Friday, December 26, 2008

Seattle Fishermen's Terminal OUPV - Master 100 January 2008

Just a reminder about my upcoming January license class - it's an Tuesday - Wednesday - Thursday evening schedule for seven weeks - mariners will sit in class for their OUPV and or NMT Master 100 ton license.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

NY December Boat Show Report

From the New York Post -

You can almost hear the lonely-sounding foghorn off in the distance.
The thousand boats spread out across Manhattan's massive Jacob Javits Center for the New York National Boat Show were dwarfed yesterday by the vast emptiness where buyers would normally be seen.

Read the rest of the story -

Ballard Dispatch - A Land Yacht

Since the floating fat man has turned this Emerald City into a huge skating rink with cars playing bumper car bingo day and night - here in Ballard it appears that boat fenders are being used to fend off other bumper cars - looks like Frosty got impaled during a close encounter.....

Merry Christmas

The very best holiday wishes to all of you - tis the season to be thankful...John

Here's some pictures from Seattle's Great Figgy Pudding Caroling Contest held downtown earlier this month....can you name that tune? (click on the video below) -

Don't Get Fouled Up...

Here's an interesting piece from a recent survey of an Columbia River bow picker - in the event that the vessel's prop or rudder became fouled with a net - a metal tube (lower picture) installed through the hull - just above the prop allows the crew to inspect the underwater hardware (the top picture is what the tube opening looks like outside the hull) - and if they were lucky - provide a means to untangle or cut-away the net....the tube is about 5" in diameter and is capped with a screw-in plug just see this feature any to often.

Snow at the Ballard Yacht Club

Several snow events have occurred over the past week here in Seattle - the streets are a mess since this green city refuses to use salt - as it will drain into Puget Sound (which is salt water anyway) - oh well....

Monday, December 22, 2008

Current Surface Air Chart

Standard barometric pressure is 1013 mb

Wind velocity - one full feather is 10 knots, a half feather is 5 knots

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Pyotr Velikhiy aka Peter the Great in Cuba

Kirov Class (Type 1144.2) (Peter the Great) Heavy Missile Cruiser, RussiaThe Russian Heavy Missile Cruise Ship, Project 1144.2 Kirov Class was built by the Baltic Shipyard in Saint Petersburg. The Kirov Class provides the capability to engage large surface ships and to defend the fleet against air and submarine attack. Four cruisers were built but only Admiral Nakhimov (commissioned in 1988) and Pyotr Velikhiy (commissioned in 1995) remain active.
The ship's propulsion system is based on a combination of nuclear power and steam turbine, with four nuclear reactors and two auxiliary boilers. The four steam turbines deliver 28,000hp. Two shafts drive two five-bladed, fixed-pitch propellers. The propulsion system provides a full speed of 31 knots.

Year in Review....

Zenith Maritime Announces Record Year

SEATTLE, Washington (December 31, 2008) - Zenith Maritime, a US Coast Guard approved curriculum, announced that 2008 was a record year delivering over 70 license training courses to mariners across the United States.
Operating in nine states, Zenith specializes in Coast Guard Licensing to the 200 ton Master's level, including the training of Able Bodied Seamen. As an approved Coast Guard curriculum, Zenith is authorized to conduct normally stressful Coast Guard testing at the end of each class.
Partnering with six universities - colleges and the Seattle School District, the school also has close relationships with placement agencies, and industry specialists. Founded in 2003 Zenith Maritime's facility includes 21 highly qualified instructors, who bring real life experience to the classroom.
Zenith's founder, John Baird stated, "We are extremely proud of our high success rate. The demand for merchant mariners the next few years will far outstrip the number of qualified applicants. We are poised to assist those who want to meet the challenge of a rewarding career on the water."
You can find out more about Zenith Maritime by visiting www.Zenith or by calling 360.471.6148.

For more information contact:
Capt. Richard Rodriguez

Weather - Bad

240 AM PST SAT DEC 20 2008



Grand Banks Chines....

