Life on the Mississippi, 2019
What happens when a talented writer and photographer marries into a towboat family? In Melody Golding's case, we get Life Between the Levees, America's Riverboat Pilots, a chronicle of first-person reflections from towboat pilots.
Over a ten-year span Mrs. Golding interviewed, recorded, and photographed over a hundred pilots. The oldest, born in 1915, saw the transition from steam to diesel; the youngest, born in 1987, saw the transition from memory-and-eyeball to GPS. But this book is not a history of technology; it's a human history that gives us an idea of the joys and miseries, mishaps and triumphs of the men and women who devote their lives to navigating our rivers and canals. As many pilots say about the river, "I hate her when I'm with her, and I miss her when I'm gone."
Credit should go also to the University Press of Mississippi who did their part with care and skill, producing a volume of high quality, with sturdy covers, acid-free coated paper, and faithful high-resolution printing of the author's 130 marvelous color photographs.
Any river person who receives this book as a gift will treasure it and want to pass it on as an heirloom.
For more information, click here, and also look up Ken Hocke's review in the June 2019 issue of Workboat magazine.
U.S. Chart No. 1
NOS has released the 13th edition of Symbols, Abbreviations and Terms, the first since April 2013.
There are significant changes that deal with paper charts as well as electronic charts. Some of these changes are listed in the NOS website. Many of our Standing Order Service subscribers include this booklet on their Master Lists, and we have sent them their new copies. We are now ready to handle other orders.
Waterway Guide 2019
Our cruising friends will be pleased to learn that the 2019 edition of the entire Waterway Guide suite is now available. Let the planning begin! WG has issued new editions of its cruising guides in most of its 72 years, each with a little more detail and up-to-date information from its battery of stringers, or "Cruising Editors."
NOAA Hurricane Tracking Charts
The hurricane season will soon be here. If you would like to supplement the television and radio reports, NOAA's National Hurricane Center has released tracking charts to let you post and track the position reports as they come in. The charts are printed on sturdy paper, they are a handy size, and they show a one-degree grid that helps you find positions without using plotting tools.
A New PFD from Datrex.
Datrex, the safety equipment maker, kept this in mind when designing its brand new entry, the Datrex 2300 Maxflow mesh vest PFD. "It's a far more comfortable jacket for the wearer," said founder and CEO John Simonsen, "and it's a lot cooler. Our design allows more ventilation."
Tug Use in Port. A Practical Guide 3rd edition, by Capt. Henk Hensen.
One of the most detailed and technical texts on the management of tugs, Tug Use in Port needs periodic updates to keep it fresh. Consider the changes that we have seen since 2002, the date of the second edition: Bigger ships to dock, new tug designs with new propulsion systems and new fuels, new training methods, and new regulations. Subchapter M and ISM. That's a lot of material that needs review, and Capt. Hensen has it well in hand. As Capt John Traut writes in the March Professional Mariner "Hensen deftly balances highly technical aspects of tug design, history and modern development with the practicalities and capabilities that have been achieved." Tug Use in Port joins Primer of Towing and Shiphandling with Tugs in the ranks of texts worthy of a tugmaster's attention.
A Readable Effective Mooring.
OCIMF (Oil Companies International Marine Forum) has produced a new edition of Effective Mooring with many changes. Effective Mooring, Fourth Edition uses simplified language and vivid cartoons aimed directly at those who do the actual work of mooring. The compact new edition adds more guidance on barges. It also has more material on communications, fatigue, situational awareness and other human factors. It would be useful in crew training.
Our February newsletter announced Cornell Maritime Press' imminent release of the 2018 edition of Shiphandling for the Mariner, the first edition since 1983. This classic text, brought up to date by the father-and-son MacElrevey team, is now on hand and available.
The maritime industry has gone through massive and unforeseen changes, prompting Cornell Maritime Press to commission an update of The Business of Shipping, the first since 2008. The new edition was written by Ira Breskin, based on the work of James Buckley and Lane Kendall. It is up to date and comprehensive enough to be useful to newcomers to the industry as well as to the professionals who are specialists in one branch of the business but need insight into other branches.
