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Cruising Life
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Great Lakes: Where Did All the Ice Go?

NOAA says there’s been a record low level of ice on the Great Lakes so far this winter. Here’s their report: NOAA researchers at NOAA’s Great Lakes Environmental Research Laboratory (GLERL) report that they’ve seen a steady decrease in ice coverage across the Great Lakes, which has reached a historic low. Together, Great Lakes ice coverage was measured at 2.7 % on February 11, 2024. Coverage on each of the lakes was measured as follows: Lake Superior 1.7 % Lake Michigan 2.6 % Lake Huron 5.9 % Lake Erie 0.05 % Lake Ontario 1.7 % Lakes Erie and Ontario are…

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Floating Sauna Saves Sinking Tesla

Here’s a truly bizarre story we just saw on Boatblurb.com: One of the most unlikely maritime rescue operations just took place on an Oslo fjord. After a Tesla commuter inexplicably drove into the frigid waterway and began sinking, the captain of the floating sauna immediately came to their rescue, albeit at a meager pace and with the unlikeliest of rescue vessels. “One of the guests came running and alerted me that a car had fallen into the water. Then I went full throttle at the people who came climbing out of the car,” captain Nicholay Nordahl told Norwegian website VG.…

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How To Dock in Wind

Here’s some solid advice from Skipper Tips about how to dock when the wind its coming off  the dock. Read on, it works: Imagine that you need to dock your boat in a gusty off-the-dock wind. But that’s not all. You’ll have to squeeze between two big power yachts. What three steps will you use to make this docking challenge easier? Preparations ahead of time top my list for building sound seamanship skills before taking your boat into a marina (including your own). Rig fenders and lines on both sides of the boat. If the engine stops working or a…

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NOAA Saved 350 Lives in U.S. Last Year

Here’s some good news from NOAA, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration: NOAA’s satellites, known for their pivotal role in tracking weather and climate, were behind the rescue of 350 people from harrowing, life-threatening ordeals in the U.S. and its surrounding waters in 2023. NOAA’s polar-orbiting and geostationary satellites are part of the global Search and Rescue Satellite Aided Tracking system, or COSPAS-SARSAT, which uses a network of U.S. and international spacecraft to detect and locate distress signals sent from 406MHz emergency beacons onboard aircraft, boats and handheld Personal Locator Beacons (PLBs) anywhere in the world. Since its start in…

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How To Avoid a Collision

Crossing the Gulf Stream to the Bahamas, transiting Delaware Bay, heading into San Diego harbor, wherever you cruise, you’ll end up sharing the water with something larger than your vessel, including freighters or tankers that have very limited maneuverability. Consider that a ship cruising at 20 knots travels one nm every three minutes; you may be on a collision course sooner than you think. Here’s some great advice from Skipper Tips about how to track another vessel to avoid a collision, taking visual bearings. Even in an age of radar and AIS, you need to know how to do this…

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Fast Quiz: What 220,000 Boaters Don’t Know

Here’s a fast, fun, quiz from BoatUS. You probably know the answers, but if you miss one, you might want to take a refresher course before you start cruising this spring: ANNAPOLIS, Md., Jan. 10, 2024 – The BoatUS Foundation for Boating Safety and Clean Water offers a range of online boating safety training courses — including 36 free state boating safety courses — that make boating safety education affordable and accessible. More than 220,000 boaters took one of these boating certification courses last year, which require students to correctly answer some questions at the conclusion of each course. Which…

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7-Point Diesel Engine Checklist

Here’s some basic, but important, advice from Skipper Tips about how to make sure that all is well once you start your boat’s diesel engine(s): You turn the key, push the diesel engine starter button and your engine starts just like you expect it to. But did you realize that you have seven quick checks to make that could spell the difference between a trouble-free day or a long, slow tow back to the marina dock? Follow these seven tips from marine diesel guru Peter Compton: 1. Watch for Exhaust Water. Look over the side. Make sure you have water…

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Fossil Found of 40-Foot-Long Sea Monster

If you’re worried about today’s great white shark, consider the pliosaur, a 40-foot long sea monster with 130 teeth that roamed the oceans of the world some 150 million years ago. British scientists just unearthed a fossil of its skull, which was 6’ 5” long. Here’s the story from the BBC: The skull of a colossal sea monster has been extracted from the cliffs of Dorset’s Jurassic Coast. It belongs to a pliosaur, a ferocious marine reptile that terrorised the oceans about 150 million years ago. The 2m (6ft 5in)-long fossil is one of the most complete specimens of its…

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How To Find Your Distance from a Landfall

You’re coming into a harbor and your electronics aren’t working (believe me, it happens). You need to figure out how far away you are from making a landfall. Here is some great advice from Skipper Tips about how to figure this out on your own: In a pitch black night, you squint through the binoculars to try to pick up Libby Island lighthouse off the rugged coastline of Maine. The nautical GPS shows you dead on track and the light should be visible from 18 miles (note the abbreviation 18M). Right now, you estimate you are just about 18 nautical…

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NOAA: Celebrate National Seafood Month

According to NOAA, October is National Seafood Month. Who knew? In any event, even though we’re more than halfway through the month, we still can make up for lost time. Here’s a list of seven ways to celebrate, as collated by NOAA Fisheries: 1. Learn What Makes U.S. Seafood Sustainable In the United States, sustainable seafood is not only a possibility, it’s our priority. Fish, shellfish, and marine algae are renewable resources—they can reproduce and replenish their populations naturally. That means we can sustainably harvest fish within certain limits without depleting their populations. Fishery management is the process of using science…

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