Monday, June 29, 2009

Whale Watching in Depoe Bay, Oregon

Take a walk to the sea wall, look for the geysers that have a habit of blowing water 60 feet in the air and watch the local whales breach. Depoe Bay has resident gray whales that actually make their home there 10 months out of the year. There are various observation spots to watch them play or you can charter a boat right there in town for a ride out to take a closer look. One of the better places is Dockside Charters located in the harbor, go aboard the "Whales Tail" for a great ride.
Spotting a breaching Gray or Orca while whale watching is an absolute rush and is something you'll never forget. I remember one time Gray Whales breached on our port side and swam under the boat and came up and breached on the other side, then skyhopped right next to the boat, what an experience.
Depoe Bay, the closest port along the path of the migrating Gray Whales and the summer feeding grounds for numerous whales. Gray whales feed in and around the near shore kelp beds from late April through October, providing the best whale watching on the entire coast. The Gray Whales are also visible from the middle of December through February on their southerly and northerly migration. Orcas as well as Humpback whales are often seen. Our Zodiac "Whales Tail" carries up to 6 people, very enjoyable trip for the family.
We run daily trips weather permitting out for ocean sightseeing and to see the whales. Departure times change daily so call in the morning for that days departure times.
I'm always telling people the very best time of the year for whale watching is July, August and September, but this year it is early. Whale Watching is great. Today Kit, on the "Whales Tail", touched and petted her first whale. Obviously one of the Lagoon whales, (I'll call them) used to coming up to the boats has shown up and Kit was there to greet her. She spent about 15 minutes at the boat, all got to touch her before she wandered off. A fantastic experience for enyone who has never had that oppurtunity. There were also at least five other whales in the area this as well.
The "Whales Tail" is available 7 days a week, Gary or Kit prefer to start in the mornings around 8 AM and will run all day and into the evening. Call for reservations and prices on our Whale Tours.
DOCKSIDE CHARTERS Depoe Bay PO Box 1308, Depoe Bay, Oregon 97341 (541) 765-2545 or (800) 733-8915
For more information on whale watching:

Friday, June 19, 2009

Boating Accidents and What to Do

When you go boating, you will encounter hazards and risks. The outcome of these encounters will be determined by your knowledge, skill, and attitude toward safety. It's important to make a boating emergency less likely to happen by taking the proper precautions, but, it's equally important to be prepared and know what to do if an emergency occurs.

Risk Management
Because most accidents are the result of a simple mistake, nearly all accidents are easily preventable. The best way to avoid having a serious accident is to take a few simple steps toward accident prevention. The water can be an unfriendly environment if you don't recognize risks and are not properly prepared for them. Risk management is the process of recognizing and acting upon accident warning signs or minimizing the effects of an accident if it does occur. If you know the "rules of the road" and how important they are to you and other boats and potential hazards and to maintain a safe speed. By practicing these rules, you greatly reduce the chance that you'll be involved in an accident.

Get in the habit of wearing your life jacket also reduces the chance that you will drown should you find yourself in the water unexpectedly. Below is additional information to help you understand and minimize the risks associated with boating and make your time on the water safe .

Increased Risk Due To Boating Stressors
The glare and heat of the sun, along with the motion of the vessel caused by the wind and the waves and the noise and vibration of the engine, have a large impact on your body that you may not even realize. These natural stressors make you tire more rapidly when on the water regardless of your age or level of fitness. Many boaters greatly underestimate the effect these stressors have on fatigue. While perhaps not fatal themselves, stressors may weaken your body and mind enough to make the risk of an accident much greater.

Increased Risk Due to Dehydration
A typical boating day in the summer causes your body to generate a large amount of heat. Sitting exposed in the sun increases your body heat. As you ride in a boat, your body automatically adjusts to the changing position of the boat. The exertion of this constant adjustment increases body heat.

