Sailing for Disabled People

One of the great things about sailing is that you can take it as far as you want, whether your aim is a small boat on an inland lake or taking part in a crew of a race boat. Plus there are also plenty of opportunities for people with disabilities to be able to take part in a wide range of sailing activities too.

Whether your disability means you to walk with a walking stick right up to people in a wheelchair, there are adaptations that are easily made to different types of boats to allow them access. Here are some more information on walking sticks and canes. Adaptations can be made to seating, controls and rigging to allow people of all abilities to take part and there are many courses at sailing centres that offer an adaptive program especially designed for the disabled.

Courses

Disabled Sports USA have details of a number of different programs available for learning about boating. Many of these start with basic classroom sessions, particularly for those completely new to boating. It covers the terms used such as rudder, keel, etc. as well as the basics of sailing, such as how sails are trimmed or adjusted depending on the wind and how the keel works. There is also a section on the safety of boating and the rules of the road.

The theoretic then becomes the practical – people get on a boat with an experience skipper so that they can see in reality what they have discussed in the classroom. Skippers will let people take the help and sails but are always nearby to make sure nothing goes wrong.

Getting around the boat

These courses are ready to assist those with physical disability to transfer in and out of the boat from mechanical lifts, transfer boarding benches and even just personal assistance. Once on board, paraplegics have routinely been able to sail the boats due to the broad and open decks they use. All the boats have stainless steel hand guards along the side and there is a special seat for those who are not ambulatory.

Freedom 20s are one such boat ideal for training and adaptability for disabled sailors. The mast is made from carbon fibre and doesn’t need stays, the wires that normally hold the mast in place. This means that with the broad deck, access to easy and so is getting around. They are also large and heavy in the keel so are nearly impossible to capsize, giving people the sense of confidence on board.

Other boards have special seating for those with stability issues, seats that are modified wheelchair seats and even control systems for those with limitations in hand function.

Other adaptions

With adaptions such as special seating, electrical powered winches and starter motors, GPS systems operated and responding vocally and joy stick controls, the world of sailing is opened up to many more people than ever before. Once basic knowledge is in place, a disabled sailor can have the same freedom aboard their board as anyone else and can enjoy the independence and enjoyment that sailing has brought to so many people.

Sun & Skin Smarts

Any boat lover will tell you there’s no better place to spend a sunny afternoon than on the water. No phone calls or emails to answer. No distractions from electronic devices. Just grab your best tanning lotion, a cooler full of snacks and beverages, pull up anchor and set sail. What could be better?

Fish picnic boat tour and Pag Island, Croatia

The only way to spoil a day like that is to return to shore as red as a lobster because you forgot to reapply that tanning lotion or use sunscreen. When you’re on the water, it’s as important to be sun smart as it is to be boating smart.

Skincare Strategy

Unprotected skin can burn after just 20 minutes in the sun, but when you add in the increased intensity due to the reflection off of the water, the whole process speeds up. So before you start the motor or hoist the sail, take a refresher course on proper skincare.

> Tanning Lotions
Tanning lotions typically accelerate the tanning process, not prevent it like a sunblock product. A “tan” is when the sun’s ultraviolet (UV) rays react with the deeper layers of skin tissue to produce melanin, which is the pigment that darkens. The more exposure the skin has to the sun, the darker the pigment becomes; however, there’s also a greater risk for skin damage.

If you still want a sunkissed look, choose tanning lotions with moisturizing ingredients. When melanin is produced, skin becomes dehydrated. Look for products that list components such as hempseed oil, Shea butter and vitamin E. Avoid formulas with alcohol because that will further dry out your skin.

> Sunscreens
Sunscreens either scatter the sun’s light so it bounces away from the body or actually absorb the UV rays before they penetrate the skin cells. It used to be that sunscreens worked against only UVB rays; however, research has shown that both UVB and UVA rays negatively affect skin. The newest formulas, called “broad-spectrum,” are intended to protect against both types of rays. In order to qualify as broad-spectrum, the sunscreen must contain benzophenones (oxybenzone), cinnamates (octylmethyl cinnamate and cinoxate), sulisobenzone, salicylates, titanium dioxide, zinc oxide, avobenzone (Parsol 1789), and ecamsule (Mexoryl).

