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Confusion Comes With State Borders

Our article on mandatory state boater education requirements ("For Boaters, Fine Lines Come With State Borders" Feb/March issue) generated much comment regarding individual states' requirements for visiting boaters. One of our hypothetical scenarios, in fact, contained an unfortunate inaccuracy but also illuminated the potential for confusion. Our fictional New Jersey boater, "Nevin," who was venturing into Pennsylvania waters, should've been younger (the law states born after 1981). We weren't specific enough on the details in his particular case, as several alert readers informed us.

I'm a Pennsylvania resident, USPS Certified Instructor, and a member of a Squadron in the greater Philadelphia area. I teach public boating courses each year in communities which are near the Delaware River. Pennsylvania only requires boat operators of Personal Watercraft and vessels powered by 25-hp or greater motors to have passed a NASBLA (National Association of State Boating Law Administrators) safe-boating education course. However, Pennsylvania recognizes online and home-study courses that are NASBLA approved, including online, non-proctored examinations. After passing an approved course and the state-specific exam, students apply for a Pennsylvania safe-boating education certificate.

Therefore, in Rick Lydecker's story, the operator of a 35-foot cabin cruiser holding a New Jersey certificate would not require a Pennsylvania-issued state safe boating education certificate because the New Jersey safe-boating education certificate meets the PA requirements.

D/Lt John R. Gill
Delaware River Sail & Power Squadron, Inc., S/Ch/ABC Coordinator

In addition to Pennsylvania accepting NASBLA-approved boating safety education certificates issued by another state or province, the boater described in your article is in compliance with Pennsylvania law as he's not required to possess an education certificate. PA law states that personal watercraft operators and those born on or after January 1, 1982, who operate a boat greater than 25-hp, must possess a boating safety education certificate. The boater in your example fits neither criteria. This error is an example of how diverse and somewhat confusing boating safety education requirements are from state to state.

Laurel L. Anders, Director
Bureau of Boating and Access, Pennsylvania Fish & Boat Commission
Harrisburg, PA

Folk Icon Pete Seeger

Your beautiful photo of Pete Seeger aboard the sloop Clearwater bears a caption that reads: "Seeger's enduring passions have been the preservation New York's Hudson Bay and a sloop named Clearwater." It's the Hudson River, which runs from the Adirondack Mountains to New York City, that Seeger has worked so tirelessly to reclaim and preserve. It was heartwarming to see Pete profiled. Now 91 years young, his efforts to clean up the river, his commitment to teaching our next generations to respect and honor their natural waterways, and his willingness to speak truth to power, should serve as an inspiration to us all.

Vicki Ryder
Webster, NY

I was offended to see the Pete Seeger article in the Feb/March 2011 issue. In June of 1978, I was a passenger aboard a Coast Guard cutter leaving Governor's Island to review a simulated helicopter rescue on the Hudson River when Seeger, aboard the Clearwater, steered the sloop in front of the cutter and luffed his sails, then he and his psychedelic-shirted crew made obscene gestures! This man is a disgrace.

John T. Long
Far Hills, NJ

I remember Seeger from 1972 on the Clearwater, when it came up the Anacostia to be there when Nixon signed the Clean Water Act. Seeger is a wonderful man and interviewed my grandmother pretty extensively. Why? The Buttersworth painting mentioned in the article hangs in my mother's den!

Michael Parramore
Annapolis, Maryland

Life Jacket Wearability Is More Than Half The Battle

I sail around a dozen ocean races each year, about half short-handed, including the Singlehanded Sailing Society's LongPac, which ventures 200 miles offshore and back. I wear a Spinlock Deckvest exclusively for shorthanded sailing and feel it's superior to other lifejackets on the market. It isn't the most comfortable to wear, but I think its features outweigh any discomfort. Along with its very high floatation value and built-in safety harness, the hood can be pulled down over one's face when the lifejacket is deployed. One of the points made at safety-at-sea seminars is that, in rough conditions, many people drown because they can't keep their faces clear of breaking water, even though their lifejacket is keeping them afloat. This life jacket is not USCG approved; it is CE approved.

I carry a pack of those ridiculous square orange things that the USCG approves, just in case I get stopped for a courtesy inspection. If required to don a "USCG-approved vest" I'd break them out; otherwise they just occupy space. I hope that I never need to use a lifejacket, but just in case, I'll wear what I consider the best available.

Patrick B. Broderick

I've been boating all of my adult life and when my children came along my attitude toward wearing my jacket turned to setting an example more that pleasing the Coast Guard. I always had the orange jackets on hand for myself and my guests but when my kids put the Coast Guard approved jackets on they were riding up their neck, in their face, making them kick and scream. I found Life Line Jackets online. This company makes custom-fit jackets for any size person. They're not Coast Guard approved but I feel they provide far more protection than not wearing one. I was stopped by the Coast Guard last summer and they were glad to see we were wearing our jackets, approved or not, they never checked. Now putting the jackets on is like putting on the seat belt in our car, automatic.