The way the body rids itself of increased heat is by sweating. Increased sweating will cause dehydration if fluids are not replaced. Dehydration will make you more fatigued and more at risk for a boating accident.
The best way to minimize the risk of dehydration is to drink plenty of water before, during, and after any water activities. A good rule of thumb while you are boating in warm weather is to drink some water every 15-20 minutes.

Besides thirst, other signs of dehydration are a dry mouth, sleepiness, irritability, weakness, dizziness, and a headache. The first thing you should do if you experience any of these symptoms is to drink plenty of water. If possible, get out of the sun and rest. Serious dehydration may require medical attention. Most accidents are preventable. Even accidents attributed to the environment most likely could have been prevented if the operator had not overlooked the warning signals, had not made poor decisions, or had the proper boating skills. Many accidents attributed to equipment also could have been prevented if proper maintenance and defect detection had taken place.

A Typical U.S. Boating Fatality
Someone not wearing a PFD falls overboard and drowns or
A vessel capsizes and someone drowns or
A vessel strikes another vessel or fixed object, and the occupants are fatally injured or drown due to injuries.
Collisions can occur because boat operators are not staying alert and keeping a lookout for other boats or objects, or are going a little faster than they should. Although some collisions happen at night when it is difficult to see, many occur in daylight hours on calm, clear days. About one-third of the time, alcohol is involved.

You also might be surprised to learn that:
Typically, victims drown even though there are enough life jackets on the boat. (Remember, you probably won't have time to put on your life jacket during an emergency. Get in the habit of wearing it.) The vessel is most often a small boat of open design, such as a jon boat, canoe, or other type of boat with low sides. The victims are usually men 26 to 50 years old, who have been boating for years and likely know how to swim.

Remember, it only takes one mistake to ruin your day of boating. Pay attention, slow down a little, and wear a life jacket.

Minimize Risk of Boating Accidents, Avoid Alcohol
The effect of alcohol is increased by the natural stressors placed on your body while boating. Also, alcohol causes dehydration of your body. It takes less alcohol, combined with stressors, to impair an operator's ability to operate safely. Research has proven that one-third of the amount of alcohol that it takes to make a person legally intoxicated on land can make a boater equally intoxicated on the water.

Alcohol depresses the central nervous system, affects judgment, and slows physical reaction time. Most people become impaired after only one drink. Alcohol makes it difficult for you to pay attention and perform multiple tasks. For example, it will be more difficult for you to keep track of two or more vessels operating in your area. This could become critical if you are placed in an emergency situation and must make a sudden decision.

Alcohol can reduce your ability to distinguish colors, especially red and green. Alcohol impairment increases the likelihood of accidents—for both passengers and vessel operators. Always designate non-drinking boaters to operate the vessel and to act as an observer if your group plans to consume alcohol. Do not allow your skipper to operate if he or she is drinking. Alcohol is a major contributor to boating accidents and fatalities. Drinking while boating is a choice. The best way to minimize the risk of an accident is to make the wise choice—Don't drink and boat!

Minimize Risk of Drownings, Wear PFDs (Life Jackets)
Approximately 70% of all boating fatalities are drownings, and most of those fatalities could have been avoided. Ninety percent of drowning victims are not wearing a life jacket, drownings are rare when boaters are wearing an appropriate PFD. One of the most important things you can do to make boating safe and enjoyable is not only to carry enough life jackets for everyone on board but also to have everyone wear them.

These requirements for PFDs are both important and the law.
PFDs must be readily accessible. Better yet, each person should wear a PFD because PFDs are difficult to put on once you are in the water. In most fatal accidents, PFDs were on board but were not in use or were not within easy reach. If you are in the water without a PFD, retrieve a floating PFD and hold it to your chest by wrapping your arms around it.

PFDs must be of the proper size for the intended wearer. Always read the label of the PFD to make sure it is the right size based on the person's weight and chest size. It's especially important to check that a child's PFD fits snugly. Test the fit by picking the child up by the shoulders of the PFD and checking that his or her chin and ears do not slip through the PFD. PFDs must be in good and serviceable condition.

