Shelter Cove Marina - October 2009 Newsletter
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Shelter Cove Marina
2240 Shelter Island Dr.
San Diego, Ca. 92106



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From the Marina Office
The "whirlwind" of summer activity unofficially arrived over the Memorial Day weekend, with all six of our Bed & Breakfast boats booked, plus several guest dockers on top of that. (We will be adding an additional boat - possibly two - to the B&B fleet next month!)

The empty slips of short-term tenants who "flipped" smaller boats over the winter are rapidly being filled, and our 40' and 46' docks are once again at capacity. There continues to be a high demand for live aboard slips in San Diego Bay, but our availability is limited to boats over 50' at the present time.

We are beginning to get calls for temporary slips from our Baja Ha Ha guests who are returning from Mexico, while this year's cruisers are already making plans for docking in August or September, including the CUBAR crowd this year.

After a slight reprieve mid-month, we will begin to brace ourselves for the craziness of the Fourth of July celebration on Shelter Island, immediately followed by the influx of ComiCon guests in San Diego.

Local residents are annually reminded that "tis the season" for theft of bikes and "quick grabs" from cars and boats in our community, so keep a watchful eye as you are out and about, and report any suspicious activity to the Harbor Police by email to

We hope you enjoy this month's newsletter, and we look forward to seeing you at the marina.

The Staff at Shelter Cove Marina

A Word About Boatyard Contracts
- By Kells Christian
A contract is a binding agreement between two or more parties.

Your boat insurance policy is a contract between you and your insurance company. The work order is a contract between you and the boat yard. The clauses in these two contracts contradict and confuse, and if you have an accident in the yard, you might have trouble.

What can we do? Most of us need both the service of a boat yard and boat insurance.

I firmly support the right for a business to limit its liability with a contract. Every business has this right, to the extent allowed by law, and every customer has the choice of vendors. Some contracts present more challenges than others and this article is written only as an introduction to this conundrum.

Your boat insurance policy stipulates that you cannot modify the insurance company's legal rights or increase their liability exposure but a boat yard's work order will likely do both.

The bad news, in a worst case scenario, signing the boat yard's work order could void your boat insurance policy in the event of a claim while your boat is in the yard. The "good" news is that it is unlikely. Know that these types of problems may arise when you take your boat to a boat yard yourself, or when the boat is brought to the boat yard by your boat broker, captain or friend.

There are straight forward ways to avoid these conflicts. Many boat yards will allow the removal of these exculpatory clauses, hold harmless agreements, waivers of subrogation, and liability limitations. They will not do so if you do not ask. There are also special insurance riders which can be purchased to cover the gap in coverage.

This is a "hot topic" among boat yards, marine insurance professionals and maritime attorneys. Ask your boat yard, boat insurance agent and/or favorite maritime attorney if you want more details and specifics, they will give you plenty of information.

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.

Small Vessel Reporting System Expedites Check-In When Returning From Foreign Countries.
If you are a boater who frequently cruises to Mexico, enrolling in the Customs and Border Protection Agency's SVRS on-line reporting system can save you lots of time checking back into the US when you return.

SVRS is a web-based automated on-line reporting system created for participants to expeditiously report their intended arrivals from foreign countries.

New applicants for SVRS are able to enroll and make an appointment for a face-to-face interview with a CBP Officer at an authorized reporting location of their choosing.

Once participation in SVRS is granted by CBP, the participant will receive an email with their SVRS number and instructions for setting their initial password for SVRS.

Applying for participation in SVRS is an easy 3 step process:

- Complete an online application
- Schedule an appointment for an interview by phone or online.
- Participate in your interview and present your documents to the CBP Officer

For more information and a listing of interview appointment locations, Click Here.

About the Scattering of Ashes at Sea
- By Robert Simons
There are many rumors and wives-tails going around about the scattering of ashes at sea, so I thought it would be helpful to explain the law according to the California Cemetery and Funeral Bureau:

"Cremated remains must be removed from removed from their container before remains are scattered at sea....

Scattering at sea cannot take place within 500 yards of the shoreline and includes the inland navigable waters of the state. Scattering at sea does not include lakes and streams, nor does it include scattering from a bridge or pier."

In other words, you can have burial at sea in San Diego Bay south of the bridge but not in Mission Bay where the shoreline is too close. You can go 500 yards out of the entrance of either bay and it would be legal, not the 3 miles or 5 miles we have heard in the past.

To see the complete California law on the subject, Click Here for a PDF of the official Cremated Remains Disposers Booklet.

