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April 2016 - Marine eNewsletter
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Shelter Cove Marina
2240 Shelter Island Dr.
San Diego, Ca. 92106



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From the Marina Office
Greetings Shelter Cove Mariners -
Here's your April 2016 marina newsletter

April is a great boating and fishing month in Southern California, so in this issue we have some fishing tips for the upcoming yellowtail season; a profile of some new man overboard products; and some enlightenment on that oft asked question - "How big is your boat really?"

On the fun side, we have some tips on how to teach your kids about boat handling; a profile of what's to come on San Diego's exciting waterfront; and some invitations to boating events happening in April.

We hope you have some great Spring boating in April.

The Staff at Shelter Cove Marina

When Size Matters
- By Kells Christian
"Hatteras' specifications list my boat length as 50' 3" and that is what I would like on my survey".

This was a recent request from a client who had just purchased a 2003 Hatteras 50 convertible.

"And I would like to be referred to as Sir Kells, bring peace to the world and arouse women when I walk into the room", I thought, though I responded "well, let's see if I can help".

"I measured your boat and usually I am close. I measured 53' 4". I would be happy to measure it again". I continued, "Boats are rarely the length that the manufacturer specifies or the broker lists". O
f this I am certain. But why? How are boats measured?

Per the 2009 version of the U.S. Coast Guard's Simplified Measurement Tonnage Guide the overall length is the horizontal distance between the outboard side of the foremost part of the hull and the outboard side of the after most part of the hull. It does not include bow sprits, rudders, outboard motor mount brackets, swim platforms that do not contain buoyant volume and other similar fittings and attachments that are not part of the buoyant hull envelope.

We measure vessels length overall (LOA) and we do include swim platforms and bow sprits. This is the most useful length, as it is the length used by most marinas and yacht clubs. For our purposes we do not include the anchor hanging over the bow or the tender hanging on the transom, these can always be removed. While permanent fixtures such as swim platforms can be removed, it is not simple.

We rarely refer to length on the waterline (LWL) or length on deck (LOD) as these lengths are generally only useful when discussing designs and theoretic hull speed.

The Coast Guard defines overall breadth as “the horizontal distance taken at the widest part of the hull, excluding rub rails. This measurement is rarely disputed. Another important measurement of a boat's width is the breadth at the waterline, as most boats are much wider at their rub rail (flair) than they are in the water and can thus fit into a slip which is not as wide as the boat.

The Coast Guard defines overall depth as the vertical distance at or near amidships from a line drawn horizontally through the uppermost edge of the skin (excluding the superstructure) to the bottom skin of the hull, excluding the keel. This length is not the vessel's draft. Thus the depth on your Coast Guard documentation should not be confused with your vessel's draft. We measure draft as the distance between the waterline of the vessel and the deepest submerged part of the vessel, be it keel, propellers or rudders. This is the minimum depth of water your boat needs to remain happy.

The Coast Guard allows simplified measurement for the calculation of tonnage. A discussion of the meaning of tonnage was addressed in a prior article and can be found on our website - it is not a measure of weight.

A boat's length thus can vary, but it only varies based on the specific definition of the length that is sought. It is neither shorter when you are paying for a slip (or marine survey) nor longer after a couple scotches.

Kells Christian has been an accredited Marine Surveyor since 1990. His expertise extends to both recreational and commercial vessels. Kells was Regional Director of Society of Accredited Marine Surveyors (SAMS) for 2 years and a prominent member of numerous other industry organizations. You can e-mail your marine surveyor questions to or Click Here to visit his web site.

A Needle in the Haystack
- By Brian A. Yates
We've all heard the expression "Like trying to find a needle in a haystack". Don't be that needle by failing to observe one of the basic safety rules of boating - filing a float plan.

Consider that he Atlantic Ocean covers 41,105,000 square miles, or 21% of the earth; the Pacific Ocean 64,186,000 square miles or 31%; and Lake Superior 31,700 square miles, so it makes no difference where you launch. If you have an emergency, without a float plan, finding you may be like looking for that proverbial needle.

What is a float plan? The web site "FloatPlanCentral" defines a float plan as "A written statement (as by a skipper) of the details of an intended voyage (as of a boat or watercraft) usually filed with a friend, neighbor and/or marina operator; a document that specifically describes the vessel, equipment, crew, and itinerary of a planned voyage."

It provides the detail time you are leaving, the route you are taking and when you expect to arrive at the new location and time to return home. Most of us can equate a float plan to your home or car insurance, you hope you never need it and it will not prevent the accident, but you will be glad you filed one if an accident occurs. Filing a float plan increases your odds of rescue should an emergency arise.

