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WSI Launches Interactive Intellicast Boating Mobile App for Safe Fun On The Water

**Now available for a limited time at an introductory price!**

WSI (Weather Services international), the global weather authority, has released a new mobile app called Intellicast Boating. Being billed as the first application to integrate NOAA navigational charts with the most advanced weather data available in a rich interactive, customizable map environment, this one appears to me the latest must-have app for the more than 12.5 million registered boaters in the U.S.. Intellicast Boating is an essential tool to help ensure a safe and enjoyable boating experience on the water. 

The app cleverly combines sophisticated, meteorological sensing data, NOAA navigational charts and highly skilled forecasts. Intellicast Boating provides complete coverage for all those anticipating water-based activity in the continental US, Alaska, Hawaii and the Caribbean. The new tool is also the first professional marine application to include full North American Mosaic Radar with coverage throughout the United States, large sections of Canada and the Caribbean. 

The technology tools used to create the hourly forecasts for Intellicast Boating provide point-specific, localized, short- and long-term weather updates for all ports-of-call. In addition, all National Weather Service watches and warnings can be viewed either as text bulletins or overlaid within the marine interactive map.

IntellicastBoating-screenshot

Screenshot from my iPad showing the SF Bay Area
chart with precip.

“Blending state-of-the-art forecasting and leading-edge radar tools with the latest NOAA navigational charts, Intellicast Boating is an easy-to-use, always-available mobile app that enables all boaters — weekend fishermen, commercial ferry operators, harbor masters, water EMS personnel and all other on-the-water enthusiasts — to gain access to expert-level tools and stay a step ahead of changing or threatening weather,” said Jim Menard, WSI’s Vice President of Digital Initiatives. “Now boaters can receive marine forecasts, severe marine watches and warnings, tides, storm and hurricane tracking, buoy updates and C-Man (Coastal-Marine Automated Network) reports in a few simple screen taps. You won’t want to go on the water without it.”

IntellicastBoating_map_marine_iPad

I appreciate how well WSI designed the app for anyone to navigate easily. There are a number of icons at the bottom of the chart  (you can also choose not to view) that give you direct access to such things as Buoy information, Marine Forecasts, Tides and Small Craft Advisory in your area. You can toggle these to create various Map layers or overlays, including Alert overlays – handy for the SF Bay!

The Blog tab provides up-to-date weather info from around the world. Touching the CITY tab zeroes in on the weather in whichever cities you choose to view, including your “home” area. This is also where you’ll find the Moon phases along with sunrise/sunset times. 

Note: A cellular or Wi-Fi internet connection is needed, NOAA Navigational Charts are provided to reference weather and tide information and should not be used specifically for navigation. Over all, the new Boating Weather app from Intellicast/WSI is quite handy and worth the money, in my humble opinion. 

The new app, providing expert-level content without advertisements, is available from iTunes at special introductory prices for the iPad ($6.99) and the iPhone ($4.99) until August 10th*. Intellicast.com is WSI’s expert consumer web and mobile service.

The Intellicast Boating app provides:
 
– NOAA Navigational Maps

•       Current NOAA navigational charts integrated into a rich interactive map environment

– North American Radar Coverage

•       First marine app to include a full North American mosaic radar covering all or parts of:

–      CONUS, Alaska, Hawaii, Canada, Mexico, PR, Bahamas, and Caribbean

•       Forecast radar for CONUS 

– Interactive weather overlays

•       Decoded buoy and C-Man reports

•       National Weather Service Marine forecasts

•       Marine and severe watch and warning bulletins and map overlays

•       Severe storm and tropical cyclone tracking

•       Tides

•       Several other layers including temperature, wave heights, and satellite imagery

•       Wind speeds

Highly Skilled Forecasts

•       Port-of-call observations and expert forecasts

– Additional tools for all the cities and ports on the selected route include:
  • Latest observations and almanac
  • UV forecasts
  • Sunrise/sunset and moonrise/moonset times
  • Detailed short term nowcasts for locations within CONUS
  • Global hourly and 10-day forecasts
  • Textual National Weather Service watch and warning bulletins for the United States

*After August 10th, pricing for the Intellicast Boating iPhone app will be $9.99 and for the iPad app, $14.99.

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New Online Seminar – Safety at Sea with Marine VHF Digital Selective Calling

Marathon, FL, (March 21, 2012) – Capt. Marti Brown and Cruising Companion Publications are proud to release the first in a series of online seminars geared to boating safety entitled, “Safety at Sea With Marine VHF Digital Selective Calling.”