On the older wood GBs there is a tendency for the underbody planking to push outboard (look at the above pictures - see the gap between the frame and the chine log) - thus crowding the chine log outboard as well (usually in the amidship area). Usually this isn't a issue - most Banks by now have crept all they intended to - (more than a 3/8" gap between the frames and the chine log is the trigger point) - and if it is, the chine can be stabilized by through bolting.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Baird's First Law of Marginal Maritime Advice...

The First Law states -

Weight High - Bad

Weight Low - Good

The First Law's Ballard Derivation -

Food - Good

Fire - Bad

Tide's Out - Table Set

The Survey - Delivery Clause to the aforementioned First Law -

If your boat's afloat and you don't see any smoke - call me for a quote

Stability Thoughts.....

Here's a short stability ditty for the folks in the Philippines.....

Stability Testing - A simplified stability test may not be as conservative as is commonly assumed. The simplified test is done on a pass/fail basis moving weight and comparing the angle of heel with a reference mark. The required weight shift is based on passengers remaining in one general area and may not adequately account for large passenger movements.

As an example, consider the possibility where 150 passengers line the rail on one side of a vessel with an 18 foot beam to observe a manatee. If a large glowing UFO suddenly surfaces on the opposite side of the vessel and passengers shift 10 feet, a 240,000 ft-lbs heeling moment is generated (150 passengers x 160 lbs. x 10 ft.). The required stability test heeling moment is only 64,000 ft-lbs (16 ft. beam accessible to passengers x 150 passengers x 160 lbs. divided by 6). In this example actual passenger weight shift exceeded the stability test requirements by almost 400%!

Passenger Movement and Stability - Weight shift by passengers on the upper deck may have a significant effect on vessel stability and all operators are reminded to review their Certificate of Inspection and Stability Letter for upper deck passenger limitations.

Vessel operators should implement stringent control procedures to strictly enforce upper deck passenger limits. Passengers naturally tend to go up and in any circumstances may actually crowd the rails to view a special occurrence such as a whale sighting. Adding extra passengers on the upper deck shifts the vessel’s center of gravity up which adversely affects stability. Passenger movement from side to side on the vessel also presents a significant heeling moment, and may affect the vessel’s stability.

Wind Heeling and Stability - Another important consideration is the effect that wind plays on a vessel’s stability. High winds or wind gusts can adversely affect the vessel’s stability; which could cause it to capsize in severe conditions. The effect that wind has varies with the wind’s strength and direction, the type of vessel and its speed, and has a greater effect on slow moving vessels with large superstructures. Wind heeling effect has less effect on vessels that have a low profile or that sit lower in the water. Vessels that sit higher in the water have a higher freeboard, or larger sail area are much more effected by wind. Regardless of vessel type, caution should be exercised when operating in high winds. The vessel’s configuration gets taken into consideration during all inclining experiments whether full or simplified. Vessel operators should know the characteristics of the vessel and how wind may affect its stability. All operators are reminded to review their Certificate of Inspection and Stability Letter for operating limitations.

SPV Troubles Part II....

I was doing some research on recent capsizing involving small passenger vessels - here's another one from the Philippines that I wasn't aware of....I believe this might be number three or four this year for Philippine flagged vessels - not so good. Perhaps they need some marginal maritime advice on stability, viz., load high - bad ... load low - good.

From the China News Service -

MANILA, November 4 (Xinhua) -- At least 40 people, including 11 children, were killed and 76 others were rescued after an inter-island passenger boat capsized Tuesday afternoon in the central Philippines.
The MV Don Dexter Kathleen capsized off the country's central province of Masbate when a sudden gust of wind hit the vessel at 1 p.m. local time (0300 GMT), said Reuben Sindac, police director of the province.
Rescue teams recovered a manifest of the ferry, which showed there were 119 passengers and six crew members on the boat.
But Sindac said that there may be more as they received reports that some were on board but their names were not on the manifest. He estimated that at least 13 people are still missing.
Of the 29 adult dead, 25 were women.
The police have brought the dead to a plaza, lined up and covered for their relatives to identify.
The tragedy occurred 20 minutes after the ferry's departure on its voyage to Sorsogon, another central province.
The vessel was reportedly owned and operated by one Eduardo Yap in the Masbate province.
"The weather suddenly turned violent. There was a whirlwind," said Herminio Valdemoro, a local official.
Sindac said there were life jackets aboard but the waves surged too suddenly.
As an archipelago with more than 7,000 islands and heavy dependence on sea-going vessels for transport, the Southeast Asian country is frequently haunted by sea mishaps, large or small.
On June 21, another ferry, named The M/V Princess of the Stars, overturned off the central province of Romblon at the height of Typhoon Fengshen, with 862 people on board. No more than 60 survived the disaster. Currently, the ill-fated vessel is still floating upside down off Romblon.