Bob Simons ImageBob Simons has been in the Coast Guard Auxiliary for thirty years and owns a sailboat as well as a powerboat. He teaches classes in Boating Safety & Seamanship as well as Basic and Advanced Coastal Navigation. Bob is also the co-owner of Seabreeze Books and Charts

U.S. Coast Guard Releases New App For Boaters
The U.S. Coast Guard has released a new boating safety app designed to provide additional resources for mobile device boaters.

Features of the app include: state boating information; a safety equipment checklist; free boating safety check requests; navigation rules; float plans; and calling features to report pollution or suspicious activity.

When location services are enabled, users can receive the latest weather reports from the closest National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration weather buoys as well as report the location of a hazard on the water.

The app also features an Emergency Assistance button which, with locations services enabled, will call the closest Coast Guard command center.

The App is available for iPhone and iPad users on the App Store and on Google Play for Android users.

The Boating Safety Mobile app was not designed to replace a boater's marine VHF radio, which the Coast Guard strongly recommends all boaters have aboard their vessels. The app was mainly designed to provide additional boating safety resources for mobile device users.

Christian Marine Surveyors

Tommy's Favorites - The New S-O-S Distress Torch
- By Tom Jarvis
Several days ago Bob Simons of Sirius Signal introduced me to his company's newest invention.

It is a great replacement for pyrotechnic night flares that meets all Coast Guard requirements for night visual distress signal, and with its enclosed Emergency Flag it also meets daytime requirements.

The Sirius Signal S-O-S Distress Torch illuminates for six plus hours versus three minutes for handheld flares or six seconds for aerial flares.

Another great benefit is that there is no need to dispose of the pyrotechnic type flares once you own this creative signaling device. Not having to dispose of expired flares every three years is great for you and the environment.

The lens on the torch is designed to broadcast a signal six plus miles visible from sea and air. The lanyard on the device can be used to hoist it up to a higher position on the vessel, or to secure it to another lanyard attached to a man over board device.

This buoyant watertight S-O-S signaling device is well thought out and a home run for Bob Simmons. Every boater should have this aboard their vessel.

This new product is now available on line and will be available within a month or less at Marine Retailers and Distributors. The retail price on this C-Sized Battery Operated unit is $99.95 each.

I think Sirius Signal is a great product with a creative design and it is extremely practical, a must have for every boater.

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.

Heading Off Shore?
- By Richard Benscoter
A lot of our cruising and racing is off shore these days, and as Captain Ron always says in the movie, "If anything's going to happen, it's going to happen out there!"

So let's look at what has happened out there. According to Coast Guard statistics, only 11% percent of recreational marine accidents are related to vessel design, construction or equipment failures, while 89% are due to owner and operator mistakes (Training, Attitude, Preparation, Weather, Fatigue, etc).

So what does this mean given that human error is the biggest factor of all accidents off shore. What can we do to change the statics in our favor?

If your level of training and experience is minimal, then:

• Get more training/practice (go to sailing / boating school!) and
Increase your boat preparation/equipment

Your vessel design attributes pay a large part in reducing your risk (Sail or Power):

• Watertight integrity: Keep Water Out!
Stability: Keep the Vessel Upright!
Maintain Steering and Weatherliness

While these requirements seem common for a vessel, they are often in conflict with our other wants, such as speed vs. comfort vs. cost vs. draft vs. spouse values.

The paramount item off shore is of course keeping the water out! Here are the key areas where watertight Integrity can be breached (In Brief):

• Hatches/boards
Port lights (storm shutters)
Through hulls
Rudder shaft
Control lines
Prop shaft
Locker covers
Construction (ABS Rules)

Vessel design can be a factor when immense tragedy strikes as it did in the 1979 Fastnet race, resulting in 18 fatalities (15 yachtsmen and 3 rescuers). What the sailing world learned from this tragedy was that a wide beam and light displacement can be hazardous to vessels off shore.

The positive changes from this event were that rating rules were changed to encourage stability in design and manufacture. Boats became more stable at large heel angles, and today, many "cruising boats" have wider beams, lighter displacements and higher Centers of Gravity.

Consider that a boat, although a good design, is only as seaworthy as the condition it is in and the skill of the crew that sails it and as they say, "Always learn from the mistakes of others, because you won't live long if to make them all yourself".

See you on the water

Richard Benscoter
Editor's Note: Richard Benscoter is a long time avid sailor. He and his wife Debbie are both avid sailors and members of the Silver Gate Yacht Club and owner of the Mariners Woodshop. If you have a sailing question for Richard, send e-mail to I Like
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