As the Coast Guard’s new marine radio network, Rescue 21, becomes operational throughout the U.S., rescue centers will have the ability to receive instant distress alerts from commonly used DSC-capable VHF marine radios; however, approximately 90 percent of VHF DSC distress alerts received by the Coast Guard do not contain position information, and approximately 60 percent do not contain a registered identity. The Coast Guard cannot effectively respond to a DSC distress alert sent from such a radio.

As a result, search and rescue efforts may normally be suspended when:

  • no communications with the distressed vessel can be established;
  • no further information or means of contacting the vessel can be obtained from other sources; and,
  • no position information is known.

According to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, “Mariners are encouraged to invest in a VHF-FM radio as their primary means of distress alerting on the water. Communication via VHF-FM radio provides superior alerting capabilities over cellular phones.”

VHF-FM radios are manufactured today with DSC which provides the mariner with an emergency feature that will send a distress with the vessel’s information and Global Positioning System (GPS) location at the press of a button. The new safety course describes what Digital Selective Calling (DSC) is, how DSC fits into the US Coast Guard’s Rescue 21 Global Maritime Distress and Safety System, how to program your DSC capable VHF radio and how to use its lifesaving and fun features.

The course can be accessed 24/7, can be viewed at the convenience of the student and is reasonably priced at $24.95.

To access this new and important information and to take the course, go to: http://www.idiyachts.com/online_seminars.htm

###

About Captain Marti Brown: Capt. Marti’s widely acclaimed books include three easy to read textbooks on marine communications – Marine SSB Radio For “Idi-Yachts,” HF Radio E-Mail For “Idi-Yachts,” The ICOM M802 Radio Manual for “Idi-Yachts.” Capt. Marti’s books help make sense of marine electronics and keep the fun in boating! Don’t miss her newest book “Murder At Stacy’s Cove Marina,” – a nautical murder mystery.

For More Information Contact:
Capt. Marti Brown – captmarti@netzero.com,  www.idiyachts.com, 1-305-731-7315

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Yesterday’s State-of-the-State Address by Governor Jerry Brown was right-on in many ways, but one thing he didn’t touch on was his plans to do away with Cal Boating. That just doesn’t make sense since it doesn’t have any effect what-so-ever on the State coffers. Here are the specifics, courtesy of The Log Newspaper

Gov. Jerry Brown has proposed to eliminate the Department of Boating & Waterways (Cal Boating) and transfer its functions to the Department of Parks and Recreation — putting an end to a self-supporting, independent agency that has a 54-year successful track record of enhancing boating access, boating facilities, boating law enforcement and boating education statewide.

cal-dept-boating-waterways
“The Department of Boating and Waterways is critical to the future of boating in California,” explained the California Yacht Brokers Association in a recent statement. “It funds launch ramp construction, loans for marina construction, construction of boating safety centers, boating safety and law enforcement programs, abandoned vessel removal, public outreach programs and even weed control in boating areas.”

The boater advocacy group Recreational Boaters of California has issued a “Call to Arms” for all boaters statewide to write the governor and California legislators, urging them to support Cal Boating and oppose any plan to eliminate this important agency.

To contact Gov. Brown via email, visit govnews.ca.gov/gov39mail.php and insert your comments in the boxes provide

To contact your California Senate representative, visit senate.ca.gov. At the bottom of the home page is a link labeled “Find My Senator,” where you can search based on your home address.

To contact your California Assembly representative, visit assembly.ca.gov. At the bottom of the home page is a link labeled “Find my Representative,” where you can search based on your home address.

Make YOUR voice heard by sending an email NOW, to ensure that the governor and California legislators act to represent the needs and wants of boaters. Use this letter as a starting point for your own composition, or simply “cut and paste” it into your own separate emails to your state senator, your state assembly representative and the governor. Remember to include your full name, address and city of residency at the end of the email.

Here’s a SAMPLE LETTER:

Dear _____________<Your Legislator’s Name>

I am writing to express my strong opposition to Gov. Brown’s recent proposal to eliminate the Department of Boating and Waterways (Cal Boating). Here are just a few reasons why:

1. Cal Boating is completely self-funded by boaters’ dollars. Cal Boating does not rely on the state’s General Fund to pay for its many crucial construction projects, programs, staff or operating expenses. Eliminating the department would not help with the state’s financial problems.

