Burnt Store Isles Boat Club
Punta Gorda Florida

A Note from the Vice Commodore

Even experienced boaters, like the BSIBC membership, could benefit from continuing boater education. 

Because a portion of my responsibilities as Vice-Commodore is boating safety and education, I thought we could provide our membership information on the boating education classes available here in the local area.


Our Past Vice Commodore Nick Hay  contacted the U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary here in Charlotte County to see about the classes that they teach on a regular basis, and the schedule of those classes. Here is a list of the 4 most popular:

  • About Boating Safety"   8 hour class - taught on a Saturday. Pricing - $40/individual $60/couple  $65/family
  • Weekend Navigator" (usually limited to 8 persons per class) 3 nights (3rd night - GPS) Pricing - $90/couple
  • Paddlers Guide to Safety - 5 hour class  Pricing - $20 - includes materials
  • Suddenly In Command -3 hour class - what to do if you are not an experienced Captain and that person becomes unable to pilot the boat - discusses VHF radio usage, what to do in an emergency, boat handling, etc. Pricing - $15 

All of the above classes are taught at the Punta Gorda Isles Civic Center, 2001 Shreve Street, Punta Gorda. 

Below is a link to these classes on the USCGA website, and if you enter the zip code of 33950 and click on SUBMIT it will display a schedule of the upcoming classes available:


You can also give them a call at - 570-236-8010   for course information.


An additional resource for boating education classes in the area is the Peace River Sail and Power Squadron. Their website is: http://www.usps.org/localusps/peaceriver/index.html 

Radios, Yes you should have one

Past Vice Commodore Jeff Jarr has some important information on Marine VHF Radios, Coast Guard Regulations and some thoughts on how Radios keep us safe on the water.

Click Here to Read

Securing Your Boat Before Big Storms

As I write this, there are 4 weather systems active in the Atlantic Ocean right now, so boat preparations in the advent of a tropical storm or hurricane does come to mind; I’m sure that enters your thoughts also.  Our boats are either docked in the water, on a lift, “dry” stored or in a slip in a marina and there are challenges in securing your boat in any of these stowage methods, so what do you do?

As I have gone thru several severe weather events over the years I thought I should discuss a few of the things I have learned, both good and bad.

  • First and foremost you never have enough lines tying your boat down, and the little skinny lines you used to tie up your boat in some lake marina will not cut it.  Spend a little money and get the largest lines that will fit on your cleats.  Better to spend $100 on new mooring/dock lines than to have one or more break during a bad blow and you lose the boat.
  • Take off canvas and Isinglass and seal off gaps in the companionway access; electronics covers also.  If your VHF radio’s Mic is detachable, take it off and put it below or in your house.  Do not use “Duct” tape or Blue painter’s tape.  The sun will melt the tape in place and it will be murder getting it off after the event. (see the below article for the correct tape to use).  Tie down your Bimini’s frame so it can’t blow around


  • When on a lift, bring the lift down a little, tie your lines off then raise the lift until the lines are taut.


  • If your boat will be left in the water at your dock, tie long lines pulling the boat off the dock using, if possible your neighbor’s yard.  Ask for permission, of course.  The long lines will allow the boat to move within the storm surge range, if done properly.


The best method I’ve found for keeping your boat in the water at your dock and being reasonably protected is to use the Slidemoor system.  I have them on my dock, and during hurricane Irma I had a very heavy 34 foot Glacier Bay power catamaran attached to my Slidemoors and the boat rode the weather perfectly.  The only “damage” was where I tried to augment the tying job by adding two additional lines bow and stern to separate pilings and the yawing motion of the boat yanked on those pilings, pulling the piers out about a foot.  (Ron Parr’s company pulled them back in place for $168).  For those of you who are unfamiliar with the Slidemoor system I have included a Ship Shape TV segment in the below link.


  • The best method around here, If you can, is to dry store your boat. Don’t forget to tie the boat down at the storage area.  Go to Home Depot and get some of those twisty, auger-type of anchors, and using a broom handle run the anchor into the ground as far as it will go and tie the boat to them.  Again, a few dollars now may save you thousands of dollars in repair bills later.

The two storage yards across the Peace River are:  Charlotte Harbor Boat Storage and Safe Cove (used to be named American Storage or something like that).  They can pull you out of the water and dry store your boat if they have room.  Call early.  You can find them on the internet.  Gasparilla Marina is slow right now because of their reduced business caused by red tide.  They also may have room.

