December 2015 - Marine eNewsletter
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Shelter Cove Marina
2240 Shelter Island Dr.
San Diego, Ca. 92106



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Holiday Greetings From the Marina Office !
Greetings Shelter Cove Mariners here is your December 2015 marina newsletter.

The crazy, completely unpredictable weather in San Diego continues... summer-like, near perfect weather in mid-November, typical high winds that were atypical in their furious arrival and sudden departure, short bursts of rain that hadn't been in the forecast 48 hours prior to arriving, etc. We are hoping that our annual holiday tenant potluck (scheduled for Sunday night, Dec. 20) won't be hindered by a surprise rain shower or fog bank! Tenants are looking forward to watching the San Diego Bay Boat Parade of Lights that evening (as well as the week before, on December 13th.

We are excited to have another local restaurant join our marina discount diner card program - Seaside Pho & Grill, located at the corner of Talbot and Rosecrans. Tenants can enjoy Vietnamese fusion foods, as well as quality tap beers and wine at a 20% discount - (some exclusions apply; see our website for details).

This year seems to have flown by for many of us, and before we know it, we will be ringing in 2016! We welcomed over 40 new tenants to the marina this year - the majority who still remain with us - in addition to the constant flow of guest dockers, and we said good-bye to a handful of long-term tenants who sold their boats or set off on journeys to distant lands. We have reached our highest occupancy rate since many years past, and at one point only had six slips available in the marina. Life is good at Shelter Cove!

That's it for us - We hope you are enjoying the cooler breezes and looking forward to the holiday season.

The Staff at Shelter Cove Marina

San Diego Parade of Lights
The San Diego Bay Parade of Lights is a time-honored holiday tradition brought to San Diego by the boating community. Join us this December for our annual Parade on San Diego Bay, with more than 80 boats lavishly decorated according to a new theme each year. The San Diego Bay Parade of Lights is held two consecutive Sundays each year in December. The Parade proceeds from Shelter Island past Harbor Island, the Embarcadero, Seaport Village, and Ferry Landing in Coronado.

When: Sunday, December 13, 2015 and Sunday, December 20, 2015. The procession will start at 5:30 p.m. and will follow the predetermined parade route.

2015 Theme: Christmas around the World
Whether a participant or spectator, the Parade of Lights is a festive and delightful experience for all!

Mission Bay Parade of Lights
This free, distinctly California celebration features boats decorated for the annual holiday season that will sail around Mission Bay. A highly anticipated event in the San Diego community, dozens of vessels take to the water for the parade.

The boat parade begins at 6:00 PM from Quivira Basin. Best viewing is from Crown Point, the east side of Vacation Island or the west side of Fiesta Island.

When: December 12, 2015
Time: 6:00 PM to 9:00 PM

Oceanside Parade of Lights
Fishing boats, sail boats, yachts, kayaks and dinghies dressed up in holiday swag and circle the Oceanside Harbor to enchant onlookers at the harbor, restaurants and beach.

Many of the boats feature people dressed up like Santa waving to the crowd. One of the best viewing spots is along the side of the Oceanside Harbor near the fishing dock and police station. From this vantage point, you can see the parade twice. The concrete walkway that surrounds much of the harbor is also good for spectating the event. Harbor Village at North Harbor has, dining, and seating areas.

When: December 13, 2015
Time: 7:00 PM to 9:00 PM

Holiday Happenings in San Diego
Coronado Christmas Parade & Open House

Date: December 4, 2015
Time: 3:00 PM to 9:00 PM
Price: Free
Venue: Coronado Ferry Landing
More info contact:

Festivities kick off at the Ferry Landing with Santa arriving at 3:20 PM, with carolers and snow fun at snow mountain. Also, at the Hotel del, experience ice skating like no other- you can ice skate on the beach! Find your way to Orange Ave and select a good spot to take in the Coronado Christmas Parade at 6:00 PM. Orange Ave shuts down to traffic and becomes a Christmas wonderland. Before or after the parade, shops along Orange Ave will have treats and festivities to make holiday memorabilia. At 7:00 PM, be sure to be at Rotary Plaza (next to the Visitor Center at 1100 Orange Ave) when the Christmas Tree will be lit for the holiday season. The Community Band will be on hand to set the festive mood.

