March 2019 - Marina eNewsletter
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Sun Harbor Marina
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San Diego, CA 92106



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Top Ten Checklist for Safer Boating
- By Captain John
Inspect your boat from stem to stern before casting off and after you tie up. Before boating; after boating, Every time. Make these ten items your first stop when you step aboard any boat, power or sail. Develop your own checklist, but be sure to transfer these 'top ten' to the head of the line. Realize that these ten items are just to get you started. Use a checklist for a more thorough item-by-item check.

1. Fire Extinguishers
Fire on a boat means big trouble. Check marine fire extinguisher locations and gauge charges. Recharge any extinguisher where the dial points into the red sector. Point out the location of each portable fire extinguisher to your crew.

Remove dry powder extinguishers from their brackets once each sailing season. Invert them and shake the powder; it tends to cake near the bottom. Then reinstall them in their brackets. Now you know your extinguishers will serve you well in case of an emergency.

2. Flare Kits
All items in your emergency flare kit have two stamped dates: a manufactured date (earlier) and expiration date (later). If they're expired, keep the old ones, but you must replace them with new ones. Flares save lives, so keep them accessible and ready to use in an instant.

3. Stuffing Box
The stuffing box (also called a packing gland) wraps around the propeller shaft where it exits the hull to keep the water out. Marine insurance companies claim that more boats sink from excessive leaks in this area than from any other cause. And boats with these problems sink at the dock, mooring or at anchor---not underway.

Get your flashlight and shine it onto the packing and lock nuts. Water lubricates the packing, so you should see a drop or two every minute. Excessive leaks indicate worn or missing packing. Address this right away before you cast off.

4. Bilges and Engine Drip Pan
Check the forward and aft bilge for excess water. Look for leaks around keel bolts or transducer through-hulls. Expect a normal accumulation of about 1' of bilge water from condensation.

Look under the engine in the drip pan. If you see water, dip your fingers in and rub them together. Clear, oily water indicates a fresh water coolant problem. But it could also signal a stuffing box leak. When you fire up the engine, keep an eye on the stuffing box for too much leakage.

5. Engine Fuel Shutoff
Make sure you know the location of the fuel supply shutoff valve. In an emergency, you need to turn this off to stop fuel flow to your small diesel engine. Trace the fuel line between the fuel tank and primary (first)fuel filter. Test the valve to make sure you can turn it off and on with moderate pressure

6. Marine Seacocks
The second most frequent cause of boat losses are seacocks with frozen handles or blown hoses. Every seacock aboard must have a handle that works and can close the valve to the sea. Test each handle in the shut off (90 degrees to the hose) and open (in line to the hose) position. A gentle tap frees up most handles, frozen from corrosion.

Lash a tapered, soft-wood plug to the base of each seacock. In an emergency, drive the tapered end into the top tail-piece of the seacock to plug a leak.

7. Head Valves
Another boat sinker. The head seacock often stays open underway. With a defective valve, this could cause the commode to fill and overflow. Make it a habit to shut off both valve and seacock after every use to prevent this problem.

8. Port, Hatch and Cowl Closures
Do the opening ports and hatches secure all the way? In a squall, spray or rainstorm, you must button her up below. Do you know where the cowl vent cover is? A dry cabin pumps up crew morale, second only to a hot meal!

9. Marine Bilge Pumps
Use the highest capacity mechanical type bilge pump available. All cruising sailboats need additional 'works-every-time' manual type bilge pumps in the cockpit. Keep the handle in the sink or mount it in the cockpit.

Portable hand pumps are effective with a three foot or longer hose on the intake and exhaust side. You need that length to reach down into deep bilges and empty the water out through a port or into the cockpit. Make sure you have a bailing bucket or two aboard, too. They've kept more than one boat afloat when other methods failed.

10. Battery Covers and Tie Downs
Most cruising boats have two batteries, one to start the engine and one for general (house) electronics. Larger power vessels have battery banks that provide extra power for cranking large diesel engines and amp hungry appliances.

Each battery must have a cover and a strong tie down to prevent movement when you heel, roll or pitch. Test the cables for tight contact to the battery terminals. Now you know they'll give you juice when you ask for it.

Follow these easy 'top ten' boating tips before you cast off and after you return from boating. This will give you more confidence and peace of mind--wherever in the world you choose to sail or cruise!


Marina Recipes - Homemade Pierogi
This month we bring you Mark Kropinksi's wonderful homemade Pierogi recipe. We are excited to bring you another recipe from Mark Kropinski. We are looking for recipes from each of you and will share one each month. We hope you enjoy this one!

Ingredients for Dough:
8 cups Flour
4 Eggs
¼ lb Butter Melted
1 tblsp Salt
8 oz Sour Cream
1½ cups Warm Water

Combine Flour, eggs, melted butter, salt and sour cream together in a bowl. Slowly add the warm water to form dough. Continue to mix until hands are clean. Add a little flour if needed (the dough will be wet and will firm up in the cooler). Wrap well and refrigerate overnight. Use dough the next day and all scraps can be reworked. Makes approximately 100 pieces.

