Wednesday, October 14, 2020

Going Offshore, and Making it Back

 Note: use web version view to see videos...

Freedom Boat Club requires additional training for members who want to go offshore, with emphasis on how to navigate heavy seas. The FBC training-checklist also requires instruction on how to run an "inlet."

In our area, we have rivers and sounds opening to the ocean, but we don't have any man-made inlets as Florida does. An inlet is a narrow opening in the coast in which you might find an outrushing tide encountering an incoming swell lifted by an onshore breeze and shoaling. When this happens, the waves pile up closer together; the peaks get higher and the troughs get deeper. Our river and sound entrances DO experience this phenomenon, but the effects are spread out across a longer and wider area than a Florida inlet.

Videos produced by YouTubers at Florida's Haulover Inlet show the hazards of running an inlet and point out that speed and boat loading are critical to avoid "stuffing" the bow. (Burying the front of the boat under a wave and taking on massive amounts of water in an instant).  

This video is the perfect visual training aid, as the captain of this vessel stuffs her hard at about 1:43.

Taking heavy seas over the bow instantly reduces a boat's stability, and makes it prone to capsizing right. now. Before you can get your vest on. Unless your boat is self-bailing, that blue water coming over the bow has nowhere to go but into the bilge, so the size and condition of your bilge pumps might be important. 

While the danger-area of this inlet is a short stretch, imagine being out in the open ocean with heavy seas, and miles to go before you sleep. Taking one wave over the bow makes your boat much more susceptible to another, and things can go south very quickly. In any situation involving rough seas, putting on life preservers might preserve your life. 

Here's another great resource-video for those headed out into the deep blue sea. This video is an excellent point of departure for offshore training, with perhaps the most salient point being that the number one piece of safety equipment on your boat is that brain between your ears...

Monday, September 28, 2020

Full Sail! Spending A Day With The Other Crowd

Savannah boating-legend Jack Fitzgerald holds court while at the helm of "Honey."
L-R, Kai, Etienne, Jack, Herb, and Dennis. Lawrence Bennett not pictured (yet).

This area's association with sailboats goes back at least to the 1500s, if not earlier. With the invention of what were at first external then eventually internal-combustion engines, maritime commerce was no longer left to the whim of the wind and the clutch of a current. 

While the first machine-powered boats were roundly derided as "stinkpots," and used mostly to tow real vessels to and from their berths, over time a boat powered solely by sail became the domain of the very rich or the very poor. 

For the rich, sailing is a sport. A way to exude coolness and sophistication and to generally be a wind-powered badass. Think Ted Turner, who learned to sail here and won the America's Cup trophy. 

If Ted predates you, consider Larry Ellison's Oracle-sponsored freakship. It's a sailboat, I guess. Or maybe it should be called flying boat. 

It's a marriage of airfoils and hydrofoils and it has an AIRBUS logo on it. They make flying machines. It's definitely flying. Suffice it to say, it has created a new class of sailors.

The poor sail because they can't afford to put the power in powerboat. One of my friends loves to say, "sailors get the wind for free and they want everything else for free as well." There does seem to be a cultural divide between powerboaters and sailors. 

Thousands have been introduced to sailing 
on these little Sunfish

This weekend I had the chance to see and do 
something different. I was invited to join a group of old sailors for a race in the Wilmington River. We departed the Yacht Club as a cloudy sky was clearing and the steady stream of stories got underway.

I quickly cottoned to the fact that competition sailing requires skill, cunning, and patience. A sense of humor helps too. I tried to stay out of the way and not get knocked on the head. 

When the wind freshened and the old girl got her legs under her, we cut right along.  A sailboat moving through the water hums or vibrates slightly. It makes her feel alive. Like any machine; she talks to you through the tips of your fingers, the seat of your pants, and the soles of your feet. 

There is work involved in sailing, and you can't proceed directly into the wind or to any destination laying in its eye. You must lay your heading sufficiently off the wind for it to flow properly across the sail and pull the boat forward. This involves zig-zagging or "tacking." 

When you say something inappropriate to a woman and she slaps you, your mouth changes course and speed. That is one example of taking a different tack. "Coming about" in a sailboat (changing the heading to put the wind on the other side of the boat) is where that idea came from. 

And there is Lawrence Bennett, my brother from another mother.
He is serving as the mainsail trimmer. That fancy-looking block and tackle assembly is
custom to this one-off boat that was built to win a race.

