Skip to main content


With Spring on the horizon in many parts of the country and beautiful boating weather here in South Florida our thoughts turn to - boating! There are many pre-season boating checklists and NAUTICAL LOG is not going to repeat those again, just Google and print the checklists and use them otherwise they are useless to you. During our recent visit to the Miami Boat Show on Miami Beach, FL with Discover Boating we were reminded of several key points that we would like to bring to your attention.

In our previous Post we discussed charts and who and how they are published in the United States. Similarly other countries have excellent Hydrographic Offices such as the UK Hydrographic Office publishing charts of the World as well as their local waters. Nearby both Canada, and Cuba have excellent sets of charts and publications and if going there get the proper clearances in accordance with your vessels Flag State obtain and use local charts. Canada by and large requires Canadian charts in Canadian Waters and if one should have a problem it is better that Canadian charts were in use for navigational plotting.

The really important point is to complete an approved Boating Course, more and more of these are available online and directed for your State being NASBLA/Coast Guard approved. This is a great way for first time boaters to learn and build confidence. NAUTICAL LOG is a great believer in classroom instruction particularly for 'The Rules of the Nautical Road' and of course chartwork plotting. So if there is classroom instruction or someone available to teach you personally most definitely take advantage of it. In the South Florida area (south of Lake Okeechobee) you can contact NAUTICAL LOG via e-mail at put 'INSTRUCTION' in the subject line, we will be pleased to meet with you to set up to teach you both RoR, chartwork and any nautical subject you may wish to cover. But we strongly suggest you complete that online course first of all as that will give you key basic nautical knowledge.

Finally make sure you get Insurance coverage for emergiencies and towing because believe me you will need it !! There are links in our 'Link List' to the 'Yellow Guys' and the 'Red Guys' to find out how that coverage works. Walk around your marinas, spot the Yellow or Red hulled rescue boats, talk to the skippers and make sure you do not go to sea without it. Towing is very costly!!

So to summarize:

1. Take a Boating Course for the basics.

2. Learn Rules of Road.

3. Learn chartwork plotting.

4. Get Towing Insurance.

5. 'Google' and use those checklists.

Good Watch


Popular posts from this blog


It sometimes happens that one is going to write a Post on a subject when lo and behold there is already an excellent one.  Such is the case today; so rather than repeat everything let me refer you to the source of that Post

At present we are experiencing Perigean Spring Tides which occur when the Moon is at perigee on its oval path that is the closest point to Earth.  One of the principal results are higher than usual Spring Tides as against the Neap Tides.

Should you be interested in the full explanation of this phenomenon then you might like to reference "Old Salt Blog" which has an excellent explanation of this event and uses all the correct terms - quite unlike our Media here in South Florida.

Good Watch.


In addition to the recent "Standing Down" of training voyages for its Midshipersons the United States Merchant Marine Academy (USMMA) has received warnings about the quality, or lack thereof, of its training programme.  The Middle States Commission of Higher Education (MSCHE) report stated that accreditation was in jeopardy for non-compliance in certain areas.

Coupled with the continuing problems requiring disciplinary actions including dismissal from the Navy the United States Navy (USN) has had in recent years this does not bode well for the professionalism of the seafaring community of the United States.

It is clear to this writer, an International Master Mariner with 50 years of experience, that the training sources for both Officers and Ratings need an immediate complete examination and review.  Currently the Officer commanding riverine craft based in Bahrain has been dismissed.  Another nine Officers and Ratings are under disciplinary action as a result of the capture by…


NAUTICAL LOG has on previous occasions discussed the SS El Faro VDR in a Post titled RELUCTANCE TO RECOVER and two other Posts about the VDR (Voyage Data Recorder) of the SS El Faro

The Ship sank in Hurricane Joaquin on October 01, 2015 off the Bahamas.  There has seemed to be a reluctance by all parties involved to continue the attempt to recover the VDR from some 15,000 feet - admittedly a considerable depth.  However because of the importance of possible data on the recorder such an attempt must be made.

Finally the NTSB has contracted with the USN Supervisor of Salvage to assist in the recovery of the VDR.  The USNS Apache will depart in early July 2016 together with USCG, Phoenix International and an underwater operating vehicle the CURV-21.

Once the VDR is recovered it will be brought ashore to the NTSB laboratory and thoroughly studied to download and analyze the information.  With these results in hand the USCG will conduct a two hearings to investigate the sinking and questio…