Monday, December 15, 2008

SPV Troubles....

Dateline 15 December 2008 - On the heels of my SPV rules and regs posts....

Philippine officials said Monday that at least 23 people drowned when a overcrowded ferry carrying nearly 100 capsized. Thirty-three passengers are still missing. The wooden-hulled Maejan, above, flipped over roughly half a mile from its destination in Aparri in northeastern Cagayan province. Thirty-three others are still missing after the wooden-hulled Maejan, traveling from Calayan islands in the Luzon Strait, encountered strong waves and currents Sunday evening. The eight-hour journey to buy Christmas food and other supplies turned into the country's latest sea accident after the boat flipped over just about half a mile from its destination in Aparri town in northeastern Cagayan province, police said.

Senior Inspector Alex de los Santos said some of the nearly 100 passengers jumped into the chilly water after waves broke the ferry's bamboo outrigger, causing it to bob wildly.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

The Ray Act and Small Passenger Vessels

Have you ever wondered why passengers vessels of less than 100 GT which carry less than 6 passengers are called SPVs?

On May 10, 1956, Congress enacted the `Ray Act', now referred to as the `Small Passenger Vessel Act', requiring inspection of passenger vessels weighing less than 100 gross tons and carrying more than six passengers, to ensure that the vessel could be `operated, and navigated with safety to life in the proposed service and that all applicable requirements of marine safety statutes and regulations are faithfully complied with.' 70 Stat. 151.

On September 1, 1958, Congress adopted the Federal Boating Act of 1958, amending the Motor Boat Act of 1940 making it applicable to all `motor boats . . . on the navigable waters of the United States . . .' and requiring the numbering of all vessels propelled by machinery of more than 10 horsepower and established a system whereby individual States could adopt a uniform numbering and certificate system. The Act further required that accidents involving numbered vessels be reported to the State in which the accident occurred and that the data collected by the States be reported to the Coast Guard. 72 Stat. 1754. In 1961, Congress extended the requirements of the Federal Boating Act of 1958 to Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands, and Guam. 75 Stat. 408.

On July 20, 1965, Congress `exempted oceanographic research vessels from the application of vessels inspection laws', and declared that `scientific personnel' were not `passengers'. 79 Stat. 424.

In 1967, Executive Order 167-81 transferred the U.S. Coast Guard from the Treasury Department to the newly-formed Department of Transportation.

The Motorboat Act of 1940

This subject comes up from time to time - anyway - it's an interesting read regarding where we are today...

On April 25, 1940, Congress adopted the Motor Boat Act of 1940 amending and adding to the Motor Boat Act of 1910. `Motorboats' were defined in the Act as `every vessel propelled by machinery and not more that sixty-five feet in length except tugboats and towboats propelled by steam.' The Act established four classes of motorboats; prescribed requirements for navigational lights and sound-signaling devices; life-preservers (what today are called Personal Flotation Devices); fire extinguishers, backfire flame arrestors and bilge ventilation.

The Act established licensing requirements for the operator of a motorboat carrying passengers for hire and specifically stated that, `No person shall operate any motorboat or any vessel in a reckless of negligent manner so as to endanger the life, limb, or property of any person.' 54 Stat. 163.

In 1940, Congress amended the Revised Statutes `to provide for the safe carriage of explosives or other dangerous or semidangerous articles or substances on board vessels; to make more effective the provisions of the International Convention for the Safety of Life at Sea, 1929, relating to the carriage of dangerous goods.' 54 Stat. 1023.

