PIB Gazette 2020 December

December 2020 Gazette – Vice Commander Ahoy!

Vice Commander…Ahoy!

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

Don’t Miss This!

Each year during the Winter month’s we conduct our Put-in-Bay maritime academy which gives us the off-season to brush up on our boating skills. I have always stressed that the PIB classes are basic and should not substitute for an actual boating safety class. PIB residents and readers of the Gazette have an unique opportunity to study boating safety with the United States Coast Guard Auxiliary from the comfort of your home. You will need to sign-up quickly. This 2-day class will be held December 12th and 19th. I strongly encourage you to not miss this opportunity.

USCGA District 9 Central Region Presents:

BOATING SAFETY CLASS Dec. 12th & 19th (Online)

Introduction to Boating – types of power boats; sailboats; outboards; paddle boats; houseboats; different uses of boats; various power boating engines; jet drives; family boating basics.

Boating Law- boat registration; boating regulation; hull identification number; required boat safety equipment; operating safely and reporting accidents; protecting the marine environment; Federal boat law; state boating laws; personal watercraft requirements.

Boat Safety Equipment – personal flotation devices (life jackets); fire extinguishers; sound-producing devices; visual-distress signals; dock lines and rope; first aid kit; anchors and anchor lines; other boating safety equipment; about boating safely.

Safe Boating – bow riding; alcohol and drug abuse; entering, loading, and trimming a boat; fueling portable and permanent tanks; steering with a tiller and a wheel; docking, undocking and mooring; knots; filing a float plan; checking equipment; fuel; weather and tides; using charts; choosing and using an anchor; safe PWC handling; general water safety.

Navigation – The U.S. Aids to navigation system; types of buoys and beacons; navigation rules (sometimes referred to as right-of-way rules); avoiding collisions; sound signals; PWC “tunnel vision.”

Boating Problems – hypothermia; boating accidents and rescues; man overboard recovery; capsizing; running aground; river hazards; strainers: emergency radio calls; engine problems; equipment failures; carbon monoxide (CO); other boating and PWC problems.

Trailering, Storing and Protecting Your Boat – types of trailers; trailer brakes, lights, hitches, tires, and bearings; loading, balancing, and towing a trailer; towing (and backing) a trailer; boat launching and retrieving; boat storage and theft protection; launching, retrieving and storing a PWC.

Hunting and Fishing, Water-skiing and River Boating – carrying hunting gear and weapons in a boat; fishing from a boat; water-skiing safety guidelines and hand signals; water-skiing with a PWC; navigating rivers, and other boating tips.

Classes will be on line using the GoToMeeting platform. After you sign up you will be provided the login information and sent the course book and other material. At the end of the class you will take a state specific exam and receive a boating safety instruction card for your state.

The class is from 8:00 a.m. to noon on both Dec. 12th and Dec. 19th. You will need a computer, notepad, or smart phone to get the most out of the class.

Costs – $40 individual; $50 couple, sharing 1 book; $60 nuclear family of 3 or more, will include two books. Contact lead instructor, Cathie Slaybaugh, at (419) 283-7297

Put-in-Bay Maritime Academy (Part 2)

The importance of having and knowing how to read area nautical charts can’t be understated. As every island resident knows, the waters around our area of the western basin are shallow. With that comes additional boating risks that you are less likely to encounter when boating in other parts of the lake. If you are not totally familiar with the area that you are boating in, the only way to know of various hazards is by consulting nautical charts and or talking with a well seasoned mariner that knows those waters. Both methods are important.

My personal method, I divide my trips into three categories. Very familiar, moderately familiar or not familiar. In the very familiar category I rarely consult my paper charts. These are courses that I have navigated for years. These are also heavily travel waters by other mariners and I stay alert for navigation bulletins in the event that a hazard alert is issued for these waters. In this case I rely on my GPS and visual points of reference to stay on course and to stay safe.

In moderately familiar waters I will consult my charts the day before the trip. For example, I travel to Leamington twice a year and have done so for several years (before the border closing because of Covid-19). These waters are moderately familiar to me but twice a year is not frequent enough to skip charting my trip in my opinion. While I am confident of my route to Leamington I still need to review the waters adjacent to the route for depth and hazards. I will also have the course programmed into my GPS. In the case of Leamington I bring a copy of the Leamington Marina so when I’m given a docking assignment I know exactly where to go. In actuality I have already familiarized myself with the Leamington Marina dockage diagram the day before the trip along with reviewing the nautical charts. You don’t want to be floating outside the marina’s breakwall trying to figure this thing out.

Trips that you have not made before on your vessel should be considered unfamiliar waters regardless of the distance. The day before such a trip (if not earlier) I will methodically chart the course using my nautical charts and also program the course into my GPS. I will also locate what I call emergency ports of call if an unexpected event should occur before we reach our destination such as bad weather or engine problems. Using your charts for each of these is essential to safe boating. To embark on such a long trip in unfamiliar waters on a whim without first charting are both rookie and hazardous.

What I have tried to do in this article is offer one strategy relating to the appropriate time to use nautical charts. There may be other appropriate strategies. It could be argued that anytime you are navigating the lake you should consult your charts but in reality for routine trips who’s going to do that?

An additional consideration is to always carry paper charts with you while underway. Remember, GPS’s can and do fail and if you travel in Canadian waters you are required to have charts on board in accordance with the Canadian Shipping Act-2001 as I understand it.

What we were not looking to do in this article was to explain the different features contained on nautical charts which requires study in depth. I strongly encourage you to seek nautical chart training online or in person. Charts will be covered in the United States Coast Guard Auxiliary course above. Please think about and consider taking this.


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 islandclub.com courtesy of the Put-in-Bay Gazette, Put-in-Bay’s only local newspaper. Visit their website putinbay.news for more information and to subscribe!

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