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Boat Towing Services

The best advice I ever received about boating was from a salty old captain years ago. He said, "Safe boating is simple: keep the water out of the boat, keep the boat off the bottom, and everything else can be worked out." Truer words were never spoken, but despite their best efforts, boaters fail at one or both on a regular basis.For this reason, we are fortunate to have access to professional towing services, covering most recreational boating waters in this country. Whether boating in the ocean near shore, or in most large inland lakes and rivers, assistance on the water is just a VHF radio or phone call away.

boat towing - captain's tips - marinalife
Courtesy of Dori Arrington

Two national entities Sea Tow and TowBoatU.S., along with a few smaller regional companies make up a network of towing operators ready to help you on the water during a boating mishap. Towing service is not inexpensive, with the cost of a response averaging $1,000. That's why most boaters take advantage of the annual membership programs these companies offer, where the cost of service is covered by their membership plan.

I absolutely recommend membership in one or both national companies. While Sea Tow and TowBoatU.S. have boats in most popular boating destinations, neither covers all areas. Having a membership with both assures you can access help in most locations. In joining, it is important to know what you're getting in return for your membership fee, what the service covers, and maybe more importantly, what it doesn't cover.

Although commonly referred to as such, a membership with a towing service is not insurance. Towing services offer no coverage for loss of your boat or boating equipment, nor do they cover personal injury or any sort of liability. Within the terms of their membership agreement, both national companies provide similar services to their members. While each differs slightly in what they provide, the basics they both offer are towing, fuel, jump starts for dead batteries and delivery of easily accessed basic parts for a mechanical breakdown.

It is important to understand having a membership is not a promise of rescue and is restricted to the services that can be provided by the equipment available in the specific area at the time of need. Each individual towing operator is an independent business, which provide services under an agreement with or as a franchisee of the national company. Their equipment could vary from small single engine center-consoles to medium sized commercial RIBs, or in some areas large offshore vessels.

For offshore assistance, all towing companies have limits on how far they can go to offer assistance, but it varies. In Sea Tow's case, they state: We do not have specific offshore distance limits. How far offshore Sea Tow will go to get you is only limited by the sea conditions, fuel capacity of our boats and our ability to communicate with you. If, for any reason, Sea Tow cannot respond, we will assist in arranging for an alternate provider and provide reimbursement up to $5,000 per incident. In most cases, if we are unable to respond no other commercial assistance provider will be able to either, so we will defer to the U.S. Coast Guard.

If you frequently boat offshore, know how you will communicate with the towing providers. In practicality, the offshore range they are capable of reaching could be up to 30 or 40 nautical miles from the towing company's base. Keep in mind this could be out of mobile phone or VHF radio range. It will do you no good if they can help you, but you can't reach them. Ask if the towing provider in your area can communicate with a satellite texting device like a Garmin inReach or a satellite phone.Occasionally a dispute between towing operators and boaters arises over the thorny issue of whether you simply needed a tow or whether the assistance is considered salvage. Both national towing services attempt to describe the difference in their agreement; however, despite their best efforts, it can still be highly subjective. If it is considered salvage, the terms of the assistance changes dramatically.

Your towing provider will likely ask a lot of questions before dispatching a boat in order to arrive properly prepared to assist. However, they cannot know the exact degree of assistance needed until they actually arrive on the scene and assess the situation. When they arrive to offer help, always ask the towboat captain if this is a tow or salvage operation. The difference in the cost and who pays the bill could be substantial.

Given the potential for subjectivity between towing and salvage, it is imperative that you know the nature of the assistance you're receiving. Salvage is historically and more importantly legally defined as the rescue of a boat from a peril at sea.

Sea Tow | Marinalife
Sea Tow | Marinalife

The definition of peril may take many forms. Typically, a marine peril involves a dangerous situation at sea, wherein a vessel may incur damage if it is left to the forces of wind, waves, weather and tide without prompt assistance. Any number of simple boating mishaps can quickly descend into peril if left unaddressed. What may have been a soft grounding on a sand bar can quickly become a salvage operation, with an ebbing tide and slight shift of the wind.

Marine salvage laws have existed for centuries. They were derived to incentivize salvors to come to the assistance of vessels in distress, thereby saving the loss of property and possibly life. Marine salvage laws date back to a time when most vessels at sea were commercial and have changed little with the growth of recreational boating.

Many boaters believe salvage laws do not apply to them and think salvage only applies to big ships, not their 33-foot express cruiser. Marine salvage laws apply to every vessel upon navigable waters, from a kayak to a 600-foot container ship. They are not limited to only vessels engaged in commerce. This opens all recreational vessels to claims for salvage rewards.

When selecting a towing provider, read and understand the terms you are agreeing to for dispute resolution. Many towing providers will ask the boat owner to sign a contract before towing. In signing these contracts, you may be agreeing to some form of binding arbitration, which is intended to provide for a quick determination of the appropriate amount of the salvage reward. You may also be acknowledging that the services provided will form the basis of a salvage claim, where the salvor could be entitled to a lien upon your boat in the amount of the claim.

Too frequently boaters discover the difference between towing and salvage when presented with a bill for something they believed was covered under a membership plan. Boaters also must be careful when accepting assistance from a passing boater. It is not necessary for a salvor to be a professional towing company. If you accept assistance from a passing boater, they may have the right to claim a salvage reward; legally these are referred to as chance salvors.

Assistance to boaters is offered regularly without any extraordinary needs or costs, but exceptions occur often enough. Read and understand the terms of service offered by your towing provider. The national companies offer excellent service within the terms of their agreements and individual towboat captains do their best to assist boaters for the least cost; however, sometimes assistance truly deserves to be salvage. Always protect yourself by knowing which you are receiving before you connect a towing company's line to your boat.

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Solo Boating: Reasons It's not Worth the Risk

Captain's Tips
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Solo Boating: Reasons It's not Worth the Risk
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From the social gathering of fellow boaters at yacht clubs and marinas to enjoying the pleasure of friends and family aboard a boat for an outing, boating is better as a shared experience. Yet I have encountered over the years, several boaters who choose to own and operate a boat by themself.

In boating parlance, “short-handed” means you’re operating a boat with fewer crew than is ideal. “Single handed” takes that one step further by running the boat
by yourself.

Beginning in the early 19th century, a small group of intrepid boaters began challenging themselves with (mostly sailing) solo journeys at sea. The concept continues to this day in extreme solo sailing competitions taking place around the world, which require entrants to follow strict guidelines in safety protocols and equipment. The vessels are almost always monitored and tracked by shore-based individuals.

