Newsletter #185

Newsletter #185 - October 9, 2013

Surface Currents

>>> Surface Currents >>>

There's no question that if you're on your boat for any length of time, quality information about the existing weather and weather predictions are critical to your safety and enjoyment. We all use weather information for planning and go/no-go decisions. There's no doubt that many of you are "waiting for weather" right now.

But there are other types of environmental data besides the typical weather information that can also be useful. At the top of the list is current direction and speed for waterways and streams as well as open ocean currents. Technically this is known as surface currents, the top 25 meters of water in a moving body of water.

Current prediction is often tied to tide prediction and most navigation products that provide tide prediction also show the current of specific current stations. But there are other types of current data that are not provided. For instance, on a waterway with multiple ocean inlets, it isn't always possible to predict where the current direction break will occur in the waterway. That point is often an important planning item that we ignore because the data rarely exists. Similarly, in the open ocean, eddy currents form from large ocean streams (like the Gulf Stream) based on a large number of factors that are very difficult to predict.

The bottom line is that we all could use better current information for our cruising. And given that the current you are experiencing can easily be calculated with a heading, speed-thru-water sensor, and GPS, crowd-sourcing is an obvious way that we can all work together to provide the data and models to help each other.

The International Hydrographic Office (IHO) is trying to create a standard for the storage and display of current direction and speed. They are looking for feedback from professional mariners and recreational boaters. We were contacted to assist in generating recreational boater feedback. It's your opportunity to tell them what you think and make them realize that recreational use is important. The survey takes about 10-20 minutes to complete and is fun to do. Give it a shot:

>>> Newsletters That We Read >>>

When we meet other boaters, they often ask us about the magazines and newsletters that we follow to get information while we're cruising. The first part of that is easy - we don't read magazines. While we might pick up an old Soundings or other magazine laying around at a boater's lounge in a marina, it doesn't make sense to pay to have them chase us around with our mail. Besides, we have found that the online information we use is vast, very current, and readily accessible.

For online newsletters, here are a couple that you might not know about that are worth signing up for:

Cruising Compass
This email newsletter comes out once a week on Thursday. It's quite well done with a great mixture of news, products, destinations, and short items of interest. It has a sailing slant but most of the items are about cruising and the type of boat you're in just doesn't matter. The ending segment is always about a galley idea. Bottom line - if you're cruising or want to be cruising, sign up for this free newsletter:

This is another email newsletter that comes out every Wednesday. It's very long and contains many pictures. It's slanted at smaller motorboats but all types of boats are covered. We especially like the different skills segments that challenge our thinking about boat handling and other basic skills. The last section is always a contest where you submit the caption to a funny/odd boating picture. Sign up for this free newsletter at:

Soundings E-Newsletter
We've always liked Soundings. It always came across as more current than other publications and seemed more real. And while they continue to publish their paper media, they also have a pretty good newsletter that's timely, informative, and delivered to your inbox for free. Sign up at:

>>> Defender 1st >>>

When you live on a boat it seems there's always some sort of liquid to deal with somewhere. This week's Defender 1st item will help you deal with most any type of liquid you might encounter on your boat. The Moeller Fluid Extractor Pump is designed to handle large fluid extraction jobs with ease. It is suitable for most any fluid including warm or cold oil. It is not to be used with gasoline, however.

It is offered in three capacities with either manual only or a manual/ pneumatic version. Each has an automatic shut-off to eliminate overflow. The 5 liter and 7 liter manual models pump on both the upstroke and downstroke for more efficiency. The pneumatic/manual model has a 15 liter capacity and lets you choose between hand pump or shop air for automatic operation.

Check out the link for all the details plus the ActiveCaptain Coupon Code.

Moeller Fluid Extractor Pump, 5 L capacity: $67.99 (Regularly: $84.99)

Moeller Fluid Extractor Pump, 7 L capacity: $77.59 (Regularly: $96.99)

Moeller Fluid Extractor Manual/Pneumatic, 15 L capacity: $116.79 (Regularly: $145.99)

Special ends: October 15, 2013

Get the special price and learn more at:

Make dealing with those messy fluids onboard faster and cleaner. Select the perfect pump for your needs while saving money. You won't find a better price on a high quality pump.

Remember - Defender 1st: one product, one week, one incredible price.

When you're thinking about purchasing boating supplies, think of Defender first.

It has been a terrific week here at Green Turtle Bay. Dylan and Dee Dee have been enjoying much time ashore and love people watching off the bow. Dee Dee took her first swim and is learning to ride in the dinghy like a big girl. Of course, she takes her cue from Dylan who is a swimming and dinghy riding pro. Check out what the canine crew is up to on their blog:

Karen and Jeffrey Siegel
Castine, Maine
The Interactive Cruising Guidebook
Social Navigation for Active Captains
Real reviews from Active Captains

Newsletter Archive
2015-11-25 #294 - Mary Had a Little Lamb
2015-11-18 #293 - DeLorme inReach
2015-11-11 #292 - Celebrating Furuno
2015-11-04 #291 - Your ActiveCaptain Identity
2015-10-28 #290 - iPad/Android Tablet Owners
2015-10-21 #289 - The Top 5 Things...
2015-10-14 #288 - Skype
2015-10-07 #287 - Locations 1.2
2015-09-30 #286 - Cell Phone Frequency Issues
2015-09-23 #285 - Cell Phone Unlocking
2015-09-16 #284 - Mr SIM Card
2015-09-09 #283 - Route Storage & Sharing Continued
2015-09-02 #282 - Route Storage & Sharing
2015-08-26 #281 - Here's What You Told Us
2015-08-19 #280 - Bahamas 2016
2015-08-12 #279 - What is Services Missing?
2015-08-05 #278 - Aqua Map for Android
2015-07-29 #277 - Obtaining Critical Mass
2015-07-22 #276 - Our Backup Anchor
2015-07-15 #275 - Which Anchor is Best
2015-07-08 #274 - Pocket Mariner's SeaNav
2015-07-01 #273 - Services Galore
2015-06-24 #272 - Canvas and Upholstery Services
2015-06-17 #271 - Locations, Locations, Locations
2015-06-10 #270 - Keeping Track of Everything - 4
2015-06-03 #269 - ActiveCaptain Locations
2015-05-27 #268 - Keeping Track of Everything - 3
2015-05-20 #267 - Signal K?
2015-05-13 #266 - Getting Ready for Locations
2015-05-06 #265 - Keeping Track of Everything - 2
2015-04-29 #264 - Bob423
2015-04-22 #263 - Keeping Track of Everything
2015-04-15 #262 - The Apple Watch
2015-04-08 #261 - Hazards
2015-04-01 #260 - ActiveCaptain Locations
2015-03-25 #259 - The Green Flash

Archive Complete list of all newsletters
ActiveCaptain articles Read the award winning nineteen part series on mobile phones on boats.

Learn how to train your canine crew to use the "poop deck" and a unique way to get them into the dinghy.

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