This 28 minute documentary-style safety video is the culmination of two years of filming. The content was collected by five individual boating sub chapters: The Pilot, The Paddlers, The Sailors, The Motor Boaters and Operation Clear Channel.

Along with Liberty Yacht Club’s Vice Commodore, Jim Chambers, the video seeks to tell the first-hand story of how to operate safely and how to work together as one tribe of mariners in the Port of New York and New Jersey.

The video originally appeared on website and was made using a grant from the State of NJ Dept of Transportation Maritime Division IBoatNJ Program. John Rako was the Executive Producer.


Photo appeared in Tampa Bay Times

So, you have finally fulfilled your dream of having a boat!  Or, you have been crew on your friend’s boats for several years.  If you own a boat you have the vessel registered with the U. S. Coast Guard, a port of call has been secured, and the boat has been insured. You have a ships log, i.e. trips, repairs, and more recorded in a notebook of some kind.  You know what PHRF stands for, and have a copy of the U.S. Sailing Rules of Racing. But do you have a sailing/racing profile?

Every sailor should have a document that cites their abilities to perform aboard a vessel when at sea, on a lake, or going down a river.  This comes in handing for pleasure cruising, boat transports, or for racing.

If you decide that your next winter trip is going to be a charter in the BVI, the Mediterranean, Belize or some other warm place, the charter company is going to require a resume that documents your capabilities.  Unlike buying a boat, they will require more than your ID and credit card.  They will need to know that you are an acceptable risk.

While there are multiple Internet sites out there seeking crew for boats, reputable and credible boat owners are going to want a guarantee that “you are what you say you are” when it comes to skills and experience.  In the case of a sailing/racing resume one document suits all….so to speak.

Sailing Resume Screen Shot

It is never too soon to create this document.  Once you have had a sailing experience; taken a course, bought a boat, sailed on a boat, start your resume.  Use a standard “resume” format and include a header with your contact information, (name, address, etc.) Below are some important areas to document.

Include an overview about yourself and your global experiences, i.e., age, number of years sailing, number of years racing, times you have captained a vessel, knowledge/qualifications or courses to document your abilities as deck crew, tactician, navigator, ships steward, bow-swain, mechanical and/or electrical expertise.

2.   BOATS OWNED (Sail & Power)
List the boats, by name, and date of ownership, of all vessels. Don’t forget to include the make and model of each boat.

List all boats on which you crewed during a racing event.

List all boats that you have chartered; both power and sail.

List all boats on which you Captained or were crew during a transport.  Include your position for each.

List by year, races, transports, charters, etc. For example:

1999: Marblehead NOOD, Trimmer on J80, ”Blues Power”, Bob Lemaire, owner; Lake Winnipesaukee various races, Captain on J80, “Christina”, Dick Spilane, owner;   Newport to Block Island Mitchell Regatta, J40, “Resolve”, Rich Destrempe, owner; Challenge Voile Pour Tous, Bretagne, France, Beneteau First 40.7, Yvon Durant, Skipper.

Once you have compiled all of your information, use spell check and then save it as a PDF.  You want to make sure that no one can falsify your information. Most of the information can be “qualified” online by looking up boat ownership; PHRF listings, racing events, yacht clubs, etc.  But, if you want to include reference contact information for individuals, clubs, or organizations that can corroborate your data, make sure to confirm with them first, before listing.

No matter how much or how little you have sailed, now is the time to create that Sailing/Racing Resume!

Contributing sailor: Linda Spring-Andrews

What Are Your (Float) Plans?

How often have you experienced someone going out for a sail or a fishing trip and you don’t know where they went or how long they would be gone? Sometimes, you’re waiting a long time and you haven’t heard from them. Is their phone dead? Are they out of cellular or VHF radio range? Did the boat breakdown? Did something worse happen? These are thoughts that may be coursing through your mind – or your family’s mind if you’re the one who’s out, and they think you are overdue back.

A float plan can help to reduce the stress and anxiety of people who may be waiting onshore and should be an important safety item of anyone venturing out for a cruise, a fishing trip or an offshore passage. Even if you’re just out for a harbor cruise, letting someone know where you are going can work wonders if something unexpected happens while you are out on the water and have no communications. It’s all about a focus on Safety First! Read more

Dressing a Ship

During holidays, at regattas or on other special occasions, dressing a ship in brightly colored flags has been a long and fun tradition. Not only does it look festive, but it also pays homage to centuries of maritime history. The flags which are used for dressing ships are known as the International Code of Signal Flags, often called alphabet flags because each flag represents a particular letter or number.

Read more

Cloud Formations 101

As sailors, we like to have as much insight into the weather as possible. Some wind is good, too much is not as nice, and being becalmed is quite frankly, not fun. Close to shore, we can check the weather on a phone app, or listen to the weather radio, but those options are not available out at sea.

cloud-infographic-600-wideBeing able to understand cloud formations and what they could indicate in terms of weather can be a big help for sailors. Clouds not only show the stability of the atmosphere, but they also indicate where you may be relative to a weather system (high or low pressure, warm or cold front) and whether that system could bring rain or changes in the wind strength and direction.
At first it can seem confusing with what looks like so many cloud types – and indeed there are hundreds – but these myriad cloud types can basically be grouped into ten main cloud groups (genera) which are divided into three types; cumulus, stratus, and cirrus. They are then distinguished further by the height at which they are found; cirro (high-level clouds), alto(medium-level clouds) and stratus (low-level clouds). There is only one other major cloud distinction and that is nimbus, which means precipitation.

