Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Top 10 Tuesdays: Top 10 Interesting Things Learned During The Captain's License Course

As many of you know - Scott got his Captain's license (or, rather, passed the test - he still has to get all his paperwork in).  The class was 9 straight days of intensive learning in a classroom setting, followed by hours of studying either at the yacht club or library.  Knowing Scott, I knew he would pass with flying colors (he is incredibly smart and when he sets out to do something, he does it 100%).  But he DID learn some interesting rules, tips, tricks that he didn't know before.  With no further ado, here they are:

  1. If your masthead light is on while sailing at night, you are considered a "power driven vessel" as far as right of way is concerned.  We had no idea!
  2. Theh term "tonnage" does not mean that's what your boat weighs.  Tonnage, when it comes to boat speak- is a measure of volume, not of weight.
  3. You might be a paid captain, after all!  If you take your friends fishing, for example, and ask that they bring a case of beer and a few Subway sandwiches on board and you do NOT finish ALL of the food/drink before you return to the harbor, you are technically being "paid" and you must have your captain's license.
  4. Life jackets are lifesavers.  "Each life jacket must be marked in clearly legible block letters with the vessels name".  This is a rule we were unaware of!  Makes sense.  However, this most likely applies only to commercial vessels, but it's probably good practice for any size boat.
  5. How to create a deviation table.  Scott's pretty excited to get back out on the water to create a deviation table for our boat, there's no such thing as a straight line on the water!
  6. Do you know your real course?  Your compass alone might not steer you home!  Use:  True course, Variation (+ or -), Magnetic, Deviation (+ or -), Compass - "True Virgins Make Dull Company" (add Whiskey (west), take away Ethics (east)).  This acronym is used for calculating compass error correction from top to bottom.  Confused?  Take a look here.
  7. Fun Fact:  Many of the traffic laws in the USA were created based on maritime traffic rules (i.e. you drive on the right side of the channel, right side of the road).
  8. Ever heard of the fire "triangle"? Fire is pretty much the worst thing that can happen on a boat at sea.  Any fire must have three basic components (aka the fire "triangle"):   Fuel,  Heat, and Oxygen.  Remove any one of these and the fire will collapse.
  9. Abandon ship? Stay with your vessel as long as possible.  As long as your vessel remains afloat you are probably safer remaining on board than taking to your life raft or survival craft. "Stick with the ship as long as it sticks with you".  We've known this since we were young, but it's a good reminder.  History shows that many more people involved in sea tragedies could have been saved if they stayed with their boats.
  10. And the final, most important, thing he learned is that: No matter how long you have been a boater and no matter how much you think you know about boating, there is plenty more to be learned!

Obviously Scott learned a TON more - but these 10 things were ones that stood out as either something we should've known, were shocked by, or just thought were interesting.  Hope you enjoyed!

Brittany & Scott


NatGeoWannaBe said...

Had to google "Deviation Table" (before I saw your link to CaptnMike).

After reading how to create/correct/un-correct I can officially say I think I pulled something in my brain.

Andy said...

Can you clarify *which* captain's rating Scott is going for?

I also am Canadian, and all I could read from official sources is that the 6-pak is only open to U.S. citizens, and not recognized elsewhere.

If you could clarify, I would be very appreciative.

Neophyte Cruiser said...

It sounds like the course was well worth the effort! Congrats, Capt'n Scott. Regarding the masthead light, I'm assuming you're referring to the 180-degree "steaming" light on the forward side of the mast (the name is the give away). Learning is one of the many rewards of sailing; there's always more to learn. As always, your blog continues to be entertaining and informative!

Anonymous said...

Good post!
Is "masthead light" the same as "steaming light"? Conversely, are you required to show your steaming light when motoring?

I always liked "east is least" and "west is best"

Matt said...

On #9....always step (climb) up into your life raft...never down into it. Just another way of saying...stay with the vessel until you absolutely can't any longer. Good stuff Scott, good stuff. Now we know all that extra beer needs to be consumed BEFORE getting back to the dock. :)

Anonymous said...

Scott hope your brain doesn't hurt too much :)

#3 isn't right....see below from BoatSafe.com -- the important word is "as a condition" -- so if you require beer or they can't come then you would need your captains license, but guests can voluntarily donate towards fuel, food, beer, etc. so long as it isn't required

A “passenger for hire” means a passenger for whom consideration is contributed as a condition of carriage on the vessel, whether directly or indirectly flowing to the owner, charterer, operator, agent, or any other person having an interest in the vessel.

Section 2101 of title 46 (5a) defines “consideration” as an economic benefit, inducement, right, or profit including pecuniary (fancy attorney word for money) payment accruing to an individual, person, or entity, but not including a voluntary sharing of the actual expenses of the voyage, by monetary contribution or donation of fuel, food, beverage, or other supplies.” Additionally, employees or business clients that have not contributed for their carriage, and are carried for morale or entertainment purposes, are not considered as an exchange of consideration.

Bottom line: If you are a recreational boater, you are allowed to share expenses for a day on the water. Just don’t make payment mandatory if someone wants a boat ride.

Anonymous said...

life jackets only have to be labeled with the vessels name on commercial vessels not recreational

Bob Harwig said...

#3 sounds like a perfectly good reason to make sure you finish ALL the booze before you get back to the dock.

Tytti said...

Congratulations to Captain Scott and his First Mate !

Will Brittany take the test too someday?

Jimfavreur said...

Congratulations Scott and maybe Brittany will get her captains license one day too.

Anonymous said...

Great Blog guys. I just stumbled on it and I love it! Well done.

My favorite quote about life rafts is that you should always "step up" into the life raft, never down. Stay with the mother ship until nothing is left floating!

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