In February 1942, the functions relating to safety of life at sea, marine inspection, seamen's welfare and certain other maritime activities carried out by the Bureau of Marine Inspection and Navigation were temporarily transferred from the Department of Commerce to the U.S. Coast Guard (by executive order) for the duration of the war and until six months after the end of hostilities. The Coast Guard was responsible for those safety matters that had been regulated by BMIN: Approval of plans for merchant ships and their equipment; inspection of vessels to check stability, fire control or fireproofing, life-saving and fire-fighting equipment; administration of load line requirements; administration and enforcement of the laws pertaining to the numbering of motor-boats and the issuance of certificates of inspection; examination, licensing, and certification of Merchant Marine personnel--masters, pilots, engineers, staff officers; investigation of marine casualties; preparation and publication of rules and regulations to protect passengers, officers, and crews of American ships; Merchant Marine Council activities; and the training of merchant mariners.

In 1946, pursuant to Executive Order 9083 and Reorganization Plan No. 3, the Bureau of Marine Inspection and Navigation was abolished and became a permanent part of the Coast Guard under the Treasury Department.

Old US Inland Pilot Rules

I was going through an old file the other day and came across a poster which outlined the old US Inland Pilot Navigation Rules....

Winter Storm - Current Surface and Long Range 500mb Air Charts

I have posted the 24-hour, 48-hour, and 96-hour 500mb charts plus the current surface chart in color - interesting winter storm pattern....






Friday, December 12, 2008

Winter Storm...

Here's the 500mb 24 and 48 hour upper air charts

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Another Use For GPS....

From the Seattle Times - an interesting article on a GPS Jesus -

A Shamless Plug -

Zenith instructor Capt Mark Garrison (see below) is trying to help you escape your failed and dismal existence - so go out and support your local charter boat operator.....

Captain Mark's Hidden Treasure Charters specialize in vacations to the beautiful British Virgin Islands and scenic water tours of the beautiful Bighorn Canyon National Recreation Area located near Lovell, Wyoming.... for more information click -

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

World's Smallest Harbor....

Depoe Bay on the central Oregon coast claims to be the world's smallest harbor (,_Oregon ) - its entrance is just a (very small) hole in the rocky coast line and any vessel wishing to enter the harbor has to time its run with the tide's a piece of work...the quick dog-leg is a real thrill.

Metacentric Height - Part Two

Following yesterday's ditty on how to calculate a vessel's GM - here's some food for thought...the center of gravity of Seattle's Space Needle is just five feet above grade or ground level (about the height of the guy standing in front of the Needle's north entrance) - considering the following facts - that's fairly impressive....

Location: 122 degrees W and 47 degrees N

The Space Needle was built in 1962 and is 620 ft tall. It took 467 cement trucks and 12 continous hours to pour the 5,850 tons of concrete. It also took 250 tons of rebar to form the Space Needle base.

Metacentric Height -

Calculating GM or Metacentric Height -

The following formula calculates GM in feet based on the natural roll period of the vessel measured in seconds or T and its beam in feet. A natural roll period is the time between two successive peak roll angles on the same side of a vessel. The most accurate method is to use an average of several roll periods.

GM = (.44 X Beam / T)²

For example, let’s say that a small vessel has a beam of 18 feet and its roll period or “T” is 6 seconds. The calculated metacentric height of this vessel would be:

(.44 X 18 feet / 6 seconds)² = 1.74 feet

With a GM of 1.74 feet, the vessel would be rather tender. With small vessels, the minimum metacentric height should be at least 3 feet and generally over 4 feet is preferred.