Regularly test a PFD's buoyancy in shallow water or a swimming pool. Over time, the ultraviolet radiation from the sun will break down the synthetic materials of your PFD. Frequently inspect PFDs for rips or tears, discolored or weakened material, insecure straps or zippers, or labels that are no longer readable. Discard and replace any PFD that has a problem. If using an inflatable PFD, before each outing check the status of the inflator and that the CO2 cylinder has not been used, has no leaks, and is screwed in tightly.

Also check that the PFD itself has no leaks by removing the CO2 cylinder and orally inflating the PFD. The PFD should still be firm after several hours. After an inflatable PFD has been inflated using a cylinder, replace the spent cylinder and re-arm it. Because an inflatable PFD is a mechanical device, it requires regular maintenance. Maintain the inflatable portion of the PFD as instructed in the owner's manual.

Inflatable Life Jackets
Some people say they don’t wear their PFDs because they’re too hot or too bulky. But that’s not an excuse anymore. Inflatable PFDs offer a U.S. Coast Guard approved life jacket that is small and lightweight. Inflatable life jackets come in two styles: a PFD that looks like a pair of suspenders or a belt pack that looks like a small fanny pack.

Some of these PFDs are designed to inflate if the wearer falls into the water; others require the wearer to pull a cord. Inflatable PFDs are approved only for people 16 and older, and they are not to be worn on PWCs or while water-skiing. Read the operating instructions and the approval label before you choose an inflatable PFD. Then be sure to wear it.

Rescue Technique
If you are on a dock when someone falls in, you should try to "talk" the victim to safety. If he or she is unable to get to the dock, you should:

Extend a fishing rod, branch, oar, towel, or other object that can be used to REACH out to the victim and pull him or her to safety. If nothing is available, lay flat on the dock and grab the victim's hand or wrist, and pull him or her to safety.

If the victim is too far away to reach and a boat isn't handy, throw the victim a PFD or anything else that will float.

If a rowboat is available, ROW to the victim and then use an oar or paddle to pull the victim to the stern. Let the victim hold onto the stern as you paddle to shore. If the victim is too weak, hold onto him or her until help arrives. If using a powerboat, stop the engine and glide to the victim from the downwind side.

Swimmers without lifesaving training should not swim to a victim. Instead, GO for help. If you must swim, take along anything that floats to keep between you and the victim.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Ocean Charter Equipment List

Magnetic Compass : An installed, marine-style magnetic compass shall be located at the vessel’s primary steering station. Uninspected vessels less than 26 feet of open construction can use a portable or hand-held compass as an alternative means of compliance.

Emergency Position Indicating Radio Beacon (EPIRB) : A satellite 406 MHz EPIRB is required for all charter vessels operating at any distance offshore.

Running Lights : Vessels shall be equipped with lighting configurations as specified in a Navigation Rules for International and Inland waters.

Power / Hand Operated Bilge Pump/Bailing Bucket :

All vessels must comply with U.S.C.G. requirements as listed:
Vessels less than 7.9m (26ft) up to 19.8m (65ft) not carrying more than 49 pass:
A bilge high water warning system shall not be required on dory style
1 – fixed power pump and one – portable hand pump, or, 1 – fixed hand pump and one – portable hand pump

Vessels not more than 19.8m (65ft), carrying more than 49 passengers:
1 – fixed power pump and 1 – portable hand pump

Vessels more than 19.8 m (65ft): 2 – fixed power pumps. Additionally, each must have, 1 – five gallon bucket

Depth Finder : An installed (not portable), functioning depth finding unit shall be at or near the vessel’s primary steering station. The equipment shall provide an adequate range of depth scales allowing the operator to select scales that provide ample safety warning of abrupt ocean bottom contour changes.