When choosing sunscreen products look at its SPF, or sun protection factor, which basically tells you its strength. The Skin Cancer Foundation recommends everyone, regardless of skin color, start with SPF 15. If you have fair skin, burn easily or have a family history of skin cancer, go with a higher SPF, and don’t skimp when applying it. Rub in the first application at least 15 minutes before climbing aboard your boat. Be sure to cover the back of your neck and ears. Also, swipe on lip balm with SPF protection.

A Perfect Ending

Whether you choose a tanning lotion or sunscreen, remember to reapply the product every few hours or after swimming. For extra protection, wear a wide-brimmed hat and sunglasses so the only thing you regret at the end of the day is that you couldn’t stay out on the water longer.

Learning Boating Basics

“C470 – 2003 – 2″. Via Wikipedia.

Many people grow up around boats and the water and are learned from a young age about being ‘boat smart’. But if you have grown up inland and away from the lakes but you would like to take up boating on some level, there are lots of different resources available to help you safely do this.

CNN Student News often seems to report about accidents on the water when inexperienced or unprepared first time boaters are caught in unexpected situations. Therefore, until you are qualified and experienced, never go out on to the water without someone experienced in the crew.

Resources

The US Coast Guard Auxiliary offer a range of courses and their National Public Education Calendar Database provides a single place to find out what courses are available where. By entering your zip code, you can find out what courses are offered regionally and nationally and also obtain detailed information about these courses. They offer courses from 4-9 year olds called Boating Fun to basic boat safety, boating skills and seamanship and navigating with GPS among a range of other courses.

The US Power Squadron is a non-profit organisation founded in 1914 and dedicated to making boating safer and more enjoyable. They offer classes in seamanship, navigation and other related subjects.

Associations

Safely Moored is a professional service based in Florida that provide boat training at three different levels from beginners upwards. They started operating their services when it was discovered that 86% of fatalities in South Florida come in people over the age of 21 who have had no formal training. Their beginners’ course is covered over four hours and teaches all the vital start-up areas such as safety inspections, pre-trip planning, boat operation, navigating waterways and docking.

The American Sailing Association is oldest and largest keel boating association in the country and aims to help people understand and appreciate boating. They also offer access to non-profit organisation that have sailing classes in a wide range of places, meaning that almost anyone can find somewhere to try their hand at boating. You also get a sailing certification at the end of the course.

US Sailing offer a range of courses that cover not only boats but a range of other watercrafts. These include small boats, keelboats, powerboats and windsurfing. Their Learn to Sail courses can work with small boat sailing from stable and relaxing boats to something more intensive.

The US Sailing Keelboat Certification System is a widely recognised system of training that cover from first time boaters to high levels or boating and even to offshore trips. They have a network of accredited school and offer a total of seven levels of certification plus two levels for powerboats. They were founded in 1897 and have over 44,000 members.

Conclusion

No matter what your level of boating experience, there are courses and associations who can help you get the knowledge you need to make boating safe and fun. Once you have your basics and experience in order there is no stopping where you can sail to.

Land Exploration

On Land instead of sea adventures

Courtesy of GanMed64

Just because you love spending time on your boat doesn’t mean you have to spend every single minute on it. Moor it somewhere close to the shore so you can jump off and explore the environment. Indeed, it’s easy enough to bring some trekking poles and hiking boots onboard so you can take off on trails whenever the mood strikes you.

 

Need to Know

But if you’re not a big hiker, there are a few things to take into consideration before hitting the trails.

 

1. Trail Terrain

It’s always advisable to stick to well-marked trails, such as those in state and national parks. Oftentimes these are rated as to degree of difficulty based on elevation gain, incline steepness, length and potential hazards.

 

2. Fitness Status

How would you rate your fitness? Are you an occasional exerciser or a workout fanatic? The answer will help determine what type of trail you’re capable of conquering. Here’s a general guide:

Beginner trails – All fitness levels

Intermediate trails – Moderate levels; you work out a few times a week

Advanced trails – Extremely fit; you exercise nearly every day of the week and have built up an endurance to handle several miles of hiking

 

3. Hiking Gear

A great-fitting pair of boots—waterproof helps when transitioning from boat to land—and durable socks are the basic gear. Trekking poles are another great tool because they help with momentum when climbing steep hills as well as taking the burden off of your knees and ankles, especially when going downhill.

