December 2019 - Marina eNewsletter
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San Diego, CA 92106



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Greetings Sun Harbor Mariners
Season's Greetings! And welcome to the December 2019 edition of the Sun Harbor Marina newsletter. In this month's issue, we have jolly articles: Green Topside Maintenance; Baja Ha Ha Departure; and our delicious December cocktail recipe for Mulled Wine.

Marina News
Please note our Holiday Hours for the following dates:

  • November 28th - CLOSED Thanksgiving
  • December 24th - Open 8:30am - Noon Christmas Eve
  • December 25th - CLOSED Christmas Eve
  • December 31st - CLOSED New Year's Eve

Holiday Party! Storytelling, Potluck, and     Pre-Parade of Lights Festivities: Back by popular demand is our Storytelling holiday party! Come join us on Sunday, December 15th before the Parade of Lights for a special holiday potluck, we will be gathering on the upper deck from 4:00pm - 7:00pm. Bring a sweater and a something to share: food, drinks, and stories!

Parade of Lights- San Diego's 48th annual parade of lights will dazzle and entertain bayfront crowds during the evenings of December 8th and 15th, 2019. Beginning at 5:00pm both nights, the parade starts at Shelter Island and proceeds to Harbor Island, the Embarcadero, Seaport Village, the Pier at Cesar Chavez Park, and ends at the Ferry Landing in Coronado. Announcers will be located at the Maritime Museum on the Embarcadero and at Coronado Landing, but fantastic views of the parade will be all over the bay!

Baja Ha Ha Departure
The 26th annual Baja Ha-Ha departed recently on November 3rd. The Ha-Ha, of course, is the annual cruisers' rally from San Diego to Cabo San Lucas, with R&R stops at funky Turtle Bay and pristine Bahia Santa Maria. The event is open to boats over 27-feet in length that were designed, built and have been maintained for open ocean sailing. Below is a photo of the departure, captured by one of our very own tenants, Jocelyn. Safe cruising to the Baja ha-ha fleet!

Special Dates in December
December 3rd  Cyber Monday
December 5th   World Soil Day
December 8th  Brownie Day
December 9th   Pastry Day
December 11th  International Mountain Day
December 12th Poinsettia Day
December 15th –  Lemon Cupcake Day
December 22nd  Beginning of Hanukkah
December 24th Christmas Eve (Office Closed at Noon)
December 25th Christmas Day (Office Closed)
December 31st  Champagne Day
December 31st New Year's Eve (Office Closed)

Upcoming Marina Events
Parade of Lights - San Diego's 48th Annual parade of lights will dazzle and entertain bayfront crowds during the evenings of December 8th and 15th, 2019. Beginning at 5:00pm both nights, the parade starts at Shelter Island and proceeds to Harbor Island, the Embarcadero, Seaport Village, the Pier at Cesar Chavez Park, and ends at the Ferry Landing in Coronado. Announcers will be located at the Maritime Museum on the Embarcadero and at Coronado Landing, but fantastic views of the parade will be all over the bay! For more information and the exact route, visit

Holiday Party! Storytelling, Potluck, and Pre-Parade of Lights Festivities: Back by popular demand is our Storytelling holiday party! Come join us on Sunday, December 15th before the Parade of Lights for a special holiday potluck, we will be gathering on the upper deck from 4:00 - 7:00pm. Bring a sweater and a something to share: food, drinks, and stories!

Clean Marina Minute - Green Topside Maintenance
Do you perform shore-side boat cleaning and maintenance in a manner that minimizes discharges of products and debris into the water and into the air. In water cleaning and maintenance activities should be limited to minor touch-ups and maintenance. Larger jobs should be conducted in a boat yard with waste collection and treatment systems. In the slip, tarps can be suspended between the boat bottom and the dock to catch debris and spills. Use a vacuum to remove debris.

Before you get started, be sure that the cleaning and maintenance activity that you are planning to do is legal and safe to do in slip!

You want to maintain your Vessel's appearance. It is a requirement but also a good neighbor plan to practice. Before you start a project review your Wharfage Agreement to determine if you are getting into a danger zone for the maintenance in planning:

  • Apart from work accomplished wholly below decks, None of the following efforts are permitted without written permission:

    hull painting,
    sander use,
    spray gun use,
    overhauls or other refurbishment

  • All Owners are reminded that the Marina is a recreational area and not a boat yard or repair facility.

    The most important to thing to keep in mind is that the best way to protect the water is to perform as little in-water maintenance that can result in discharges as possible.