We have the mainsail and a "155 percent" jib up. I ask "what's it a hundred and fifty-five percent of?"

LB answers, "the J." 

"Okay, what's the J?" 

He says, "the J is the distance from the bow to the mainmast." All I know is, the jib is much bigger than the mainsail.

In practice, when we tack, the mainsail movement isn't that dramatic. But that big jib has to shift from one side of the boat to the other, and it gets pulled across the front of the mast by lines running from its bottom rear corner to winches on either side of the cockpit.  This is accompanied by quite a bit of snap, crackle, and pop! 

Our race involved boats of different size, speed, and sail inventory, and we had to size them all up. Another local favorite, "High Visibility" joined the fray with Etienne's wife aboard. It's a beautiful and fast boat with a capable crew.

Waiting on a wind while using
the cast iron spinnaker for

We did spend some time waiting for an onshore breeze to spring up. That allowed us to enjoy a cold drink or two. 

The starting line of the race lies between an official's boat and a floating marker. Sound signals provide warnings of the impending start. The trick is to cross the line immediately after the starting signal sounds but not before it. And you shouldn't crash. 
After crossing the line we must work our way to windward, tacking up to a turn-marker. We pass as close to the floating mark as possible without touching it, then it's a downwind slide with jib on one side and the main on the other. 

The apparent speed is reduced because we are going with the wind rather than across it, but an incoming tide gives us a good speed-over-ground. We must continue downwind past the starting line to a downwind marker, turn around that, and tack back to the start/finish line. 

Now it's time for skill and experience and mental calculation, as we want to perform the least amount of maneuvering as possible and get across that line between the official's boat and the start (finish)marker. 

As we approach there is some discussion of whether or not the incoming tide will set us on the wrong side of this marker, but we clear it in good time. 

We won't know how well we have done until all boats have finished because different boats are handicapped according to the hull design and sail layout. In any case, it's a fun and exciting way to spend a day on the river.

"Now what is that all about?"

I spent a lot of time crouching, or should I say cowering, on that hatch cover in front of LB. And while I was trying to stay out of the way, I wasn't. At least no one yelled at me.

When Jack's partner-owner was on the boat, he would yell at his crew, who would abandon ship upon returning to the dock. Jack got tired of this and had a placard made for his partner.

About the Sailing Vessel "Honey"

A well-to-do Chicago businessman wanted to win a prestigious sailing race between Chicago and Mackinaw in the early 1970s. He arranged for C & C Sailing Yachts to build a racing boat for that purpose, with as little extra weight and as much speed as possible. She was built in 1974 and won the race in her first attempt. The proud owner was celebrating aboard his winner after the race. He announced that he wasn't feeling well and died right there on the spot. At least he died a winner. 

While some might take this as an omen, Savannah resident and former Vietnam Huey-pilot Jack Fitzgerald and a partner did not. They bought her in 1976. As his partner could never remember any of the female passenger's names, and called them all "Honey," and they gave her that name. 

Honey is still a fast boat, and has won many races up and down the coast. She is known and admired, and her crew is respected in sailing circles. LB says she "gets really fast" when the wind exceeds 25 knots (when most of the boaters I know are looking for safe harbor and a cold beer). 
Jack has owned Honey, either alone or in partnership, for 44 years! How many relationships do you know of that last that long? She has been overhauled, re-rigged, re-bottomed, and made more civilized with fine cabinetry and furnishings below. She is on her third diesel engine, a quiet 35 horsepower auxiliary with a prop that feathers when not in use. Perhaps the only thing original is her outline. 

Jack has been sailing with mostly the same men since 1982, and while they don't sail together as often as they once did, they still exhibit quiet confidence, skill, and flawless crew coordination. Now that I think of it, aircrew coordination probably could trace its roots back to the coordination that was required to operate a ship in the age of sail. 

When we prepared to depart the dock and again when we returned, everyone moved purposefully to uncover, and later re-cover her. What would have taken one boater an hour was accomplished in a few minutes. How often do your passengers stay and help you put up your boat?

If you are interested in getting involved with sailing in our area check out

Friday, September 11, 2020

The History of The Army Corps of Engineers in the Savannah District 1829 - 1989

The first vessels to be powered by something more than wind or muscle
used steam. Our rivers and creeks were the highways of commerce, and as soon
as commerce got underway, Army engineers were involved in making it better.