Balboa Park December Nights

Date: December 4 - December 5, 2015
Time: 12/4/2015 - 3:00 PM to 11:00 PM
Time: 12/5/2015 - Noon to 11:00 PM
Price: Free
Venue: Balboa Park

As always, the event brings families and friends together to spread holiday joy, learn more about the cultural value of Balboa Park and kick-off the "most wonderful time of the year."

Participating Balboa Park museums open their doors free of charge from 5:00 PM - 9:00 PM both evenings. Watch musical and dance performances, enjoy delicious food choices and help spread a heavy dose of holiday cheer. Some of the more well-known traditions include food from around the globe at the International Christmas Festival at the House of Pacific Relations Cottages; the annual Santa Lucia Procession at the Plaza de California; Del Cerro Baptist's Christmas Story Tree, and more.

Gaslamp Holiday Pet Parade

Date: December 13, 2015
Time: 12:30 PM to 11:00 PM
Price: $15.00 in advance
          $20.00 on-site
Hilton San Diego Gaslamp Quarter
           401 K Street, San Diego

eck those paws with bells so jolly and jingle all the way through the Gaslamp Quarter for the Gaslamp Holiday Pet Parade presented by Downtown Ace Hardware and Market Street Veterinary Clinic. Pet owners and their furry, feathered, and scaled companions are invited to don their favorite costumes for this jolly promenade and pet expo.

Port of San Diego Holiday Bowl Parade

Date: December 30, 2015
Time: 10:00 AM
Price: $20.00 for Grandstand - Purchase On-site
          Free for Street Viewing
Venue: Harbor Dr. & Broadway

The scenic, bayside streets of downtown San Diego will come alive with the 2015 Port of San Diego Holiday Bowl Parade – a San Diego Bowl Games Production. As always, this exciting family event brings together world-class marching bands, magnificent floats, entertaining drill teams, and a procession of enormous balloons – more than any other parade! Over 100,000 street-side spectators will enjoy the parade along with a nationwide television audience.

Christian Marine Surveyors

What Is El Niño?
Everybody is talking about it - but what is it really?

El Niño is caused by a shift in the distribution of warm water in the Pacific Ocean around the equator.

Usually the wind blows strongly from east to west, due to the rotation of the Earth, causing water to pile up in the western part of the Pacific. This pulls up colder water from the deep ocean in the eastern Pacific.

However, in an El Niño, the winds pushing the water get weaker and cause the warmer water to shift back towards the east. This causes the eastern Pacific to get warmer.

But as the ocean temperature is linked to the wind currents, this causes the winds to grow weaker still, and so the ocean grows warmer, meaning the El Niño grows.

This change in air and ocean currents around the equator can have a major impact on the weather patterns around the globe by creating pressure anomalies in the atmosphere.

California residents are being warned to prepare for El Niño - as Nasa revealed the phenomenon will be the most watched in history. There are predictions it could bring as much as 35 inches of rain during the upcoming winter season in some part of California.

Click Here to learn more about NASA's astonishing concerns and predictions for this year's El Niño.

Siphons, Vented Loops, and Keeping the Water on the Outside
- By Kells Christian

"Nothing good ever comes from water in the bilge." - Jim Merritt - marine surveyor and mentor"

All of the submersion claims we have ever handled have the same cause of loss - too much water on the inside.

In order to maintain a boat without water inside we employ valves, loops and siphon breaks, but sometimes this simple concept is misunderstood. The systems that normally require these measures are engines, heads and bilge pumps.