2. Cal Boating’s efforts are dedicated to promoting boating, and are critical to ensuring the future economic health of California. Recreational boating is an economic powerhouse, contributing approximately $16.5 billion to the gross state product, which represents about 1.2 percent of the state’s economy, and generates about $1.6 billion in state and local taxes. There are more than 8,500 recreational boating-related businesses. Recreational boating also creates more than 284,000 direct and indirect jobs.

3. Cal Boating is the primary funding source for boating infrastructure construction. Each year, Cal Boating provides millions of dollars in the form of grants and loans for private enterprises and public agencies for boating infrastructure projects. Without the availability of these grants and loans, boating infrastructure improvements and repairs would be severely hampered, along with the much-needed jobs these projects create.

4. Cal Boating’s loans for boating projects are consistently paid back with interest. These loans generate approximately $20 million dollars in revenue each year for the Cal Boating, through the repayment of principal and interest. Cal Boating actually makes money for the state.

5. Cal Boating safety programs save lives. Cal Boating has an aggressive safety outreach program, including direct financial support for law enforcement in high-boating traffic areas, that is critical to saving lives on the water.

In short, the Department of Boating and Waterways does an excellent job that has many direct and indirect financial and other benefits to the state — all without one penny of support required from the General Fund.

A decision to eliminate the department would have a serious adverse affect on California’s economy and the safe enjoyment of boating statewide. Please keep boating strong by saving the California Department of Boating and Waterways.

Sincerely,

___________________<My Name>
___________________<My Address>
___________________<My City>

Thanks to The Log and to all California Boaters who will be heard.

 

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10 Green Boating Tips for Cruisers, Alternative Cleansers, Protecting the Waterwaysgreen-boating-leafboat

1. Choose Green Products: Look for the EPA-certified “Design for the Environment” (DfE) label, which assures you that the product has minimal environmental impact and is safer for the person using it. Benefit: Safer products. Reduce water pollution.

2. Use The Right Prop: Use a prop with the right pitch so your engine reaches its designed wide-open-throttle RPM. An adjustable-pitch propeller allows you to dial in the optimum pitch angle in single degrees. Modular props, let you swap props while keeping the same hub. Benefit: Reduce fuel consumption, improve performance. [ flexofold.com ].

3. Add Alternative Energy: Solar panels and wind generators are getting more affordable and smarter. Most systems can be self-installed and will reduce your fuel costs significantly. Benefit: Reduce Carbon footprint & Reduce fuel consumption. Go to www.emarineinc.com for good comparison of the two options.

4. Keep The Bilge Clean: Avoid the accidental discharge of oily water by using a sorbent in each bilge area. Consider a bioremediation product designed to convert hydrocarbons into safe compounds. Benefit: Safer products. Reduce water pollution

WestMarine.com5. Retire That 2-Stroke Outboard: Although it may be possible to get a few more years out of your old-technology outboard, you’ll be much happier with the reduced noise, fumes, fuel consumption, and pollution of a modern injected four-stroke outboard. For an even quieter ride, try an electric outboard. Benefit: Save gas and reduce water pollution.

6. Recycle your Lead-Acid Batteries: 12V batteries are among the most recycled products in the world. Benefit: Save money and conserve resources. [ earth911.com ].

7. Prevent Fuel Spills: Use or install a device to prevent overboard discharges from your tank vent. Benefit: Save gas and reduce water pollution

8. Use an autopilot: Modern autopilots can steer better than most helmspersons—and they don’t have a limited attention span. Benefit: Reduce fuel consumption

9. Recycle Your Monofilament Fishing Line. If your harbor doesn’t have a recycling location, see the website [ fishinglinerecycling.org ].

10. Eat Responsibly Harvested Seafood: Choose sustainable seafood at a restaurants or grocery stores to ensure that the fish stocks are plentiful for your children and for generations to come. Go to eartheasy.com/eat_sustainable_seafoods.htm  for informational guide.

endangered-planet-foundation

Support Yacht To Be Green!