    The use of solvents, paints and varnishes for in-slip boat maintenance can contribute to pollution entering the water. The best way to protect the water is to perform only small maintenance jobs in the slip. Use of a variety of boat cleaners, such as detergents, teak cleaners and fiberglass polishers can also contribute to pollution and nutrients entering the water and should be discouraged and minimized.

    Avoid spills in the water of all solvents, paints and varnishes. Keep all open containers of liquids (e.g. paints, solvents, fuel) that could spill to the water, scuppers or storm drains in secondary containment. Unattended open containers of these types of liquids are strictly prohibited.

    Use or ask your topside maintenance service to use environmentally friendly cleaning products. Carefully read labels to ensure the products are phosphate free and non toxic. Avoid cleaners that contain ammonia, lye, sodium hypochlorite, chlorine or petroleum distillates. Whichever product you choose, use products in moderation, since more of the cleaner product does not automatically mean your topside is cleaner.

Thanks for keeping your vessel ship shape and without risk to the waterways we all enjoy.
Laura Brownwood

Captain John's Skipper Tips - Is Your Standing Rigging Ready for Sailing? Start Here...
- By Captain John
Did you know that a tiny piece of rigging the same size and shape as a bobby pin works as hard as the mythical Atlas to hold up your mast and rigging? And most of these pieces of "sailing rigging gold" cost less than $1.00.

Inspect your rigging each time before you go sailing. Catch the small things early to avoid expensive repairs down the road. Follow these easy tips to make sure your costly sailboat rigging stays in place this coming sailing season!

Your shrouds, stays, blocks, furling gear, boom vang, and mast and boom fittings rely on one single fitting to hold them in place. If this fails, your rig could crash over the side, a block could slingshot across the deck, or your costly sails could be torn by a sudden unexpected load.

These tiny rigging warriors pin your rigging parts together, just like the nuts and bolts in an automobile. They are under constant load to deal with the stress, strain, and vibration imposed on your rigging as you sail. So who are these champions of your sailboats rigging?

Often overlooked--sometimes with catastrophic results--the common cotter pin leads the pack as the single most important part of your standing rigging. These fasteners can be bought for less than $1:00 at any nautical hardware store.

Cotter pins come in two varieties--cotter rings and cotter pins. Banish the "key ring" shaped cotter rings from your sailboat rigging for good. They have a nasty reputation of backing out of a fitting from vibration or stress. Carry and install "bobby-pin" shaped cotter pins for strength, durability, and super sailing security.
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Marina Recipe - Mulled Wine
After having made this recipe dozens and dozens of times myself over the years, I am absolutely convinced that homemade mulled wine just about the easiest recipe ever for winter and holiday entertaining. Truly. It literally just takes about 5 minutes to prep. It's easy to scale anywhere from a "date night" to two…up to big holiday parties with dozens. It's easy to customize with your favorite spices, and spike with your favorite liqueurs. It's easy to make on the stovetop or slow cooker. It's hands-down better than any holiday candle for making your home smell amazing. And it's guaranteed to warm everyone up on a chilly winter night.

So grab a bottle of inexpensive wine (no need to spring for anything fancy) and let's get to mulling!

4 cups apple cider
1 (750-ml) bottle red wine, such as Cabernet Sauvignon
1/4 cup honey
2 cinnamon sticks
1 orange, zested and juiced
4 whole cloves
3 star anise
4 oranges, peeled, for garnish

Combine the cider, wine, honey, cinnamon sticks, zest, juice, cloves and star anise in a large saucepan, bring to a boil and simmer over low heat for 10 minutes. Pour into mugs, add an orange peel to each and serve.

Christian Marine Surveyors

Final Thanks
A big shout out to the entire Sun Harbor Marina community for being a neighborhood full of helpful boaters. It is so great for us to see everyone lending a helping hand when a neighboring boater is in need. We just want to take a moment and thank all of you.

REMINDERS – New Trash Receptacle on A Dock: At the request of numerous boaters, we have placed a trash receptacle with a permeable liner on A dock next to the breaker box. This is specifically for any trash pulled out of the water. Please use the net (if needed) and help us keep the Marina clean. We appreciate your efforts!

That's it for Us! Hope everyone is having a great Spring so far! To follow our daily updates, please visit our Facebook Page. We also welcome your Comments on Yelp.

