May 2022
National Safe Boating Week
Celebrated May 21-27 this year, National Safe Boating Week is an annual event that reminds boaters to brush up on their boating safety skills in preparation for the boating season.

Knowing and adhering to basic safety standards—like wearing a life jacket—are critical to safety on the water. According to U.S. Coast Guard statistics, drowning was the cause of death in four out of every five recreational boating fatalities in 2020. Eighty-six percent of those who drowned were not wearing life jackets.

Of course, boating safety encompasses much more: taking a boating safety course, making sure equipment is in good working order, using an engine cut-off device, watching the weather, following navigational rules, and avoiding boating under the influence (a factor in one third of all recreational boating fatalities).

Additionally, it is important to have “printed-on-demand (POD)” nautical charts which provide boaters with the most up-to-date navigational information available. Per the POD process, chart printers (like OceanGrafix) download any available cartographic data daily, so critical information like Local Notices to Mariners is added to on-demand chart files on an ongoing basis—and charts are up to date at the time of printing.

Prepare Now for Hurricane Season
Hurricane season is coming soon, with the season running from June 1 through November 30. Experts suggest getting prepared now—ahead of the storms—to reduce the risk of injury and property damage if a storm hits. According to the National Weather Service, over a typical two-year period, the U.S. coastline is struck by an average of three hurricanes, one of which is considered a major hurricane with 111 mile-per-hour winds or greater.
 
Knowing your property’s vulnerability to storm surge, flooding, and winds is the first step in accessing your needs. Next, be sure to understand what zone you are in (Gulf or Atlantic) and where your evacuation site is located; local government can provide this information. Finally, assemble an emergency kit and gather emergency equipment like a generator, flashlights, and shutters.
 
Those in hurricane zones should also review insurance policies to ensure adequate coverage and create or review an emergency plan that ensures family and friends understand what to do in the event of a storm.
 
Who's On the Water?
Each month OceanGrafix features a fellow subscriber—and a bit about their love of boating. This month we introduce…
Rich Long
Independent Researcher


Left: In his home office with a host of monitors, Rich uses navigational charts in his work as an independent researcher.
Rich is not a mariner in the traditional sense. He doesn't captain a boat or spend a lot of time on the water. But Rich is very familiar with navigational charts, researching and studying bodies of water for his work as an independent researcher. 

What are you working on now?
I’m following the events and issues in the South and East China Seas such as China’s naval expansion, illegal fishing, and piracy. 

What aspects are you researching?
I record the positions of certain vessels and document what islands are claimed by whom. Then I overlay data such as radar ranges, flight radius of various aircraft, and missile ranges.

Are there limitations to what you can achieve?
Yes. Although the computer mapping software that I use works well, its capabilities and scope are limited. 
 
What have you found that helps?
OceanGrafix charts! They provide the big picture AND the details I need for my work. The distances represented on charts are easier to “see” which makes it easier to understand the fishing and shipping issues in this region.

How do you use the charts?
I laminate the charts and use an old-fashioned grease pencil to make notes on them. I hang them on the walls of my office—creating a mural of sorts—so they are always close at hand. 
 
I can’t stress enough how important these charts are to understanding the military, political, and environmental aspects of the maritime domain. I reference them daily to find locations, determine sailing times, and much more.

Interested in being our featured boater? Email us at news@oceangrafix.com.
Safety at Sea
Get ready for spring boating! Consider having these additional (and sometimes overlooked) safety items on board:

  • Anchor with proper length of chain or rope

  • Portable bilge pump to bail water if necessary

  • Navigational charts in case electronics malfunction

  • Diver-down flag to let other boats know that a passenger is underwater 

  • Snorkel mask for underwater investigation

  • Spotlight (with red-light option) to illuminate pathways