This is unfortunately not always the case with less trained individuals operating recreational boats alone. Too frequently, these boats are not set up for single-handed
operation, and they are used in congested, popular boating areas.

This article focuses on the single-handed operation of medium to large cruising boats traveling long distances, not small runabouts. This is not addressing lone boaters out on the river or bay in their center-console fishing for the afternoon or an individual moving a large boat a short distance from the slip to get fuel and back.

Make no mistake, the single-handed operation of any boat comes with added risk, and the prudent solo boater takes extra safety precautions when out alone on the water. When operating a small boat by yourself in local waters, always file a float plan letting someone know where you’re going and when you expect to return, and always wear a life jacket.

Take advantage of modern communication technology by wearing a device that alerts other boaters or emergency personnel if you fall overboard or need assistance,
and always use a kill device that disables your engine if you fall overboard.

Many cite the difficulty of docking a large boat by themselves, as being the biggest issue with single-handed operation, but frankly this should be the least of your
concerns. With lines and fenders pre-positioned and the help of dock staff or a slip neighbor, docking can be quite manageable. Add the use of external control stations, or better yet using a wireless remote controller, and this should be the easiest aspect of running a boat by yourself. Especially when single handed, never attempt to dock in high winds or strong currents.

Having covered thousands of miles and countless hours at the helm of cruising boats, I can speak from personal experience that regardless of how well you’re prepared or how capable you are, when out on the water you must expect the unexpected. It could be a blocked thru hull causing an engine to overheat, an engine belt breaking, a critical hose clamp failing, a fuel filter clogging, or accidentally picking something up and fouling the running gear. The list of things that draw your attention away from the helm goes on and on. Handling any of these alone on a boat becomes difficult and potentially dangerous.

Even if we set the unexpected aside for a moment, everyone has to eat, drink and relieve themselves. Yes you can prepare snacks or a meal ahead of time, yes some boats have day-heads at or near the helm, but these are still distractions from operating the boat. Just staying alert for hours when single-handing presents enough of a challenge.

Also consider the thorny legal issue of single-handing a boat. The International Regulations for Preventing Collisions at Sea (COLREGS) is an agreement between member countries, making up what boaters commonly refer to as “rules-of-the-road.” Any citizen of a country agreeing to these rules is legally bound by them. This is plainly stated in Rule 1(a): “These Rules shall apply to all vessels upon the high seas and in all waters connected therewith navigable by seagoing vessels.” Rule 5 presents your next problem — single-handing a boat. Rule 5 states: “Every vessel must at all times keep a proper look-out by sight, hearing, and all available means to judge if risk of collision exists.” Under normal circumstances, when everything is running smoothly, it is challenging to maintain the “at all times” part of this rule, let alone when something on the boat needs your attention.

Granted, single-handed skippers seem to find a way to manage these issues more than they should and most get away with it, but if an accident occurs at sea, solo boaters open themselves up to significant liability. If a vessel’s master is found to have violated one or more of the COLREGS, they may be found liable for all costs of
rescue efforts. This could also include property damages, loss of income, salvage costs and environmental cleanup costs. In the event of a death, even criminal
gross negligence charges are not out of the realm.

Anyone considering single-handed operation should also be aware they may not be covered by their insurance when doing so. According to Scott Stusek of Gowrie Insurance in Annapolis, skippers operating boats single-handed will likely have violated at least one provision of their policy. All insurance companies have an implied warranty that the vessel is seaworthy. In tested legal cases, seaworthy is defined as the vessel being reasonably fit to perform the services and encounter the ordinary perils of the voyage contemplated, which means the vessel is operated by a suitable crew for the voyage intended.

Further on insurance, in a paper written by Steven Wight from the Law Offices of Wright, Constable & Skeen, Wight states, “Whether a boat owner knows it or not, there are two occasions upon which he will warrant to his marine insurer that his vessel and all of its appurtenances are in tight seaworthy condition. No words need to be spoken and nothing needs to be written for these warranties to be conveyed. The warranties of seaworthiness are implied into every hull insurance policy by longstanding principles of marine insurance law. It is important for boat owners to understand these warranties, the manner in which they are conveyed and the moments
they attach, since the penalty for breaching a warranty of seaworthiness is loss of coverage and avoidance of insurance claims.”

Wight explains, “Two of the times the warranties are implied are the moment the insured accepts the policy and the second is the moment the insured pulls away from the dock.” If a boater gets underway single-handed, the insurance company may be within its right to say the owner violated the warranty of seamanship by operating the vessel contrary to International Maritime Regulations. That is a big risk to take. It’s important to reiterate, your policy may not specifically preclude the practice of operating single-handed, but it doesn’t mean you would be covered in an accident.

In one instance, a couple owned a boat and had secured insurance with both names on the policy. One day one of them chose to move the boat solo while the other traveled to the destination by land. An electrical fire broke out on the boat, and the owner operating single-handed couldn’t maintain the helm and fight the fire. The boat ended up a total loss.

Based on the owner’s negligence to maintain a seaworthy vessel, the insurance company didn’t deny the claim; they instead refused coverage based on “had we known” you were going to do this, we would not have written the policy. In U.S. courts, the absolute warranty of seaworthiness extends to the appropriate number of crew for the voyage intended.

In another recent sad case, a single-handed skipper suffered a heart attack while operating his trawler in the Bahamas. His boat was found grounded on a desolate stretch of shoreline days later with the engines in gear. Many cruising trawlers have enough fuel to operate for days. What if this unfortunate boater had not been in a confined chain of islands, but rather in the open ocean? His boat motoring along for days with no one at the helm would have been a hazard to other vessels around it.

Having interviewed several owners single-handing their boats, most report taking extraordinary steps to minimize time away from the helm. They prepare meals ahead of time and do everything they can to operate safely — but when pressed, they also acknowledge they are taking added risks. They all claim they are being careful but being careful in this situation is OK ... right up until it’s not, and you’re not the only one you’re putting at risk. A record number of recreational and commercial vessels are using our waterways and plying the open seas today. When out boating, regardless of where you are or what time of day it is, you will likely encounter other boats while underway.

If you want to single-hand your boat over long distances, stop and think about the consequences. A lone boater is adding not only risk for themself but putting all boats around them at increased risk as well. Find a friend or hire a mate to help move the boat. Not only will you be safer, but you may even find it’s more enjoyable.