Calculating Natural Roll Period Using a Known GM:

We can predict a vessel’s natural roll period or “T” if its GM has been previously determined. Use the following formula:

T = (.44 X Beam) / Square Root of GM

If our vessel’s GM was determined to be 4 feet with a beam of 20 feet then its predicted natural roll period is:

(.44 X 20) / 2 = 4.4 seconds

Longitudinal Stability:

Remember that a vessel has two centers of gravity. We have discussing heeling and listing which involves a vessel’s transverse stability. The other deals with its longitudinal stability which also has a center of gravity (LCG) and a center of buoyancy (LCB). Like transverse stability, we are adding and removing weight in terms of passengers, cargo, fuel, and stores. Instead of dealing with a listing or heeling vessel we are concerned with the trimming the vessel fore and aft. Imagine that a vessel is perfectly balance longitudinally on a point called the Longitudinal Center of Flotation (LCF). When weight is added either forward or after of this point, the vessel either trims down at the bow or at the stern. Usually a vessel sits deeper at the stern (drag) to increase the effectiveness of propulsion. So when a vessel is properly trimmed it preserves its design drag plus ensures that it has proper reserve buoyancy and metacentric height.

Study Problems:

Calculate the metacenter (GM) for the following vessels:

A 50-foot charter boat with an 18 foot beam and 4.3 second rolling period?
A 95-ton steam vessel with a 22-foot beam with a rolling period of 6.5 seconds?
A vessel with a 16-foot beam with a 3.2 second rolling period?
A 26-foot UTV with a 12-foot beam and a 2.1 second rolling period?
An UPV with a 19-foot LOA, 8-foot beam with a 3.0 second rolling period?

Answers: 1. 3.39 feet 2. 2.21 feet 3. 4.84 feet 4. 6.32 feet 5. 1.37 feet

Monday, December 8, 2008

Ballard Locks

Seattle January Master 100 - OUPV Class

I have a few seats available for my Master 100 - OUPV license weeknight class (T-W-Th 6 - 10pm for seven weeks) starting Jan 13th at Fishermen's Terminal - Seattle. Call (360.471.6148) or email me ( for more information .

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Rough Bars....

In light of the recent accident on the Tillamook bar....

This is a press release courtesy of the U.S. Coast Guard

The Coast Guard is reminding boaters that crossing coastal bars are hazardous and mariners should heed warnings of adverse conditions before heading out.

Rough bars have been the cause of numerous boat capsizings that endanger the lives of recreational and commercial boaters. Preventing these accidents is a constant battle for the Coast Guardsmen who patrol these bars.

The Coast Guard monitors the conditions of many bars and broadcasts restrictions that prohibit recreational boats and small commercial passenger vessels from entering the regulated navigation area when hazardous conditions exist.

The Coast Guard reminds recreational boaters to check their rough bar warning signs located on waterways approaching a bar from inland. If a boater sees an energized amber light on a rough bar warning sign they should contact the local Coast Guard Station for bar information.
In addition, boaters should check weather and conditions prior to heading through a bar area by calling a local Coast Guard station or by listening to broadcasts on VHF channel 16. If boating in the local areas of Depoe Bay, Ore., Newport, Ore. or Winchester Bay, Ore., local bar conditions and restrictions can be heard by tuning to 1610 AM on your radio.
Rough bar warning signs are located at the following Coast Guard stations. Mariners can call for weather and bar conditions.
Chetco River (541) 469-4571
Rogue River (Memorial Day to Labor Day) (541) 247-7219
Coquille River (Memorial Day to Labor Day) (541) 347-2038
Coos Bay (541) 888-3102
Umpqua River (541) 271-8417
Siuslaw River (541) 902-7792
Yaquina Bay (541) 265- 5511
Depoe Bay (541) 765- 2122
Tillamook Bay (503) 322-3234
Nehalem River (503) 322-3234
Columbia River (360) 642-3565
Grays Harbor (360) 268-0622
Quillayute River (360) 374-6993

All the News.....the 2-fer Captain Strikes Again

Zenith Instructor Chris Rundlett just started his OUPV class at Columbia Basin College (Pasco, WA) this past's the 30 November write-up in the local paper - UPDATE: the class is full.

'Six-pack' boat captain training offered at CBC - By Michelle Dupler, Herald staff writer

PASCO -- Starting Dec. 1, Columbia Basin College will offer a new class teaching desert dwellers how to be licensed maritime captains. The class is designed to give boaters the knowledge they need to pass a test for the Operator of Uninspected Passenger Vessels license.

read the entire story here -

Monday, December 1, 2008

Ballard Locks - Drained....