Read more

Words and Phrases with a Nautical Heritage

The English language is a rich and varied language that developed over centuries, borrowing words and terms from other languages. England’s strong maritime culture also played a large role in shaping language, with many common terms being used today tracing their origins to Britain’s nautical history. For fun, we highlight some of those below:

Aloof – today it means indifference or emotionally distant but during the 18th-century it meant sailing into the wind to stay clear of the shore.

By and large – means in general or for the most part, but it didn’t always have that meaning. If a ship could sail well both by (toward) the wind and large (away from the wind) it was said to be able to sail by and large.

Groggy – feeling dazed, confused or unsteady? Then you’re feeling groggy. It’s based on an old custom of doling out a mixture of rum and water, or grog, to sailors in the Royal Navy. Too much and you were groggy.

Hand over fist – means quickly and in large amounts. The origin comes from how a sailor would climb a rope hand over hand.

Pipe down – stop talking and be quiet! It comes from when the boatswain on a ship would dismiss the crew with a whistle or pipe, and the command pipe down would be given. Presumably crews would get quieter after being dismissed.

Shake a leg – means to hurry up. However, the original phrase was said to refer to getting out of bed or the hammock on Royal Navy ships. In the morning, the botswain would call out for sailors to shake or show a leg, then hurry up on deck.

Taken aback – refers to being startled enough to jump back in surprise. However, the original meaning referred to when the wind was on the forward side of the sails, pushing them against the mast and stopping forward motion of the ship

The bitter end – means the very end of something, regardless of how difficult it is. The bitt or cleat is a fastening on a deck of a ship for attaching lines or rope. When an anchor is let out to its full extent, it is said that the line reached the bitter end.

Three sheets to the wind – today it means, someone who is really drunk or intoxicated. It originally referred to lines which are used to control sails coming loose. This would cause the sails to flap in the wind and the ship to lose its course and wander around.

Touch and go – means a condition that could easily be dangerous or unsettled. According to one account, it refers to when the keel of a ship would briefly rub against the ground while sailing, but no damage was done.

Beetroot-cured Salmon

Gravlax or cured salmon is one of the easiest things to make in the kitchen (or galley). All it requires is salmon, sugar and salt for the base cure and whatever aromatics or seasoning you want to use. The traditional Scandinavian gravlax uses salt, sugar, dill and perhaps a dash of white pepper. That’s it! Short on ingredients, it’s large on flavor.

For a different take on regular gravlax or cured salmon, I often use beets in the curing mix to add a vibrant hue and a sweet subtle flavor to the cured fish. I’ll serve it on bagels or crackers with crème fraîche or in mini phyllo shells with lemon ricotta cheese, a touch of lemon zest and chives (see photo above).

I should also mention that curing your own salmon is much less expensive then buying gravlax at a store which costs anywhere from $25/lb to $60/lb! When you add total prep time of perhaps 30 minutes, you’ll wonder why you didn’t make cured salmon or gravlax earlier! And, the steps are very simple: remove pin bones (if any), pat dry, pack in the curing mix and let sit in the fridge for 2-3 days, draining occasionally.

It goes without saying, but start with the freshest salmon possible. I pack the salmon in plastic wrap but parchment paper would work just as well. Once it is tightly wrapped and placed in a glass dish or another deep tray, use another tray to place on top that can hold some type of weight. This helps to press moisture out of the salmon as it cures, which is integral to the curing process. Just remember to drain the liquids out of the pan every 12 hours or so.

As far as the base cure is concerned, there is some latitude in the proper ratio of salt to sugar which you can adjust to suit your own tastes. A 1 to 1.5 salt to sugar ratio will provide a sweeter tasting salmon while a 1.5 to 1 mix will be saltier. For a traditional Scandinavian gravlax I lean towards more salt, while with the beet-cured version I detail below, I use more sugar.

Finally – and this cannot be over-stressed – use a very sharp knife to cut the salmon on a diagonal. If the knife is not sharp, you will end up just tearing the salmon apart rather than creating nice thin slices.

Beetroot cured Salmon
Makes 12 oz


  • 12-14 oz fresh salmon with skin on
  • 4.5 oz sugar (about 1/2 cup)
  • 3 oz coarse sea salt (about 1/2 cup)
  • 2 medium beets (8 oz), peeled and grated
  • 1 tsp coriander seeds, coarsely ground
  • 1 tsp toasted fennel seeds, coarsely ground
  • 2 Tbsp vodka
  • Zest of one small orange


  1. Toast the fennel seeds, let cool then along with the coriander seeds coarsely grind with a mortar and pestle, set aside.
  2. In a large bowl, grate the beets, add sugar and salt, stirring in coriander, fennel, vodka and orange zest. Mix well.
  3. Place plastic wrap (enough to wrap the salmon) or parchment paper on a baking tray or in a glass dish. Using a spatula add a layer of the beet mix to the plastic wrap, then place salmon on top skin side down. Cover the top and sides of the salmon with more of the beet mix making sure the salmon is completely covered. Wrap tightly with the plastic wrap.
  4. Set a weighted tray on top of the wrapped salmon and place in the refrigerator for two to three days. Drain any liquid every 12 hours or so.
  5. Once the salmon is cured, remove from the refrigerator and gently scrape off curing mix with a spoon and discard. Rinse the salmon in cold water then lightly pat dry. Thinly slice the salmon and serve.