More Tips:

Clean Boating at BoatUS Foundation


Florida Depart of Environmental Protection Agency’s Clean Boating Practices

Vessel Cleaning:

Alternatives to Toxic Products

Product ➛ Alternative
Bleach ➛ Borax
Detergent & Soap ➛ Elbow grease
Scouring Powders ➛ Baking soda, or rub area with one-half lemon dipped in borax, then rinse
General Cleaner ➛ Baking soda and vinegar, or lemon juice combined with borax paste
Floor Cleaner ➛ One cup vinegar in 2 gallons of water
Window Cleaner ➛ One cup vinegar + 1 qt. warm water. Rinse and squeegee
Aluminum Cleaner ➛ 2 Tbsp. cream of tartar + 1 qt. of hot water
Brass Cleaner ➛ Worcestershire sauce, or paste made of equal amounts of salt, vinegar and water
Copper Cleaner ➛ Lemon juice and water, or paste of lemon juice, salt, and flour
Chrome Cleaner/Polish ➛ Apple cider vinegar to clean; baby oil to polish
Stainless Steel Cleaner ➛ Baking soda or mineral oil for polishing, vinegar to remove spots
Fiberglass Stain Remover ➛ Baking soda paste
Mildew Remover ➛ Paste with equal amounts of lemon juice and salt, or white vinegar and salt
Drain Opener ➛ Dissemble or use plumber’s snake, or flush with boiling water + one-quarter cup baking soda + one-quarter cup vinegar
Wood Polish ➛ Olive or almond oil (interior walls only)
Hand Cleaner ➛ Baby oil or margarine
Head & Shower ➛ Baking soda; brush thoroughly
Rug/Upholstery Cleaner ➛ Dry corn starch sprinkled on; vacuum

sailors-wo-borders

Support Sailors Without Borders

Protect the Oceans!

According to the Ocean Conservancy, there are five general ways boaters can protect our oceans and waterways, and conveniently enough, each of the five tips starts with a letter that ends up spelling the word “BOATS”.

Be a leader in your community. Talk about marine litter prevention with members of your boating community, from your neighbor in the next slip to boating clubs and marina managers.

Offer your time. Volunteer in boat and marina cleanup programs, especially at sites only accessible by boat. And participate in Ocean Conservancy’s annual International Coastal Cleanup, the largest volunteer effort of its kind for the ocean.

Accidents happen. Be prepared with absorbent pads to clean oil or fuel spills. Dish soap doesn’t work. It just causes those liquids to sink and contaminate the bottom.

Take it all back to shore. Don’t allow cigarette butts to go overboard; small but significant, they are the most prevalent marine litter item found during the International Coastal Cleanup. Dispose of them properly onshore.

Set the pace. Recycle everything you can, from beverage containers to propeller-snarling fishing line or plastic bags.

Read more at the Daily Boater

Of course the greenest thing sailors can do is to just…………Sail!

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St Thomas YC

St Thomas YC -Home of the Rolex Regatta

Thirty eight years ago the first International Rolex Regatta took place in St. Thomas and so began a long tradition that endures to this day.  With 71 boats signed up, the 2011 International Rolex Regatta began on Friday, March 25, and ran through Sunday, March 27. Attracting some “Big Guns,” such as Boewe Bekking, Gavin Brady, Ed Baird, Steve Benjamin, Richard Clarke and Chris Larson aboard the keelboats, but those veteran professionals were by no means guaranteed victory-or a good time-in the eight classes, which included two for IRC, four for CSA, and one each for IC 24s and Beach Cats. They were up against some first timers who would give them a run for their money!

First up on the three-day race schedule – some colorful “town races” that started at St. Thomas Yacht Club and finished in Charlotte Amalie Harbour at lunchtime before starting up again for a return to the Yacht Club.

kialoa-spiritofjuno-bigbooty

Kialoa V, Big Booty & Spirit of Juno on downwind run

Getting out in the midst of the action, I hopped on a 26 footer, “press boat” with Capt John and some fellow photographers. With bumpy conditions and a lovely tradewinds breeze, we found a good spot to view the start of the first race, on the east end of St Thomas and just off St James Island. I was attempting to pick out two particular yachts, each racing in different classes and with various start times. It was good to have a seasoned Rolex Regatta photographer onboard with us to help direct, as this was my first time.

racers-prepare

Sailors check the courses at the Yacht Club

The International Rolex Regatta is one of the top sailing events on the island circuit with competitors coming from as far away as the UK and The Netherlands, and sailors lucky enough to win the top classes can also take home a Rolex Explorer watch. Parties are legendary, including a Saturday evening reggae music and food fete at Yacht Haven Grande, adding the requisite luxury backdrop and an unforgettable prize giving event on Sunday hosted by Rolex.  Racing includes a mix of short courses and long distance races that take place off St. Thomas Yacht Club and along the waterfronts of St. Thomas and St. John.

“With dependable trade winds, great racing is assured, and we work hard to make it easy for sailors and their families to participate,” said Regatta Co-Director Bill Canfield, explaining that the St. Thomas Yacht Club is the central meeting place for breakfast each morning and socializing after racing.