For Filling:
4 large Yukon gold potatoes (peeled and cut large diced)

Peeled and rough cut your potato and begin to cook them in cold water. Once the potatoes are tender pass them through a ricer. Add the ingredients listed below to the riced potatoes while the potatoes are still hot.

1 lb Sharp Cheddar
1 lb Ham (diced and sautéed to remove moisture)
¼ lb Dried Porcini Mushrooms (plunge in ice water and remove quickly until no dirt is remaining on the mushrooms).
1 lb Pecorino Cheese grated
½ bunch Parsley (chiffonade), Thyme (chopped fine)
Salt, White Pepper and Nutmeg to Taste

Making the Pierogi:
Start by removing the dough from the refrigerator, cut one piece off at a time and begin to roll it on a floured table. Roll the dough out as thin as possible. Allow the dough to set for a few minutes to relax the dough so it doesn't shrink before you cut out the circle for the Pierogi. Using a circle cutter cut the dough into circles. Brush the outer edge of the circle with egg wash. Place a small amount of filling in the middle of the cut dough then fold it over crimp with a floured fork.

Blanch the pierogi in boiling water (do not overcrowd the pot) once the pierogi floats, remove them from the pot and place them in a bowl of ice water. Once cooled, drain the excess water off in a colander and place them into the bowl of warm sautéed onions/butter mixture. Next, place the pierogi onto a sheet pan then placed into the refrigerator for later use.

For Service:
Sauté the pierogi over medium to medium-high heat using a non-stick pan and allow them to brown on both sides. Serve them with sour cream.

Time and Tide Wait for Nobody - Usually
- By Commodore Vincent Pica
Before accepting the weekly tide tables as gospel, take a moment to review a few essentials.

First, don't mistake precision with accuracy. What??? Just because we can predict the tides to the second as far into the future as you could imagine (after all, we certainly know the rotations of the Earth, Sun and Moon to exquisite precision), it doesn't mean that the times are accurate! Why aren't they? (We can put a man on the moon!)

First, the weather matters. Picture the Inlets that punctuate the south shore of Long Island as a straw between one big balloon (Moriches Bay, for example) and one REALLY big balloon (the North Atlantic). If there are strong winds from any northerly heading, someone is blowing back out the straw while the tide itself is trying to come through the straw and into the Bay.

What happens? The tide wins but it arrives later than the computer model, based on celestial relationships between the Earth, Sun and Moon, predicted. Go through all the combinations about wind with the tide (outgoing/ebbing), wind against the tide (incoming/flooding) and you can see. Times are approximate!

Secondly, the tidal range (height, top to bottom) varies too. Wait! What about all those computer models? We know when the Sun is lined up with the Moon, creating "Spring" tides (higher highs, lower lows, during new and full moons). We know when they are exactly NOT lined up, i.e., at right angles to the Earth, creating "Neap" tides (lower highs, higher lows during quarter moons).

Well, have you ever heard the weather man say, "There is a high pressure area coming!" Well, air has weight (14lbs/square inch at sea level.) If pressure increases, it matters! It lies on top of the water like a blanket.

Similarly, and with much more to worry about, if the weather man says, "There is a low-pressure area building!", be ready for strong winds (filling the vacuum/imbalance between "normal" pressure and the low pressure) and higher tides. Someone took off the heavy blanket and replaced it with a sheet!

Here's an example. If you're on the East coast and the wind is starting to rise, face it and point straight out to your right. If you are pointing towards water, start to double your dock lines. That means the center of the storm is over water, from whence it derives its power! Think about it. Face northeast and point straight out to the right. What are you pointing at? The North Atlantic! Ever wonder why Nor'easters are so powerful..?

With all that as background, one last thing - Tides change at different times in the same bay. Wa? Well, think about it. When the tide starts to form outside the Moriches Inlet, it eventually has to work its way around the shoal island just inside the Inlet. Then it has to work its way east and west towards Shinnecock and the Great South Bay, respectively. The wide expanse of those two reaches takes some of the power out of the "straw" that is still being fed by the tidal surge.

So, what to do???

1. Don't mistake precision with accuracy. These are estimates, good estimates, but estimates nonetheless. Use your "seaman's eye" to anticipate how the times might be effected by the weather.

2. Be aware of the Moon's phase in re the range of the tide. She is beautiful indeed and will have her way!

3. Remember to adjust the tide table times for your locale. If the table of offsets isn't close enough to your home port to give you comfort, take some time and watch the tide in your creek or at your dock. I live between the Inlet and Potunk Point. The tide reaches me 75 minutes before it reaches Potunk Point!

BTW, if you are interested in being part of USCG Forces, email me at or go direct to the D1SR Human Resources department, who are in charge of new members matters, at DSO-HR and we will help you "get in this thing"!

Commodore Pica is District Directorate Chief; Strategy & Innovation; First Coast Guard District, Southern Region USCGAux. He is also a U.S. Coast Guard licensed Master Captain.

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