Tuesday, October 07 2014
Aids to Navigation can provide a boater with information similar to that which drivers get from street signs, stop signals, road barriers, detours, and traffic lights. This booklet will give you, the recreational boater, the basic information you need about the U.S. Aids to Navigation System (USATONS). This information will help you recognize, understand, and navigate by the colors, shapes, numbers, and lights you will encounter on the water. It will also give you the basic tools you need to read a nautical chart.
In addition, you will find information on safety, the proper way to interact with other vessels, tips on boating at night, and how to handle special situations you might encounter, like bridges and locks. Take some time to review this booklet, and keep it onboard your boat as a quick reference. Your understanding of the markers you see on the water will help ensure that you, your family, and your friends have fun – and safe – boating trips.
Provided by the United States Coast Guard Boating Safety Division.
Follow this link to read this extremely helpful and visual information on Aids to Navigation.
Tuesday, April 22 2014
Don't miss a Minute of Boat Season! Tips to get your Boat Ready for the Waves
Another great blog entry by Foremost Insurance.
Warm weather has come early in some parts of the country, making boat owners itching to get out on the water. I speak from experience, since I inherited a boat and will be putting it on the water this summer. It has been unseasonably warm in my part of the country and I can't wait for it to become the appropriate time to ride the waves. However, our marine product manager, Brad Seeley, has reminded me that there are many things I need to do in order to get that beauty ready for the season.
If you are struggling with the pre-launch boat preparation, here are some great tips from Discover Boating to help get that ride out as soon as possible.
- Inspect the fuel system for any leaks or damage. Ensure the engine, exhaust and ventilation systems are all functioning properly. (You may want to run the motor out of the water first.) Also, it's recommended to change the oil before your first run of the year.
- Check the belts, cables and hoses. They can become brittle and may crack or swell during the winter.
- Inspect electrical connections for cleanliness or tightness. Charge your battery and have it tested to ensure it can hold a charge. Electrical systems should be regularly inspected by a qualified technician.
- Check all fluid levels; change the engine oil, oil filter, and drive lubricants, if these tasks were not done prior to winterizing your boat.
- Inspect propellers for dings, pitting, cracks and distortion. Be sure to clean the hull, deck and topsides and make sure the drain plug is securely in place before every launch.
- Check your safety gear! Make sure your life jackets are in good condition and that there are enough on board for all potential passengers. Be sure on board fire extinguishers are the correct class and are fully charged.
A couple hours before your summer launch could save you huge headaches later. After researching this topic, I picked up a couple of my own tips. A lot of boat owners say to have extra plugs on hand, just in case. Also, brushing up on a boater's safety class is always a good idea and if you have a Foremost policy, you may be eligible for a discount.
Get prepared to enjoy this boating season and leave the rest to the water. Foremost just happens to offer boat insurance, so if you are in the market, Compass Insurance is a Foremost appointed agent. Give us a call at 207-790-2300.
Wednesday, January 22 2014
These are some excellent winter driving tips from weather.com.
Driving in Snow and Ice
The best advice for driving in bad winter weather is not to drive at all, if you can avoid it.
Don't go out until the snow plows and sanding trucks have had a chance to do their work, and allow yourself extra time to reach your destination.
If you must drive in snowy conditions, make sure your car is prepared, and that you know how to handle road conditions.
It's helpful to practice winter driving techniques in a snowy, open parking lot, so you're familiar with how your car handles. Consult your owner's manual for tips specific to your vehicle.
Driving safely on icy roads
- Decrease your speed and leave yourself plenty of room to stop. You should allow at least three times more space than usual between you and the car in front of you.
- Brake gently to avoid skidding. If your wheels start to lock up, ease off the brake.
- Turn on your lights to increase your visibility to other motorists.
- Keep your lights and windshield clean.
- Use low gears to keep traction, especially on hills.
- Don't use cruise control or overdrive on icy roads.