Who should file a float plan? Everyone! Kayakers, Sport fisherman, Jet Skiers, Water skiers, Family day cruisers, Private charter boat services, Canoeists, Rowers, Rafters, Sail boaters, Power boaters - Every captain of any vessel from large to small should get in the habit.

So what goes into a float plan? At the end of this article are a few links to sites that provide float plan templates for you to use and an example of a plan. Most float plans record the same personal and trip data with some asking a little more detail. In general most float plans should include the following:

  • Detailed Description of Vessel
  • A List of Survival Equipment on board
  • Communication & Navigation Equipment on board
  • Auto / Trailer Information
  • Crew / Passenger Information
  • Emergency contact information
  • Personal medical emergency information
  • Detailed Itinerary
  • Include maps if available

There are many other forms of safety equipment like EPIRBs, SPOT and DSC enabled radios that can be just as helpful but not all cruisers can afford the new fangled technology. Electronics is a very simple way to provide one more level of security for you and your crew.

Lastly and most important is to file your float plan. Print two copies of your plan, one for your reference on board the vessel and the other for whomever you want to designate. The person(s) you choose should be someone you trust. Someone who will follow-up if you do not check-in or return as planned.

If you decide at the last moment to make changes to your plan then note them on your copy and notify the designated person with your changes. If you forget to notify others of your change in plans then Search and Rescue could potentially waste valuable time searching in the wrong search area if they are unaware you changed your plans.

Consider the case of Darrin Bunker who went missing in October 2007 from Dana Point, CA for 4 months before his Catalina 30 was found in January 2008 off the coast of Hawaii. The boat had been dismasted and Bunker was not on board and has not been heard from since that day in October. A float plan may not have prevented what ever became of Bunker but it would have alerted someone sooner and potentially help point them in a direction to search for the skipper.

Another sad example is the tragedies of two NFL and two Florida State Football players who went missing in March 2009 after a fishing trip and were caught in heavy weather. Family and friends noticed they were missing when they did not return on time. But if one of the families had not had a set of coordinates from a previous trip the Coast Guard would not have known as quickly where to start the search and may not been able to rescue the lone survivor.

With all the technology available at our fingertips today, there are numerous ways to create a float plan. There are applications and on-line websites that create, file, track, and notify someone in case of an emergency. See and for example.

In my case I have created standard templates for all the locations we cruise to in Southern California. I change the dates and crew as necessary, whereas all the other equipment stays as standard. It makes completing the form very quick and easy. I just need to make sure my kids want me back and not the inheritance.

So now that you know how big the haystack is - 105,300,000 square miles - and you how big your boat is (my Catalina 34 = ~350 sq. ft) - do you want to take a chance of being the needle? Or dramatically improve your odds if an emergency arises and file a Float Plan, your choice.

Brian Yates has been in the Retail Systems business for the last 40 years. He currently manages a team that designs hardware solutions for the Retail Industry globally. He has been around boats most of his life starting with small power boats till he converted to sailing 10 years ago. He is the current Commodore of the San Diego Catalina Association and a member of Point Loma Yacht Club. You can find Brian and his wife Pat most weekends on his current ride a 2000 Catalina 34 named the Hakuna Matata.

San Diego's Ever Evolving Waterfront
Visitors to San Diego from long ago can hardly believe what's happened to that sleepy Navy town they remember the County Administration building was the tallest in the city - The fact is, "They ain't seen nothin' yet!"

Shelter Island Boat Launch Improvement
Well, it took a while to get to this one, but the Port of San Diego has been awarded a grant in the amount of $3,350,000 from the California Natural Resources Agency, Department of Fish and Wildlife, Wildlife Conservation Board for the Shelter Island Boat Launch Facility Improvement Project.

The Shelter Island boat launch ramp is believed to be the busiest boat launch ramp in California, with an estimated 50,000 launches annually. Constructed in the mid-1950s with a single-lane concrete launch ramp, its last major improvement was completed in the mid-1970s when the existing 10-lane boat launching ramp was constructed. Construction is expected to begin in early 2017.

The Shelter Island Boat Launch Improvement Project is just one of many major development projects in progress by San Diego's ambitious Port Authority. Visit to see more on these specific projects:

  • North Embarcadero Visionary Plan
  • Chula Vista Bayfront
  • Convention Center Expansion
  • Lane Field
  • TDY Site Demolition
  • Commercial Fisheries
  • Harbor Island Redevelopment
  • Central Embarcadero
  • America's Cup Harbor
  • San Diego Marriott Marquis & Marina
  • South Bay Power Planta.

The Navy Broadway Complex Redevelopment - Has It Passed Its Final Hurdle?
In another "nothing happens too quickly in California" story, an environmental impact assessment for redevelopment of the Navy Broadway Complex at Pacific Highway and Harbor Drive was initially conducted in 1990 and approved in 1991.

