Boaters Warned About Tropical Storm Erika

The Coast Guard is issuing a caution to mariners and recreational boaters in the U.S. Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico as Tropical Storm Erika nears.

“Recreational boaters and anyone conducting water-related activities should avoid areas of high surf and stay away from shoreline rocks, levees and river beds until the tropical storm passes and weather and surf conditions normalize throughout the area,” San Juan Coast Guard commander Capt. Robert Warren said in a statement.

“Monitoring the weather and understanding the dangers associated with the high sea conditions and tropical storm force winds forecasted before, during, and after the storm could save your life and property,” he said.

Predicted wind speed map.

Predicted wind speed map.

Vessels and facility operators, recreational boaters, swimmers and people conducting activities in the ocean should pay close attention and monitor this situation through updated National Weather Service advisories and take appropriate action to minimize the risks associated with these predicted conditions.

The group issued a few tips to help mariners protect themselves, their families and their vessels:

  • Do not go out to sea in a recreational boat if you know a tropical storm is approaching.
  • Contact local marinas to ask for advice about securing your vessel. Marina operators are knowledgeable and can advise you on the best methods for securing your boat.
  • Take action now. The effects of a tropical storm can be felt well in advance of the storm itself and can prevent the safe completion of preparations.
The Mariners' 1-2-3 Rule, or "Danger area", is indicated by shading. The 1-2-3 Rule, commonly taught to mariners, refers to the rounded long-term NHC forecast errors of 100-200-300 nautical miles at 24-48-72 hours, respectively. The contour defining the shaded area is constructed by accounting for those errors and then broadened further to reflect the maximum tropical storm force (34 knot) wind radii forecast at each of those times by the NHC. The NHC does not warrant that avoiding these danger areas will eliminate the risk of harm from tropical cyclones.

The Mariners’ 1-2-3 Rule, or “Danger area”, is indicated by shading. The 1-2-3 Rule, commonly taught to mariners, refers to the rounded long-term NHC forecast errors of 100-200-300 nautical miles at 24-48-72 hours, respectively. The contour defining the shaded area is constructed by accounting for those errors and then broadened further to reflect the maximum tropical storm force (34 knot) wind radii forecast at each of those times by the NHC. The NHC does not warrant that avoiding these danger areas will eliminate the risk of harm from tropical cyclones.

This post originally appeared here.


Source: PassageMaker

NOAA Embarks On Mission To Chart Bering Strait, Arctic

NOAA’s quest to better understand the world’s seafloor continues, as the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration has committed two of its ships, Fairweather and Rainier, to collect and update chart data in the Arctic. Along with the U.S. Coast Guard polar icebreaker, Healy, which has been recording sounding data during previous arctic research missions, and a fourth, private research vessel, the goal for NOAA’s Office of Coast Survey is to explore the potential viability of a high-traffic route from Unimak Island, in the Aleutian chain, to the Chukchi Sea, separating Asia from North America at the far end of the Bering Strait.

“Much of our charting data in this corridor is from surveys conducted a hundred years ago,” said Rear Admiral Gerd Glang, director of NOAA’s Office of Coast Survey. “So right now, we need to conduct reconnaissance of the seafloor in high-traffic areas to make sure they are safe for navigation.”

The four ships will use multibeam sonar to survey seafloor depths over 3,200 feet apart and equally as wide. The end result will be a near total of 12,000 miles of data collected from the 4-mile-wide Bering Strait.

In addition to collecting depth soundings, the ships will also be seeking hazards to navigation, in the form of seamounts or other dangers. As a side mission, Rainier will be further investigating Point Hope, Alaska, to verify the existence of a shoal area discovered by NOAA’s cartographers after an analysis of satellite imagery.


Source: PassageMaker

Gearhead: And The Survey Says… Nothing

“Steve, attached please find the reports from the engine survey and oil analysis, I hope they are more intelligible to you than they are to me, because I have no idea how to read them.” That line, from a client whose vessel’s engines were recently surveyed by two factory-trained mechanics, expresses a small element of frustration that echoes an observation of mine.

Far too many professionals in the marine industry are guilty of failing to provide to customers intelligible, plainspoken language that supports their observations, analyses and reports. In my work as a consultant for those buying boats or having them built, I’m subject to this all-too-frustrating onslaught of information that is nearly useless to those receiving it. I often act in the capacity of translator, or worse, the one who identifies errors.

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Engine instrumentation, especially that used on electronically controlled engines, can be a wellspring of information, from percentage of load to fuel restriction. However, there’s no substitute for other tests, such as exhaust back pressure, which require the use of a manometer that is temporarily plumbed to the exhaust system.

I was guilty of this until an engineer from the Smithsonian Institution enlightened me several years ago. He had retained me to carry out a series of inspections and recommendations for the Institution’s fleet of vessels. After submitting the first draft of my report to him, he responded saying, “This looks good, lots of detailed info, however, it needs an executive summary.”

At first I balked. An executive summary? Why? Everything the reader needs to know is contained within the report.

After a conversation with him, however, I realized he was right. Among other things, if the report was not easily understood by those who had commissioned it, likely I would not be retained again in the future, and those who can’t understand raw reports are prone to asking questions; questions I would only be forced to spend valuable time answering later.

