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Soundings November 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
first responders

As I write this, Hurricane Sally lurches ashore. Her winds are battering Alabama and Florida as the center moves over the Panhandle, putting places like Pensacola, Florida, largely underwater. The storm touches down just a few weeks after Hurricane Laura made landfall in Texas and Louisiana, where some evacuees are still searching for places to live. Among the people affected by these storms are members of the U.S. Coast Guard. I know this through the U.S. Coast Guard Foundation, a Connecticut-based nonprofit devoted to supporting service members and their families. When disasters like hurricanes strike, Coast Guard members are often first responders who leave their own loved ones and homes to aid others in distress. Through its relief and response program, the foundation funnels resources to Coasties to ensure they get…

5 min
cash flow crisis

New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy made clear in his August 25 budget address that the state was in serious trouble because of Covid-19. With unemployment at 16.8 percent and a $5.7 billion shortfall in projected revenue, the state needed, among other things, to implement tax policy changes that would yield more than $1 billion of revenue in nine months. His proposed changes included imposing a tax on all income above $1 million, restoring the sales tax on limousines, and removing the tax cap on sales of new and used boats. Since 2016, boat buyers in the Garden State have paid no more than $20,000 in sales tax, no matter the vessel’s value. Under Murphy’s plan, starting October 1, they will now pay 6.625 percent on the full price. “Millionaires and large…

5 min
are you worth your salt?

With so many new boaters on the water this past summer due to the Covid-19 pandemic, there was no shortage of vessels plying the waters of my usual serene haunts in the river, bay and ocean near my home in New Jersey. Word on the street was boat sales were booming as people who were stuck at home decided to trade summer travel plans for keys to new boats, possibly encouraged by a story in the New York Times last July that said driving a boat was easy and anyone could do it. Well, not so much. One morning I couldn’t back out of my slip because there were a dozen yoga enthusiasts behind my boat in the navigable waterway, posturing on their paddleboards as the sun was coming up. They…

3 min
my two cents

My older brother and I have a phone-tag problem. It typically takes four calls and three voicemails that usually contain humorous digs at each other before one of us isn’t too busy to answer. Sometimes it takes days to connect. For that reason, I was really surprised last month when I called his number and he answered, because he was definitely too busy to talk. “Hey, Bro. We’re moving a 54-foot cruiser for a friend, and the GPS just went out,” he said. “I’m trying to get it back. I’ve got no idea where I am. Can I call you back later?” I told him to check the antenna connection for corrosion and restart the unit; other than that, I said, it’s probably a lost cause. Then I mentioned that a guy…

2 min
what we’re watching

RIVA GOES HOLLYWOOD … SORT OF Yacht builder Riva grew from humble beginnings. Back in 1842, a storm on Italy’s Lake Iseo nearly wiped out the entire fishing fleet. Young shipwright Pietro Riva was quick to react and spent long days restoring the damaged vessels, earning him respect and admiration from the locals. Soon after, he opened a yard in Sarnico, Italy, and the story of Riva Yachts began. By the 1950s and ’60s, the outfit was churning out jaw-dropping, varnish-slathered runabouts crafted from mahogany and teak. The boats had such grace and elegance that they often were featured in movies. Now, a short film aims to celebrate Riva’s relationship with moviemaking. Shot entirely among Venice’s canals, Riva in the Movies starts as Pierfrancesco Favino crosses Piazza San Marco just…

1 min
salty reads

REFRESHER COURSE Lots of boaters need to brush up on the basics every now and again. Whether it’s knowing who has the right-of-way in a crowded channel or how much line you should pay out when anchoring, it’s important to keep your nautical neurons firing. Roger Seymour and Alison Noice’s book, Day Skipper Exercises for Sail and Power, can help with that. Organized in workbook style, it includes lessons and practice tests for all relevant topics from seamanship to planning and line handling. ($35, Adlard Coles) MAYDAY! The Royal Air Force (RAF) Search and Rescue Force has a storied history, from its beginnings in World War II, to its privatization in October 2015. The Official Illustrated History of RAF Search and Rescue celebrates the organization. With a foreword by HRH Prince…