Vessel Safety Check sticker know what it is about and ask the Examiner's advice about the locale.  So until next time,

Good Watch.


Quoting from CHAPMAN "Piloting & Seamanship" - If every skipper knew the "Rules of the Road" as they should, it would do much to bring calm to what can otherwise be chaotic situations.

With the Memorial Day Weekend coming up the boating season will get into full swing.  Unfortunately, in spite of the best efforts of the USCG and the various States Safe Boating organizations, there will be incidents some of which will be fatal.  Boating under the influence (BUI) is a leading cause of these incidents often coupled with lack of nautical knowledge.

In support of Federal and State Educational and Safety Boating efforts NAUTICAL LOG is starting a series which will give Boating Tips and cover the NAVIGATION RULES COMDTINST M16672 (latest edition) Steering and Sailing Rules for International and Inland Waters - yes there ARE differences between them - these must be known, understood and followed to avoid incidents.  There are also differences between Federal and State Regulations in the requirements for equipment you must have in your boat when out on the water.  Check with your State for these requirements at your States website.

Depending on the specific situation they address NAUTICAL LOG will cover at least one or two of both the International and Inland Rules in each of our Posts. 

Look for BTR #1 the first of the series coming up!!

Good Watch.

Tuesday, May 20, 2014


This month saw the commissioning into the Irish Naval Service of a new Class of Irish Naval vessel more of the Frigate size than the previously Corvette size.  However they are all classed as Patrol vessels, the new vessel is LÉ Samuel Beckett P61. NAUTICAL LOG wishes her well and a successful service.

LÉ  Samuel Beckett P61

The older vessels saw unbelievable service and value for money the first being commissioned in 1979 and continued through the '80's and 90's into the 21st. Century.  During those years in addition to patrolling the stormy seas around the rugged Irish coast they made passages across the Western Ocean to the United States and Canada, south to South America as far as Argentina, and east to Asia as far as Korea.  Such passages are really remarkable for such small vessels and show the competence of Irish seafarers who as Naval Officers and Merchant Marine Officers train together.

Good Watch.



On Tuesday the County Commission eliminated from contention the Port of Miami publicly owned site for a soccer stadium.  This came about during a discussion for the future of Port development.  Now it remains to get rid of the "stupider" site.

Both the County Government of Miami-Dade County and the City of Miami seem to be living up to their reputations of being barely competent and self-aggrandizement, with incidents of corruption.

In the "Miami Herald" this morning was a headline "Boat slip top soccer choice" which went on to state that the retired British soccer player and his local business partners had finally got the message from the Miami Seaport Alliance that a soccer stadium at a seaport was idiotic and not going to happen.  Now we have to remove them from this latest choice which will mean filling in a "boat slip" which is actually a berth for visiting naval vessels and overflow cruise ships. (see the map attached).  To accomplish building the soccer stadium would mean taking part of the Bicentennial Public Park alongside.  This same Park has just in recent years been restored for Public use after decades of misuse, now it seems it is to  be torn up again all because of brushing this Brits ego.  The end result of all this will be a smaller MLS stadium at greater expense due to the huge cost of filling the ship berths - this cost is currently unclear.  The amazing thing about all this is that there are sites all over the County used for soccer which would only require building facilities for professional teams but one has to suppose this would mean that "consulting commissions" and "construction contracts" the usual perks for friends of local government would not be very lucrative.


To NAUTICAL LOG even after living here for some forty-eight years this is mind boggling, but fortunately all is not lost as usage of this site will require a referendum of public approval for private use.

Good Watch.

Friday, May 16, 2014


Realizing that some of my nautical library needed updating a visit to the bookshop was called for and NAUTICAL LOG ended up with a new edition of Chapman Piloting and Seamanship.  It is always interesting reading and amongst many useful knowledge reminders was the importance of local knowledge - how true indeed.

Here in South Florida and most particularly Miami-Dade County which is 65% Hispanic local knowledge in recreational boating is very different.  For those of you now preparing your boats after the northern winter, anything north of Lake Okeechobee is "northern" to us here!!  Perhaps your cruising will bring you to Miami and the Keys - some surprises await.

You may see recreational boats travelling at speed and though they will have the proper Florida registration letters on their bow flying large Cuban flags.  No it is not a terrorist raid by some followers of the Castro brothers it is most likely the locals celebrating their National Origin instead of their current Nation of Residence.  There are other Hispanic nationals here but so far they do not seem to be flying their national flags on their American vessels.  Please note it is not done with an evil intent just Hispanic exuberance and of course lack of knowledge of flag courtesy.  Also do not expect them to have any knowledge of the Nautical Rules of the Road most do not even understand what is being talked about if you tell them - we long time residents no longer bother!!  To try and educate the Hispanic populace in boating knowledge and safe operation the USCG Auxiliary teach their courses in Spanish at certain locations as well as English.  To date these courses are not being taught in Creole for our Haitian residents but perhaps that will come one day as well.

Recently two incidents occurred one of which was observed by NAUTICAL LOG during a day at the beach.  A large family, at least three generations, was enjoying Mothers Day at the beach and they had a Personal Watercraft (PWC) which they were operating inside a line of the old white NO BOATS line of Uniform State Waterway Marking System buoys long eliminated supposedly.  A PWC is a boat so leaving from the beach giving various family members rides all this close to swimmers in the water is illegal operation.

