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SV Western Union underway at Key West, FL
Cable ships have come in all shapes and sizes over the years and just to the south of the NAUTICAL LOG home port is one named SV Western Union.  Her home port in Key West, FL, which before its present rebirth as an alternative lifestyle tourist resort and cruise ship call port, was a fishing port, US Naval Base, US Coast Guard Base and second home to President Harry S. Truman.
The SV Western Union was designed, timbers cut in Grand Cayman of native woods and shipped to Key West where she was assembled and rigged in 1939 by Grand Cayman and Conch craftsmen.  She is an American coastal schooner of traditional design and served the telegraph company as a cable repair ship for 35 years.  Years later she was tidied-up and used as a local tour vessel in response to a growing tourist trade to replace the reduction and eventual departure of the US Naval Base, though the USCG still has an important Base there to the present day.

When Historic Tours of America ceased operations there was a fear that she would leave Key West.  This in turn triggered the locals to form Schooner Western Union Preservation Society and Museum.   Rather a long name but they accomplished their goal raising the monies some $1.25 million for a restoration, refurbishment over three years; now they are back in business doing tours.

At present SV Western Union, CAPT. Lenn Verreau,does two-hour sunset tours daily and on Friday and Saturday nights one and one-half hour stargazer tours with an astronomer on board.  Later they hope to add day tours so visit their website at to keep abreast of current events.   NAUTICAL LOG is planning to sail on one of those stargazer tours and when we do there will no doubt be a Post all about it.


Sloop SV Providence
There is a Post in OLD SALT BLOG about another restoration that of the SV Providence a replica of the first U.S. warship.  After a three and one-half years lay-up she is underway again.

Good Watch

Please remember the seafarers held captive by pirates off Somalia - let us work with India to free them.


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Several times during the year NAUTICAL LOG has had visitors searching for lifejacket instructions. With two just over Christmas we decided to publish something for everybody to see and read.
Choose a Coast Guard approved life-jacket and make sure it is undamaged. Make sure life-jackets are readily accessible, never locked away. Check the fit, there are adult, child and infant sizes, the correct one MUST be used. Choose bright colour life-jackets so as to be seen easily by Search and Rescue (SAR).Put your life-jacket ON BEFORE you leave the berth. Make sure you have a light and whistle attached AND they BOTH WORK.
Good Watch


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.

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.


Ships now operate under the International Management Code for Safe Operation of Ships and for Pollution Prevention (ISM Code).  Since this is a Post on Auditing NAUTICAL LOG, who is a Trained Auditor, will not go through the requirements as these can be found on the Internet and in your local nautical bookshop - you do have a bookshop hopefully as they are a dying breed.  There are two types of Audit an External Audit and an Internal Audit.

The External Audit consists of the Flag State or an outside Auditing Firm coming into the Company and going through all the Protocols, Procedures and associated Manuals.  They may also hold a drill simulating a situation in one of the Company's vessels and observe the results of the Shore Staff dealing with it.  NAUTICAL LOG has been through this experience with two very different Companies and believe me it is a long, difficult, trying day not made any easier by the subsequent debrief.  The External Auditor then prepares a Report which causes a…