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Boat Handling & Boat Safety


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  • The unfortunate thing about docking in crowded marinas is probably less a matter of the embarrassment of hitting some one else's boat, but that there are usually so many people around to see you do it!

    We've all screwed up one time or another, so we know how embarrassing it is to be standing there, half panic-stricken at the controls of our boat (which is out of control) while a half dozen of your dock mates are all standing there trying to suppress a smirk.

    Or scrambling to protect their boats from the impending disaster. Entire Article

  • You don't want to read this, and I don't want to write it. The subject of navigation lights is boring, but if you read this, it just might save your life. 

    In fact, I've been putting it off for several years until I heard about a grizzly accident on Lake Erie in which three people were killed when two small boats collided.

    That was one of just many deaths and maimings that have occurred with nighttime collisions this year, all because of defective lights. Entire Article

  • In the last 30 years, huge strides have been make toward making marine engine exhaust systems safe, particularly the gasoline engine which puts out more than double the amount of CO that diesel does.

    I would attribute the increase in the number of cases to the large increase in newcomers to boating that are (1) less aware of the CO danger, and (2) are more prone to not maintain their boats as well. Entire Article

  • Originally posted at

  • Negotiating Inlets, Tide Rips, Sea State, Currents, Bottom Topography, Recommendations for novices.

    Many times when we receive a number of emails on a particular subject we will respond with an article like this one. In this case, the subject is boat handing in rough water.

    A number of emails addressed the issue of losing control of the boat while running with the seas.

    Comments ranged anywhere from concluding that their boat had a dangerous defect, to whether they should have bought a catamaran, to whether they shouldn't be considering some other type of boat that will handle better. Entire Article

  • Small Craft Warnings, Big seas, Little Seas, Controlling Speed, Broaching, Confused Seas, Waves on Top of Waves

    Small craft is a relative term and means ships less than ships. Because small craft entails so many sizes of boats, it's up to you to know what sea states are dangerous to your boat.

    The authorities are just giving a general warning to let operators know that conditions may be dangerous to some boats.

    If you have a small outboard, then obviously all small craft warnings apply to you. No official agency could possibly gather all the possible differing factors and put them into something more specific.

    The criteria to use is wind speed and sea state. Twenty knot winds make for nasty, if not big, seas. Your obligation is to be sufficiently educated in order to understand when conditions become a threat. No one can tell you that because they do not know you, your boat, or your skills. Entire Article

  • Getting Caught in Thunder Storms

    Storm Avoidance, My Bad Day at Black Cloud, Sheltering, Being Prepared, Lightning

    If you're into boating long enough, the time will come when you get caught out in a vicious thunder storm. When that time comes, you either know how to handle the situation or you don't.

    The big problem is that for the most part, we don't know where that will be when it happens, how long it lasts and how intense the storm is.

    We all pretty much agree that the weather experts are not very good at predicting these things. That is not their fault, because thunderstorms can develop very quickly.

    If it happens to develop very close to where you are, then there's not much chance for an advance warning. Entire Article

  • Boat Safety at Sea - Part I
    Small boat safety at sea - Outboard

    In recent weeks the Miami television evening news has been filled with numerous stories of small boat disasters out in the Gulf Stream. A number of them have had video clips taken from a Coast Guard rescue helicopter that shows a 24 foot boat floating upside down with a couple of people trying to hang onto the bottom. Entire Article

  • Boat Safety at Sea - Part II  
    Intermediate size  sports fishermen and cruisers

    In Part one we covered outboard boats. In Part II we'll take a look at some of the things that can go wrong with intermediate size sport fishermen and cruisers. I focus more specifically on sport fishermen because these are the people who spend the most time at sea, go further offshore, and who experience the most sinkings. Entire Article

  • Rogue waves are a phenomenon that few but the most experienced boatmen have ever witnessed. My only experience with serious rogue waves came during a few ill-advised Gulf Stream crossings when seas were running 12-14 feet.

    Yet few people are aware that "rogue waves" can come from sources that are other than natural, namely ships. And you don't have to far out at sea to be effected by them. Entire Article

David Pascoe Power Boat Books

Buyers' Guide to Outboard Boats Surveying Fiberglass Power Boats (2E)

David Pascoe - Biography

David Pascoe is a second generation marine surveyor in his family who began his surveying career at age 16 as an apprentice in 1965 as the era of wooden boats was drawing to a close.

Certified by the National Association of Marine Surveyors in 1972, he has conducted over 5,000 pre purchase surveys in addition to having conducted hundreds of boating accident investigations, including fires, sinkings, hull failures and machinery failure analysis.

Over forty years of knowledge and experience are brought to bear in following books. David Pascoe is the author of:

In addition to readers in the United States, boaters and boat industry professionals worldwide from nearly 80 countries have purchased David Pascoe's books, since introduction of his first book in 2001.

In 2012, David Pascoe has retired from marine surveying business at age 65.

On November 23rd, 2018, David Pascoe has passed away at age 71.

Biography - Long version

David Pascoe's
Power Boat Books

Mid Size Power Boats Mid Size Power Boats
A Guide for Discriminating Buyers
Focuses exclusively cruiser class generally 30-55 feet
With discussions on the pros and cons of each type: Expresses, trawlers, motor yachts, multi purpose types, sportfishermen and sedan cruisers.
Buyers' Guide to Outboard Boats
Selecting and Evaluating New and Used Boats
Dedicated for offshore outboard boats
A hard and realistic look at the marine market place and delves into issues of boat quality and durability that most other marine writers are unwilling to touch.
Surveying Fiberglass Powewr Boats
Surveying Fiberglass Power Boats
2nd Edition
The Art of Pre-Purchase Survey The very first of its kind, this book provides the essentials that every novice needs to know, as well as a wealth of esoteric details.
Marine Investigations
Pleasure crafts investigations to court testimony The first and only book of its kind on the subject of investigating pleasure craft casualties and other issues.
Nearly 80 countries
Countries List
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