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Making Your List and Checking It Twice
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Frequent analogies are made between piloting an aircraft and piloting a boat. Both require similar skills and place you at the mercy of the elements in a medium that's foreign to our bodies. Granted, being suspended in the air may be a tad more precarious than floating on the water, but when the downward spiral of a problem begins in either setting, it typically doesn't end well. For this reason, an aircraft pilot wouldn't dream of taking off without performing a pre-flight checklist. Boating is safer when using checklists, too.

boat row - captain's tips - marinalife
Courtesy of Lukas on Pexels

The concept of a pre-flight checklist was developed following the fatal crash of a test flight in 1935. Leading up to WWII, the U.S. Army Air Corps was looking for a new bomber to meet the demanding needs of long distant flights with heavy payloads. U.S. aircraft company, Boeing, submitted a new plane model for the Army to consider. The Army agreed to try it and scheduled a test flight to see how it would perform.Flying the plane that day were two highly experienced Army pilots, Boeing's chief test pilot, along with a Boeing mechanic and a representative of the engine manufacturer. After takeoff the plane began to climb, but suddenly pitched up, stalled and crashed into a ball of fire upon impact. All on board were initially rescued, but both pilots died from injuries sustained in the crash.The accident investigation determined that before takeoff, the pilots overlooked a safety lock on the elevator and rudder controls, which kept them from controlling the plane's pitch or attitude. Following the accident, a newspaper stated that the Boeing plane was just too much plane for one man to fly.Fortunately, this was not the end of the story, but the beginning of a life-saving idea that would transform how highly complex systems can be operated by average people. Out of this tragedy came the simple and effective concept of the pilot's pre-departure checklist. Time would prove the Boeing plane was not too much for one person, but just too much for one person's memory. Using a simple checklist on future flights would ensure that important steps required prior to takeoff were not forgotten.Checklists were developed for more and more parts of a flight, for emergency situations as well as more routine situations. NASA adopted the use of checklists for almost every part of the Gemini and Apollo space missions, and all astronauts were trained in how to use them. Astronauts logged hundreds of hours familiarizing themselves with and learning how to use these checklists. In fact, checklists were so important to the success of the Apollo moon landings that astronaut Michael Collins called them The fourth crew member.

Safety from the Skies to the Seas

Aboard our boat, we have several checklists for different applications. For example, we've found it useful to have two pre-departure checklists: one for leaving a marina and another for leaving an anchorage or mooring.Preparing for each is different enough that having a specific list for the different situations ensures that everything is safe to get underway.A checklist is also one of the best ways to manage your boat maintenance and personal safety. When your boat breaks down out in open water, you become vulnerable to additional problems.Reminder and to-do apps popular on smart devices today are a great platform for building a list of regularly scheduled maintenance tasks. The apps allow you to set a date to inspect items like fire extinguishers, or when engine fluids or anodes need to be changed. Using apps with reminders set, relieves you from having to remember critical items that need attention. They also have a notes section where you can record engine hours of the last change and numbers for any parts used in the process.

boat - captain's tips - marinalife
Courtesy of Dan Prat

Checklists are most useful for regularly reoccurring tasks, ones we believe we do so often we've memorized them tasks like starting your boat and leaving the marina. Therein lies the problem: It's easy to become complacent with reoccurring tasks and believe you've done this so many times you don't need reminders of how to do it.For most people, life is busy, so it's easy to get distracted while going through a task. I've seen it happen on many occasions the ever-present phone rings or a boat neighbor asks a question as you're preparing to get underway and the next thing you know you're pulling out with the shore power cord still connected. Before we started making checklists a habit, I was occasionally upset by a boat passing close by, without calling us on the VHF radio, only to realize I'd forgotten to turn it on.Checklists are also important when multiple people are involved in the same process, so we use checklists for departing from the boat as well. More than once on our Sunday drive home from the boat, we looked at each other and asked, did you take out the trash or did you turn off the propane? Using a boat departure checklist makes sure important items don't get missed and you don't assume the other turned off the water pump breaker or turned on the battery charger.Using checklists also has unforeseen benefits: The more you follow them, the more you benefit. The more you follow a routine process in the same order, the more you understand its faults and failings, allowing you to make improvements.It's easy to see the benefit when developing a checklist and when you first begin using them, but the real benefit comes into play when you continue using them even though you feel like you don't have to anymore. That's when they keep you from forgetting something important.

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Boat Towing Services
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The best advice I ever received about boating was from a salty old captain years ago. He said, "Safe boating is simple: keep the water out of the boat, keep the boat off the bottom, and everything else can be worked out." Truer words were never spoken, but despite their best efforts, boaters fail at one or both on a regular basis.For this reason, we are fortunate to have access to professional towing services, covering most recreational boating waters in this country. Whether boating in the ocean near shore, or in most large inland lakes and rivers, assistance on the water is just a VHF radio or phone call away.

boat towing - captain's tips - marinalife
Courtesy of Dori Arrington

Two national entities Sea Tow and TowBoatU.S., along with a few smaller regional companies make up a network of towing operators ready to help you on the water during a boating mishap. Towing service is not inexpensive, with the cost of a response averaging $1,000. That's why most boaters take advantage of the annual membership programs these companies offer, where the cost of service is covered by their membership plan.

I absolutely recommend membership in one or both national companies. While Sea Tow and TowBoatU.S. have boats in most popular boating destinations, neither covers all areas. Having a membership with both assures you can access help in most locations. In joining, it is important to know what you're getting in return for your membership fee, what the service covers, and maybe more importantly, what it doesn't cover.

Although commonly referred to as such, a membership with a towing service is not insurance. Towing services offer no coverage for loss of your boat or boating equipment, nor do they cover personal injury or any sort of liability. Within the terms of their membership agreement, both national companies provide similar services to their members. While each differs slightly in what they provide, the basics they both offer are towing, fuel, jump starts for dead batteries and delivery of easily accessed basic parts for a mechanical breakdown.

It is important to understand having a membership is not a promise of rescue and is restricted to the services that can be provided by the equipment available in the specific area at the time of need. Each individual towing operator is an independent business, which provide services under an agreement with or as a franchisee of the national company. Their equipment could vary from small single engine center-consoles to medium sized commercial RIBs, or in some areas large offshore vessels.

For offshore assistance, all towing companies have limits on how far they can go to offer assistance, but it varies. In Sea Tow's case, they state: We do not have specific offshore distance limits. How far offshore Sea Tow will go to get you is only limited by the sea conditions, fuel capacity of our boats and our ability to communicate with you. If, for any reason, Sea Tow cannot respond, we will assist in arranging for an alternate provider and provide reimbursement up to $5,000 per incident. In most cases, if we are unable to respond no other commercial assistance provider will be able to either, so we will defer to the U.S. Coast Guard.

