to our marina for the final sojourn of the
season, I picked up the November issue of
BoatU.S. Magazine from the mailbox and
much to my surprise and joy I found your
article, “It’s the Journey That Counts” (At
The Helm). I have also always dreamed of
chartering in the British Virgin Islands and
now your article may have just given me
the courage to go. Thank you for an excellent magazine and the great work you do in
support of recreational boating.
— Anthony Penizotto
As a lifelong marine scientist who
is growing more curmudgeonly by the
decade, I noted the article, “Survival of
the Cutest: Sea Otters Pass Health Check”
(November 2009) by Suzannah Lydecker.
From the title, I assumed I would be
treated to another “sea otters are cute and
fuzzy, charismatic megafauna animals” type
story. I must say I was pleasantly surprised
and I learned a few new things from the
article — that the Washington sea otter
population is mostly remnant from Alaskan
transplants and that cat feces and
sewage lines are the likely source
of the virus. I appreciate the good
work and the injection of science
into BoatU.S. Magazine articles.
— Jim Murray, Deputy Director,
National Sea Grant
College Program, NOAA
Silver Spring, MD
The underwater camera review (“Dive
In With Digital Cameras,” November
2009) is very interesting as I have been
using scuba cameras for years. My first
was a waterproof case for a Nikon pocket
digital which was cumbersome to use.
I now have two Olympus Stylus Tough
cameras because having a backup camera
when you are working is a good idea. I
still use the old Olympus 1030 SW for
video and stills. It is very handy but did
show some leakage without damage. This
stray leakage might be caused by having
a very warm camera and then submerging it in cool water. The cooling air inside
the camera will contract and sip water
through the seals. Love that video mask.
— Jeff Lefebvre
General Manager, Hazelett Marine
A Certain Flare
I’m glad Chuck Husick discusses the
use of out-of-date flares (November 2009).
But I think he missed one of the greatest
opportunities for the use of out-of-date
flares: Practice. Most of us have never
fired a flare (and hopefully never need
to) and don’t know what to expect. Each
year, the Chicago Corinthian Yacht Club
contacts the Coast Guard to let them
know we plan to fire off flares (they send
representatives). We go out and try each
type of flare, gun and handheld parachute
flares; it is surprising how much of a
kick these can give. Many of our members learn a lot about how to use them
safely. I would highly recommend every
boating club do this each year.
— Bob Rafson
Two Flares Are Better Than One
Chuck Husick’s article “What To Do
With Outdated Flares” (November 2009)
got my attention because I’ve been told
by different boarding parties that outdated
flares are to be taken off the boat or clearly
labeled that they are for safety drills only.
The reasoning was that in an emergency
you grab the newest, unexpired flares that
have the best chance of functioning properly. My boat is a 43-foot commercial fishing
vessel in the Gulf of Mexico. I can also tell
you the importance of firing two flares. Fire
one, then another within 30 seconds.
I travel at night often and sometimes
you think you saw something from the
corner of your eye. So you stare in that
direction to try to confirm. Sometimes it’s a
plane with landing lights going to a nearby
airport. Or, it’s a flare but you don’t really
know if you don’t see another one. U.S.
Coast Guard meteor flare specs require
10,000 candlepower at peak with 5.5-sec-
ond burn and maximum altitude for only
a second or two. If you are not looking in
the right direction it can cut that time to
fractions of a second.
— Randy Wamble
Correction: One of the recalls listed
in The Advocate, page 56, (November
2009) contained incorrect information.
The recall is for Mercury Marine. The
correct recall number is 080041T (not
080041S) and it pertains to engine
serial numbers between 1B692800 to
1B719209. The correct phone number
for Mercury is 920-929-5040.