Changes made by the International Maritime Organization's (IMO)Marine Environmental Protection Committee (MEPC) became effective on March 1, 2018 and require significant changes in the logbook reporting pages. These changes are reflected in the new 2018 edition of Marine Education Textbook's Garbage Record Book, now on hand and available. The book provides instructions on "How to use this Garbage Record Book" as well as a series of "Questions and Answers" to provide additional background information.
A crew member who falls overboard needs to be seen and needs to be heard. We are pleased to add to our Safety Equipment two new items that address these needs simply, reliably, and effectively. The Weems and Plath Personal Rescue Strobe is one of the most robust PFD lights on the market, with military grade construction. It comes complete with a Velcro hook and loop strap and zip ties for installation on Type I, II, III, and V PFDs.
The Weems & Plath Storm Safety Whistle Whistle is said to be the loudest whistle on the market. We don't have any fancy decibel meters, but simple tests in our office told us that this is a very, very loud whistle indeed, whether blown wet or dry, and should bring attention to the user quickly.
Attention, Snowbirds! Waterway Guides has released the 2018 editions of their Chesapeake and Delaware Bays, Atlantic ICW, Southern, and Bahamas cruising guides. Click here to view
It's getting close to the New Year, time to think of your almanacs and tide tables. For celestial navigators we have the 2018 Nautical Almanac, both the Commercial Edition in blue paperback and some pages of advertising, and the pumpkin-colored Naval Observatory Edition with no ads. Both have exactly the same data tables.
Everybody needs tide tables, but which tide tables? There are the "official" tables compiled and formatted by NOAA, 2018 Tide Tables East Coast of North and South America including Greenland, and 2018 Tide Tables West Coast of North and South America including the Hawaiian Islands, then the official 2018 Tidal Current Tables Atlantic Coast of North America and 2018 Tidal Currents Pacific Coast of North America and Asia.
For smaller vessels there are two interesting options and supplements. Many East Coast mariners from Nova Scotia to the Florida Keys and especially New England swear by the venerable 2018 Eldridge Tide and Pilot Book. This is a handy, compact manual packed with all kinds of useful piloting information, tides and currents being only a small part.
For the Pacific Northwest there's 2018 Captn Jack's Tide & Current Almanac with detailed tidal information on Puget Sound, including the Strait of Juan de Fuca, the Hood Canal, and the San Juan Islands.
When the dreaded call "Man Overboard!" is heard on a large ship, the bridge officers have been taught to immediately go into the "Williamson Turn," or the "Buttonhook Turn." In this high-stress emergency, who can be sure to remembering the rules for shifting the helm, and who can be sure to get the arithmetic right? The new Weems & Plath Man Overboard Wheel makes it easy, fast, and error-free. Just dial in your initial compass heading and the Man Overboard Wheel guides you through the sequence. It's a small thing, but it can make a large difference.
For the last decade several of our customers have subscribed to our Notices Plus service, a weekly or monthly mailing of Notices to Mariners and up-to-date Coast Pilots, Light Lists, and other navigational data. The sources are official government web sites which are authentic and up-to-date, but not always easy to access. NoticesPlus makes it easier for you, giving the information at any time, even when you cannot connect to the internet. Until recently we put the information on CD-ROMs, but because new computers and remote devices may not have CD drives we are now adding to our line the NoticesPlus Flash-Drive Option, using the handy little data holders in common use today.
In earlier days ships and boats used one kind of cordage, three-strand manila. A sailor learned once how to tuck in a splice, and did it the same way for the rest of his life. Nowadays we are treated to a bewildering variety of man-made materials and novel constructions that demand new knowledge and new skills. We reported last year on one expert's offering, Splicing Modern Rope, but the book very quickly went out of print, and we were not able to obtain more. The publisher has issued a new printing, and we're pleased to announce its renewed availability.