 

4. Food & Water

One of the biggest mistakes novice hikers make is to underestimate how quickly you get dehydrated and zap your energy reserves. Remember, you are exercising, you’re burning calories, and you’ll need to refuel along the way. An easy way to calculate how much water you’ll require is to allot 8 ounces, or about 1 cup, for every 15 minutes, and be sure to take frequent drinks.

 

Food is another essential. Pack snacks that will replenish your energy resources. Hike-friendly foods include granola, fruit, raw veggies or a bag of trail mix that you can stir up yourself like this basic recipe:

2 cups peanuts

1 cup almonds

1 cup cashews

1 cup chocolate chips

1 cup dried blueberries or cherries

1 cup dried cranberries or raisins

¼ cup chopped crystallized ginger or pineapple

½ cup unsweetened coconut

 

If you use raw, unsalted, unroasted nuts, add a little sea salt to taste, but not too much. Salt makes you thirsty faster.

 

Throw ingredients into a large storage bag, seal it, then gently shake everything up. Portion out snack-sized servings into individual bags.

 

5. Safety First

Never hike alone and always bring your cell phone with in case of emergencies. Also let someone else, either on the boat or at home, know where you’re going and the estimated time you’ll be back to the boat.

 

6. Track Distance

Remember you have to hike back to the boat, so gauge how far you really want to go.

 

Keeping It Clean

Keep your vessel clean and worry freeBeing on the water is fun for so many reasons—fishing, waterskiing, or enjoying an afternoon observing the beauty of Mother Nature. There’s a certain awe-inspiring satisfaction that comes with seeing dolphins swim alongside your boat or a doe and her fawn come to the river’s edge. It’s like being treated to an exclusive glimpse into an animal’s life, kind of like when hummingbirds come to feast on homemade hummingbird food. The moment and near proximity don’t last long, but it’s precious all the same.

 

Still by putting your boat into the water and taking it out only to go sailing or fishing somewhere else on another day, you could be inadvertently transferring organisms that are detrimental to their new ecosystem. That’s why it’s important to keep your vessel clean between outings.

 

To-Do List

Here are a few tips to maintaining a pristine vessel so the waters you navigate remain clear of contaminants.

 

INSPECT

Before and after each excursion, inspect both your boat and its trailer for any plant fragments. Look at props, bait wells, dive gear and fishing tackle. Make sure they are clear of any remnants. On a similar note, report any sightings of nonnative plants or sea life you may come across to the appropriate authorities.

 

SCRUB

Boats deserve a good scrub-down. However, any cleaner you use on the hull most likely will leave a residue that then rinses off in the lake or ocean, so stick with nontoxic products. In fact, you can use common household ingredients:

• hydrogen peroxide instead of bleach

• vinegar + water = all-purpose cleaner for windows, mirrors, floors, and varnish

• baking soda clears gunk from the head and shower and removes stain from fiberglass

• a paste of equal parts lemon juice and salt kills and removes mildew

 

TRASH REMOVAL

Did you know it’s against federal law to release any form of plastic into American waterways? In addition to the litter becoming an unsightly floating trash pile, it poses a danger to sea life. As a general rule, make sure you return with all plastic items and trash that you brought onto the boat. Recycle what you can in appropriate receptacles and throw away the rest in a designated public trashcan or in your home trash bins.

 

PUMPOUT

Always discharge waste (sewage) at certified U.S. Clean Marina stations or internationally recognized Blue Flag Marinas. According to the California Department of Parks and Recreation, just one flushing of untreated sewage from one boat produces as much bacterial pollution as 10,000 people’s sewage going through a treatment plant. The result on natural waterways could be contaminated shellfish beds and lower oxygen levels in the water.

 

Making an Impact

According to the 2011 National Recreational Boating Survey, more than 34 million U.S. households had at least one member who boated. And with boat sales up in 2012, as reported by the National Marine Manufacturers Association, the country’s rivers, lakes, and coastlines will only get busier, which makes keeping them clean all the more important.

 

Sleeping On The High Seas

the best pillow on the ship

Your Best Night Sleep Aboard a Boat

What could be more romantic or relaxing than spending a few nights on the water and having the lull of the waves sing you a lullaby? Sounds great, right? Well it can be if you’re prepared, and that means more than just bringing your best pillow and blanket onboard.

