Feb2013: Unfestive Festoon

time to take care of those little things…

Click here for this PropTalk online-edition (February 2013)

February 2013's PropTalk Cover

February 2013’s PropTalk Cover

B.O.A.T by Mike Edick  A Not so Festive Festoon  Winter layup is the occasion when many boaters along the Chesapeake Bay feel like another season has ended. One perceived benefit (if there really is one) to this potentially depressing time is that work on the household honey-do list that went ignored during the summer can finally begin, and the nagging can end. Unfortunately for your spouse, and your home’s value, the period between December and spring launch actually is the most important time to focus on all those bothersome issues on your boat. Summer isn’t the time to be working on your boat. By default, that means winter is.  I originally jumped into troubleshooting a pesky bow light issue on my boat in 2011when it first occurred. Armed with a new bulb, I went forward and opened up the bow light fixture to find that the bulb hadn’t gone bad, but the light’s spring bulb contacts had—they were corroded and dirty. A quick clean up and jiggling of the existing bulb solved the issue. About a month later, the same problem occurred, and I initiated the same quick repair. About a month after that, the double-ended festoon bulb blew, so I replaced it with the new bulb from a few months earlier and considered it done.   June 30 last year was a spectacular sunny day on the Miles River, south of Eastern Bay. After a full day at anchor playing in the sun with the family, we anxiously waited to see the annual fireworks show over St. Michaels. As perfect as the day was, the fireworks show proved equally impressive. Naturally, something had to go wrong?   As the show finished that moonlit night, I fired-up the engines, flipped on the navigation lights, then immediately noticed that we had no bow lights… again. The lights had worked fine every time I’d needed them in 2012, but now they failed with 100 other boats around me. With my spotlight and radar working fine, I gently tucked behind a few other boats leaving the harbor headed north. Within minutes I was on my own, headed north through Eastern Bay, and then up into Kent Narrows without a bow light and luckily without a boat anywhere near me. I successfully navigated through Kent Narrows shortly after 11 p.m. Or so I thought.  With two markers to go before heading for the open water of the Chester River and the path home, I spotted a boat behind us on my radar leaving the northern channel of Kent Narrows. The boat made a wide, sweeping arc that eventually turned back toward us off the starboard bow, so I immediately illuminated the circling boat with my spotlight, to ensure that they know I’m there.  The other boat kindly returns the favor, lighting me up with a spotlight and flashing blue lights.  After a brief discussion and a bunch of apologies, the very nice officer escorted me to my marina’s slip, blue lights flashing the entire time. The officer waited as I tied up and shut down, with what looked like a ticket-book in his hand. Profusely thanking him for keeping me safe and helping escort me home, he turned around and instructed me to fix my lights, thankfully with no paperwork necessary.  Within a week I replaced the old-style bow light with a modern LED unit—not for energy conservation, but because the LED fixtures are completely sealed, ruling out saltwater intrusion when plunging the bow into the salty Bay. Finally, I got the point, learning two very important morals of this story: First, when stopped on the water, go out of your way to thank the officer for trying to protect you, even if he’s trying to protect you from yourself, Secondly, when the hair stands up on the back of your neck because you know you should take care of something, do it; especially when it’s the off season. The season you save may be your own.

A February 2013 PropTalk article about the Christina Rose, written by Mike Edick

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Click here for this PropTalk online-edition (February 2013)

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