An executive summary, a synopsis and interpretation of the findings that is capsulized and designed specifically for those whose time is precious, who may be unable or disinclined to read a detailed report that is laced with the technical argot of the marine trades, should be an essential element of the product produced by a professional.

Excluding such a summary invites misunderstanding, frustration or a failure to act where action is the desired intent. You should, therefore, make your expectations clear regarding this critical information in advance of retaining any professional to prepare a report.

That client note, accompanied by the oil analysis and engine survey reports, was a glaring example of this transgression. The summary “report” from the engine dealer was literally a mass of columns of numbers, disgorged directly from the engine’s ECU, which represented various engine readings, temperatures, pressures, etc.

What it lacked was a simple paragraph or even a single sentence that said something along the lines of  “all of the readings obtained on the sea trial were within the engine manufacturer’s specifications; no action is required or recommended,” or “highlighted observations fall outside the manufacturer’s specifications, the following actions are recommended.”

The note included no personal observations from the two mechanics. Were there any defects? Was anything out of the ordinary? Were any changes or upgrades recommended?

My observations for the engines alone included 11 citations, at least three of which could be deemed critical: a loose motor mount (which affected alignment and thus transmission and shaft wear), exposed block heater wiring (an electrocution risk) and exhaust riser temperatures that were well above the limit established by ABYC standards (a potential burn and fire hazard).

If this were an exception, I wouldn’t bother writing this column, but it’s the norm. Customers who pay for an analysis from an expert, particularly a factory-trained dealer or technician, are entitled to the benefit of their training and experience, rather than checked boxes.

Particularly where engine surveys are carried out, I expect factory-trained mechanics to identify any details that violate the engine manufacturer’s installation guidelines (you should use those words when calling on dealers to review installations, from watermakers to engines). After all, who is or should be better qualified to provide such observations? Oil analysis reports also fall squarely into this category.

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While carrying out engine surveys, savvy mechanics should be able to look beyond the engine manufacturer’s checklist and spot defects and impending failures.

To some extent we can blame the labs for the lack of detail or a summary understandable to boat owners or buyers or even a professional. Most labs don’t cater to laypeople, making it the responsibility of those taking the samples and sending them out to either choose a lab that does provide useful summaries with reports (they do exist, see Gearhead, PassageMaker, March ’13) or they should be prepared to interpret the results for the customer.

Unless you count the invoice, the oil analysis report in the above case was sent to the customer sans detail or explanation. When I read it I immediately noticed two glaring flaws. First, the “unit time” and “lube time” hours were erroneously shown as zero, which essentially told the lab that this was new, unused equipment. Of course that wasn’t true; this was a used vessel with over 800 hours on the clock.

Not all problems and defects surrounding engine operation or installation are obvious, and many are only indirectly related to the engine.

Not all problems and defects surrounding engine operation or installation are obvious, and many are only indirectly related to the engine.

The second flaw involved the lab itself, which indicated that all results were “normal.” That, however, also represented what should have been an unmistakable signal that something was amiss. How could “new” zero-hour oil contain any contaminants, copper, aluminum, iron, sodium, some in appreciable quantities, as these samples invariably did?  Had the analysis reports been reviewed by a professional in preparation for drafting the executive summary, these errors would have been identified before they reached my eyes.

Ultimately, failure to provide executive summaries is a result of poor training and the ability to get away with it—if no one balks and the phone keeps ringing, why make a change? Those who do provide such summaries, on the other hand, exhibit the sort of professionalism many boat owners and buyers expect, or at least hope for, while enjoying greater customer loyalty and the resultant financial reward. 


Source: PassageMaker

Horizon Yachts Debuts 85-Foot Motoryacht

Taiwanese builder Horizon Yachts said the new Horizon FD85 fast displacement motoryacht was added to the company’s luxury yacht lineup.

Developed by yacht designer Cor D. Rover and Horizon’s in-house naval architecture team, the Horizon FD85 features a vertical bow design, which thethe builder said has been tested with computational fluid dynamics. The bow design not only offers the desired fast displacement performance criteria, but also increased hull volume for 25 percent more spacious living spaces, including a five-guest stateroom layout, Horizon said.

Built with twin CAT C18 1136-hp engines, the new Horizon FD85 performs high efficiency from a slow cruise of 10 knots to a faster cruise of 16 knots, ensuring a more comfortable and versatile use of operating speeds.

“We specifically chose to focus on a hull form for the FD85 that affords flexible cruise speeds without compromising performance,” Horizon Yachts CEO John Lu said in a statement.

“We also wanted this new model to incorporate modern exterior styling, tremendous interior volume and innovative features. Cor and his team were the perfect fit for collaborating with Horizon’s in-house teams and together we have developed an advanced fast displacement yacht that blends cutting-edge design with truly usable living and entertaining spaces comparable to most 100-foot-plus yachts.”

The FD85 has just completed one of her main construction stages, joining the hull and superstructure, and is scheduled to debut next year at the March 10-13 Taiwan International Boat Show in Kaohsiung.

This post originally appeared here.


Source: PassageMaker