If you frequently boat offshore, know how you will communicate with the towing providers. In practicality, the offshore range they are capable of reaching could be up to 30 or 40 nautical miles from the towing company's base. Keep in mind this could be out of mobile phone or VHF radio range. It will do you no good if they can help you, but you can't reach them. Ask if the towing provider in your area can communicate with a satellite texting device like a Garmin inReach or a satellite phone.Occasionally a dispute between towing operators and boaters arises over the thorny issue of whether you simply needed a tow or whether the assistance is considered salvage. Both national towing services attempt to describe the difference in their agreement; however, despite their best efforts, it can still be highly subjective. If it is considered salvage, the terms of the assistance changes dramatically.

Your towing provider will likely ask a lot of questions before dispatching a boat in order to arrive properly prepared to assist. However, they cannot know the exact degree of assistance needed until they actually arrive on the scene and assess the situation. When they arrive to offer help, always ask the towboat captain if this is a tow or salvage operation. The difference in the cost and who pays the bill could be substantial.

Given the potential for subjectivity between towing and salvage, it is imperative that you know the nature of the assistance you're receiving. Salvage is historically and more importantly legally defined as the rescue of a boat from a peril at sea.

Sea Tow | Marinalife
Sea Tow | Marinalife

The definition of peril may take many forms. Typically, a marine peril involves a dangerous situation at sea, wherein a vessel may incur damage if it is left to the forces of wind, waves, weather and tide without prompt assistance. Any number of simple boating mishaps can quickly descend into peril if left unaddressed. What may have been a soft grounding on a sand bar can quickly become a salvage operation, with an ebbing tide and slight shift of the wind.

Marine salvage laws have existed for centuries. They were derived to incentivize salvors to come to the assistance of vessels in distress, thereby saving the loss of property and possibly life. Marine salvage laws date back to a time when most vessels at sea were commercial and have changed little with the growth of recreational boating.

Many boaters believe salvage laws do not apply to them and think salvage only applies to big ships, not their 33-foot express cruiser. Marine salvage laws apply to every vessel upon navigable waters, from a kayak to a 600-foot container ship. They are not limited to only vessels engaged in commerce. This opens all recreational vessels to claims for salvage rewards.

When selecting a towing provider, read and understand the terms you are agreeing to for dispute resolution. Many towing providers will ask the boat owner to sign a contract before towing. In signing these contracts, you may be agreeing to some form of binding arbitration, which is intended to provide for a quick determination of the appropriate amount of the salvage reward. You may also be acknowledging that the services provided will form the basis of a salvage claim, where the salvor could be entitled to a lien upon your boat in the amount of the claim.

Too frequently boaters discover the difference between towing and salvage when presented with a bill for something they believed was covered under a membership plan. Boaters also must be careful when accepting assistance from a passing boater. It is not necessary for a salvor to be a professional towing company. If you accept assistance from a passing boater, they may have the right to claim a salvage reward; legally these are referred to as chance salvors.

Assistance to boaters is offered regularly without any extraordinary needs or costs, but exceptions occur often enough. Read and understand the terms of service offered by your towing provider. The national companies offer excellent service within the terms of their agreements and individual towboat captains do their best to assist boaters for the least cost; however, sometimes assistance truly deserves to be salvage. Always protect yourself by knowing which you are receiving before you connect a towing company's line to your boat.

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Get the Latest Scoop on Boat Monitoring Systems
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When we last visited the subject of remote boat monitoring, it was an emerging technology with young innovative companies developing smart phone apps that informed you if your boat's battery died or a bilge pump came on when you were away from the boat. Today, those startups have matured into sophisticated technology companies, offering a range of services to help manage and monitor your boat.

Siren Marine - captain's tips - marinalife
Siren Marine

These companies began their businesses from different starting points. Some technology companies adapted their products to boats. A few were boaters who saw a need based on their boating experience and developed products to address that need. The differences show up in some of their application programs and ease of use for the boat owner.

All the systems generally follow the same concept, using a series of sensors or actuators connected to a hub or base station. The hub then communicates the sensor's information through a Wi-Fi, cellular or satellite network to an app installed on a smart phone or tablet.

When selecting a monitoring system, first consider what method of communication best suits your needs. If your boat stays in a modern marina with a stable Wi-Fi, a system that communicates over a Wi-Fi network may be acceptable. The downside to Wi-Fi-only systems is their need to use a mobile hotspot or other means of connecting to a data network to report a problem when you're away from a marina.

If you travel aboard your boat to remote locations or internationally, a system that communicates over cellular or satellite networks may be more reliable. Be mindful of differences in cellular network equipment: some work great in the United States and Canada but may not work elsewhere in the world. Look for cellular networks that work over a wide area. It's best to know where you will be cruising before selecting.

The costs also vary with the system type, with Wi-Fi being the least expensive, then cellular and satellite typically the most expensive. When selecting a system that uses a cellular network to send notifications, it is also helpful to know which generation technology is used: 3G, 4G or the growing 5G. We are accustomed to 4G networks being the norm for voice communication, but many systems still transmit data using older 3G technology, which in parts of the country is being eliminated from cellular towers. This can affect how well the unit will work in different coverage areas as you travel.

Many of the systems require ongoing fees or subscriptions to stay active. If the system you choose has a subscription, verify if you are entering an annual contract as part of the agreement. If your boat is hauled out during part of the year, it may be better to find a system that allows monthly terms or the option to suspend the service during the haul-out period.

Method of Linking Components

All systems work on a sensor and hub network. Individual sensors monitor specific information such as battery voltage, integrity of shore power connection or bilge pump activity. Systems use either hard-wired or wireless sensors. The wireless systems are easier to install, but also may have some limitations. For example, there is a maximum distance the sensors can be from the hub, in some cases as little as 30 feet. If your boat is very large, it may require more than one hub.

The early wireless systems used either Bluetooth or ultra-high frequency radio waves as the link between the sensors and hub. The connections were generally stable; however, it's not uncommon to have interference from materials or other electronics on board. Today, industry-leading companies use an LTE Category-M communication protocol, which allows high volumes of IoT data to be transmitted at lower rates of power. The latest version of wireless sensors also uses a more reliable advanced sub-gigahertz network.

Matching Hardware to Application

Knowing which components you want to monitor or control may help you decide on one brand over another. Some systems come prepackaged in a kit form with a few specific sensors and a hub unit. For small boats, this may suit your needs perfectly. A prepackaged arrangement may be inadequate for larger or more complex boats.