Scott Burns
Port Huron, MI

Boat Play Love

My BoatUS Magazine is informative, educational, and increasingly a place to find well-written articles on all kinds of topics, including — of all things — love. Ann Dermody's article, "Boat, Play, Love," (Feb/Mar 2011) was a joy to read, until the fifth sentence from the end of the article, when it became a must-read. The searing pain of losing one's soul mate is something I hope I never have to face. But if that day ever comes, I hope I'll recall Ann's exquisitely poignant article to remind myself that my wife would wish for me to live out my days remembering and retelling those who will listen of the joys we shared. I only hope I can describe those times even half as eloquently as Ann has done.

Kevin Hylton
Rochester, NY

I just finished "Boat, Play, Love" and had to send you this note. I loved Ann's story so much but frankly I was completely unprepared to have it end as it did. Her meeting Ed is a true fairy tale story that is precisely what so many of us single sailors hope to experience.

Bill Lawrence
Brooklyn, NY

Now Is The Time

Thanks Ann Dermody for sharing such special memories and laughs with the rest of us. I have never written an author to comment on their articles before but I enjoyed your so much I had to write. I loved all the stories. What a great life adventure! Your comments regarding not putting off adventures & dreams were perfect. Carpe Diem!

Jim Snoddy
via email

Photo Finish

The February Issue of BoatUS Magazine just arrived and I was surprised to find on page 8 a two-page spread of my Sunset image of The Great Salt Pond. I'm honored that it has been selected as a finalist for your photo contest. I took this photo this past June while my wife Margaret and I were on vacation on Block Island, RI. We had just finished dinner with our friends Maria and Joseph and couldn't help but notice the striking red sky. We decided to drive out to Sandy Point where the North Light is located to watch the sunset. However, while traveling north on Corn Neck Road I realized that we wouldn't make it in time. At that point I came upon the driveway entrance to The Sullivan House, which sits atop a rise overlooking The Great Salt Pond. Perfect. Two minutes later I was standing on the Sullivan House porch and took my photo.

All in all Block Island presents a perfect haven.

John O'Dair
Yorktown Heights, NY

Invading Boaters Ought To Know

The Reciprocity section of the Feb/Mar 2010 Government Affairs column offers an example of California trailer sailors coming to Oregon for the summer. The example says only that they must obtain boater-education cards after 60 days.

Oregon has also recently begun an Aquatic Invasive Species monitoring program, paid for by a fee charged to both Oregon resident boaters and to visiting boaters. Your hypothetical California boaters must buy a $22 AIS permit to launch their boat in Oregon or be subject to a significant fine. They can learn more about Oregon's AIS program at: www.boatoregon.com/OSMB/programs/09LawsFAQs.shtml.

Tom Stringfield
Portland, OR

Built To A Different Standard

I am the volunteer Editor of US SAILING's edition of the International Sailing Federation's (ISAF) Offshore Special Regulations governing Racing for Monohull and Multihull Sailboats.

This publication uses an International Standard (ISO 12402) to define lifejackets which are basically not available in the US as USCG approved devices. Many people carry and use them but they must also carry USCG Approved PFDs to comply with national laws. In the ideal world we should be able to use these superior devices to satisfy USCG Requirements.

I suggest you test the latest version of Spinlock's Deck Vest, which has the following features required by ISAF:

  • Crotch or Thigh Straps that comply with ISO 12401 and are strong enough to lift the person out of the water
  • 35 lbs buoyancy
  • equipped with a Sprayhood/Splashguard
  • an Emergency Light that complies with ISO 12402-8
  • A full deck harness with attachments that complies with ISO 12401
  • a whistle
  • retro reflective material
  • a buddy line

One of the problems we now have is that when people add many of these ISAF required items to a USCG Approved life jacket, the Life Jacket looses it's USCG Approval! The best improvement we could make to lifejacket design in the US is to have the USCG accept lifejackets built to ISO, UL and EN standards. We don't need new designs. We just need acceptance of the superior lifejackets that already exist. They are comfortable to wear and preferred by people who are encouraged and sometimes required to wear them at the start and finish of all races, when there is fog, night time, rough weather, cold water and when sailing short handed.

Ron Trossbach
Destin, FL

I sail around a dozen ocean races each year, about half short-handed (single/double), including the Singlehanded Sailing Society's LongPac (out 200 nm and back), coastal point-to-point, and the Pacific Cup from San Francisco to Oahu.

The Gulf of the Farallones and coastal waters can be very rough, and it's been my unfortunate experience as YRA Chairman to attend several hearings connected with loss of life in races held out there.

I wear a Spinlock Deskvest exclusively for shorthanded sailing. I feel it is superior to any other life jacket that's on the market today. It frankly isn't the most comfortable to wear, but I think its features outweigh any discomfort.

