By Paul Bolden, Commander of the 9th Coast Guard District, Central Region, Division 16
Put-in-Bay 2021 Boating Season (Part 1)
I guess you could say that this was a rough winter, but because of a cold snap some folks were able to do a little ice fishing, which was good. Spring launch time is here and hopefully you attended (via the Gazette) our PIB Maritime Academy over the winter months and picked up a few new tips or refreshed your knowledge base.
Sea Levels Predictions for Spring of ’21
According to the Army Corp of Engineers, Lake Erie water levels are down 15 inches from this date a year ago. Over March and April, the expected rise in water levels will only be 5 inches. Lake Erie will remain 8 to 10 inches below record levels through Spring.
Pre-Check List Before Your Launch
Coming out of winter, before you actually launch is the best time to do a what I’ll call a pre-check. This is the unofficial list of things to consider:
1) How many life jackets will you need this season. Are your current life jackets in good serviceable condition (e.g. clean and free of mildew)? If you occasionally have boating guests will you have enough life jackets for everyone. Will you be having children on board? If so, do you have the proper size jackets for them?
2) If you are required to have fire extinguishers, do you have the proper number? If it has an indicator gauge is it in the green? Whether or not it is in the green, if the extinguisher is over ten years old it should be replaced. Look on the label for the date. Sometimes it’s a two-digit stamp on the bottom of the canister.
3) Check last year’s med kit. Make sure that none of the medicines have expired.
4) Do you need to renew your ODNR boat registration?
5) Do you need to order new nautical charts? Old charts are better than no charts, but new charts are better than old charts as information on nautical charts does change.
6) Examine the condition of your lines. They don’t last forever.
7) Check your fenders for proper inflation as they may lose some air from being stored over the Winter.
8) Do a hull check for cracks, delamination or badly faded bottom paint.
9) Create a spare parts and additional items list and fill it. Consider such items as spare navigation light bulbs, extra set of keys, flashlight, binoculars, alternator belts, spark plugs, oil, extra drain plug, gear lube, sunglasses, sunscreen and so forth.
10) Sign up for a safe boating class.
This list should help you to get started with things that you can do before you put your boat into the water. A kind of pre-start if you will. Over the next couple of issues we will continue to get PIB mariners Ship Shape for this years boating season.
Covid-19 and the ’21 Boating Season… What Will it Mean?
Covid-19’s impact on this year’s boating season is still an unknown but the prognosis (though guarded) looks good. I can only speak for myself, but last season was not a lot of fun. Hopefully with the vaccines and people’s immunity to this virus improving we will be able to have a closer to normal boating season… fingers crossed.
Vessel Safety Checks for PIB Residents
Covid-19 made it difficult for PIB mariners to have their vessels safety checked last season. This is not the case this year. The Coast Guard has cleared a path for vessel examiners to resume duty and interact with the public. I will be back on the island towards the end of April and will be available to perform Vessel Safety Checks for island boaters from that time forward. You can call me at 614-848-4544 ext. 4. There is no charge for this service.
For information about safe boating classes or serving in the Coast Guard Auxiliary. Contact the United States Coast Guard Auxiliary at 614-848-4544.
The previous piece is published in this month’s Put-in-Bay Gazette. The Gazette has been producing incredible independent Put-in-Bay island news for over 40 years. If you have any interest at all in what is happening on South Bass Island, we urge you strongly to subscribe to the Put-in-Bay Gazette. One-year online subscriptions are only $15, and print subscriptions are available as well. To subscribe please click here.
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