First, let's begin with the basic concept of a siphon. Simply put, this is the transference of a liquid from a higher point to a lower point through a level higher than the source reservoir's liquid. In a boat this usually means water entering a through hull and discharging at a point lower than the through hull through a hose run above the waterline.

To prevent siphoning, we install siphon breaks, usually in the form of vented loops where the top of the vent is above the maximum healed waterline and the break is a way to allow air into the top of the loop.

Bilge pumps should discharge above the waterline, but those that do not, require a siphon break. A vented loop is acceptable per A.B.Y.C. standards but a check valve is not. A check valve can only be used to prevent cycling of the pump, but configuring the pump and float to eliminate the cycling is smarter.

Heads mounted below the waterline require means to prevent flooding. If you leave the intake valve open and the head overflows, this is not siphoning, this is flooding (unless your through hull is higher than your head). In this case a simple loop, unvented, would have prevented the flooding as water seeks its level. A simple trick to know the waterline on the interior of your boat is to have a hose full of water contiguous to the sea, the water level in the hose is the water level in the sea.

Heads that discharge above the level of the top of the head do require vented loops and the vents only work if they allow air into the loop. Vents require maintenance, a clogged vent in a vented loop is just a loop and does not prevent siphoning.

Engines installed at or below the waterline require a loop in the exhaust discharge to minimize the possibility of inflow of raw water, whether the engine is running or not and a siphon break to prevent siphoning through the raw water pump when the engine is stopped. The water lift muffler is below the raw water intake through hull and in certain situations a solid column of water can form between them, eventually filling the muffler and engine with water. A functioning siphon break, usually between the engine and the muffler prevents the flooding. Over cranking this type of engine will also flood the engine with water. If the engine won't start, shut the through hull while you remedy the problem but remember to open it when the problem is solved.

This is not meant as a "how to keep water out of the bilge" article, nor does it address thalassophobia (fear of the sea). There is apparently no name for fear of water in the bilge, perhaps boataquaphobia?

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.

Man Overboard! Some Thoughts on How To Be Prepared In Case It Actually Happens.
- By Bob Simons
Outside of someone yelling "fire!", there's probably nothing scarier than someone yelling "man overboard!"

The seamanship books all have instructions and pointers as to what to do if someone goes overboard - have someone point to the victim and do the best they can to keep him/her in sight - push the MOB button on the GPS - toss anything overboard that floats to create a debris field - toss overboard a signal light and marker overboard - etc.

This all well and good, but unless you have actually practiced a man overboard drill or two, if somebody does actually go overboard, there's a good possibility your rescue operation will resemble something out of a Keystone Cops movie.

I heartily recommend that if you're the skipper of your vessel, please take the opportunity to conduct a man overboard drill occasionally with your crew or first mate - it will be immensely helpful in the event of a real emergency which is a lot scarier, and potentially a life or death situation.

To do a practice drill, toss something overboard that floats like a cushion (not your spouse's favorite one) and sound "man overboard drill!"

Everybody on board will learn something from the exercise. They will see how well (or not so well) the exercise went, and that it's easy to pick up a cushion with a boat hook. It will also cause a lot of discussion about how useful or not useful a boat hook might be in getting a person out of the water.

Another bit of knowledge you will gain from practice drills is how you need to approach an overboard victim relative to your particular vessel and the current water conditions.

Did you approach the victim upwind or downwind? - Were you in a calm bay or in rough seas? Without practicing, you may just assume that once the victim is next to your boat, the problem is solved, but in actuality, that's just the beginning of the problem. How do you get the person back on board?

The most common answer is that you have a ladder on the stern or you have a swim-step.

That's great if you happen to be inside the Bay in a calm swimming area, but what happens when you are off shore in moderate to heavy seas. Take a look at the stern of your boat when stopped in four-foot seas. It is slamming up and down with a force that would crush most man-made objects. That swim-step is a lethal instrument in that case and the ladder might as well be a trapeze.