“One of our traditions is the ‘town race’ on Friday, where the entire fleet races from the east end of St. Thomas right to the heart of the bustling commercial harbor of Charlotte Amalie,” added Canfield. “Once the fleet has finished, we start them again for the race back home. The spectacle of a mass of colorful spinnakers against the backdrop of the surrounding hills of  St. Thomas makes for postcard perfect photos and give the locals, as well as others who are visiting, an opportunity to see St. Thomas’ beautiful and historic capital in it’s historic racing glory.

spinnakers on the horizon

A Beautiful Day for Racing!

Racing is rounded out on the weekend by a mix of island races and windward/leewards designed to test skills and showcase the stunning shoreline. Classes include IRC, CSA (Spinnaker Racing, Spinnaker Racing/Cruising and Non-Spinnaker Racing), One-Design IC 24s (Melges) and Beach Cats. It has been hosted by St. Thomas Yacht Club since 1974, making it the oldest regatta in Rolex’s portfolio of international sailing events. The Rolex portfolio includes famous offshore and grand-prix events such as the Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race, Rolex Fastnet Race, Giraglia Rolex Cup, Rolex Middle Sea Race, Maxi Yacht Rolex Cup and the Rolex Farr 40 World Championship.

From (in part) Media Pro International and RegattaNews.com.

Photos by Nancy Birnbaum, 2011

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boatramps-app

The Boat Ramps Mobile App

The Recreational Boating & Fishing Foundation (RBFF) was honored today for innovative achievement by the National Marine Manufacturers Association (NMMA) and Boating Writers International (BWI) at the 70th annual Miami International Boat Show & Strictly Sail Miami. RBFF received an Honorable Mention in the 2011 Innovation Awards for its Take Me Fishing Boat Ramp App.

The National Marine Manufacturers Association (NMMA) and Boating Writers International (BWI) honored eleven marine products with 2011 Innovation Awards on Thursday and one as an Honorable Mention. The recognition took place during a State of the Industry Breakfast at the Miami International Boat Show & Strictly Sail Miami.

The Innovation Awards, organized by NMMA and judged by BWI, recognize products that best meet the following criteria: innovative distinction from other products currently being manufactured; benefit to the marine industry and/or consumer; practicality; cost-effectiveness; and availability to the consumer within 60 days of award receipt.

Among the winners for the Consumer Electronics and Software category, NMMA bestowed Honorable Mention to the Take Me Fishing Boat Ramp Mobile App. Available on iTunes and in the Droid Market, the FREE app allows users to search an impressive database of more than 35,000 launch points by city or zip code and even offers turn-by-turn directions. It’s already been downloaded by more than 27,000 mobile users.

boatus-app

BoatU.S. Mobile App

The app was developed by Derek Trauger & Associates who have a number of useful apps available for boating enthusiasts on both iPhone and Android phones. Traugers’ most recent: The BoatUS app that helps members call for a tow and includes helpful location and tracking features just for boaters, sailors and anglers. The moment you hit the App’s ‘Call Now for a Tow’ button, it automatically provides TowBoatU.S. with critical information before their crew even answers the phone.

Traugers’ other apps include Padi, Dive Spots, Bait Shops and iBoatShows. With over 60,000 downloads to date, Derek is on his way to becoming the top App Developer to the Marine Industry.

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miami-beach

Miami Beach Anchorage

MIAMI BEACH – The 70th annual Miami International Boat Show opened this morning riding a wave of renewed consumer confidence, with expectations that the industry will ride the big bow wake once again in 2011.

“We have been here before and we have come out of it,” Thom Dammrich, president of the NMMA. Adding, “We have momentum on our side.”

In this morning’s industry breakfast, NMMA’s VP of Marketing, Carl Blackwell introduced the newly redesigned Discover Boating campaign which focuses on the mobile tech market.

boater-techNMMA has taken the lead once again and in an attempt to bring younger tech-savvy consumers to the sport, have just launched an app for the Miami Show for both Droid and iPhones. Also in the works is a new Facebook campaign to invite non-boaters to join in on the fun. The FB app will encourage those with boats to invite their friends to come out on the water and then hopefully “catch the bug!” Blackwell said he hopes the campaign will go viral.

Let’s give a big round of applause to the National Marine Manufacturers Assoc. for finally getting with the program and acknowledging the power of going mobile.

More than 2,000 exhibitors are at the Miami show this year, showcasing more than 2,500 boats, according to the NMMA. Along with Strictly Sail, the show runs through Monday.

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