Sentinel Marine - captain's tips - marinalife
Sentinel Marine | sentinelmarine.com

An a-la-carte capability to tailor the system to your vessel may be a better choice. All systems can monitor battery voltage, but if you have multiple battery systems or engine-start batteries of 12 volts and a 24-volt house bank, you'll need a system that can monitor those independently.

Some systems enable a video feed from onboard cameras; some do not. Not all manufactures' systems allow device control, such as turning on or off the air conditioning or lighting. Consult system capabilities if device control is a feature you intend to use.

Method of Communication

The method of communicating varies among the systems. Some send notifications through an app on your smart device. Some systems send SMS text messages; others use email or a combination of both. A helpful feature on certain systems requires the boat owner to acknowledge the notice or it will send a repeat message or a notice by a different method.

The more advanced systems are also monitored by a central station like a land-based alarm company. If the notice isn't acknowledged, the station operator will attempt to locate the boat owner. A few of the companies offer web-based computer access to your hub if you are away from a cellular connection. Lastly, look for systems that allow more than one person to be contacted.

Theft Deterrence & GPS Tracking

One of the most valuable features of remote monitoring systems is theft deterrence. With this feature, when the system is set, alarms and lights can be programmed to come on when an intruder attempts entry. More advanced systems prevent engines from starting when activated. If the boat were to be moved, the systems provide GPS tracking to locate it.

An added benefit to all these features is a possible reduction in insurance premiums. The GPS tracking feature on some systems can also allow family and friends to follow along on your travels.

Ability to Update

Make sure the system can easily accept firmware or software updates over the Internet and does not require the components to be returned to the manufacturer to install updates.

Remote monitoring technology is advancing rapidly. New features are introduced at boat shows every year, providing more ability to monitor and control boats when life takes you away from your favorite pastime.

Monitoring Technology Manufacturers

Across Ocean Systems

acrossoceansystems.com/index.php/products

Boat Command

boatcommand.com

BoatFix

boatfix.com

Gost Global

gostglobal.com

Sentinel Marine

sentinelmarine.net

Siren Marine

sirenmarine.com

Yacht Brain

yachtbrain.com

Y

acht Protector

yachtprotector.com

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Looking Out for Trouble
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About 17 million recreational boats are in use in the United States, according to the latest figures from the National Marine Manufacturers Association. I don't know about you, but it seems like most of those boats are crossing in front of ours on summer weekends. The waterways are busy and are about to get busier with the pandemic-fueled growth in recreational boating since these figures were compiled.

bridge - captain's tips - marinalife
Photo by Dori Arrington

According to the most recent data published by the U. S. Coast Guard in 2019, 4,168 boating accidents were reported, which sadly included 613 deaths and more than 2,000 injuries. These incidents cost a staggering $55 million in damage to property. Two leading causes of these accidents were operator inattention and improper lookout. So, how do we improve our chances of not becoming one of these statistics when going out to enjoy a day on the water?

Knowing that a large percentage of boating accidents are caused by inattention or improper lookout, one of the best ways to improve safety is to increase the number of eyes watching for danger. A boat may only have one captain, but all the eyes on board can help keep the vessel safe.

A friend joined us aboard our boat recently on a busy Saturday outing. After listening to my wife point out all the boats, crab pots and buoys in our path, he leaned over and whispered to me "Does she always do this? That would drive me crazy." I said she sure does, and I don't ever want her to stop. On more than one occasion she has seen a boat approaching that I hadn't noticed, or a small floating buoy I missed. I'll gladly listen to her observations to keep us safe.

Having friends and family join you on the water is one of the most enjoyable aspects of boat ownership; however, I have observed an inverse relationship between the number of people on board and the number of eyes looking out for danger. The more people you have on your boat, the more likely they are to be engaged with each other or the day's activities than they are to assist with anything related to the boat.

Now, you may say this is normal: "I didn't invite my friends to go boating to have them help me run the boat." This may be true, but wouldn't you like someone to notify you of a potential problem?

Whether sail or power, a lot of things could be happening on a boat at one time, especially if you enter a busy inlet or harbor. Dropping sails or coming off plane, monitoring a rising bottom and paying attention to your position in the channel, and needing to call a bridge tender or marina on the VHF radio can take your attention away from intersecting boat traffic or hazards in your path. Having another set of eyes to assist could be the difference between arriving safely or being towed in with the marine police following you.

The tradition of watch keeping aboard a ship has existed as long as floating vessels have gone to sea. It's the act of assigning specific roles and times to personnel on board to keep the vessel safe from collision, fire or any potential hazard that could arise. Most recreational boaters take too relaxed a view of this.

boat - captain's tips - marinalife
Photo by Dori Arrington

The best plan is to have a dedicated mate to act as a lookout; one that is willing to join the party once the boat is safely anchored or tied to the dock. Or conversely, have a mate tend to guests while you focus on driving the boat. I give our guests the same speech each time we go out, "Please forgive me if I don't pay much attention to you while we're underway. The waterway will be busy today, so I'm going to pay attention to the boat. If you see, hear or smell anything on board or around us that doesn't seem right, please don't hesitate to let me know. Now, sit back and enjoy the ride."

Danger doesn't always come in the form of other boats. I remember an occasion when an attentive guest's observation paid off. While sitting in the back of a fishing boat near the engine cowling, the guest heard a whine get louder and louder. Calling attention to it helped the captain catch an alternator bearing that was failing, which could have had serious consequences or even caught fire had it seized completely.

Not all boating requires the same level of attentiveness. Cruising along the coast in the ocean is very different from traveling along the busy Intracoastal Waterway (ICW). With the assistance of autopilot, radar tracking and Automatic Identification System (AIS), it is much easier to keep track of fewer boats around you in the ocean. But a vigilant lookout is important. It is amazing the number of close calls that occur between boats in open water.

In all boating situations, understand the rules of the road and know who has the right of way but don't assume other boaters do. Avoid playing chicken or challenging another boater over right-of-way. If you spot a boat at a distance on an intersecting course, follow rules of being the stand on or give way vessel, up until a point of realizing the other boat is not following the rules. Take early and obvious measures to avoid the other boat. I've maneuvered around boats in the ocean, only to see no one at the other boat's helm as we pass.

