March 2021 Gazette – Commander Ahoy!


By Paul Bolden, Commander of the 9th Coast Guard District, Central Region, Division 16

What a Difference a Day Makes!

One thing that we all know is that weather along the North Coast can change on a dime. In last month’s issue of the Gazette, it seemed that ice fishing was not likely for this season. A week prior to this writing I counted at least eight shanties in the harbor enjoying the frozen world of ice fishing.  A sudden and deep freeze made this possible. The point is, never count out the possibility of ice fishing on Lake Erie no matter how warm the Winter begins.

Put-in-Bay 2021 Boating Season (Part 1)

Having concluded our Put-in-Bay Maritime Academy for the off-season it’s time to turn our attention to spring launch and getting our vessels ready for the boating season.  The point of this series of articles is to offer boating advice specific to the needs of our community which can and often does differ from the needs of other maritime communities.  Please note that these articles are not a replacement for a safe boating class provided by the United States Coast Guard Auxiliary so please consider taking one if you already have not.

To get us started here is what I’ll call the pre-check to your pre-check.  It is an 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 and 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 medical 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 have lost 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 in the water.  A kind of pre-start if you will.  Over the next couple of issues, we will continue to get you Ship Shape for this year’s boating season on the islands.

A Final Word About Ice Fishing

On the news last week, you may have seen that Coast Guard Station Cleveland Harbor rescued a group of people stranded on an ice floe off of Edgewater Park. It would be my guess that ice fishing is probably done for the season however if conditions should change and you feel that such changes warrant venturing out on the ice, please utilize the utmost care.  Refer back to our ice fishing edition for safety protocols.  Never assume the stability of the ice without the necessary due diligence.

Let’s make this a safe PIB boating season!


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.

This piece of Put-in-Bay journalism has been provided to courtesy of the Put-in-Bay Gazette, Put-in-Bay’s only local newspaper. Visit their website for more information and to subscribe!

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