2016 Fall Equinox

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Today is the first day of Fall. What is the Autumnal Equinox?

September 22nd is the autumnal equinox, the time when the sun crosses the celestial equator. We have an equinox twice a year – Spring and Fall – when the tilt of the Earth’s axis and Earth’s orbit around the sun combine in such a way that the axis is inclined neither away nor toward the sun.

How the Autumn Equinox affects boaters:

Water temperature is changing quickly. Fall days can still remain bright, but the water is getting colder. If you spend any significant time in water even as warm as 60°F, you are risking potential body heat loss. Day length changes in the Fall. Daylight hours are shrinking, this is important to take in to account in planning a trip. Other weather hazards are more common in the Fall season. Low light, mist and fog can make you harder to see this time of year when out in the water. Wearing bright clothing can help keep you spotted in case of an emergency.

As all seasons come with different potential weather hazards, it is crucial to keep your insurance policy up to date for the hazardous conditions prominent in your area. The boat also deserves a little more attention in the fall. One thing that prevents many people from keeping their boats in past mid-September is the likelihood of severe weather. Stronger breezes are one thing; tropical systems are quite another. With these safety precautions in mind, Fall does not mean the end of boating season. There are plenty of Fall boating activities such as numerous boat and trade shows around the country. Fall is one of the best times for fishing. Fish are migrating and feeding in preparation for the Winter.  Fall boating is full of colorful landscape and comfortable cruising. The start of Fall means a gradual cool down in the temperatures both in the air and in the water.

Whether you are in the North, or tropical South, there is plenty to enjoy in the Fall boating season. Check out the quick video below to view the Equinox from space!

New Methods of Oil Clean Up to Protect Wild Life

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Pelican covered in oil after spill

The consistency of oil makes it difficult to remove from marine plants and animals once it has already been leaked by tankers ad offshore rigs. Finding a way to successfully and quickly remove spills is crucial for protecting ocean environments.

Birds eye map of oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico

Reminiscent of the BP oil spill back in 2010, ocean environmentalists are still finding ways to successfully improve life for aquatic animals, protecting and ensuring that their ecosystems are not polluted. Even six years after the spill, it will still take many more years of research to understand what happened. There were immediate effects of the oil spill that could be seen with the naked eye; Pelicans black with oil, fish belly up covered in smudge, turtles smothered washing up on the beach.

From 2002 to 2009, the gulf averaged 63 dolphin deaths a year. That rose to 125 in the seven months after the spill in 2010 and 335 in all of 2011, averaging more than 200 a year since April 2010. – reported Reuters in 2015. The impact of the spill on fish communities is still largely unknown. Studies show that coral communities have also been effected.

Graphic showing methods for responding to oil spills at sea. Plane applying chemical dispersants: Chemical dispersion is achieved by applying chemicals to remove oil from the water surface by breaking the oil into small droplets. Burning: Also referred to as in situ burning, this is the method of setting fire to freshly spilled oil, usually while still floating on the water surface. Booms: Booms are long floating barriers used to contain or prevent the spread of spilled oil. Skimming: Skimming is achieved with boats equipped with a floating skimmer designed to remove thin layers of oil from the surface, often with the help of booms.

Methods of oil spill clean up

Beyond other clean up methods, researchers have been looking for more cost efficient and safer ways to protect the ocean environments while preforming clean up.

Now, scientist Yi Du from the University of Wollongon in Australia, and his team, have found a way to do this. By using tiny particles of iron oxide can be drawn to droplets of oil. When added to small water tanks polluted with oil, these 25-nanometre-wide particles turn the oil into a magnetic liquid that can be drawn towards a simple bar magnet.

When tested, the “magnetic mops” allow sticking to both lighter oils floating on the surface and heavier ones that have sunk. The particles are non-toxic and any excess could be hoovered up with magnets and reused, says Du. “Iron oxide nanoparticles are already commonly used in medical imaging, so we know they’re safe.”

The idea is promising, how practical it will be in a real ocean oil spill is uncertain at this point in testing. Though the team is now planning to test the magnetic particles in larger tank experiments before seeking permission to trail them in open water.

The efforts and creative testing will be promising for a better, cleaner future for marine life allowing for us boat lovers, fishers, and divers to explore, fish, and cruise in the same ways that we do today.

Staying Alert During Hurricane Season

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Hurricane Season is approaching soon, but don’t sweat! NBOA has you covered with free checklists, and more advice regarding hurricane season. From your equipment, to storage, and reporting a claim, we’ll provide you with the information you need to know to stay safe this hurricane season starting with this courtesy check list!


Happening now at the American Boating Congress

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The American Boating Congress is the industry’s premier  political and legislative event that takes place in Washington D.C. that brings together those who work in the recreational boating industry. This is an opportunity to review legislative and political actions that will effect the boating industry.

Topics for review include ethanol, access, recreational fishing, deferred importation, invasive species, trade, WRDA (Water Resources Development Act), workforce development, state issues, The Federal Agenda, and additional legislation for the upcoming year.

A run down on the briefings:

Ethanol: E15 Hurts Boating. The American Boating Congress asks Congress to reform the Renewable Fuel Standard and protect recreational marine products and consumers.  The widespread use has caused engine failure at fuel ratios above 10 percent, land degradation from over farming, including nutrient enrichment of waterways like the Gulf of Mexico, and higher food prices for feed and other food stuffs, according to the National Marine Manufactures Association ( NMMA)

Access: The protection of recreational boating and fishing access at parks such as Biscayne National Park, and marine sanctuaries and to improve recreational activities across all federally-owned and operated lands and waterways. The federally managed waters should be maintained for the use and enjoyment of the public for generations to come. Any future management plan should take into account the economic and societal value of recreational boating and fishing, while appreciating the industry’s role in conservation, preservation and environmental stewardship, from The American Boating Congress.

