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Soundings February 2020

Soundings is the news and feature publication for recreational boaters. Award-winning coverage of the people, issues, events -- and the fun -- of recreational boating. Check out our generous boats-for-sale section and our gunkholing destinations.

United States
Active Interest Media
12 Issues

in this issue

2 min
a new way to tell a great story

I have a lot of favorites in this issue, including what I consider to be the best photograph. It’s the image on page 44: a massive, 91-year-old diesel installed in the restored ship David B of Bellingham, Washington. The coolest thing about this 100-hp engine? There’s nothing else quite like the 3-cylinder diesel built in 1929 by Washington Iron Works. It’s the oldest running model from that manufacturer in existence today. Dieter Loibner took the photograph, capturing all of the engine’s key parts, which are uncovered. When Loibner delivered the photo, he also sent a short video of the diesel at work. The clip is short at just 14 seconds, but it offers a rare glimpse of a classic piece of engineering that sounds like a loud sewing machine as intake…

5 min
with flying colors

It was 2016, and John Giglio was seeing a problem. “It wasn’t a massive problem, but we noticed that as we continued to grow, there was more of a likelihood that something bad was going to happen,” says Giglio, president of Freedom Boat Club, whose members can use the club’s boats all across the United States. “We’re going to do 400,000 outings this year, and every outing is an opportunity for somebody to get into trouble.” That particular kind of trouble was boating under the influence of alcohol, or BUI. While the club did training and checkouts prior to handing a boat over to a member, it had no formal process for making sure skippers knew it was their responsibility to stay sober. “We’ve always been proactive with alcohol: If we see…

6 min
when momentum is the enemy

Twelve years ago, the cruise ship Empress of the North was on a routine cruise in Alaska. The ship was carrying 206 passengers. The ship was also carrying a new third mate, fresh out of maritime school. Sensibly, there was a plan to have the new guy overlap with the senior third mate for a week, to learn the ship and its routines. But on the first day of training, the senior third mate fell ill. The captain slotted the new guy into the watch rotation. After all, he had a license. The third mate was paired with a seasoned deckhand in hopes of offsetting the inexperience. Without any orientation to the navigational equipment or emergency procedures, and without the support of another licensed officer, the new third mate took the…

1 min

1. INLAND RULES: When there is doubt as to whether the situation is an overtaking or not: A. Sound the danger or doubt signal B. Assume an overtaking situation and act accordingly C. Change course to forward of the beam of the other vessel to make sure of the situation D. All of the above 2. INLAND RULES: The vessel proceeding upbound against the current on the Great Lakes and Western Rivers shall: A. Swing across the current so the other vessel can slide by B. Proceed at full speed so passing is rapid C. Hold as necessary to permit a safe passing D. Cut around the other vessel as it can maneuver easier 3. INTERNATIONAL RULES: All of the following indicate a vessel in distress except which: A. Flames coming from the vessel B. Firing of a gun at one-minute intervals C.…

4 min
the mobile app method

Smartphones have enough processing power, sensors and capabilities to augment or even replace navigation equipment. While I still believe boats should have at least one dedicated display, as mobile devices are susceptible to moisture, heat, dead batteries and falling overboard, the list of mobile apps is extremely long, with more coming out every day. Today’s navigation apps, for instance, have features and functions that rival, and in some cases beat, those that come with dedicated hardware. One of the biggest advantages a mobile device has is an (almost) always available internet connection. This connection makes updating charts and other data easier and more frequent. Here’s a look at some of the leading navigation apps available for onboard use right now. Navionics Boating This navigation app has dock-to-dock auto-routing, community-sourced SonarChart and easily…

2 min
heart of the lowcountry

The Lowcountry of South Carolina is not only a place, but also a way of life. That’s something I’ve discovered over the years, while traveling through the region on my way north and south along the Intracoastal Waterway. Sculpted by the rivers that slowly carve their way to the ocean, the Lowcountry, river basins and sea islands have a unique geography and diverse culture that come from the blend of early inhabitants—English, French and Spanish, along with African and Caribbean people brought in to work the indigo and rice plantations that today are nature preserves and protected wildlife habitats. There’s also a surreal beauty to the live oaks draped in Spanish moss. When cruising through the Lowcountry aboard our trawler, a frequent stop for our crew is the town of Beaufort,…