Boating

Proper Dimensions for a Boat Launch Ramp

I am tired of lousy launch ramps.

Bad launch ramps aren't usually that way on purpose. They're usually lousy because, when they were built, nobody involved knew any better. In the interests of making life better for all trailer boaters, then, here are some pointers on how to build one correctly- and a free plan you can give to your contractor as a starting point for your own ramp design.

Assessing crew risks on a powerboat

Should you require all crew on your boat to wear lifejackets? If so, under what conditions? Should you restrict access to some parts of the vessel when underway? Should those rules change in different weather conditions, or with different kinds of boat traffic nearby?

I suspect that many skippers make these decisions based on gut feeling and on who they side with in bar or forum arguments. Frankly, I don't think that's the best way to make critical safety decisions.

Risk assessment is a very well-developed art. Not every decision calls for a formal risk assessment, but putting a bit of logical thought into your key safety policies is certainly a prudent idea. Today, I present an informal walk-through of this process for the Starwind 860 trimaran we're currently building.

Sources of weather data for Lake Ontario

I have a really hard time trusting meteorologists.

No offence is intended to any weather forecasters who are reading this. The trouble is, Kingston is a geographically and meteorologically complex region, making it hard to build accurate forecast models with sufficiently fine detail- and the forecasters who do cover our area are also responsible for many, many other cities. So, while a forecast of "sunny, not much happening" is pretty reliable, estimates of wind, rain and sea state are often way off.

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