- Be especially careful on bridges, overpasses and infrequently traveled roads, which will freeze first. Even at temperatures above freezing, if the conditions are wet, you might encounter ice in shady areas or on exposed roadways like bridges.
- Don't pass snow plows and sanding trucks. The drivers have limited visibility, and you're likely to find the road in front of them worse than the road behind.
- Don't assume your vehicle can handle all conditions. Even four-wheel and front-wheel drive vehicles can encounter trouble on winter roads.
If your rear wheels skid...
- Take your foot off the accelerator.
- Steer in the direction you want the front wheels to go. If your rear wheels are sliding left, steer left. If they're sliding right, steer right.
- If your rear wheels start sliding the other way as you recover, ease the steering wheel toward that side. You might have to steer left and right a few times to get your vehicle completely under control.
- If you have standard brakes, pump them gently.
- If you have anti-lock brakes (ABS), do not pump the brakes. Apply steady pressure to the brakes. You will feel the brakes pulse — this is normal.
If your front wheels skid...
- Take your foot off the gas and shift to neutral, but don't try to steer immediately.
- As the wheels skid sideways, they will slow the vehicle and traction will return. As it does, steer in the direction you want to go. Then put the transmission in "drive" or release the clutch, and accelerate gently.
If you get stuck...
- Do not spin your wheels. This will only dig you in deeper.
- Turn your wheels from side to side a few times to push snow out of the way.
- Use a light touch on the gas, to ease your car out.
- Use a shovel to clear snow away from the wheels and the underside of the car.
- Pour sand, kitty litter, gravel or salt in the path of the wheels, to help get traction.
- Try rocking the vehicle. (Check your owner's manual first — it can damage the transmission on some vehicles.) Shift from forward to reverse, and back again. Each time you're in gear, give a light touch on the gas until the vehicle gets going.
Sources: National Safety Council, New York State Department of Motor Vehicles, Washington State Government Information & Services
Winterize Your Car
Driving in the winter means snow, sleet and ice that can lead to slower traffic, hazardous road conditions, hot tempers and unforeseen dangers. To help you make it safely through winter, here are some suggestions from the National Safety Council to make sure that you and your vehicle are prepared.
At any temperature -- 20° Fahrenheit below zero or 90° Fahrenheit above -- weather affects road and driving conditions and can pose serious problems. It is important to monitor forecasts on the Web, radio, TV, cable weather channel, or in the daily papers.
Prepare your car for winter. Start with a checkup that includes:
- Checking the ignition, brakes, wiring, hoses and fan belts.
- Changing and adjusting the spark plugs.
- Checking the air, fuel and emission filters, and the PCV valve.
- Inspecting the distributor.
- Checking the battery.
- Checking the tires for air, sidewall wear and tread depth.
- Checking antifreeze levels and the freeze line.
Your car should have a tune-up (check the owner's manual for the recommended interval) to ensure better gas mileage, quicker starts and faster response on pick-up and passing power.
An emergency situation on the road can arise at any time and you must be prepared. In addition to making sure you have the tune-up, a full tank of gas, and fresh anti-freeze, you should carry the following items in your trunk:
- Properly inflated spare tire, wheel wrench and tripod-type jack
- Jumper cables
- Tow and tire chains
- Bag of salt or cat litter
- Tool kit
Be prepared with a "survival kit" that should always remain in the car. Replenish after use. Essential supplies include:
- Working flashlight and extra batteries
- Reflective triangles and brightly-colored cloth
- First aid kit
- Exterior windshield cleaner
- Ice scraper and snow brush
- Wooden stick matches in a waterproof container
- Scissors and string/cord
- Non-perishable, high-energy foods like unsalted canned nuts, dried fruits, and hard candy.
In addition, if you are driving long distances under cold, snowy, and icy conditions, you should also carry supplies to keep you warm such as heavy woolen mittens, socks, a cap and blankets.
