Monday, June 30, 2008

Waiting to Exhale

Things have been very slow out here at Block Island so far. The land based businesses on the island are reporting normal amounts of tourists in the shops and resturants, but the majority of them come by ferry. In the distance of this picture is the entrance to the Great Salt Pond....but where are the inbound boats?

This is typically the week that things start to ramp up out here, so I'm not overly concened yet. Back on the mainland, the boys have been having average case loads. But, the island anchorage has very few powerboats out here, and I've only had one tow since arriving last Monday, which sure feels light when your season is only 10 weeks long.

At this time next week, we will know if the boaters are willing to buy some fuel and come out here, or not.

We're sort of holding our breath....

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Its All About Peril

Two interesting cases were recently decided in court, and the decisions should act as a reminder to all salvors that rule number one in a salvage claim is the existance of a marine peril. Without peril, you got squat.

In the first case, Sea Tow Portland/Vancouver v. Yacht High Steaks, a tower took an unmanned yacht off the hands of a fire boat, and moved the yacht to a safe location away from a dock fire. The court found there was indeed some peril, even though a government rescue agency had already moved the yacht away from the fire, so a valid salvage claim was in force. The actual award was pretty small after the court took into account the remaining Blackwall factors.

The second case, Cape Ann Towing v. M/Y Universal Lady, the court found that no peril existed at the time the salvor showed up, because the yacht was already tied up to another yacht after running free as a hurricane passed over the area....and their $487,500 salvage claim was reduced to $2,706. OUCH.

You can read more details on these cases by [clicking here]. This link opens the current MLAUS (Maritime Law Association of the US) recreational boating newsletter. Scroll down to page 9. Past issues of the newsletter are also available here

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Summer Digs

Well, my summer season has officially begun, and I'm now swinging on a mooring out at Block Island. We had some fog yesterday morning, and here was the view from the back deck of Water Torture while I had my coffee.

Not a bad gig...

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Stuff they don't teach in Risk Management Class

Pretend for a moment that you've been sent to pull a sailboat that is stranded on a very notorious rocky reef (I won't say where - it doesn't matter to the story here). Lets say the sailboat looks just like this one here.

....and lets say that you get your tow line all nicely hooked up, and you begin to pull......maybe you pull a little harder.....she's almost off.....

.....just a few more RPMs should do it.....

and then you hear a very bad sound...

If you click on the photo, you should see a larger version. This captain managed to get the job completed after a little more drama - he got his one of his wheels wrapped in a lobster pot. Just one of those days I guess....

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Man Drills Hole, Goes Fishing...

Got this story via email from the west coast....still laughing my a## off!

Gentleman tried to cut a 2 inch hole (for a transducer) in the bottom of his 24' fiberglass center console fishing boat. The 3/8" pilot drill bit went all the way through, and he partially cut the 2" hole, but the 2" hole saw blade got dull and he couldn't cut all the way through. The owner plugged the 3/8" pilot hole with silicon sealer and took his friends fishing.

They got out to the 14 mile bank where a fleet of boats was chumming for Mako sharks, and stopped to drift for sharks. Pounding for 14 miles caused the 2" hole to break through. The boat promptly filled and capsized.

Fortunately the boat had a life raft. The owner and his friends got into the life raft, shot off some flares and were quickly rescued.

Capt Tyler Lee, Vessel Assist Dana Point, responded, located the capsized hull, wisely towed the boat away from the shark grounds before bagging the hull and towing it back into the harbor.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Just a Few Tacos Shy...

...of a full combo platter. Thats an old saying to suggest that someone isn't playing with a full deck, or in this case, a few gallons shy of a full ocean crossing.

It seems our mariner here left Bermuda on Saturday, and headed up to New England, in part to set a record, and in part for some kind of charity.

Well, I'm trying to be as generous as I can, but I gotta wonder about the sanity of such a voyage. He told me the reason he was getting low on gas was the 40 kts of wind and 20' seas he encounted the night before; weather that wasn't predicted, I guess. I delivered 5 gallons of gas to him about 15 miles south of his destination of Newport, RI.

To bad he didn't have a membership...