If you spend time on the waters in our area, you should know that the works of the United States Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) are quite literally all around you. They are as active today in protecting the environment, and helping mankind work with nature and benefit from her, as ever.

Sidebar: When you pass by the oxygenation stations on the Savannah River - know that the Corps was involved in that...

The Dissolved Oxygen Injection System used to mitigate the effects of deepening the river 
for Post Panamax ships on endangered species. Although it's easy to think of it as a gigantic and uber-expensive aquarium-pump or, "bubbler," it's a bit more involved than that.

To download a PDF fact sheet on this project, click here.

And when you pass by Fort Pulaski, know that the Corps was involved in that project as well.

I came across a publication dated the year I came to Savannah, 1989. Although it (and I) are old now, it's still a fascinating source document for how things got to be the way they are around here.

From the text, "Because the passage through Parson's Cut suffered excessive shoaling, Congress, in 1890, called on the Corps to do a preliminary examination and survey of an alternative route in the area of Wassau and Skidaway islands. This site, Skidaway Narrows, was "a narrow, tortuous waterway formed by two creeks which united at their heads at the meeting place of the tides connecting Burnside River with Skidaway River..."

click here to download a pdf of the entire book. in PDF format.

Saturday, September 5, 2020

"Blood Is Thicker Than Water!"

 As you cruise the Wilmington River north from Thunderbolt, you shortly come to Bonaventure Cemetery on the west bank. Bonaventure is a beautiful place, with grand and ancient live oaks that have Spanish moss dripping from their branches as they provide shade for the graves of countless characters and heroes. It is said that these trees were planted to form the letters M and T. While the M was for the Mullryne family, the T was to honor the Tattnalls. 

Wikipedia Image

Colonel John Mullryne founded Bonaventure Plantation near Savannah in 1762 after moving here from Carolina.  Josiah Tattnall Sr. had married Colonel Mullryne's daughter Mary, and they moved to Bonaventure as well. By 1771 Mullryne and Tattnall together owned 7000 acres of Georgia land, "stretching from Ebeneezer to Sunbury." (from "Historic Bonaventure Cemetery," Wilson and Johnson, 1998) Mullryne also built the third Tybee Lighthouse in 1773!

From Wikipedia, "The first house on the plantation, made of English brick, was destroyed by a fire on 7 January 1771. John Berendt wrote in his 1994 book 'Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil' that a formal dinner party, held by either Mullryne or Tattnall, was in progress when one of the servants informed the host that the roof was ablaze and that nothing could be done to stop it. The host 'rose calmly, clinked his glass, and invited guests to pick up their dinner plates and follow him into the garden,' where they ate the remainder of their meals in the glow of the flames." (story continues below)

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Tattnall Sr's second son, Josiah Jr, was born in 1764 at Bonaventure and went on to become Governor of Georgia in 1801, He is also remembered for introducing a new strain of  "Sea Island" cotton from the Bahamas to Bonaventure's fields. Tattnall Jr. also had a son named Josiah Tattnall (the 3rd). This man had an amazing life and went on to become a national, rather than local or state figure. Oh, and he also married his first cousin! (see New Georgia Encyclopedia)

He joined the United States Navy in 1812, when America was at war with Britain. Tattnall fought in that war but, apparently, didn't harbor a grudge about this later. Josiah Tattnall the 3rd served in several more wars including the Barbary Wars (under Stephen Decatur), and the Mexican War of 1846-1848. In 1858 he was commanding the East India Squadron near Hong Kong. Britain was then engaged in the Second Opium War with China and Tattnall observed British ships in a gun battle against forts on Chinese soil. 

In violation of the United States' neutral status in that war, Tattnall entered the fray and assisted the British with American guns. When taken to task for this breach of military discipline and national protocol, he defended his actions with the phrase:

"Blood is thicker than water!" 

Josiah Tattnall

He was probably referring to the shared heritage of the United States and Great Britain, and perhaps had considered that his grandfather had come from England and, remaining a loyalist, had fled Georgia during the revolution. The Tattnalls had British roots!

Tattnall served on and commanded many vessels while in U.S. Navy service, including the frigates (original) Constellation and Constitution. The original Constellation's replacement, built with parts of her original framing, is moored today in Baltimore Harbor and open for tours. Click for a virtual tour.)

The USS Constitution is still on the active rolls of the United States Navy and is the only active US Navy ship that ever sank another ship. She is preserved today in Boston. 