On longer runs, captains may have to turn over the helm to a mate for a break. In doing so, make sure you communicate everything you know when handing over the helm. Don't assume the person taking over sees the navigation aids ahead. If in the ICW, remind them what side the reds are on for this stretch of water. Alert them to any other vessels you're tracking. If you made an adjustment to your speed to conduct a safe passing arrangement with another boat, it could be dangerous for them to take over the helm and ask themselves "Why are we going so slowly?" and resume a normal cruising speed.

When most boaters free their lines and head for open water, they do so in a mild state of denial, an innocent but dangerous unwillingness to admit something could go wrong. Staying safe is more than just having the proper safety equipment aboard your boat, it is a state of mind to make the conscious effort to act in a safe manner, keep a look out for trouble and be unwilling to become a boating accident statistic.

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Cure for Get-There-Itis
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The day broke with a dark sky full of clouds and a stiff breeze from the north. Steven and Kristy had been anticipating this day for months, the first long vacation aboard their new boat. They had plenty of weekend outings, but this would be a two-week adventure from their home in Jupiter, FL, to a resort marina in the Keys.

Woman in jeans on boat - captain's tips cure - marinalife
Woman in jeans on boat from Pexel by Tatiana Twinslol

The weather did not look good, but the forecast called for clearing skies and the winds to back around to the west by mid-morning. If the forecast was correct, they should have a smooth ride hugging the shoreline down to their first night's stop in Miami.

When Steven and Kristy turned south out of Lake Worth Inlet that morning, they immediately ran into a 2 ½ knot current going north. With northerly winds and a southerly current, Steven and Kristy quickly realized this was not going to be a calm ride. Wind and current opposing each other can easily double the height of wind-caused waves.

The waves were three to five feet with steep faces. Their small boat crashed into the face of each wave with water coming over the bow. The waves were so unmercifully close together, they only had seconds to recover from one before they were hit by another.

Steven felt the boat could take it, but this was going to be a miserable first trip out in their new boat. He had his hands full keeping the boat's bow into the waves and was worried if he turned sideways the boat could roll and capsize. He realized turning around and going back was equally dangerous but continuing promised to be brutal. The next inlet Steven and Kristy could use to escape the conditions would be Fort Lauderdale, but that was more than 40 nautical miles and hours of misery away.

Better Safe than Sorry

Steven kept asking himself, how could he let this happen? He and Kristy prided themselves in being cautious and safety conscious when boating, but their dream of vacationing in the keys on their new boat left them vulnerable to a serious condition. They had developed a severe case of Get-there-itis. Here is the cure.

Get-there-itis is a dangerous state most often identified in airplane pilots, but all too frequently is found in boaters as well. It is the determination to reach a destination, despite conditions or circumstances that should indicate otherwise. Also known as Plan Continuation Bias, the phenomenon was identified in a human factors study of airline accidents at the NASA Ames Research Center in 2004. The study analyzed 19 accidents from 1991 to 2000 that were attributed to airline crew error. Out of those, almost half involved Plan Continuation Bias. However, there is a cure!

Steven and Kristy were so caught up in their vacation plans, they lost the ability to step away and objectively analyze the wind and sea conditions. Fortunately, they made it safely to Miami that day, as the winds eventually shifted to the west and the seas laid down quickly after.

The cure and way to prevent this from occurring on your next outing is to begin with acknowledgment. Admit that you can suffer from get-there-itis, and look for signs that you have become overly invested in a planned trip. Think about others more than yourself. Consider what your passengers may experience, or think about the family members at home, waiting for your safe return. Sometimes a dose of reality will help you reconsider a trip when conditions are less than ideal.

Well before any outing, establish a set of parameters that are non-negotiable. Set a point, beyond which the trip is canceled. If winds exceed a set speed, or if the waves are above a certain height, the journey gets postponed. Maybe it's a time factor. Tide, current and hours of daylight frequently determine when you need to arrive at an inlet or destination. If your departure is delayed for any reason beyond a certain amount, then you put the trip on hold. Arriving at an inlet in the dark or on a swift flood current can be dangerous.

Safety aboard your boat is not simply a lack of accidents. It results from conscious decisions made in the calm of planning. Decisions made when your guests are on board and ice is in the cooler are not made with the same thoughtfulness. Circuit breakers should be put in place that trip when conditions or schedules change. Get-there-itis is a self-inflicted problem that only you can manage and cure. Keeping a realistic mindset about the consequences of your actions will keep you safe and ready to take the next boating adventure.

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Person Overboard Devices to Match your Style of Boating
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BOATERS SET OUT every day to enjoy the water, but unfortunately many do so in a mild state of denial. It's an innocent but dangerous unwillingness to admit something could go wrong. They are understandably more focused on the day's adventure. This is certainly the case with being prepared to find and retrieve a person who has fallen off a boat.

Maritime Filming - captain's tips - marinalife
Maritime Filming UK Pixabay

A primary skill in all boating courses is learning how to handle a person overboard (POB) situation. Persons on board need to know how to turn a boat around as quickly as possible to return along the same course line. This skill must extend to others onboard beside the captain, who may be the one who needs a lifeline.

Most GPS chart plotters have a POB feature that allows you to fix a position on the GPS screen at the point where someone goes overboard. That's useful information, but it makes a dangerous assumption that someone noticed a crewmate went overboard. In many cases, those on the boat are not aware someone had tumbled into the water.

ResQLink Personal Locator Beacon - Captain's Tips Person Overboard - Marinalife
ResQLink Personal Locator Beacon from ACR Electronics

Fortunately, the marine safety equipment industry has addressed this problem with POB devices, designed to be worn by those onboard and will sound an alert at the helm that someone needs to be rescued.

The first step in selecting a POB device is to find one that will work best for your type of boating. Are you a couple cruising together? Do you boat as a family during daylight hours only in protected waters? Are children or pets aboard who need to be monitored? Are you fishing miles offshore in the ocean?

A POB situation is a terrifying event that should at all costs be prevented before it occurs. Prevention begins with getting past the denial that it could happen aboard your boat. Begin with pretending there is a 500-foot cliff on the opposite side of the boat's railing and grave danger lies on the other side. Wearing life jackets and a POB device greatly increase the survival rate of someone falling overboard.

The following four different types of person-overboard systems are readily available, and each is suited to different types of boating. Some devices use a combination of these technologies.

