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From The Boathouse: Set some boating resolutions

January 02, 2013|By Mike Whitehead

Ahoy!

Well the new year is here. I know all good boaters have made their new year resolutions, which will be broken before the spring thaw. Oh wait, Orange County harbors do not have a spring thaw, so how many resolutions will be broken before the yacht clubs' opening days?

Just what kind of resolutions do boaters make anyway? Well, I thought I would list those I think boaters have made this year.

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Let's start with one that should always be on the forefront: Be courteous to everyone while on the water, whether a sail or power boater. Kind of reminds me of let there be world peace, but it can happen.

Another worthy resolution is always display the correct navigational lights at night. This will be more difficult than being courteous as many boats run with their anchor light brightly shining and many sailboats under engine power cruise at night without the masthead light lit. Check your navigation lights every time you plan to cruise at night during your pre-cruise vessel check.

A good seamanship resolution is to not cruise with your fenders hanging over your side, commonly referred to as the Del Rey stripes, named after Marina del Rey boaters. What is a fender you ask? A fender is the cylinder shaped vinyl "thing" that you place between your boat and the dock that most Sunday sailors call a bumper.

On that note, resolve to learn the nautical nomenclature, and as such, use the proper terminology when referring to "boating things."

Lastly on the resolutions list is to not yell at your spouse when docking or launching from a trailer. I wonder how some marriages have stayed together after watching the transformation of Dr. Jekyll to Mr. Hyde when the boat nears the dock. Dr. Phil would have a field day.

Yes, tensions can get high when docking, but the skipper should not take out his stress on the crew. Slow down, get the boat under control, and remember, any docking you can walk away from is a good docking. I will give tips on docking in a future column.

Some of my other favorite resolutions begin with introducing someone new to boating and performing a safety check on your vessel every time prior to going underway, including checking flares, fire extinguishers and other safely equipment to be certain all is in good condition and up-to-date.

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