Tips to make cruising easier and to prevent potential problems:


Alcohol stoves = The flame is hard to see and the heat output is low. Some people experience seasickness when breathing alcohol stove fumes.

Batteries, house = Flooded, Lead acid batteries are relatively inexpensive but can be safely discharged to only about half of their capacity, 11.6 Volts,   Gel batteries are sealed and need special charging, AGM batteries are also sealed and have high discharge cycles, Lithium-Ion batteries can discharge the deepest and are becoming popular but require very specialized charging and are expensive. Consult a battery expert about your specific needs.

Bedding compound = Poly-sulfide remains flexible and is UV resistantPolyurethane is a strong sealant but susceptible to chemicals and is UV sensitive.  Silicone will not accept paint.

Chart names and numbers = Traditional (being phased out) paper charts were listed by a number. A small number of digits like 411 covered a large area like the Gulf of Mexico and more digits like 11390 covered Panama City, Florida. These charts are being discontinued and replaced with NOAA Custom Charts  that you can build and download in PDF format or purchase from a chart agent. Electronic Charts (ENCs) can be located at  . A search for Panama City, FL provides  “US5FL67M“. In OpenCPN’s Chart Downloader, charts are listed by name only. Panama City is covered by “Intracoastal Waterway East Bay to West Bay”  but you would have to know that in advance. You can narrow your search somewhat by downloading a Chart Catalog for a specific state.

Chart/paper Sunset by NOAA = Paper chart Sunset Progress  From Professional Mariner Magazine June/July 2021

“The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) began to phase out production of its paper nautical charts on Feb. 26 starting with Lake Tahoe, the first of 1,700 charts being converted to exclusively digital delivery.

“The digital charts are easier to update and maintain, keeping mariners safer with the latest information on navigation hazards, NOAA said.

“As part of the sunset plan, a chart’s cancellation will be announced in a local notice to mariners from the U.S. Coast Guard. A note in the lower left corner of the chart will state that this is the last paper edition and that it will be canceled six months later.

“NOAA has tracked sales of paper charts and downloads of electronic charts for more than 15 years. Paper chart demand has declined while electronic chart demand has increased, with those requests now outnumbering paper chart sales by nine to one, said Julia Powell, chief of NOAA’s Navigation Services Division.

“Electronic charts can be easily updated, with the changes posted online in as little as a week, Van Den Ameele said. With paper charts, it could take as long as two years for new information to be added and for the updated versions to be distributed.

“Initially, electronic charts matched their paper counterparts in appearance. But as digitization efforts progress, ENCs will be re-created on a grid pattern, which will improve their performance in a navigation system and make it easier to maintain the aspect ratio of the chart.

“When you zoom in, it will be seamless to the user like Google Maps, where it redraws automatically,” Van Den Ameele said.“

Hopefully this new grid system will make it easier to locate these electronic charts than it is now.

“If they prefer, mariners can use the online NOAA Custom Chart tool ( pod/) to create their own paper and PDF charts from the latest ENC data. Paper charts also will still be available through print-on-demand vendors, Powell said.”

“NOAA expects to cancel all traditional paper and associated raster chart products by January 2025. All ENCs will be available for free download at”

NOAA Custom Paper (left) and ENCs (right) for the upper Bahamas are now available free so you don’t need to pay for British Admiralty charts any more.

These electronic charts lack some of the traditional information we are used to seeing. You can get this info by an “Object Query” on the electronic chart.



Clothing = Below 25 winter jacket & layers, 25-44 jacket or winter coat, 45-50 light to medium coat, 50-60 long sleeve and jacket, 60 – 65 long sleeve and sweater, 65-79 short sleeve, 80 and up shorts. It normally feels cooler on the water and don’t forget wing chill. In cold weather if you feel warm you have too many layers on.

CO = Carbon monoxide, a byproduct of incomplete combustion, is deadly and you should have at least one CO detector installed on your boat.

Cruising sailboat equipment suggestions = Cruiser Suggested Equipment List

Eggs / No eggs = If you are out of eggs try making pancakes by replacing the eggs with unsweetened applesauce.





Medical advice = Look at becoming a member of and download a copy of . My old hard-copy is 460 pages long.

Navigation training = Take courses with Americas Boating Club (formally the Power Squadron) or download and study  , over  1,300 pages .

Propane stoves and heating = LPG or propane is an efficient source of heat but it is heavier than air and leaks accumulate in the bilge and can be explosive. Make sure your system is installed in accordance with ABYC Standard A-1 and is inspected and maintained on a regular basis.

Prop check = Use your GoPro camera on your boat hook to check your propeller, keel and rudder.


Sailboat Sizes and Uses = 

Downloadable PDF from our YouTube Channel Boat Sizes and Uses Web

Time from WWV =

Varnish = Traditional varnishes tend to fill and level with repeated coats. Polyurethane varnishes leave a hard surface but tent to wick out of voids onto sanded surfaces making the voids even deeper.

Downloadable PDF documents:

Comissioning Checks 

Example Maintenance Schedule