Recreational Fishing: Revised approach to salt water fishing management, reasonable latitude in stock rebuilding timelines, process for cooperative management, and management for the forage base are topics that will be covered.

Deferred Importation: The Florida Yacht Brokers Association (FYBA) requests a legislative support to pass HR 4065 removing current restrictions in the cruising license that forbids offering used foreign flagged boats for sale to U.S. residents while in U.S. waters. Florida’s marine industry is a &17.2 billion market sector, supporting 202,000 jobs in the state of Florida. A cruising license normally valid for one year is obtained from U.S. customs and Border Protection at the first port of arrival in the U.S. and exempts pleasure boats of certain countries from having to undergo formal entry and clearance procedures.

Aquatic Invasive Species:  Each year fishing, boating, and tourism are harmed by invasive species. Infestation by AIS can shutdown boater access to waterways and decimate local economies. Boaters, manufacturers and the government must work together to tackle this growing issue.

 Trade: Issues that will be discussed include those a part of Trans-Pacific Partnership, the Asia-Pacific region, Trans-Atlantic Trade and Investment Partnership, the U.S. and European Union, and Cuba.

WRDA: Water Resources and Development Act including ports, channels, locks, damn, and other infrastructure that support out maritime and waterway transportation system and provide flood protection for our homes and businesses.

Workforce Development: The U.S. recreational marine industry faces a shortage of well trained and qualified workers. To combat the lack of skilled professionals and build a thriving workforce, access to career and technical education must be increased.

 State Issues: Topics vary year to year, but typically these state issues include access, business mandates, taxes, environmental mandates, E-15, and towed water sports.

The Federal Agenda: This 2016 legislative agenda outlines the top priorities towards ensuring federal policies that support domestic marine manufacturing and the 650,000 jobs and 35,000 businesses it provides. These topics include fuel policy, Magnuson Stevens Act and recreational fishing, trade and commerce, and public access.

Additional Legislation: Other legislative topics that will be considered and discussed include Fiscal year 2017 budget, and the Personal Health Investment Today Act – which would expand the definition of a medical expense in regards to water sport related injuries.

For full PDF’s of the briefings, exclusive webinars, and more information about the ABC please visit the link below


Navy Sub Build Strategy

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The Virginia-class attack submarine Pre-commissioning unit John Warner (SSN 785) is moved to Newport News Shipbuilding’s floating dry dock on Sept. 1, 2014. Huntington Ingalls Industries photo.

The Virginia-class attack submarine Pre-commissioning unit John Warner (SSN 785) is moved to Newport News Shipbuilding’s floating dry dock on Sept 1st, 2014.

New Navy Sub Build Strategy: Electric boat will focus on Ohio replacement while Newport News delivers more SSNs

The Navy released a Submarine Unified Build Strategy (SUBS) for concurrent Ohio Replacement ballistic missile submarine and Virginia Class attack submarine production through at least 2023. The plan calls for Newport News Shipbuilding taking on additional responsibilities with the Virginia class to help General Dynamics Electric Boat more effectively deliver the new class of boomers, service officials said to USNI News on Monday of this week.

“To execute this strategy, General Dynamics Electric Boat Corporation (GDEB) has been selected as the prime contractor for OR with the responsibilities to design and deliver the twelve OR submarines. Huntington Ingalls Industries- Newport News Shipbuilding (HII-NNS) will participate in the design and construct major OR assemblies and modules leveraging their expertise with VCS construction,” Navy spokeswoman Capt. Thurraya Kent said in a statement on March 28th, 2016.

In recent testimony before Congress, Navy leaders have expressed concern about maintaining their undersea advantage against adversaries such as Russia and China. Current production of Virginia-class subs stands at two per year.
“Both shipbuilders will continue to deliver [Virginias] throughout the period, with GDEB continuing its prime contractor responsibility for the program. Given the priority of the OR Submarine Program, the delivery of [Virginias] will be adjusted with HII-NNS performing additional deliveries. Both shipbuilders have agreed to this build strategy.”

The Navy will face a shortfall in its attack submarine force beginning in the mid-2020s, and the service hopes to blunt the impact of this bathtub by building one additional SSN in 2021. USNI News Graphic

The Navy will face a shortfall in its attack submarine force beginning in the mid-2020’s, and the service hopes to blunt the impact of this bathtub by building one additional SSN in 2021.

Director of Undersea Warfare Rear Adm. Charles Richard (OPNAV N97) told USNI News in a March 22 interview that building the second SSN in 2021 “is one of the best opportunities that we have to take action to address” the upcoming shortfall.

“It paints about 27 percent of that trough, so you get that back, and that’s an opportunity you won’t have after that point – you will have other opportunities, they just wont be as effective,” he said, explaining that the 2021 submarine would erase the shortfall in years the fleet will be short just one boat and will lessen the severity of the shortfall in other years.
“And from a program I think some have described as getting 10 for the price of nine (in the previous block buy), now that they’re giving you a chance to potentially get 10 for the price of 9.4 or something and do it again, I think that’s something that deserves a hard look in terms of can we take advantage of that opportunity.”


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