Commodore Tattnall had a walking stick made from the live oak of the Constitution, whose timbers came from our barrier islands, most likely Saint Simons. That scrap of wood went full circle, because it came from a Georgia barrier island and is back in Georgia now in the collection of the Georgia Historical Society

During his service to the Confederacy, Tattnall felt compelled to order the destruction of his flagship, the CSS Virginia (Merrimack) due to advancing Union Forces. He was eventually captured near Savannah by Union forces under Sherman, and made a prisoner of war. After the civil war, he spent four years in Nova Scotia before returning to Savannah, and Bonaventure, where he died and is buried, next to his kin. 

Next to his blood, which is thicker than water.

Friday, August 28, 2020

Destinations From Long Ago

 My earliest memories involve the water; a swimming hole with its own spring flowing into a river. 

Image courtesy John C. Karjanis

When I was two years old, my father died and my mother moved our family to Florida. By a lucky chance, she picked a place for us to live that offered cheap fun in close proximity; a place that fit the bill for recreation, employment, and generally kept her kids out of her hair. 

It was DeLeon Springs, near Daytona Beach. Today it is a State Park, but between 1953 and 1982, it was a privately-owned "roadside attraction."

Rusty Fleetwood mentions this spring by name in his book "Tidecraft," as it was here where the two oldest examples of dugout canoes in the western hemisphere were discovered! They are dated at 5000 and 6000 years old. This is the first topic in Tidecraft; page 1, paragraph 1. And I grew up there! Coincidence or what?

As a boy, I stood on the walkway at the spring and gazed down the run. Burt's Park stood on the left bank where the river turned left and ran out of sight, and like explorers since time out of mind, I wondered what lay around that corner. 

Adventure? Excitement? Danger? All the things to stir a young person's heart were waiting 'round the bend--if only I could get there. When I got a small plastic boat as a gift in those early years, I did paddle my way down and around that corner. When I went missing the lifeguard (who ended up marrying a sister) came and found me and asked if I needed help. 

"Nope, I'm going somewhere!" 

The headwaters of Spring Garden Run, Deleon Springs Florida

It is entirely possible and even probable that a steamboat departed Savannah in the 1800s, and by way of the inland passage (today's ICW) and the Saint John's river, reached the tributary that leads to this spring. They could have pulled up to a wharf and loaded cargo and passengers. 

From the web, 

"The first water-powered sugar mill in Florida was built here in 1832. (Some of the brickwork and machinery is preserved behind the on-site restaurant.) In 1835, Seminoles attacked the plantation, destroying the mill and stealing slaves and cattle. Troops under the command of General Zachary Taylor finally drove the Seminoles out two years later. The mill was rebuilt in 1849 and continued to produce cotton and sugar, with up to 100 slaves performing the work. During the Civil War, in April 1864, Union troops, upon hearing the owner was providing supplies to the Confederate Army, destroyed the plantation. This was known as Birney's Raid. By the late 1800s, Spring Garden became a tourist destination with a steamboat and the railroad providing transportation to the area.

The mill was in operation when I was young, grinding wheat into flour
for bread and...pancakes! They are served there to this day at 
The Old Spanish Sugar Mill. 

Click here for more about this area, originally known as Spring Garden and later as De Leon Springs. 

So, with a mill producing cotton and sugar in the 1800s, it stands to reason that these products would need to get to Savannah for export via ocean-going ship. And the steamboats working the river also worked the inland passage between Charleston, Savannah, and the St. John's River. Perhaps smaller locally-operated steamboats took the cargoes to Jacksonville, where they could be trans-loaded onto larger boats for Savannah.  

Sidebar: I would have loved to have made that journey by steamer. I have made several houseboat cruises on the St. Johns, even taking friends from Savannah and showing them new places, like Silver Glen Spring on Lake George. Jeanne and I took our Sea Ray from Savannah almost to Palatka before mechanical problems landed us back in Jacksonville. Even cut short, our journey was great fun. On separate trips with Shriner buddies, I've been as far south on the ICW as St. Augustine and as far north as Charleston. Traveling by water is tremendously fun.

Maybe, before I'm done, I'll be able to do the entire trip from Savannah to Deleon Springs. I think it would be a great adventure. There are lots of great spots to stop and get refreshed and rested along the way!

Mike Neal, owner of Bull River Cruises, has taken the Island Explorer (the 45' excursion vessel I crew and captain) to Jacksonville; he got a gig ferrying thousands of people across the river for a Super Bowl. He and the boat were over halfway...