 

Getting a good night’s sleep on the high seas—or any body of water—starts the day you beginning planning the outing.

 

Size Considerations

The first thing to plan for is boat size. If you are commanding a luxury yacht, then you have spacious-enough bedrooms and size isn’t really a concern. However, if your boat isn’t a 100-foot yacht, then sleeping berths may pale in comparison to your bedroom at home. So be realistic with what you pack.

 

Also, if you are particular about your bedding at home, then make sure you have the same quality linens onboard. And don’t forget the pillows.

 

Testing Temperatures

Next, think about weather. Check the forecast for the length of your trip and plan accordingly. Sleeping on a boat, even if you are below deck, is much like sleeping in a tent in terms of heat. Nighttime means a drop in temperatures, and when on the water, those drops are typically more dramatic than on land.

 

It’s better to have multiple layers of blankets that you can peel off during a warm night than trying to sleep while shivering. The same can be said for sleeping attire. During the summer, pack fall or autumn pajamas.

 

Sound Sensations

As much as you might look forward to hearing the water lap against the hull, it can get loud. This is not a white noise machine that you can adjust the volume to your liking. You have no control over how loud it will be at night, not to mention the weather and water surface conditions.

 

Experienced overnight boaters suggest packing earplugs. While these won’t drown out the sound entirely, they will block out much of it, thereby lowering the volume so you can sleep better.

 

Security Advice

Undoubtedly the biggest concern for sleeping on a boat is making sure it’s securely anchored. Before launching the boat or leaving the slip, review the anchor’s overall condition and make sure you have enough rope. It’s the combination of the weight of the rope and the friction created by dragging the anchor creates that keeps a boat moored.

 

During the day, figure out where you want to moor, such as a cove where you’ll be protected from overnight weather changes. Then settle in during the weaning hours of daylight so you’re not adjusting the anchor position in the dark.

 

Also, test the anchoring by picking a landmark on shore that lines up with the rigging or another boat feature. Watch it for a few minutes to see if the boat drifts. Or if you have cell service, download an app to track your drifting.

 

Once your boat is secured, kick back and enjoy a night on the water.

Indoor Grilling While Boating

George Foreman Grill for boating

Try the George Foreman

It goes without saying that as someone who knows boats, you will know that you can’t use an outdoor grill inside, and you most certainly can’t use it on a boat.  For those that are new to boating, this is for two reasons: the same as in a house, charcoal and gas grills give off carbon monoxide, and this can be fatal in even small amounts.  The other, boat reason, is the risk of fire, as your boat will probably contain more wood than your house.

So what are the options for the best indoor grills?  Indoor grills are a specialist line of products which don’t have the power and features of a big backyard grill, but are safe to use in enclosed spaces, and on boats.  One thing to always remember is, no matter what type of grill used, some substances are produced so make sure you grill in a well ventilated spot.

Famous names

One of the most famous names of indoor electrical grills is George Foreman.  This range of grills carries the name of the former heavyweight boxing champion, along with the promise of their fat reducing abilities.  Studies have shown that the grills can reduce the fat on meat to a degree, but the best option is to go for leaner cuts of meat which won’t have as much fat in the first place.

Other well known brands who have ventured into the indoor grill market include Cuisinart and Zojirushi.

What can they do?

These grills are multi-purpose, as well.  You can cook the burgers and sausages on them, but you can also use them for other tasks, which is ideal when looking at space saving on the boat.  Some of the ranges have non-stick plates which can be removed and changed to different ones.

Usually there will be a plate for grilling, a plate for griddling bacon and also a plate to use to make toasted sandwiches such as paninis.  This multi-function means you can use the grill for a wide host of meals.  Most of these functions work when the grill is folded, what is known as a contact grill which basically cooks the food which comes into contact with the plates.  However functions such as griddle cooking bacon can be done with the grill in an open position, a bit like using a griddle pan on the stovetop at home.

Maintenance

The removable plates, as well as often removable trip trays, also help with cleaning and ensure that the grill doesn’t have to be stripped apart to get it clean and working again.  You clean the parts which come into contact with the food, which is far less than washing the whole grill each time.