NAUTICAL LOG walked down the beach to check out the PWC and saw that in addition to correctly displaying State numbering it had a 2014 USCG Auxiliary Vessel Safety Check sticker.  Shortly afterward the Police arrived as apparently someone had reported the illegal operation of the PWC.  The result was after much discussion two were selected to remove the PWC from the beach and take it wherever, tickets were issued and one gentlemen was removed by the Police Officer.

The other incident is sadly tragic and resulted from a local DJ putting a high powered, four (4) 350 hp engines, boat up on the sandbar.  Various people came to his assistance and amazingly gathered at the stern pushing while this operator had the throttles at full power ahead - watching a video taken of this incident illustrates stunning  Of course one of these Good Samaritans got caught up in the spinning propellers which resulted in his death.  Lawsuits have been filed the DJ is devastated and cooperated fully with the authorities however the lawsuit will not bring back the young man killed.

The boating accidents are not unique to our area but perhaps the language barriers which exist here, Miami-Dade County is largely Spanish speaking the population is quite exuberant this coupled with lack of boating knowledge makes them more likely to happen and communication difficult particularly in times of stress

So now with the Memorial Day weekend coming up local wariness is very important for recreational boating both visitors and locals as well as local nautical knowledge.

Good Watch.

Wednesday, May 14, 2014


While this is largely a local issue NAUTICAL LOG was involved with the original development of the site at issue.  We have added a link in our Blog List to the Miami Seaport Alliance, a visit to their website will explain the purposes of their organization.

A retired British soccer/football player has formed a business partnership with local South Florida business people.  The idea is to bring a professional soccer team to Miami-Dade County, FL.  Various sites have been discussed but for some reason unknown to NAUTICAL LOG the site most put forward is one at the south-west corner of the Port of Miami.  It would be hard to find a more unsuitable site in the entire County.  This retired British soccer player is not an American Citizen - at least not yet - he has been critical of our way of life and thinks we should at least in Miami-Dade County leap into the 21st. Century by having a Major League Soccer team with him at the head of it.

As it happens NAUTICAL LOG was part of the formation of Marine Spill Response Corporation (MSRC) - an American Corporation -  which was allowed to acquire the site from the Port of Miami for the development of a spill response company under OPA 90 which in turn resulted from the MS Exxon Valdez disaster.  At that time no dredging was allowed by the State of Florida off the site which made it very difficult to manoeuvre the spill response vessel stationed there to its berth.  The reason given was an environmental petition to protect the manatees which supposedly used this area. 

Now that does not seem to be a consideration when this British subject states that he and his business partners are going to build a soccer stadium with an adjacent mega-yacht marina, hotel and upscale retail facility.

Recently the Mayor of Miami-Dade County suggested an alternative site equally if not even more unsuitable which involves the filling in of a ship berthing area near yet another stadium this one for basketball.  There are also stadiums for baseball and football (real NFL football)   Yes! indeed the former Magic City is now Stadium City it would seem.

To cover the local reaction to all this asinine behavior NAUTICAL LOG has attached the recently published letter from the various City's, Village's and Township's which make-up Miami-Dade County.

The City of Miami and Miami-Dade County politicians seem strangely impressed by non US Citizens who come here, wine, dine and charm them to achieve personal ends and gains most often at considerable cost to the taxpayers often with no referendum beforehand.

Good Watch.

Tuesday, May 6, 2014


Amongst the News Reports which land on my desk each morning was one very good piece of maritime news from the "Irish Times".


In Houston, TX this week a contract will be signed with Chevron for the National Maritime College of Ireland (NMCI) to train all their junior Deck Officers and Engineer Officers.  Some 450 Officers from around the world will come to the College at Ringaskiddy County Cork.  The NMCI currently trains Merchant Navy Officers from both Ireland and other countries in addition to training the Irish Naval Service Officers and Ratings in their non-military disciplines.

This new agreement shows the high regard in which the NMCI is held by international maritime ship operators.  As a result of this agreement it is expected that the NMCI will expand in both training equipment and living quarters.

Good Watch.

Thursday, May 1, 2014


As the Korean investigators arrest anyone they can find who were crew in the Korean ferry and involved in its operation the relevant Minister of the Korean Government has stated that a complete review of operating procedures and safety protocols will be conducted.  One might ask - by whom?

A spokesperson for the Korean Register of Shipping stated that the organization does not have authority over coastal shipping.  If not who does?  The ferry was overloaded and basically unstable which latter was the responsibility of the KRS when the shipyard work was completed and before that work was done to review the plans for the conversion.  This might be a "heads-up" for all maritime authorities internationally before we have another similar accident.  The latest was a DFDS French flagged ferry fire at Dover, England after the passengers had disembarked.  It was successfully extinguished by the ships fire-fighting team
Here in the United States we have "Uninspected Vessels" which can and do have accidents so it is time to set an example, do away with this practice and inspect all vessels.  Also all recreational vessels should be inspected.  There is a system already in place where the USCG Auxiliary and US Power Squadron inspect vessels at marinas and launching ramps around the country.  It should now become necessary for all recreational vessels to have this Inspection and post the sticker issued by the USCG Auxiliary or US Power Squadron in the required position on board.

Personally NAUTICAL LOG does not go out aboard any recreational vessel not fully inspected and displaying as a minimum the USCG Auxiliary or US Power Squadron sticker.

Good Watch.