Best Regards,
Lisa Rustin and the Sun Harbor Marina Staff

California Adds 10 More Years to Boater Card Age Requirement
Not for just the 25 year olds any more? That's right! As of January 1, 2020, if you're 35 or under and not qualified for an exemption, you must have a California Boater Card in your possession to operate a power vessel.

Wow! How did that happen? Wasn't it just yesterday that the card was only required for people 20 or younger?

January 1st will be here before we know it, so to see how much it costs; whether you have to have the card or qualify for an exemption; where you have to have the card; how to get the card; and what qualifies as a power vessel, Click Here.

About Alcohol, Drugs and Boating
- By Bob Simons
It might be called boating under the influence (BUI), boating while intoxicated or impaired (BWI), operating a vessel under the influence of alcohol (OUI), or operating a vessel while impaired (OVI).

Call it what you want; it's all the same - a criminal offense for operating a boat or vessel under the influence of alcohol or drugs or both.

Boating while intoxicated from drinking is often defined as having a blood-alcohol content (BAC) of 0.08 percent or greater. The temptation is to try to correlate the number of drinks on a chart one has to have in order to reach the 0.08 percent, but that can be a complicated task.

The answer depends on many factors. What are you drinking? Beer; wine; heavy liquor? Is it straight or mixed? What have you had (or not had) to eat while drinking? When? What's your weight? Gender? - and even "where" are you drinking?" The laws can be different depending in which state or country you are caught drinking while boating.

While it isn't illegal to drink alcohol on a boat in California, the laws for anyone operating a boat or similar maritime vessel closely mimic the DUI laws for drivers. It is against the law to operate a boat or vessel while under the influence of intoxicating liquor or drugs.

Boating under the influence (which can be defined as from a number of things) is a Class B misdemeanor offense, punishable with a minimum term of confinement of 72 hours.

Then there's operating a boat or vessel while impaired. That can mean a lot of things.

What's the bottom line? Don't take the chance! There's plenty of time to have that libation once you're tied up at the dock. It's just not worth the risk.

For more information, visit the California Division of Boating and Waterways' website.

Bob Simons ImageBob Simons has been in the Coast Guard Auxiliary for over thirty years. He teaches classes in Boating Safety & Seamanship as well as Basic and Advanced Coastal Navigation. Bob is also the co-developer of the Sirius Signal S-O-S light and co-owner of Seabreeze Books and Charts

The Conception Tragedy - Did it Expose a Hidden Flaw in Safety Regulations?
- By Kells Christian

At 3:14 am on September 2, 2019, Labor Day, Coast Guard sector Los Angeles received a distress call from the commercial diving vessel "Conception". Thirty three passengers and one crew member perished in an onboard fire. This was one of the most impactful events in my marine surveying career. My condolences to all those affected by this heartbreaking tragedy.

I am not currently professionally involved in the "Conception" incident but have worked as an expert in many fire and loss of life matters. As a professional marine surveyor actively involved in vessel condition and valuation surveys, marine insurance claims and maritime litigation support, I have followed this event with great interest and was interviewed by KPCC (Public Radio in Los Angeles) shortly after the NTSB issued their preliminary report.

According to the report the five surviving crew members were asleep in the crew cabin, aft of the wheelhouse, just prior to the fire. A lawyer representing the owners of the vessel told the AP that a crewman had checked the vessel at 2:30 am. The NTSB report mentions two locally-sounding smoke detectors in the overhead of the bunk room. The bunk room was on the lower deck with primary entrance in the forward end of the saloon and an emergency exit aft in the saloon.

The report states that one of the crew was awakened by a noise and found the aft end of the saloon, and the steps down to the main deck on fire. The LA Times article included a link to the Certificate of Inspection for this vessel. The certificate states, "A member of the vessel's crew shall be designated by the master as a roving patrol at all times, weather or not the vessel is underway, when the passenger's bunks are occupied."

While a roving watchman was required, this is a relatively small vessel and the entire vessel could be inspected in a few moments. I am unaware of any specific requirements as to the intervals for this inspection, but clearly there will be some time that the best watchman will not be effective.

As for passive fire safety, the report mentions the two locally sounding smoke alarms located overhead in the bunk room. It is unclear how these alarms would function if the fire started above the bunk room. Interconnected smoke alarms on all the decks may be a consideration for the future.

There is discussion of the escape hatch and it leading to the saloon, the same room the primary access steps lead. As the fire likely started aft in the saloon, near the escape hatch, there would have been no way to escape but through the fire. There is discussion amongst professionals about modifications of these requirements, perhaps having the escape hatch lead to an exterior deck.