Rivers And Rails?

Imagine a trip down and back, with two groups of passengers, each riding the boat one way and the train the other. The historic Deland Train Station is just a few miles from the park and the train passes right by the gate. It would let people experience two modes of travel that have largely gone by the boards. Overnight stops at Fernandina, Jacksonville, and Palatka, and an all-hands dinner and celebration at the state park would let both groups mingle and tell stories. And the first thing the next morning we'd be off on the return journey. What a cruise that would be!

Ah, idle speculation; but what the hell--it never hurts to dream right? Most great adventures start with a dream.

Now, where were we?

As I look for more information about steamboats traveling from Savannah to the St. John's River, I open JSTOR and sign in. (JSTOR.ORG). I am directed to "East Coast Florida Steamboating" 1831-1861 by Edward A. Mueller, published in the Florida Historical Quarterly in 1962. If you are familiar with Ruby Rahn's excellent history of steam on the Savannah, Mr. Mueller's name will come to mind. She credits him for his research and information in the opening of her book. 

Here's a link... to Mr. Mueller's article in the Florida Historical Quarterly. It's an entertaining piece of writing! 

By the second paragraph, Mr. Mueller is writing about Savannah and steamboats in Florida! We're onto something! 

Mueller next writes that the first steamboat to travel to Jacksonville from Savannah was "apparently" the George Washington, arriving on May 18th or 19th 1831, after a trip lasting 34 hours. Not bad time all things considered. By August of 1835, weekly service was available between Savannah and Picolata Florida (a small outpost on the river below Jacksonville, with overland carriage service to St. Augustine). This route included stops at Darien, St. Mary's, and Jacksonville. As I continue reading I realize that Mr. Mueller was having fun as he wrote this article circa 1962, and that he inevitably did some smiling and shaking of the head as he banged away on his typewriter. The true story of the rise of steamboating between Savannah and the St. Johns is stranger than fiction! 

One of the repeatedly mentioned and sought-after types of travelers for Florida was the "invalid." Northern winters gave people respiratory illnesses, and the Florida climate was thought to be the answer. That trend later led Henry Flagler to bring his invalid wife to Jacksonville. This would set in motion a chain of events that would change everything about Florida!

In 1843, the steamboat St. Matthews extended the service up the river (but down the peninsula) as far as Palatka. (Getting closer to the springs!)

A U.S. Mail contract led to twice-weekly service from Savannah to Jacksonville and then up the St. Johns in 1847. The farthest up the river commercial traffic went was Enterprise, on Lake Monroe. Enterprise is a sleepy little village today, but when the river was the highway for goods and people, Enterprise was happening. (If you somehow find yourself in Enterprise, don't miss Cassadega, the spiritualist center of the south.)

When the river was a matter of life and death instead of simply a playground as it is today, riverfront spots were part and parcel of life. For my money, they still are...


Any trip on the St. John's River requires a stop at Silver Glen Spring

Monday, August 10, 2020

A Wonderful Story From The Creek--The Peanut Butter Falcon!

The Peanut Butter Falcon [DVD] [2019] - Best Buy
Now available for viewing on Amazon Prime
Video and HULU, and filmed right here!

 I was trained to be a Captain by two friends, Michael Neal and Buddy Lee. Mike owns Bull River Cruises. Buddy and Mike have worked together for a long time. 

It's been like this; when Mike makes a movie I work the boat. Mike is a marine coordinator for the film industry and is the go-to guy in our area for water scenes. He hires boats and people for on-water filming. He get's dressed in survival-gear and ready to go in the water and save the talent.

When a movie crew comes to town--it means I'm going to work on a boat! I'm aware of the movies being made around me, without paying too much attention to them. (I got to do a day of production work for Council of Dads, and I think it sucks that the series got the ax.)

The best films work magic on you. They "reel" you in, slowly at first; with plausible storylines and settings. Once you are firmly hooked, they take you on a journey that always involves the willing suspension of disbelief. Fantastical scenes have you looking at the person sitting next to you and smiling as you share the moment. And a little child-like part of your brain is thinking "yeah, sure, it could happen!"

Want to see where the movies get made?
We can take you there!
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In no particular order; The Legend of Bagger Vance, The Gift, Camilla, and Forest Gump are all examples of this that were filmed here. It's our willingness--indeed our desire-- to believe in something better, something magic, that makes these stories so powerful. They provide an endorphinous happiness that leaves us smiling and shaking our heads and wondering "How did that happen?"

