ponents make a much more solid sound
when you tap close to them; the sound
becomes hollower as you move away.
But it could also indicate voids within
the hull, delamination, or blisters, which
may indicate inherent problems existing
before the damage or that the damage
extends beyond the point of impact. Get
a qualified surveyor to check out the boat
before you use it.
How do you calculate the maximum
passenger rating on a 35-foot Bertram
Sportfish built in 1973? Is there a U.S.
Coast Guard formula? Mike Bogart
BETH LEONARD Unfortunately, there’s
no simple formula to calculate capacity for
a boat that’s longer than 20 feet. The formula I think you’re referring to multiplies
length times beam and divides that product by 15, but it doesn’t work for boats
measuring more than 15 or 20 feet in
length and won’t work for your Bertram.
Capacity is tied to stability, and stability
is difficult to measure reliably because it
depends upon wave conditions, passenger
location, wind, and other factors. Check if
your owner’s manual includes recommen-
dations on capacity and loading; if not,
contact the manufacturer. Beyond that,
here are some conservative suggestions:
■ Avoid allowing more than two or three
people onto the flybridge, especially
when the boat is underway.
■ Think carefully about weight distribution, and keep heavy coolers and fuel
as low and centered in the boat
■ Don’t let all the passengers move to
one side, have them stay in the
middle and down low. Better yet,
reduce the load.
■ Be aware of how the boat is handling.
If it becomes sluggish, feels tippy, or
is slow to respond to the helm when
you’re carrying a lot of people, you
could be overloaded.
The VHF (with digital selective calling) and SSB radios on the boat I just
purchased already have Maritime Mobile
Service Identity (MMSI) numbers pro-
OCTOBER | NOVEMBER 2015 BoatU.S. Magazine | 95
grammed into them, issued with the
ship station license. How do I update the
information associated with the existing
MMSI numbers when they’re not issued
by BoatU.S.? I’d prefer not to have to
apply for new numbers and have to send
the radios to the manufacturers to have
the old MMSI numbers cleared out.
DON CASEY Getting an MMSI num-
ber reassigned is fairly easy when you
don’t need a ship station license. BoatUS.
com/mmsi walks you through the pro-
cess. You import the existing FCC-issued
MMSI into the website, click on “Already
Have Non-BoatU.S. MMSI?,” enter that
number, then follow the instructions.
Unfortunately, for you, you do need
a license because you have an SSB radio
aboard. To operate that radio, you need a
valid ship station license (nontransferable
and good for 10 years) and a restricted
radiotelephone-operator’s permit. Even
without an SSB radio, the same license
and permit requirements apply if your
VHF transmissions will ever occur out-
Ask the Experts
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