25 years later, on March 30, 2016, the project may have passed its final hurdle with a Ninth Circuit court ruling allowing the project to move forward.

Barring further hurdles, grading is scheduled to start in late 2016 with final completion targeted for sometime in 2019. Stay tuned!

Mark's "Fish 'n Tips" - Fishing for Yellowtail
- By Mark Moffat
The peak season for fishing the feisty and challenging yellowtail is during the Summer, but they often show up in early Spring off the Southern California coast.

So soon the half-day and three-quarter day sportfishing boats will be heading out to fish these action packed big game fish.

I find that when fishing for yellowtail, it's good to take two rods - a longer stout rod for jig fishing, and a shorter rod for bait fishing (You can only cast iron for so long before you want to take a break).

I use 25-30 lb. test line for bait fishing, and 40 lb. test line for jig fishing. For bait fishing, if you can get mackerel it's preferred, but sardines will suffice if mackerel is not available.

My personal choice for jig fishing is the Salas 6X Jr. heavy jigs for yo-yo that allows me to get down to fish the water columns.

(Before I go on, a little controversy. Some people think that the color of a lure is important. My experience is that color makes no difference whatsoever. It is the action of the lure that gets bit, not the color. If the lure can swim, it gets bit regardless of color. Fish will still bite a lure that has all the color worn off).

When you're out there, if you see birds flocking on the water it usually means the yellowtail are near the surface. In this case you would want to use a surface plug (one that can swim); cast out as far as you can; then give it 5 seconds or so and start retrieving.

If your boat captain says the fish are down, to calculate how long to cast, you can figure every second is about a foot, more or less. Work the columns with your yo-yo jig. If the fish are at 50 feet, figure a rough 50 count. Sometimes the fish will bite the lure on the sink.

Slowly drop down and pay close attention to that "bump". You know that you are in the column/zone, so there is no need to go deeper. Once you feel that bump, glance at your spool to see how much line is off of it, and judge that for the next time you drop down.

If you like to fish and haven't done it before, book yourself a trip on one of Southern California's great sportfishing boats - you'll have a memorable experience.

Editor's Note: Mark has asked BlueSkyNews to mention that he supports the San Diego Yacht Club's "Young Anglers" program, and the club is looking for donations of used light fishing gear in good condition (rods, reels, line, etc.) to use in the program. If you have items you'd like to donate, please email Mark at

Mark Moffat is a fire-fighter by trade, a member of the San Diego Yacht Club and is a life-long fisherman by avocation. He started working the half-day boats as a pinhead at age 10; migrating to the full day Albacore boats at age 14.

Today , Mark is the Charter Master of an annual two week long range trip on the Red Rooster 3. Click Here to learn more about the Red Rooster 3 and Mark's annual trip.

The ABC's of Boat Handling for Kids
It's never to early to teach your young future skippers how to handle a boat. If you search online for the words "children's boat handling schools", you'll be blown away by the numerous choices there are for some formal boating education for your kids. Also, many yacht clubs have excellent summer programs for prospective junior mariners.

So though some formal education is always a good thing, if your family has a boat there are many things you can do as a family to include your children in boat handling early and get them engaged and enthused about boating.

Here are some ideas. For younger children, let them get involved in handling dock lines. When you're safely on the dock and the weather is calm, it's an excellent time to let them take a stab at the proper way to tie and untie a line from a dock hitch.

While were on the subject of lines, start early by teaching your kids how to tie some simple nautical knots - They'll get excited and want to learn even more when your guests and other family members applaud their achievement.

Also, after a fun family cruise and you're back at the dock, be sure to involve your young kids in the cleanup and washdown tasks.

Lastly, if you do some of your own boat maintenance, be sure to let your youngsters look over your shoulder and be involved in handing you tools and other simple assistance chores.

Older children today have a love affair with computers and electronics, so it's a natural to teach them what you know about reading and using the electronics on board. Your GPS will not be a mystery to them, but few children will have the opportunity to learn about plotting and navigation. Involve then in plotting the course and waypoints on your next cruise, and watch their excitement as your voyage progresses.

Lastly, when they're ready, be sure to teach your older children some important safety tasks such as how to call for help on your VHF radio in case you become incapacitated for some reason. For practice, also show them how to properly disengage the autopilot, back off the throttles and take the boat out of gear, and practice what to do in case of an emergency - Educate your children on the man overboard systems you have on board.

The bottom line is that the boating education you impart to your children is a life long gift. Most children that come from a boating family eventually pursue the joy of boating in their own families, and look back on it with fondness. And who knows, they may be taking you for a cruise someday, and all you'll have to do is go along for the ride!