Personal Locator Beacons (PLB)

PLB rescue demonstration - Captain's Tips Person Overboard - Marinalife
Crew members pull Mike Tobin, a national news correspondent, into the rescue boat during a search-and-rescue demonstration by Petty Officer 2nd Class Levi Read

PLBs work on the same principle as an emergency position-indicating radio beacon (EPIRB). They both transmit signals to search and rescue agencies, enabling them to locate the device. An internal GPS provides a position to rescuers, and the registration number identifies the individual who initiated the rescue. PLBs have become popular marine rescue devices. They are manually activated, which alerts search and rescue agencies. The problem with PLB's is they don't let anyone in the boat know you've fallen overboard, nor do they help that boat find you.

Proximity Alarms (PA)

PAs work by maintaining continual radio contact between an app on a smart phone or tablet and a crew fob worn by a person. If contact is lost, the alarm is triggered, notifying the helmsperson of a POB and marking the boat's position on the app at that time. They are easy to set up, have compact crew fobs and are relatively low cost. The disadvantage to them is the POB icon on the app only shows the boat's position when the alarm was triggered, not the actual location of the person in the water. Strong winds, tides and poor visibility can still make it hard to locate the POB.

Digital Selective Calling (DSC)

These alarms are self-contained personal locator beacons that send an automated POB alert and GPS position via the DSC system in VHF radios. The alert can be heard by all vessels in the area, including the host craft. The message is repeated on Channel 16 by an automated voice recording. By alerting all boats in the vicinity, they don't just rely on the original vessel for rescue. Due to small antennas on the devices, the range of the VHF signal is limited, and they won't automatically mark the POB's position on a chartplotter.

Automated Identification Systems (AIS)

AIS devices transmit a unique POB signal that all vessels in the vicinity can see with an AIS receiver. Several manufacturers integrate DSC and GPS technology into the unit as well. Most units must be manually activated, but once done, they are the only device that will guide vessels to the exact location of the POB. AIS devices alone do not notify search and rescue personnel; however, when they have DSC combined, their transmissions may be received by rescue agencies monitoring VHF radios.

All these devices offer outstanding rescue capabilities. Select the one that best suits your type of boating, but remember the boat most likely and best suited to rescue a POB is the boat the person was on before falling into the water.

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Yacht Management
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DID YOU BUY your boat for weekend recreation and find it takes four days of maintenance for every two days of enjoyment? Have you canceled a summer vacation on the boat, because the air conditioning wasn't working? Do you live more than a few hours away from where you keep your boat? Do you love operating your boat, but have a hard time remembering where to check the engine oil?

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Man working on computer by Andrea Piacquadio | Captain's Tips yacht management | Marinalife

Photo by Andrea Piacquadio[/caption]

If you answered yes to more than one of these questions, you should consider hiring a yacht management company to help keep up with routine maintenance, so you can focus on enjoying the boat. What? you say. Don't yacht managers just take care of big yachts? I can't afford to pay a management company to look after my boat. That may be, but it's also possible you can't afford not to.

Maybe the term is confusing you, or you don't consider your boat a yacht. Whatever the size of your boat and regardless of what you call it, a vessel management company is likely near you that can not only help you enjoy your boat, but possibly increase the value as well. Well-maintained boats depreciate less than ones poorly maintained.

Contrary to what most boaters think, yacht managers do not just manage large yachts or work for absentee owners. Bill McLean, of Williams' Yacht Management in Annapolis, MD, said in the 20 years he and his partner Tim Boteler have owned their business, the average size boat they take care of is about 45 feet and more than 60% of his clients live near their boat.

Yacht management is also not an all or nothing proposition. A good yacht management company will let you buy their services on an a la carte basis. One boat owner I spoke with said, With a 50-foot boat, there is always something to fix, clean or polish. With a yacht management service, I can do as little or as much as I want. I like to tinker and can fix most things, but I don't want large projects. I let the professionals do all the heavy work, along with cleaning and waxing. We all have busy schedules, and this allows more time to enjoy the boat and gives confidence there is an expert eye watching it.

Not all yacht management companies operate the same way. Some are strictly managers and subcontract all the work to others. They literally manage the work done on your boat instead of you. Other companies directly employ workers to do some of the work, such as detailing, winterizing, and simple maintenance, only bringing in subcontractors for complicated electrical and mechanical work.

In either case, yacht management companies likely know all of the best marine contractors and get better pricing and response time from them. You may call a marine air conditioning technician once every few years, but a successful yacht manager with a full clientele may call them a dozen times a year. The technicians want to keep a good yacht management company happy, as they are a potential source of a lot of business.

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Man laying on deck by Alex Block | Captain's Tips yacht management | Marinalife

Photo by Alex Block[/caption]

When considering a yacht management company, look carefully at how they will bill you. Billing should be completely transparent, and they should only bill you for their time. If they bring in a subcontractor to work on your boat, you should know who that contractor is and see all his invoices. A yacht management company is most benefits you in the role of a manager, not as a middleman marking up the subcontractor's work.

Another way to evaluate the value and cost of using a yacht management company is to look at how the company charges for its service. Is it by the hour or by the foot or size of your boat? Each method has advantages and disadvantages, so discuss with them what works best for each of you.

Yacht managers also bring value by their experience. Problems on a boat often come from a variety of causes. Experienced yacht managers have seen more on the multiple boats they manage than hopefully you will ever experience on your boat. Their expertise can save you time and money by zeroing in on the likely cause of a problem right away.

If you've been boating long, you probably have a good relationship with the boat yard where your vessel is hauled and serviced. Hiring a yacht manager doesn't have to interfere or replace that relationship; in an ideal world it enhances it. A good service yard manager and a good yacht manager do not view each other as competitors, but rather partners in helping you maintain your boat.

Plus, yacht managers often have a better relationship with a yard in the same way they do with technicians. Due to the number of boats a yacht manager can bring to a yard, service managers typically take good care of them. This has the potential to move you up in the schedule or give you a quicker turnaround in your project.

For boaters working full-time jobs, a yacht manager may save you money by meeting technicians on your boat during the week when you might otherwise have to take time off work. They can stay on top of technicians working on your boat, because it is their full-time job, while it's a distraction from yours.

If you keep your boat in an active boating area, you should have multiple yacht management companies from which to choose, so interview them carefully.

  • Ask how they invoice.Most will ask for a credit card number to keep on file, so make sure their policy is to send you a copy of invoices to review before they automatically use your credit card for payment.
  • Ask for references.Avoid any that require an annual contract or an annual fee or retainer. If they employ technicians on their own staff, inquire if they are ABYC (American Boat and Yacht Council) certified.
  • Ask about the retention rate of their technicians.

A high turnover in employees is not a good sign. Many yacht managers have long-term clients. Sean McClash of Tampa Bay Yacht Management said about one third of his customers have kept them on to manage their second and third boats.