Most of the indoor grills will be cleaned by using a paper towel or sponge, as well as a little cleaning liquid for particularly awkward stuck-on food.  It is often best to clean while the grill is still warm, and some come with a plastic tool to help remove any food which is adhering to the plates.

Conclusion

Indoor grills lack the authentic grilling flavor of a charcoal grill and the size of a gas grill, but none of this is really completely relevant when you are buying to use on a boat.  Safety and convenience are the primary concerns and in that respect, these grills can do the job.  They can provide more than one meal option with the different plates and don’t take a fantastic amount to keep clean and ready to use again.  Therefore on the limited space of a boat, they can be a real asset.

What Is Essential In A Boat Kitchen?

Going away on a boat is a bit like going away camping or in an RV; you only have a limited amount of space, so preparation is essential.  Space limitations are the main factor, as are what equipment you have in the kitchen.

boat kitchen best pots and pansUtilizing the space

One thing to look at is taking your best pots and pans which can be used for various jobs.  Avoid taking specialist pieces like a Dutch oven which can be large and serves a limited number of options.  Grab a good saucepan and a skillet both of medium sized so there are plenty of ways they can be used and don’t take up huge amounts of room.

Some boat kitchens have an icebox built in, but it won’t be huge so consider taking a cooler along to store drinks and keep food cool.  Plus, it doubles as a handy seat when needed!

Knives can be a hazard with unexpected movement so bring along ones which can be secured to a magnetic strip to avoid accidents.  Think about using plastic utensils and paper plates as they are easy to clean up, but also there is less chance of them falling off the counter and being smashed.

There are specialist grills available which can be attached to boat railings so when you are anchored, you can enjoy a good grill.  And don’t forget the basics such as a spatula, wooden spoons, corkscrews and a can and bottle opener.

Easy foods

A bit like on a trip in the RV take foods which need little preparation and are easy to store.  Take pre-grated cheese instead of a block and a grater, take along tinned foods such as tomatoes as you don’t have to worry about keeping them cool.

It can also pay to prepare a few things ahead of time; cut the meat as you want it before leaving home so as many knives aren’t needed.  It can then be stored in the icebox or cooler until you need it.  Similarly consider things like tortillas which do not need to be stored anywhere cool.

Think about avoiding food which needs a lot of preparation such as chopping or cutting, as all of this equipment will use a lot of room.

If you are a pasta fan, cook it before hand, then toss it with olive oil and store it in a resealable bag or box, so it just needs to be reheated for the meal.  Check out http://allrecipes.com/howto/the-galley-kitchen-boat/ for some recipe ideas.

Safety tips for on-board cooking

Remember when you are cooking on a boat, it is very different from being in your home kitchen.  Here are a few crucial tips to keep in mind:

  • Never cook unless the boat is docked or anchored as movement is unpredictable and can lead to accidents
  • Bring bottled water for drinking while salt water can be used for some cleaning jobs
  • Make sure everything is secured in cupboards and bags so they aren’t thrown around by unexpected movement
  • Avoid boiling water on the ship, as above pre-cook things such as pasta and simply reheat on-board

Plan your Meals

To help you organize for the trip, the best thing to consider is menu planning.  Work out what meals you are going to have, so you know what food to take with you.  Someone on board may be a fishing expert and can provide some fresh supplies but make sure you don’t rely on this; weather can always interfere with plans and the fish don’t always co-operate with your menu plans!

These are just a few tips to keep in mind for a safe and simple boat trip.  Enjoy!

Get Your Captain’s License

If you have the intention to purchase a boat and legally carry passengers from one place to another for hire, you need to acquire a Captain’s License. This license enables you to legally charter for sightseeing, fishing, transportation, diving, teaching or any other use of your boat which falls under the category of “passengers for hire” situation. So the question is how to get this all important license before starting your new career.

captain licenseTypes of Captain’s License

There are basically two types of Captain’s License and they are explained below one by one.

Master License

If you operate “inspected” vessels, you need to acquire the Master license. The inspected boats are usually permitted to transport more than six passengers at a time. However, your vessel must be constructed according to tough and inflexible USCG Commercial Vessel Inspection Standards in order to become inspected.