Some Fun April Event Invitations For San Diego Boaters
Tis the season for swap meets, open houses, opening days, boat shows, and other special events.

Here's some fun stuff to brighten up your boating Spring!

Brand New! - Liberty Public Market
Liberty Public Market is a new 7-day a week Public Market and event venue offering the best of what the San Diego region has to offer.

Showcasing a rustic environment with prepared foods, beer, wine, specialty cocktails, produce, fish, desserts and pastries, pastas, arts and crafts, a test kitchen, pop up dinners, and educational driven events. The Liberty Public Market is located in Point Loma. Being grounded in military tradition, Liberty Station (formerly the Naval Training Center, San Diego) welcomed its first Navy recruits in 1923.

It is now being transitioned into San Diego's New Town Square among the surrounding bay communities.

MarineMax Open House - Saturday, April 16th
You're invited to come see the new Aquila Power Cats, Azimut, and Galeon yachts at MarineMax San Diego's new location at the Shelter Island Marina. Refreshments served - Meet and Greet the MarineMax team
Time: 2:00 P.M. - 6:00 P.M.
Location: 2540 Shelter Island Dr.
R.S.V.P: 619-294-2628 or email Cindy Stradling at

Harbor Island West Marina - Annual Swap Meet - Saturday, April 16th
Time to clear out your lazarettes and fish for Treasure!

Harbor Island West Marina's Annual Swap Meet - Free Entrance - —Free Space - Complimentary Coffee & Donuts - Entertainment - 8:00 A.M. - 11:00 A.M. - Location 2040 Harbor Island Dr. - Reservations Required - R.S.V.P to or Call 619-291-6440

Summer Enrollment Opens for Southwestern Yacht Club's Junior Program
Southwestern Yacht Club's acclaimed Junior Program is open to members and non-members alike. The program focuses on a fun and safe environment that will teach and enhance skills, develop lifelong friendships, and provide a solid foundation for a lifetime of boating.

Sign up by May 1st for an early registration discount. Visit or call 619-222-0438 or email for more details.

Port of San Diego's Clean and Green Boating Expo -Saturday, April 9th - 10:00 A.M. - 2:00 P.M.
Come and learn about cutting edge boating practices, hull paints and green boating products and services to help you care for your boat in an environmentally friendly way.

Open to the public - Free Parking - Raffle Prizes - Location: Driscoll Boatworks - 2500 Shelter Island Drive. For more information, visit or call 619-686-6254.

3M Demonstration of Newly Released Products for Cleaning and Polishing Your Boat - Thursday, April 28th from 10:00 A.M. - 3:00 P.M.
Open to the public - Location - San Diego Marine Exchange's parking lot.

These products are the new "state of art" formulations that will enhance anyone's boat. 3M will have a large van in San Diego Marine Exchange's parking lot for this demonstration of new products. Come join the fun.

Christian Marine Surveyors

Tommy's Favorites - Just Marine Man Overboard Systems
- By Tom Jarvis
Do you have a man overboard recovery device aboard your boat? Is it designed to get a victim back into your boat as quickly and safely as possible? Here are three man overboard devices I think are worthy of your attention - The Recovery Ladder, ReelSling, and the Dan Buoy.

The Recovery Ladder/Supine Hoist is dual purpose man overboard recovery device that allows the victim to climb aboard the vessel on their own mobility with the ladder function or to be hoisted aboard in a supine position utilizing the 2:1 mechanical advantage.

The ReelSling is designed to retrieve a conscious overboard crew member quickly and easily back onboard. The "U-Shaped" float provides 21 pounds of buoyancy, has reflective tape, stainless steel D rings (doubles as lifting harness), sturdy grab handle and a whistle. There is 160 feet (49 m) of floating line that has a reflective tracer laced into this non water absorbing line.

The SOS Dan Buoy product is an alternative to the Traditional Man Over-Board system. This safety device takes up less space and it is easier to deploy than any other system I have seen to date. The dimensions of this small package are; 8 inches wide by 12 inches long by 2 inches thick, and it weighs approximately 10 pounds. Just throw the Dan Buoy; it is light enough and small enough for a child to deploy. This is a water activated automatic inflating package that is fully inflated in 6 to 7 seconds.

These three systems are manufactured in Australia and distributed in the USA by Just Marine. Visit their website for complete details and to see which of these systems might be appropriate for your boat and the way you use it.

Editor's Note: Tom Jarvis is the Vice President of the Board of Directors of the SuperYacht Association and he also performs outside Marketing and Sales for the San Diego Marine Exchange. Click Here to email your boating product questions to Tom. I Like
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