Sunday, June 15, 2008

New Websites

Kent Dresser from Confident Captain has created a new webpage targeting mariners:

Pete Andrews of Safe/Sea started a blog highlighting the "Adventures of a Safe/Sea captain..."

If you send some time surfing the Internet, you will find 100's of marine oriented websites, some good, some not so good. The trick is to find the ones that you will want to regularly return to. Here are a few I've found:

USCG News: . The official news source of the USCG. Hard to find any thing critical about the CG here.

gCaptain: . Somewhat geared towards ships and Merchant Mariners, but I aways find something interesting here.

Unofficial CG Blog: This is where you will find out what is really going on inside the USCG.

Professional Mariner: All around super source of news and info.

Saturday, June 7, 2008

Oil Prices Giving You That Sinking Feeling?

If the oil market fluctuations are giving you fits, here is a link to some very good in depth research, news, comments and analysis about the world oil situation.

Lots of boats out there today in my area. Most were OB powered in the 18-28' range.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Travelers buys its umbrella logo back.

I found this back in April, but I forgot to post it:

Travelers snatches its umbrella logo back from Citi. - By Seth Stevenson - Slate Magazine

How much did this cost? Travelers wouldn't tell me, but newspaper reports peg the transaction in the millions. "It was a substantial investment," says Shane Boyd, vice president of communications and branding for Travelers, "but we think well worth it.

Or, another article here says:
"All I can tell you is that it was not an insignificant amount," says Marlene Ibsen, spokesperson for Travelers. "Our research shows that the umbrella is well-recognized as a symbol of insurance protection and as a symbol of Travelers as well."

Now, if you get a salvage on a boat with golf clubs inside, maybe they can find some money here:

.....St. Paul Travelers Companies Inc., along with the PGA Tour and the Greater Hartford Jaycees Community Foundation Inc., last April 2006 into a four-year agreement to be the title sponsor of the PGA Tour tournament. The initial investment to Travelers was $10 million. The tournament purse will be raised to $6 million this year, $1 million more than in 2006, and will increase by an additional $100,000 in each of the remaining years of the four-year agreement. The event will be played June 18-24 and televised live by CBS Sports and the Golf Channel.
Thought I should post this, just in case you've had a Travelers claim recently, and they complained about belt tightening and hurricanes and lions and Tiger Woods and bears, oh my!

If they want to negotiate you down on a big claim, just tell 'em to open the umbrella, 'cause when it rains, it pours....

Sunday, June 1, 2008

Lifeguards, Harbor Patrol perform salvage in California

Can you imagine if this was your contract area? The story below is from the SoCal boating newspaper The Log, and you can read it by clicking here, but I have pasted the entire story below.

Lifeguards, Harbor Patrol Officers Save Boat
Thursday, May 29, 2008 2:26:00 PM
Last updated: Thursday, May 29, 2008 2:26:00 PM

NEWPORT BEACH – Orange County Sheriff’s Harbor Patrol officers and Newport Beach Lifeguards worked to rescue a boat that drifted ashore April 30 on Corona del Mar State Beach.
Strong winds caused a 27-foot sailboat, one of many vessels anchored off Corona del Mar State Beach, to drag anchor and eventually be blown into shallow water and become grounded. By the time Newport Beach Lifeguards and Harbor Patrol officers reached the vessel, its keel was stuck in the sand. “With the lifeguards’ approval, we waited for the tide to come up, put a line on it, and it floated,” said Harbor Patrol Deputy Joel Monroe. Officers then impounded the vessel, which is required when a boat runs ashore, since it is considered a hazard, he explained. The vessel, Salubrious, currently has a broken rudder. Michael Juneau, a liveaboard who owns the boat, is in the process of getting the rudder fixed.

I love how the HarPats get the lifeguards' approval to wait for the tide. I wonder if anyone contacted the USCG? Did the HarPats have to provide a salvage plan to the USCG? Is it USCG policy to exempt Harbor Patrols from having and following a salvage plan?

If they waited for the tide (which is what they said they did), then how can this be anything other than a salvage? Unless CPORT gets deeply involved with this issue, I fear SoCal is a lost cause.