OUPV License

OUPV stands for “Operator of Uninspected Passenger Vessels” and commonly referred to as “Charter boat Captain’s License” or “6-Pack.” This license limits the number of passengers to be transported at a time to six and uninspected means design of the boat and required equipment is less regulated. OUPV licenses are issued for any one route that is you can carry passenger to rivers, lakes and bays etc. within 100 miles of the shore. You can also upgrade OUPV license to a Masters license.

How to Get Your Captain’s License

Following lines explain some of the requirements you have to meet in order to acquire a Captain’s License.

Complete a GC Form 719B

The first and foremost step of the application process is to accurately read, understand and fill the GC form 719B. it is necessary to fill this form for all coast guards credentials whether you are applying for the first time or for license renewal.

Transportation Works Identification Card

It is also mandatory for you to attach a written proof with your application that you have obtained or applied for Transportation Works Identification Card. An individual has to provide both biometric and biographic information to get TWIC such as fingerprints. You are also required to pass a security threat test or assessment conducted by TSA and sit for a digital photograph.

Time Spent on Water

Similarly, you also have to document how much time you have spent on water and show it to Coast Guards. Depending which type of Captain’s License you are applying for, sea service requirements considerably vary. You can record this information using Sea Service letters obtain from employers or filling Sea Service Form GC 719S.

Prove the Ownership

The next step is to prove that you are the actual owner of the ship for which you are claiming tcharter boathe Captain’s License. You can prove this simply by producing registration documents, insurance card, vessel’s documents and sale’s receipt.

Pass the Physical Examination

You also need to pass a physical exam within 12 months of filing your application. There are certain medical conditions that may require you a waiver or actually disqualify you from license such as diabetes, chronic drug use, sleep apnea or psychiatric disorders.

These are some of the most important requirements to fulfill if you want to get a Captain’s license. You might also require to pass a drug test or clear a first aid course as well as an approved Adult CPR.

Consider A Boat Wrap

Colorful and bright, the boat wraps were once available on limited based or just for pro riders. However, the boat wraps have become a growing trend over the years and now they are available to virtually every boat owner. Whether a custom-tailored original design or predesigned wrap, numerous aftermarket companies, dealers and manufacturers offer awe inspiring options to customize your boat as you like it.

As a matter of fact, most of the boat surfaces are now a game for customization whether it is full boat wrap, partial wrap or transom wrap. Apart from wraps, you can use many other alternatives such as metallics, custom gelcoats and special edition packages. You can actually consider the surface of your boat as canvas for giving vent to your imaginations for using all your wrap options.

boat wrappingComposition of Boat Wrap

A wrap is simply a printed thin vinyl film  that adheres and conforms to the curved surface of your boat. Once you apply this film to the boat’s surface, its original color will not show through as the wrap is opaque.

Cost of a Boat Wrap

The cost of the wrap actually depends upon how do you want to decorate your boat. Are you going to use full wrap, partial wrap, original artwork or predesigned graphics. In this regard, it is better for you to check your local dealer for details but cost normally ranges from $1400 to $5000.

How Long Does It Last?

The durability of boat wraps depends on a number of factors. Most important of these factors are quality of material used, abuse to the boat, weather, user care, out of water versus kept in water etc. Considering all these factors, an average boat wrap can last from minimum of two years to maximum of eight.

boat wrap as a sharkBest Places To Go

You can primarily get wraps from boat manufacturers and dealers of both new and old boats. Similarly, some of the special edition boats come wrapped straight from the factory. Furthermore, you need to consult aftermarket specialists for boats that are not covered by direct wrapping by dealer.

Increased Resale Value

A fascinating and bright boat wrap can also help you to increase the boat’s resale value. You can make an old boat more enticing to buy by applying a beautiful wrap that will make it look newer than it actually is. Some people also spend more on boat wraps to make their boat look extra attractive to potential buyers.

Special Editions

In fact, almost all famous manufacturers release special edition boats covered by wraps. These brands include, Axis Boats, Centurion Boats, Malibu Boats, Mastercraft Boats, MB Sports, Moomba Boats, Nautique Boats, Supra Boats, Supreme Boats and Tige Boats to name the few. Similarly, you can also contact local dealers for your respective brands and request for boat wraps and other graphics and non-graphics options if you want to decorate the “blank” boat.

Boat wraps are actually an exceptional way of promoting business, sports team or product. They are not only beautiful to look at but also entice people to buy the product or follow the trend being promoted in most exhilarating manner possible.