The Coast Guard has issued a Marine Safety Information Bulletin as a result of the "Conception" fire. Among the suggestions are, "Reduce potential fire hazards and consider limiting the unsupervised charging of lithium-ion batteries and extensive use of power strips and extension cords." While we do not know if charging devices used by passengers or crew contributed to this fire, in the interim, we should all heed the advice and see how it might apply to our boats and crew.

The MTSB final report will likely take a year to complete. We are all hoping to honor the memory of those lost in this catastrophe by modifying, supplementing and improving fire safety on similar vessels to try to prevent another disaster like the "Conception", the worst maritime disaster in modern California history.

Kells Christian has been an accredited Marine Surveyor since 1990. His expertise extends to both recreational and commercial vessels. You can e-mail your marine surveyor questions to or Click Here to visit his web site.

Specific Gravity and Your Boat's Batteries
- By Jeff Schwen
Boaters often ask us which battery is best for their boating application. The standard annoying answer of course is the always popular "it depends". Some of those "depends" factors involve how the battery is being used; the warranty; are you using it as a stand alone, or in a bank of batteries, etc.

To help you decide, in this month's short YouTube video we analyze those factors and compare two of the most popular 12 Volt Marine Deep Cycle AGM Batteries - The Optima D34-M Blue Top and the NorthStar NSB-AGM24M.

I hope you enjoy the video, and if you have any battery questions you'd like to ask, please send us an email to

It's That Time of Year Again
Now that we're in the slow season for boating, it's a good idea to do some of that preventative maintenance before old man Winter gets here.

Here's a checklist to get you thinking about the multitude of tasks that you or your mechanic can get started on:

  • Wire brush battery terminals and fill any low cells with distilled water.

  • Check the engine shaft and rudder stuffing boxes for leaks and looseness.

  • Inspect fuel lines, including fill and vent hoses, for indication of softness, brittleness or cracking.

  • Wipe flexible hoses with a clean cloth. A strong odor of gasoline or diesel indicates a hose should be replaced, but only with a Coast Guard approved type for fuel.

  • Inspect all other components in the fuel system - fuel tanks, fuel pumps, filters, for leaks. A dry cloth can be used at connections and you can also trust your nose. Hose clamps should be snug and free of heavy rust.

  • Exhaust manifolds should be removed every few years and inspected for corrosion, which could restrict water flow.

  • Cooling hoses should also be inspected for signs of old age, check for stiffness, rot, leaks, and/or cracking. Replace as necessary.

  • Inspect bilge blower hose for leaks.

  • Clean and tighten electrical connections, especially both ends of battery cables.

There are many more maintenance tasks that should be performed on a recurring basis. Some are simple and others are more complex and require special tools or equipment.

Your own knowledge and skill level should dictate whether or not you are comfortable performing a particular maintenance item. If in doubt, call a certified marine mechanic.

When is a Boat Not Just a Boat?

Answer - In British Columbia - if it has a permanent kitchen, a bathroom and a bedroom it's not just a boat; it's also considered to be a private residence.

Who cares? Well you do if you plan to have any open containers aboard your boat with alcohol in them.

A few years ago, the provincial government of British Columbia changed the definition of a private place in the Liquor Act so that the rules governing boats would mirror the rules governing cars. So in a car in British Columbia, you cannot have open liquor in a vehicle, hence now it's the same in a boat.

But, if your boat does have a permanent bathroom and permanent kitchen and permanent bedroom facilities on board, you can have open containers with liquor aboard.

However, be careful not to tie up to a boat without a permanent bathroom and permanent kitchen and permanent bedroom because your boat will lose it's private resident status temporarily while tied up and you can be cited.

We can hope California doesn't get wind of this.

Heavy Weather Skippering
- By Commodore Vincent Pica
Even in California, as the temperatures start to drop we need to focus on skippering in heavy weather, because it is coming. This column is about that.

Heavy Water: Why is heavy weather more dangerous as we move into the Fall? Well, putting hurricanes aside which are in their own class, heavy weather in the colder months has its own set of challenges.

First, hypothermia is but a small slip away. Second, as the water chills, it gets denser per cubic foot. Denser water means more "oomph" behind those chops. Third, it gets darker sooner. What used to be an all daylight trip out to a favorite fishing spot is now a return under the cover of night.

Believe me, once one thing goes wrong, the chances of something else going wrong before you can focus on and fix the first problem just went up. Now you have a spiraling and accelerating danger curve on your hands.
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