If you're still not sure whether a yacht management company increases the value of your boat, let's look at the definition of value as it relates to a boat. The value of a boat is the ratio of what you invest into it, divided by the enjoyment you extract from it. If this is purely a financial equation for you, maybe you shouldn't be boating.

Boating can be an expensive leisure activity, but ask yourself what is the value of the friendships you've made boating or the places you visited aboard the boat? If you boat as a family, what is the value of the gift you've given your children of time spent together on your boat?

Imagine the value of every time you arrive at your boat, you can start the engines, pull the lines and go out to enjoy it. Also, imagine if every time you arrive at your boat, it's clean and everything is in working order. This is the value a yacht manager can bring ... so maybe they're not so expensive after all.

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Seasickness: How not to Feed the Fish
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Seasickness is a wicked spirit, always haunting those of us who love the sea. I've seen it make grown men crawl into a fetal position and cry for their mothers to relieve their wretched misery.

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Boat and waves By Canva | seasickness | marinalife

Boat and waves By Canva[/caption]

The insidious condition we know as seasickness is not limited to the motion of the ocean. It can come from any similar type of movement, be it the back seat of a car, airplane turbulence or the Tilt-A-Whirl ride at a summer carnival. Seasickness is the earliest known form of motion sickness, which was well documented by the Greeks and Romans. The word nausea comes from the Greek word naus, an ancient type of sailing ship.

Seasickness results when conflict occurs between what your inner ear senses and your eyes see. Inside your ears are three tiny semicircular fluid-filled canals, part of the vestibular system. When your body experiences motion, liquid inside the canals moves around interacting with tiny hairs lining each canal. These hairs translate the movement of the liquid into nerve messages that are sent to your brain. The brain reads these signals and compensates with counter movement, enabling you to keep your balance when moving.

When you are inside a boat or reading in the backseat of a car, your ears sense the motion, but your eyes don't register movement, because what you see is moving with you. Your brain responds with a series of stress-related symptoms such as profuse sweating, chills, nausea, vertigo and vomiting. But why vomiting? What's up with this business of throwing up when your internal sensors are conflicted with different signals of movement? Would you believe it was once meant to keep you alive?

Thousands of years ago when humans lived in small hunter/gatherer societies, people foraged for part of their diet. Beyond watching what animals ate and avoided, finding safe food was largely trial and error. Many poisonous fruits and berries had a hallucinogenic effect, causing dizziness and disorientation.

It's theorized that when people ate poisonous berries, their bodies attempted to save them by expelling the poison. Even though you may not forage for food anymore, your body has retained that life-saving response. Motion sickness mimics that disoriented feeling of ingesting poison, and vomiting is your body reacting to those ancient memories by trying to expel it.

A curious thing about seasickness is the varying degree to which people are affected, with some more susceptible than others. It is certain that everyone with a working vestibular system is capable of suffering from some type of motion sickness. If you boat long enough, you will fall into one of two categories: those who have been and those who will be seasick.

Underlying the sweating and vomiting phase of seasickness is a little known and potentially more pernicious type of seasickness, called Sopite syndrome. As reported by Dr. James R. Lackner in an article for the National Center for Biotechnology Information, sopite syndrome comes from the Latin word sopire which means to lull or put to sleep. It differs from the more common motion sickness symptoms and may occur before the onset of other symptoms.

Some of the first symptoms of sopite syndrome could be yawning, drowsiness, apathy and decreased ability to concentrate, among others. These symptoms may exist in addition to nausea and may persist. According to Sigurd W. Hystad, in a paper published in Safety and Health at Work, boaters underway for extended periods of time are especially susceptible to sopite syndrome. Hystad claims, Noise within the vessel, vibration caused by the engine and motion caused by harsh weather are all known to be significant stressors that can lead to sopite syndrome.

Prevention over Cure

It's well known that looking at the horizon or out the window causes the feelings to subside. The reason for this relief is that you've eliminated the conflict. Your ears still sense the motion, but by looking at a stationary object in the distance, your eyes now validate what your ears are sensing, and all your systems get green lights.

Unfortunately, boaters don't often seek relief until they already feel the effects, and this may be too late. Once your brain thinks it needs to save you by giving up your breakfast, you may have a hard time talking that back down. It's more effective to stop it from happening in the first place, than to address symptoms once they begin.

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Woman with seasickness By Canva | seasickness | marinalife

Woman with seasickness By Canva[/caption]

Numerous over-the-counter drugs are available that intend to minimize motion sickness symptoms such as dimenhydrinate (Dramamine), meclizine (Bonine), cinnarizine (Stugeron), along with the prescription drug scopolamine, but most have negative side effects. For centuries sailors have used non-pharmaceutical solutions like ginger, which is well known to quiet an upset stomach.

Chewing gum is also beneficial, but curiously, research has shown that it doesn't appear to be the gum that makes the difference; it seems to be just the act of chewing. Acupressure bands strategically placed on the wrist have also proven effective for some people. While all these methods may calm the stomach, they can leave the other symptoms of seasickness untreated. It may also require a combination of these techniques to provide an acceptable amount of comfort.

Research into why certain people are more susceptible than others could hold the most promise in helping boaters enjoy the water without becoming seasick. Studies have shown that within variations of susceptibility lies a willful factor. As reported in the Journal of Applied Psychology: Seasickness as a self-fulfilling prophecy, researchers told an experimental group of naval cadets that they were unlikely to experience seasickness and that, if they did, it was unlikely to affect their performance at sea. At the end of a five-day training exercise at sea, the experimental cadets reported less seasickness and were rated as better performers than the control cadets.

Having the mind occupied with a task also helps to combat seasickness. A boat's helmsman is less prone to motion sickness than a passenger, because the helmsman is controlling the vessel and can predict the motion. Taking over the helm for a while may quiet a queasy stomach.

Whether passenger or captain, a positive mindfulness offers proven results. It is known that women are more prone to suffering from seasickness than men. Beyond any underlying physiological reasons for this, in recreational boating it is also more likely for men to be driving the boat and women to be the passengers. Simply sharing the responsibility of operating the boat could go a long way toward minimizing seasickness for everyone on board. Any activity that keeps the mind occupied with a purposeful and positive attitude offers a big benefit.

Remember it's called sea sickness, but you're not really sick; your brain is just confused. Boaters will tell you that time on the water cures many of life's ailments. Seasickness is no different. The more time you spend on a boat, the better it gets; allowing your mind to adjust to the movement helps your subconscious realize a new normal.

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