Light / Smoke Flares : Vessels operating in ocean or coastal waters and bays/rivers, with an opening to the seas of 2 miles or more, are required to carry light and or smoke flares as follows:
Coastal, less than 3 miles from the coastline - One electronic distress light, or 3 approved flares, and one distress flag or 3 approved flares or 3 approved smoke signals

Ocean, more than 3 miles from the coastline - 3 parachute flares, 6 hand flares, and 3 smoke flares.

Life Jackets / Life Ring : Each vessel shall carry (as a minimum) the following:
One U.S.C.G. approved life jacket (readily accessible, Type I, II, III or V of suitable size for the intended wearer) for each person on board. On U.S.C.G approved life ring, Type IV, (immediately available)

First Aid Kit : Each vessel shall carry on board a first aid kit containing at least the items specified in this section. The first aid kit shall be plainly marked and shall consist of a weatherproof container with individual sealed packages for each type of item. Contents of such kit shall contain a sufficient quantity of at least the following types of items:
Bandage compress, 4 inch, (1 pkg)
Bandage compress, 2 inch (4 pkgs)
Waterproof adhesive compress, 1 inch, (16 pkgs)
Eye dressing, 1/8th oz. ophthalmic ointment, adhesive strips, cotton pads, (1 pkg)
Bandage, gauze, compressed, 1 inches X 6 yards, (2 pkgs)
Tourniquet (1), forceps (1), scissors (1), safety pins (12)
Wire splint, (1 ea)
Ammonia inhalants, (10 ea)
Iodine applicators, (10 ea)
Aspirin, phenacetin & caffeine compound, 1-1/2 Gr. Tablets, vials of 20, (2 pkgs)
Sterile petrolatum gauze, 3 inches X 18 inches, (4 pkgs)
Contents of the first aid kit shall be checked before each trip and at least weekly to ensure the expended or expired items are replaced.

Monday, June 1, 2009

Carbon Dioxide (CO2) Extinguishing Systems

Carbon dioxide (C02) extinguishing systems have, for a long time, been approved for ship installation as well as for industrial occupancies ashore. Aboard ship, carbon dioxide has been approved for cargo and tank compartments, spaces containing internal combustion or gas-turbine main propulsion machinery and other spaces.

Properties of Carbon Dioxide

Carbon dioxide is normally a gas, but it may be liquefied or solidified under pressure. At -43°C (-110°F), carbon dioxide exists as a solid, called "dry ice." The critical temperature of carbon dioxide is 31°C (87.8°F). Above that temperature, it is always a gas, regardless of pressure. Carbon dioxide does not support combustion in ordinary materials. However, there are some exceptions, as when C02 reacts with magnesium and other metals. Carbon dioxide is about 1.5 times heavier than air. This adds to its suitability as an extinguishing agent, because CO2 tends to fall through air and blanket a fire. Its weight makes it less prone to dissipate quickly. In addition, carbon dioxide is not an electrical conductor; it is approved for extinguishing fires in energized electrical equipment.

Extinguishing Properties of Carbon Dioxide

Carbon dioxide extinguishes fire mainly by smothering. It dilutes the air surrounding the fire until the oxygen content is too low to support combustion. For this reason it is effective on class B fires, where the main consideration is to keep the flammable vapors separated from oxygen in the air. C02 has a very limited cooling effect. It can be used on class A fires in confined spaces, where the atmosphere may be diluted sufficiently to stop combustion. However, C02 extinguishment takes time. The concentration of carbon dioxide must be maintained until all the fire is out. Constraint and patience are needed.

Carbon dioxide is sometimes used to protect areas containing valuable articles. Unlike water and some other agents, carbon dioxide dissipates without leaving a residue. As mentioned above, it does not conduct electricity and can be used on live electrical equipment. However, fire parties must maintain a reasonable distance when using a portable C02 extinguisher or hoseline from a semiportable system on high voltage gear.

Uses of Carbon Dioxide

Carbon dioxide is used primarily for class Band C fires. It may also be used to knock down a class A fire. It is particularly effective on fires involving flammable oils and greases.