Even alongside your boat, the idea that someone can reach over and pull someone aboard is only realistic for a little toddler. Adults are almost impossible to lift aboard safely without some sort of mechanical leverage.

Many boats have a LifeSling or similar piece of equipment for hauling a person onboard. If you don't have one of these, at our Coast Guard Auxiliary Operational Facility we made up what we thought is a very useful alternative you may want to make yourself and have aboard.

We used one of those kids "swimming noodles" and ran a line through it. The line has a bowline in it so the end of the line can be passed through and hooked to a snapshakle that is attached to a block and tackle rigged to the Arch or other high point on the boat. Easy, comfortable, duel use and cheap.

My 5'00" wife can haul in a 185# dead weight body using one of these, but you might want to have more compound advantage tackle for larger crewman.

Lastly, remember that a person should be facing the boat when brought aboard.

Just some food for thought - safe boating!

Bob Simons ImageBob Simons has been in the Coast Guard Auxiliary for over 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-developer of the Sirius Signal S-O-S light and co-owner of Seabreeze Books and Charts

Corporate Sailing Regattas-The Ultimate Team Building Activity
- By Bob Sherman
As a licensed captain for over 25 years, the most fun I have with my license happens right here in San Diego Bay. I can't keep it a secret any longer!

Two local sailboat charter companies offer Sailing Regattas as the ultimate "Corporate Team Building" event. It's a great way to bring a group together in a fun, challenging and competitive environment. It's not about sailing knowledge; it's about teamwork and a desire to win! Often times the lead boats may have first-time sailors aboard who are simply enthusiastic.

Here's how it works: Participants form groups of up to six people, often with a team name, matching shirts or hats, and a flag.

They are assigned a boat and a USCG licensed Captain. Once on the bay, the captain will train the new crew, teaching as much as they can absorb in 30-40 minutes.

Each member is responsible for different tasks, some more physical than others. If someone wants to just be a passenger, that's okay, too. The bottom line is to have fun, but also to make the boat as fast and competitive as possible. The better the coordinated effort by the team, the faster they will sail the course, and more likely they will finish at the top. Before you know it, the countdown starts, and the race begins!

Since many company meetings or conventions encourage rivalry between different groups, these races get pretty competitive. It is amazing how well the crew will be sailing by the end of the race, when they really apply themselves. They are focused on beating their arch rivals, Boss, friends...or just want to win. The captains get into it, too, often providing skillful, close-quarters action, especially during the start, crossing situations, mark roundings, and the finish.

The day is finished off with refreshments, music, and a leisurely sightseeing sail until it is time to return to the dock. A professional marine photographer can capture everyone in action during the race, to be viewed as a slideshow at the company dinner that night- along with trophies for the winning teams.

Harbor Sailboats and Harbor Island Yacht Club both have hosted hundreds of these events. Regattas usually have around a dozen boats, but range in size from only 2 boats to as many as 40, and from 4 to 240 people. Either company will assure that your event will be remembered for years to come!

Editor's Note: Bob Sherman has over 33 years of Yacht sales experience and is the owner of YachtSource. He is also qualified to instruct on all vessel types, and has held 100-ton Captain's license since 1982. He is an avid sailor, and scuba diver. You can send an e-mail to Bob at

Thank You Richard!
BlueSkyNews wishes to say thank you to Richard Benscoter for his support of the BlueSkyNews marina newsletters as a contributing author and friend for the past ten years.

His passion for sailing his beloved El Marinaro and his extensive knowledge of every inch of Catalina Island have provided much enjoyment to our readers over the years.

Richard's duties in his new capacity as Commodore at the Silver Gate Yacht Club and his successful Mariner's Woodshop company are now occupying 150% of his generous time, so he has decided to hang up his author's pen for the time being.

Thank you Richard - Good fortune and we will miss your sailing tips! - the BlueSkyNews team! I Like
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