March 13, 2013
Spring is coming! With it comes the opening of boating season, and boaters everywhere are doing their spring commissioning.
What a lot of boaters may not know is that one of the most effective steps for safer boating is also the easiest: make sure your charts are up to date. After all, the best electronics and the most complete set of paper charts can be downright dangerous if they¹re out of date. Shoals move, channels change and new structures are built. If your charts are out of date, they can give you a false sense of security and even navigate you directly into trouble. Some boaters think that doesn’t happen very often, but the numbers tell a different story:
- The U.S. Coast Guard reported $7.1 million in damages and 81 deaths in 2011 from boating collisions with fixed, floating or submerged objects. In fact, that was a leading cause of accidents, second only to non-fuel fires or explosions.
- In a recent survey by the Alliance for Safe Navigation, 25% of respondents had experienced a grounding within the last five years, with repair costs running as high as $10,000.
To help boaters update their paper and electronic charts, the Alliance for Safe Navigation provides a resource tool for boaters to use in their spring commissioning. It offers direction on how to update electronic and paper charts, and it also provides links to boat safety courses, a safety checklist and vessel exams. You can find the tool online at www.allianceforsafenavigation.org.
February 27, 2013
A Coast Guard Auxiliary member was recently recognized with an award for his contribution in uncovering facts about POWs from the War of 1812. Auxiliarist Bill Nelson received the Coast Guard Auxiliary Meritorious Service Medal after discovering the names of 86 U.S. serviceman of the Revenue Cutter Service, now known as the U.S. Coast Guard.
These soldiers, fighting for a young America trying to make its place in the world, were captured and imprisoned by the Brits. The fate and history of these men was lost and forgotten. Until now.
In addition to the database of the names of the 86 soldiers, Nelson created a memorial board containing the names of the POWs. This memorial traveled as part of the War of 1812 bicentennial events and will be permanently housed on the Coast Guard’s Cutter Eagle.
In recognition of the War of 1812, OceanGrafix now prints historical charts commemorating its 200th anniversary. Available charts include those for harbors in New York, Boston, Norfolk, Baltimore and New Orleans. Each unique chart contains authentic navigational data and facts and images pertinent to the war.
February 25, 2013
Do you reside in a part of the country where you are still boating—but you may need to contend with freezing lakes and rivers? Regardless of whether you are still in a boat IN the water, or driving a snowmobile or ATV ON the water, you must take extra precaution to safely deal with a frozen-over lake or river.
The U.S. Coast Guard reminds us to observe the acronym ICE to be prepared in case your time on the water doesn’t go as you had hoped.
I – Intelligence: check the weather and ice conditions, know where you are going and know how to call for help/assistance.
C- Clothing: wear the proper anti-exposure clothes with multiple layers. If possible, wear a drysuit to prevent hypothermia, which can occur within minutes after falling through the ice.
E – Equipment: have the proper equipment such as a marine band radio, life jackets and screwdrivers.
Read more facts about ice and avoiding mishaps this winter.
January 23, 2013
Our relationship with NOAA has been more than a decade long. In those 10-plus years, we’ve continually looked for ways to offer quality products that encourage maritime safety.
To that end, OceanGrafix is proud to now be able to offer the United States Coast Pilot series using our print-on-demand (POD) capabilities. In conjunction with NOAA’s new process of making weekly online updates to the books, OceanGrafix will print the books to reflect all updates and corrections.
Why is this important? Traditionally, users would order printed updates to insert into their book, or wait for the next edition to be printed and released. But no longer! Purchasing a current Coast Pilot is a cost-effective and reliable means to help ensure boating safety.
“NOAA is making fundamental improvements in our publishing processes so our commercial partners, like OceanGrafix, can make the U.S. Coast Pilot available to mariners as quickly as possible,” says Kathryn Ries, NOAA Coast Survey’s acting director.
All nine volumes are available effective immediately.
December 17, 2012
We hate to toot our own horn—or, this time of year, ring our own bell—but we’re proud to share that our nautical charts are featured in Boating Magazine’s 2012 Holiday Gift Guide. On page 36, the magazine editors selected OceanGrafix nautical charts as one of the “great gift ideas for your favorite boater.”
And we agree with Boating Magazine—nauticalcharts make perfect gifts. It may be one of the referenced charts for Florida or one of our beautiful historical charts. Dating as far back as 1747, historical charts are carefully colored and detailed to give them an antique look — and they’re printed on gallery-quality paper, ready for framing.
Thanks, Boating Magazine! Happy Navigating.
December 6, 2012
The newly released film, Lincoln, is giving a lot people reason to review what they learned, and may have forgotten, in middle school history class about the U.S. Civil War.
The enclosed blog by NOAA’s Coast Survey provides an abridged lesson from the founding of the Coast Survey by Thomas Jefferson to its involvement in the Civil War.
More than 150 years later, NOAA is still going strong and is instrumental in surveying our country’s coastlines and producing nautical charts for safe maritime navigation.
Read the blog and don’t miss the Coast Survey charts featured in the movie Lincoln!
December 4, 2012
This is an excerpt from the Compass, October of 2012, United States Power Squadrons.
Although most boating accidents occur during the summer, the potential for serious injury soars in the offseason when fewer boaters and law enforcement officers are on the water to provide assistance or rescue.
U.S. Coast Guard 2011 national accident data show that approximately one in 10 boating accidents in July involved a fatality; in December that number was just over one in four.
- Dress in layers and take along extra clothing in a waterproof bag. Consider wearing a float coat or jacket.
- Wear quality non-slip footwear; wear socks, even with sandals.
- Take along a well-stocked first-aid kit.
- Put together a basic survival kit that includes blankets, a VHF marine radio, matches, a disposable lighter, dense-calorie food, and warm beverages such as coffee or cocoa.
- File a float plan. Tell friends and family exactly where you’re going and when you plan to return.
- Boat with at least one other person; two is better. If someone is injured or falls in the water, the other can summon assistance or help the person back on board.
- Consult a chart of the area where you’ll be boating. Know where to wait for help and how to summon help if you need it.
- Take a boating safety course as well as a first-aid and CPR course.