sealife tangled in plastic

Ask Lauren: What Do I Do If I See an Animal Tangled in Plastic?

By: Ask Lauren, Environmental, Safety, The Oceans

It is always exciting to encounter marine animals in their natural habitat- the vast diversity of creatures in the ocean both pull at our heartstrings and inspires a sense of wonder. We’ve all seen heartwarming videos of sailors, divers, and surfers having amicable run-ins with favorite marine animals like dolphins, turtles, seals… even sharks! The new trend in viral animal videos is much different: more and more we are encountering marine life entangled in fishing nets or plastic debris, choking on plastic pieces, or stranded onshore from a variety of illnesses and environmental causes. These videos often end with a …

Anatomy of a Rescue: How ASA Sailors Saved Lives in the Open Ocean

By: Safety

On May 16th in the Bay of Florida, 80 miles out of Key West and the finish line of the 2013 Bone Island Regatta, Captain Roy Rogers saw something unusual – a boat on the horizon drifting with its sails down. A few other vessels could be seen in the distance, but this one stood aimlessly alone, a strange sight in the middle of a racecourse. Up in the cockpit, with the sound of the wind and the boat’s stereo playing, it was difficult to know what to make of it, but below in the cabin was a different story: …

How Not to Dock Your Boat

By: American Sailing Association, Safety, Sailboats, Social Media, Standards

If only these people had taken the American Sailing Association’s Docking Endorsement. We’ll teach you everything from the physics of docking to how to step on and off the boat without falling in the water. (Hint #1: Don’t try to jump over the lifelines.) Most of all, we’ll give you a lot of practice and make sure you feel SAFE and CONFIDENT when leaving the dock and coming back. Ask your local sailing school about the ASA Docking Endorsement (118). It sure beats the alternative. A few years ago I was on a boat setting sail on a major ocean …

Sailing Tragedy in Race to Mackinac 2011

By: American Sailing Association, Safety, Weather

As you may have already heard, on Monday the U.S. Coast Guard confirmed the death of two sailors competing in the Chicago-Mackinac Race. A late night storm had hit the racing fleet with winds in excess of 50 knots, and the boat WingNuts capsized. By all accounts, the crew handled the boat properly and made full use of their safety equipment, but the storm simply overwhelmed their 35-foot craft. Six sailors were rescued by a nearby boat, Sociable, but two were lost, one of whom was the skipper. ASA sends our condolences to the families and friends of those who …

Voyaging with Velella: On Night Sailing

By: American Sailing Association, Safety, Sailboats, Social Media

In this blog, ASA writer-at-large Meghan Cleary answers a question from a reader. Meghan is on a 9-month cruise in the tropics aboard S/V Velella. Got a question you’d like Meghan to answer? Post a comment or email us. Reader Louis asked for Meghan’s advice on open-ocean mooring and sailing at night. “Do you simply heave to, use a sea anchor, or are basic mooring lights sufficient?” The winter solstice receives much-deserved celebration from cruising sailors. Finally, our chilly night watches start shrinking as the warm sunny hours push them out minute by minute over the coming weeks. The long-awaited …

Can You Design a Better Life Jacket?

By: American Sailing Association, Equipment, Instructors, Members, Safety

Ever find yourself fiddling interminably with straps and velcro, or tottering around feeling like the Marshmallow Man from Ghostbusters 2? These may be signs that your life jacket is bulky, uncomfortable, inefficient, and irritating. The Boat U.S. Foundation is offering a $5,000 prize to the person who can make a significant improvement in life jacket design – and we think it would be cool if an ASA member or instructor was the winner. According to BoatUS, “drownings account for 70% or more of all boating fatalities. Of the people who drown, over 80% were not wearing a life jacket.” They’re …

Weathering Earl in the British Virgin Islands

By: American Sailing Association, Safety, Sailboats, Schools, Weather

Many of you have been lucky enough to learn to sail, cruise or charter in the British Virgin Islands. Here is an update from Pat Nolan who owns and operates Sistership Sailing School on Tortola after recently weathering hurricane Earl: Location, location, location. That real estate mantra also applies to hurricane survival (followed closely by preparation, preparation, preparation). Having just come through the very large, very powerful category 4 hurricane Earl in the BVI, I can say that both location and preparation are key to minimizing damage. Lucky for us the eye of the storm passed about 30 miles north …