If You Become Stranded...
- Do not leave your car unless you know exactly where you are, how far it is to possible help, and are certain you will improve your situation.
- To attract attention, light two flares and place one at each end of the car a safe distance away. Hang a brightly colored cloth from your antenna.
- If you are sure the car's exhaust pipe is not blocked, run the engine and heater for about 10 minutes every hour or so depending upon the amount of gas in the tank.
- To protect yourself from frostbite and hypothermia use the woolen items and blankets to keep warm.
- Keep at least one window open slightly. Heavy snow and ice can seal a car shut.
- Eat a hard candy to keep your mouth moist.
Reprinted with permission from the National Safety Council
For more tips visit weather.com link below.
Thursday, January 09 2014
Preventing Ice Dams on Homes
Understanding how ice dams form
When heat from the interior of a house with a sloped roof escapes into the attic space, it warms the underside of the roof. Meanwhile, the roof eave outside the heated space remains a colder temperature.
As snow accumulates on the rooftop, it melts over the warmer portion of the attic and the melt water runs down the roof. When it encounters the cold edge of the roof it refreezes. The refrozen water along the roof edge creates an “ice dam” and consequently, the melted snow running down the roof begins to back up underneath the roof covering. This water will soak the roof sheathing and leak into the attic unless there is a barrier above the sheathing. Sealing the roof deck is an effective way to prevent the water from entering your home and causing damage.
Preventing ice dams
Installing a new roof is the perfect time to seal the roof deck by installing a moisture barrier on top of the decking, before installing the roof covering. This affordable option will help keep water out of your home due to moisture from ice dams, as well as protecting the house from wind-driven rain if the roof cover blows off during a windstorm. The moisture barrier should extend from the edge of the eaves to at least 24 inches beyond the inside of the exterior wall.
Here are some options for sealing the roof deck:
- Install a “peel and stick” membrane over the entire roof deck;
- Install 4″-6″ wide “peel and stick” tape installed over all the wood roof panel seams, covered by a 30# felt underlayment over the entire roof;
- Install a high tear strength synthetic underlayment with all vertical and horizontal seams taped;
- Install a closed cell polyurethane spray foam applied to the underside of the roof sheathing at the joints between the sheathing panels and along all intersections between roof sheathing and all roof framing members.
Things you can do before re-roofing:
To help prevent ice damming, remove or relocate heat sources that are installed in open attic areas directly under the roof, such as an attic.
Light fixtures in the ceiling below an unheated attic space and particularly those in cathedral ceilings the open area that is directly under your roof, such as attic space or a mechanical room, should be insulated.
Recessed light fixtures release heat if they are not insulated.
Check to see if there is any visible light from these fixtures in the attic.
If there is, they probably are not adequately sealed or insulated. Seal or insulate those light fixtures immediately.
If you have penetrations into the attic, such as vents, seal and insulate them so that daylight cannot be seen and airflow is minimal.
Insulate, seal, weatherstrip or gasket all attic access doors.
Attic penetrations and access doors, which are not properly sealed and insulated, allow for heated air to escape into the attic and can contribute to an ice damming condition.
Removing ice dams
IBHS does not recommend chipping or breaking ice dams due to the damage that can be inflicted on the roof. If you are not physically capable of going onto the roof or are unable to easily reach the roof, consult a roofing professional.
For low slope roofs or flat roofs:
Removing the snow will remove the source of a potential ice dam.
Use a heavy duty push broom with stiff bristles to brush off the snow on low slope or flat roofs.
A shovel or snow blower should not be used since they may tear up the roof cover system.
For steep slope roofs:
Removing the snow will remove the source of a potential ice dam.
A roof rake may be used for most single story buildings while remaining on the ground to pull snow down the roof slope.
Do not pull snow back against the slope or sideways since the snow may get underneath the cover and can break shingles.
Another great resource article by The Insurance Institute for Business & Home Safety.