Electrical and electronic equipment, such as motors, generators and navigational devices.

Hazardous and semihazardous solid materials, such as some plastics, except those that contain their own oxygen (like nitrocellulose) machinery spaces, engine rooms and paint and tool lockers.

Cargo spaces where total flooding with carbon dioxide may be accomplished.

Galleys and other cooking areas.

Compartments containing high value cargo, such as works of art, delicate machinery and other material that would be ruined or damaged by water or water-based extinguishing agents.

Spaces where after-fire cleanup would be a problem.

Limitations on the Use of Carbon Dioxide

Effectiveness. C02 is not effective on substances that contain their own oxygen (oxidizing agents). It is not effective on combustible metals such as sodium, potassium, magnesium and zirconium. In fact, when C02 is used on burning magnesium, it reacts with the magnesium to form carbon, oxygen and magnesium oxide. The fire is intensified by the addition of oxygen and carbon, a fuel.

Outside Use

To be fully effective, the gas must be confined. For this reason, C02 is not as effective outside as it is in a confined space. This does not mean that it cannot be used outside. Portable CO2 extinguishers and hoselines have extinguished many fires in the open. An outside fire should be attacked from the windward side; the CO2 should be directed low with a sweeping motion for a spill fire, or down at the center of a confined fire. The effective range for a portable C02 fire extinguisher is about 1.5 m (5 ft).

Possibility of Reignition

Compared with water carbon dioxide has a very limited cooling capacity. It may not cool the fuel below its ignition temperature, and it is more likely than other extinguishing agents to allow reflash. (Its main extinguishing action, as noted above, is oxygen dilution.) When portable C02 extinguishers or hose lines from semiportable extinguishers are used, additional backup water hoselines should be brought to the scene. In case of live electrical equipment, an additional nonconducting agent must be brought to the scene.

When a space is flooded with CO2 the concentration must be kept up to a certain level After the initial application of a set number of C02 cylinders, additional cylinders must be discharged into the space periodically. These backup applications maintain the concentration of C02 for periods varying from hours to days. C02 works well in confined spaces, but it works slowly; patience is the watchword.

If a flooded space is opened before the fire is completely extinguished, air entering the space may cause reignition. Carbon dioxide cannot be purchased at sea. Reignition requires a second attack, at a time when less C02 is available.

Hazards. Although carbon dioxide is not poisonous to the human system, it is suffocating in the concentration necessary for extinguishment. A person exposed to this concentration would suffer dizziness and unconsciousness. Unless removed quickly to fresh air, the victim could die.

Carbon Dioxide Systems

Carbon dioxide extinguishing systems aboard vessels are usually not automatic. However automatic systems may be installed in certain ships and towing vessels with Coast Guard approvaL In the manual system, a fire detector senses fire and actuates an alarm. The engine room is alerted, and the bridge and CO2 room are notified as to the location of the fire (see Chapter 6). After it is verified that a fire actually exists, the amount of carbon dioxide required for the involved space is released from the C02 room.

Coast Guard regulations require that an evacuation alarm be sounded when CO2 is introduced into a space that is normally accessible to persons on board, other than paint and lamp lockers and similar small spaces. However on systems installed since July 1, 1957, an alarm is required only if delayed discharge is used. Delayed discharge is required where large amounts of C02 are released into large spaces. Delayed discharge may also be required for smaller spaces from which there are no horizontal escape routes.

The alarm sounds during a 20-second delay period prior to the discharge of carbon dioxide into the space. It uses no source of power other than the carbon dioxide itself. Every carbon dioxide alarm must be conspicuously identified with the warning "WHEN THE ALARM SOUNDS VACATE AT ONCE. CARBON DIOXIDE IS BEING RELEASED."

Portable and semiportable C02 extinguishers may be located in certain spaces. Small systems, consisting of one to four C02 cylinders, a hose and a nozzle, are often provided to protect against specific hazards. Those who work in the areas protected by these appliances should be familiar with their operation.