CAMILLA 1994 Entertainment/Shaftesbury film with Bridget Fonda at ...
Jessica Tandy wasn't just fantastic in "Driving Miss Daisy" and 
"Fried Green Tomatoes." She also starred in "Camilla" which had scenes filmed in Isle of Hope.
She made being old look beautiful.

Peanut Butter Falcon is such a film. It has parallels to all "life as a journey" stories, such as The Odyssey, Oh Brother Where Art Thou, The Wizard of Oz--heck, there's too many to name but we're always glad to be along for the ride. 

In this film, when the raft gets built you realize that you are getting ready to see some Huck Finn stuff, and you can't wait! And it doesn't disappoint! Any kid with salt in their blood has dreamed of building that raft!

When you spend a day on these creeks and the rivers into which they flow, you sense the wonder and beauty that has enchanted us since the first Europeans came here (and probably the native Americans who were here first.) It's no wonder that Hollywood comes here to expose so much film, and so many miracles.

Enjoy the show!

Wednesday, August 5, 2020

But For The Grace of God...

A safety professional attempts to anticipate the next loss and prevent it. She reviews event-reports about near-misses, accident reports, orders for replacement parts, and any other trend-indicators at hand.

A sinking, collision, injury, or drowning is a loss. Our proximity to the event determines the effect on us individually; but to an extent, we are ALL affected by anyone's disaster.

I spent the last decade thinking about who would crash a medical helicopter next and why--and writing about it to try and prevent it. I experienced some success as evidenced by the number of people killed while working in HEMS.

As I eased out of the cockpit and behind the console I sensed similarities between helicopter emergency medical services and boating. I thought to write about what might hurt you.

This picture from the Callawassie Island causeway at low tide is meant to highlight the sandbars and oyster rakes that lie in our waterways. When the incoming tide puts more than a few inches of water over them they are invisible. But they are still there, waiting to damage your boat and injure you. 

Imagine hitting one of those oyster-covered humps at speed!

It happened. A crowd in a boat experienced a high-speed grounding. The boat stopped and passengers kept going. Several were ejected from the boat. There was blood everywhere. (I spoke with a Coast Guardsman who responded to the call and he told me that it was terrible. The flesh wounds and bleeding were significant)

Boating is fun, but like aviation, it is terribly unforgiving of any carelessness, incapacity, or neglect. This isn't something that "happens to those other people." This happens to people just. like. you. And me too. 

I don't care how long you've been running these waters; no one, absolutely no one is immune to tragedy. I can't tell you how many smug, complacent, aviation-experts have expressed surprise at learning this, with a second or two left to live; and registered this dreadful realization with an "Oh Shit!" on the voice recorder. Smarter people than you and me have been killed in both aviation and boating accidents. (Note to self)

We've suffered a mishap in our midst. Beyond that we've seen a rash of mistakes lately. Anecdotally: groundings, damage, and carelessness are up--big time!

We hope you never need to repair a damaged engine, but if you do--or need any service from minor 
to major, Hale Marine Services will do you right. Tim and Robert are beloved Savannah men, and they 
host the famous "Beach Bash" each year. When Jameson lays hands on a motor, it get's better. Promise!

In the aviation world this is when you have a safety stand--down. Maybe we should have a virtual one in our world. You can have your own safety-standdown right now. All it takes is a paper and pen or a keyboard.

Global Aviation SAFETY has hit a rough patch—time for a STANDDOWN ...

Write down every mistake you made on your last couple of boating trips. What contributed to those mistakes? How will you make sure you don't repeat them. What will you do differently? This is your own S.O.P. you are writing. Your own "standard operating procedure." It will save you money and may save your life.

Write down your recent near-misses; you know, when you were saved by luck, not skill. Decide what you learned from them.

Review the latest charts of this area and refresh your memory on where hazards and bars are. 

For extra-credit review the latest Notice-To-Mariners for our area.

In this latest local accident, people were seriously hurt. Let's learn from history--from their mistake-- so that we don't repeat it.

Our rivers and creeks are full of hazards. Read that last sentence again, please!

Imagine hitting this at speed. It's a prop-stopper!
Imagine hitting this at speed. It's a prop-stopper and might remove your lower unit.
Stay vigilant, friends!

Going Offshore, and Making it Back

 Note: use web version view to see videos... Freedom Boat Club requires additional training for members who want to go offshore, with emphas...