Hiram M. Chittenden Locks (Seattle) - the Ballard large lock on the Lake Washington Ship Canal is currently drained for cleaning and repair. These locks were opened in 1917 and are reported to be the busiest in the US (the Freemont Bridge in Seattle is the most opening draw bridge in the world - opening on an average every 15 minutes). The Ballard Locks connect Lake Union - Salmon Bay (fresh water) which is about 20' - 22' higher than Puget Sound (salt water). The large lock is 80' wide and 825' long - for every foot of lift (or drop) - 500,000 gallons of water moves in or out of the lock chamber. To get an idea on how big this lock is look at the Bob-Cat front loader at the far end of the lock near the gate.

Where Boats Go to Die: Part IV - Food Good, Fire Bad, Tide's Out - Table Set....

Fire Bad....Living on a 55-year old wood boat has its moments - consider this - with fall comes strong winds which move the boat around working the dock lines, water connection, and shorepower fitting. A little, tiny, smallest amount of resistance due to a loose connection brings on heating and eventually fire - which is bad -
This morning the fire bad thing almost happened - you can see the program we had going on at the boat shorepower connection - which was a little bit loose - which caused over heating - which expanded the metal contacts - becoming so hot that the #8 wire was toasted and had to be replaced (compare the dark - brittle over-heating program with bright, new wire) along with the shorepower boat fitting and 30-amp dock cord.

So this is a good time to check your shorepower connections for overheated - black - cooked plastic or metal contacts - make sure the fitting is not more than just warm to the touch.
Fire Bad.

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Boats and Propane Never Mix....

There is no back door on the water -

A man is missing and feared dead after a small boat caught fire on Lake Pend Oreille near Bayview, ID late Thursday morning. One of the men reported a fire from a portable propane heater forced the men into the water to escape the flames. In addition a man is missing.
Investigators reported the water temperature at 38 degrees at the time of the search. The depth of the lake was 500-700 feet in that area, which is too deep for public safety divers, according to the Kootenai County Sheriff's Office. One mariner had a life jacket on, but another couldn't put one on since the fire blocked access to the stored life jackets in the bow of the boat.

Food Giants in a Small World in a Too Small of Boat

I found this article rather interesting....

In the original Anaheim Disneyland it may be a Small World after all, but that world’s inhabitants are getting bigger and heavier almost by the day, so much so that some of the rides may have to be re-engineered. This has already been scheduled for the Small World ride, which will be closed for almost a year beginning in January for retooling.

The problem, quite simply, is that the flume that the boats ride in, and the boats themselves, were designed and built in 1963 on the assumption that the male adult riders would average 175 pounds and the women about 135, which they pretty much did at the time. Alas, those figures are as outdated today as the Rocket to the Moon ride.

The Small World ride now must accommodate adults who frequently weigh north of 200 pounds, which it often cannot do. Increasingly, overweighted boats get to certain points in the ride and bottom out, becoming stuck in the flume.

The ride monitors attempt to leave empty seats on many boats to compensate for the hefty, but this routinely antagonizes the hundreds of paying customers waiting in line. When a boat does bottom out, a long line of other boats backs up behind it, their passengers slowly going mad from listening to the ride’s theme song.

The ride monitors must then track down the stuck boat and attempt tactfully to help a rider or two to exit at one of the emergency platforms, which the riders in question do not always deal with graciously.

When the ride finally reopens, the flume will be an inch or so deeper and the boats more buoyant, thus allowing for several hundred more pounds of capacity. Other rides may also have to be shut down and reconfigured before all is made right; the Pinocchio, Alice In Wonderland and Pirates of The Caribbean rides in particular are prone to being stalled or annoyingly slowed down by overloaded cars.

But it seems somehow fitting that the first Disneyland attraction to actually succumb to “weight problems” would be the Small World ride. If for no other reason, just because of the irony.

Tidal Range....

It seems like mariners are confused about some terms when it comes to tide...I found this illustration which clearly shows the difference between Charted Depth (usually - but not always from Mean Lower Low Water - MLLW), Depth of Water, Reference Plane, and Height of Tide. Bridge clearances are charted from Mean High Water or MHW.