Along with its 150N value and built-in safety harness (with crotch straps), I value the hood which can be pulled down over one's face when the life jacket is deployed. One of the points made at the Safety at Sea Seminar over and over is the fact that in rough conditions, many people drown because they cannot keep their faces clear of breaking water, even though their life jacket is keeping them afloat. This life jacket is not USCG approved. It is CE approved (jacket and harness).

Of course I carry a pack of those ridiculous square orange things that the USCG approves just in case I get stopped for a "courtesy" inspection. They are securely enclosed in their original plastic packaging to keep them dry. If required to "don a USCG approved vest." I'd break them out, but otherwise they occupy some space and contribute some weight, but would keep me from being cited.

Patrick B. Broderick
Wyliecat 30 Sail

Pleasant Surprise

I became a member of BoatUS just for peace of mind when fishing the inshore waters of Central Florida. Never did I expect to receive such an informative and well laid out publication as the BoatUS Magazine. I am thrilled with my decision. Thanks for the unexpected bonus.

Rich Colesanti
Port Orange, FL

Making of the Corinthians

Upon my arrival home from a long day at work, in the mailbox are usually bills, a friendly reminder of why my husband and I work so hard, and on a rare occasion the warm welcome of BoatUS Magazine.

It's the oneday I can guarantee an early night in bed with my husband. He enjoys lying propped up on pillows, eyes closed hearing me read the stories out loud of other boaters, yachtsmen, their journeys, triumphs and failures on the water, and at times just great tips to take along with us on our own inner coastal journeys.

We both dream of the day of owning our own yacht, with him at the helm, the Captain and I the Co-Captain assisting in the reading of the navigational charts and obeying orders from him as we make our way through unknown territory with our ship as our fortress and safety. Beyond our knowledge acquired through books and countless hours at sea, she alone will be our protector.

We read of other's journeys out into the unknown, the stories of great storms and squalls, the constant reminder from Mother Nature herself that the ships we carry across her are at her welcome and at her mercy. Not only do we learn of the respect that is needed of the great waterways and oceans, we are told that along with the peril, there is beauty that hides amongst it; a grace that not all eyes will bestow, for the path to this great beauty is by water alone.

These hidden wonders once only being shared by the word of mouth are now being shared in writing and in pictures to entice the mere Corinthians like ourselves to their splendor. With the help of BoatUS these journeys and hidden hide-a-ways are received and embraced.

Keep the tales coming, for each in their own way is a romance, fable, legend and on some accounts a saga that needs to be shared.

So with open arms and a bow in gratitude, we love our BoatUS Magazine

And for those who do not know, the definition of a Corinthian:
Corinthian: a young yachtsman in the making.

Your dedicated reader,
Santi Hindes

Learning The Ropes: Molly Gaklik, aged five, enjoys her time at a sailing camp on the Hudson River, at the Chelsea Yacht Club, New York, during the club's youth sailing program last summer.

On Golden Pond: Buying Latitude 43, was a celebration for Mel and Tina Borrin to commemorate selling their real estate company and the beginning of their retirement years. They had their down east cruiser custom-built and keep her in freshwater on Lake Winnipesaukee, New Hampshire.

Safety Starts Early: Philip Byrd, and his grandson Jackson Gunn, are keen supporters of the BoatUS Foundation Lifejacket Loaner Program. "We live on Amelia Island, in Florida, and this photo was taken off the coast of Cumberland Island, Georgia. Our grandchildren live in Augusta, Georgia. When they're visiting our sail boat Katie-Jack, we contact the Nassau County Sheriff's Dept. and their Marine Unit delivers whatever life jackets are requested," says Philip.

Fond Memories: Tom Kroma sent in this photo of his dad, Brad Kroma, enjoying a weekend on his dream boat Lucky Lady at the Toledo Yacht Club. "Unfortunately he only enjoyed it for one season, passing away from cancer three years ago in March," says Tom. "He loved the water. My stepmom Sue, and family continue to enjoy Lucky Lady on Lake Erie and on many trips to Put-In-Bay, Ohio."

Ed's Piano: This photo was taken by Frank Wurden of his father's 1973 Willard, named Ed's Piano. "My dad is one of those boaters that uses his boat a lot, or is at the dock helping people on an almost daily basis. He's a retired electrical engineer and has rewired or fixed the electrical system on many a boat for his friends. He and the boat have travelled so many times between the South Sound and the North End of Vancouver Island, that everyone's lost count." The picture was taken from a bank near Poulsbo, Washington.

Man's Best Friend: Chris and Jean Newberry and their dog Sam went on vacation to Islamorada in the Florida Keys and had a great week, sharing many a sunset onboard together. Chris's wife Jean, who took the shot, says Sam loves the boat. Clearly!

Send Us Your Photos
Do you have a photo of you or your family and friends safely enjoying great times on the water? E-mail the high-resolution digital version to us (min. 300 dpi) with your name and address, and tell us who (preferably with life jacket donned) or what's in the photo. We may select your photos to appear in this column. Send to LettersToEditor@BoatUS.com

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