  • Below, I have a link to a West Marine produced YouTube video that has some additional information on hurricane preparedness that you might find useful. 


If you do your best to secure your boat then the only other advice I can give you is to not freak-out.  Remember, the secret to living well in Florida is to be heavily insured.   

Be safe,

Jeff Jarr

Past Vice-Commodore

Docking Without Difficulty

I think that at one time or another most boaters have had some difficulty docking a boat, either heading into a slip, backing into a slip or even coming along side a dock to tie up.  There are a number of factors that increase that difficulty; winds coming towards the dock, blowing away the dock or blowing from either side.  A strong current running can add to your problems sometimes making this a daunting task.As a boating professional I am regularly asked about boat handling, especially when it comes to docking.  

Below are several points I like to make to those asking:

1)     Pilings can be your friends – if necessary, use wooden pilings as a pivot point and power around them.

2)     If the conditions are challenging don’t refuse line handling help from folks on the dock.

  • All mooring lines that you are likely to use in that docking session should already be in place well before you start your docking process.  Additionally, all docking lines should be 1 ½ times the length of your boat (that is, if you have a 20 ft boat your lines should be at least 30 ft. in length).  That way there is sufficient line to throw to someone on the dock.  There is nothing more frustrating (to everyone involved) than to throw the line to someone on the dock and that line is too short and falls in the water.

3)     Every experienced boater has been in some kind of docking difficulty in his or her past and will be again. 

  • If you start to get into an issue with wind blowing you off your “entry point” and it looks like that will become a problem, there is no shame in halting that attempt and to go around again to start the docking process from a fresh vantage point.  When watching someone getting into that kind of difficulty the experienced viewer will usually acknowledge that going around again shows boating savvy, not ineffectiveness.  No embarrassment necessary.   I have on several times had to retry a docking maneuver three or four times to get it right, depending on what kind of challenging conditions I was facing, and I’ve been doing this for well over 50 years.

It has been my intention for the last several months to give docking demonstrations to those who might be interested, but the unpredictability of this summer’s weather has not allowed me to schedule anything in advance.  To try to do the next best thing I have located a few YouTube videos on docking procedures that you may find helpful.  Below are links to those videos.  Enjoy, and safe boating!






Jeff Jarr

Our goal is safe and enjoyable boating year-round

Have your vessel safety inspected every year

Use the US Coast Guard on-line Vessel Safety Check below to ensure you have the required equipment should you be stopped.  

US Coast Guard Auxiliary Vessel Safety Check  


Take one of the many safe boating courses offered by the US Coast Guard Auxiliary or the Peace River Power Squadron. Remember that safety cards are required in Florida.


........because in the words of Captain Ron:

"If anything is gonna happen, it's gonna happen out there"

The USCG has withdrawn the Certificate of Approval for NAMMO LIAB AB Orange Hand Held Smoke Distress Signals.  Approval status of this certificate is now marked as "Former-DO NOT USE". 

These signals may be labeled and marketed as "Polar MK 4" by Nammo LIAB AB or as","IKAROS" by Hansson Pyrotech which is the more current manufacturing name.  Datrex Inc., Kinder, LA, is the only distributor for these products in the United States.  There is a risk of spontaneous combustion when these devices are dropped. 

For further information contact Datrex at 337-738-4511 or via email at: datrex@datrex.com.  This information was developed and distributed by the Coast Guard Office of Design and Engineering Standards.  Questions, comments or incident occurrence should be sent to: HOS-PF-fldr-CG-INV@uscg.mil


Rick Sluzewski, Safety Officer,PRSPS
Tired of buying signal flares every couple of years?

Helpful Documents

Presented by Vice Commodore Corby Le Siege at a January BSIBC training class by Captain Nick Hay

For more information and frequently asked questions visit the Boat US MMSI FAQ page here (click on the link):


Independent Anchor Performance Testing

A compilation of the credible comparison tests of recent years

How To Call "Mayday"  by Corby LeSiege

All of the canals in Burnt Store Isles are designated:

Markers, No Wake & Idle Speed Signs, Waterway Signs - First Sign ...



That means the minimum speed with which you can still move forward and control your vessel.  That speed is NEVER above 5 miles per hour.  Please watch your GPS and keep it below 5 MPH.  Very few boaters adhere to this in BSI, please give the manatees a break and watch your speed in our canals.

Helpful Links

Be Ready to Save A Life, sign up for one of the monthly classes


Stay Afloat product - youtube video