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Safety & Seamanship

Rhumb Lines: Is Sailing Essential?

Let’s take away all the boats. Not the ships engaged in essential commerce, not the barges hauling goods, not the net boats catching fish....

Is 88% A Good Number?

If you want a nice vacation, a boat charter seems close to a sure thing. Readers who responded to a survey published in last...

Review of Life jackets for Dogs

Dogs are natural swimmers, but they do get tired. Our testers examine a wide range of life jackets designed to keep dogs afloat, including one device that automatically inflates. The seven products in our test of dog life jackets include products from Ruff Wear, the OTE (Kent/Boaters World), Plastimo, West Marine, Critters Inflatable, MTI, and NRS.

Offshore Log:Choosing a RIB Dinghy – AB vs. Caribe

For the serious cruising boat, a good dinghy is more than a matter of convenience-it is an essential. During our first two years of...

Offshore Log: Man Overboard!

Bad news: People are still falling overboard unharnessed. Good news: Practice with good rescue techniques and gear definitely saves lives.

Sea Anchors & Drogues

Taking bad weather bow-to or stern-to is a fundamental quandary. Much depends on your boat. Then you have to decide which sea anchor or drogue to buy. We sort through the decision tree.

Make Some Noise

With so many types of sound signals, we set out to see which is the best.

Life Raft Stowage: The Overlooked Necessity

Sometimes, it seems that safety is a dirty word in the boat- building industry. A favorite marketing catchword is "bluewater cruiser." We assume this means a boat capable of going to sea, rather than a boat designed to tiptoe along the shore. But when you go aboard the "bluewater cruiser", more often than not you find a boat most suited for blue water when it is secured to the deck of a ship enroute to the dealer. Nowhere is this more apparent than in the provisions made for the stowage of life rafts. Or rather, the lack of provision made. Few people would venture offshore without a life raft, yet the location of the raft aboard the boat is almost always an afterthought.

Plug that Chain-pipe

I was always amazed at how much water could seep through the chain-pipe and into Toscas anchor locker when a sea was up, or we were punching into a headsea-although punching would hardly describe the ungainly motion of a gaff-rigged ketch to weather. Wallowing? Submarining? Regardless, the chain-pipe was like a water main in those conditions …