Setting Up My New Boat AND NAMING HER.

This past winter I have finally acquired another vessel. I am super excited as I have not had a vessel of my own for a couple of years now, and I was getting really down on myself, not being able to get on the water whenever I wanted to. I have spent lots of time over the past few years upgrading my licenses enabling me to be on the water for work, however it’s just not the same as going out on your own terms, for pleasure, and it was getting me in some sort of deep blue funk.

I have decided to rename the new to me vessel, but Before I do, I must take many things into consideration, my hobbies, what I will most likely be using her for, {like fishing, or just doing some family cruising, or will I just become one of those weekend warrior types that never leave the dock and rarely even turn over the engine and just socialize at the marina lol, {ya not likely on that last one.}LOL. My plan for now is, I would love to cruise with my wife around the bay of Quinte and the 1000 islands, and maybe even take a trip up the Trent Severn waterway this summer. Basically this vessel should represent who I am as a captain. This is why I have chosen the name

SALTY DOG

Meaning of Salty Dog, – A nautical slang for an experienced sailor who has spent much of his life aboard a ship at sea. A salty dog is often given increased credibility by ship mates in matters pertaining to ship-board life and duties.

Now that I know I will be using the vessel to do some travel, of course I will be doing “some fishing” out of her as well, LOL. I find that I am looking to rig her out more for navigation than for fishing, but obviously with me being, “well me,” (LOL) I’ll want some fishing capabilities as well. So before one gets started to rig out a vessel you need to do some research.

1st and foremost you need to know what your budget is, I mean that kind of goes without saying right? but if you have a smaller budget than you’d ideally like, as I have , then you may not be getting exactly what you want, but that doesn’t mean you can’t get what you need either..

I first needed to recognize that my priorities have changed from being outfitted as a fishing vessel and need to rig her out more for travel and navigation. So what does this mean exactly?

When you are looking for more navigational equipment you will be looking for a fish-finder also known as a chart-plotter, however, you will be needing some functions that not all chart-plotters come with, such as the ability to hook up a VHF {AKA= Very High Frequency} radio with GPS capability’s, also you may wish to have your plotter have the capability to attach an AIS (Automatic Identification System) Reciever as well, so you can see other commercial traffic, or any vessel with a AIS transponder on board show up on your plotter. or you may want others with an AIS to be able to see you so you may wish to have and AIS transmitter on board as well.

There are VHF marine radios with AIS compatibility that can hook up to your plotter these radios also usually have DSC (or digital Selective Calling} capabilities. Having a radio with DSC means that you can send pre-defined digital messages through the Medium, high, and Very-high Frequency maritime radio system. AKA VHF radios.

So of course having a Marine radio on board is really a basic essential part of boating in general, but what can it do for you?

Well, there are many different types of marine radios, so picking one that suits your needs is crucial to safe smart boating. Of course marine radios will allow you to communicate between yourself and other vessels on the water, however not all radios have the same functions.

DSC radios and what are they? Having A DSC radio also means that besides the basic function of having a marine radio for communication and getting up to date marine weather forecast purposes, that in the event of an emergency that all you need to do is push a small red button and your information ( name of boat, GPS co-ordinates, emergency contacts ect. } automatically get sent to the Canadian Coast Guard and rescue and they will be on their way to your location much faster than as if you had to try to rely on relaying that information via talking over the radio.

You must set up the radio once you have purchased it prior to setting out on your first voyage. ( instructions come with most radios.) Costs of these radios vary from $400 to well over $1000.00 range. I have outfitted my vessel with the one in the pic below and it costs around $500.00 this unit also has a built in GPS in addidition to my chart Plotter so I do not have to set it up to the GPS in my plotter for emergency response situations. I bought it for the function of the AIS as well, so I will be connecting it to my plotter regardless.

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Ok so now that I have a Plotter with GPS, AIS, and VHF/DSC /, you may also wish to considder getting into radar.

The difference between GPS (or Global Positioning System} and Radar is GPS signals are coming from satellite and radar uses a radio wave system that can detect a multitude of different things such as weather formation, birds, planes, boats, and moving and or stationary objects in real time, especially in low light, or low visibility conditions. A radar system can be an exceptional piece of kit. What I really love about it is you can see well ahead of time if a storm is forming, and then make an educated guess weather or not you will need to seek shelter before it hits your location, or of course if you may be on a direct collision course with another vessel meaning an alteration of course may be necessary, this would come in handy during heavy fog, rain, or night time navigation. Now a radar system can be expensive so as for now since I know it is equipment I will be installing at a later date I will ensure my chart plotter will be compatible with the unit for later purchase.

EXAMPLE BELOW.

{on left side} radar overlay on chart also showing AIS targets ahead through connection of VHF/ AIS Radio

{on right} Radar only

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so if you know you will be wanting radar on your vessel it is important to know that you will not be able to hook up one manufacturers radar with a different manufacturers chart plotter. for example, I cannot attach a Furuno radar to a Lowrance chart plotter.

so in conclusion, when trying to figure out what you are going to need on your vessel, 1st figure out what you will be using your vessel for the most? if you are a weekend warrior that fishes, and you stay mostly in sheltered bays and don’t stray away from uncommon territory you probably do not need many of the items listed above if at all, and you can get away with a very basic fish finder unit.

If you plan on fishing many different lakes and other bodies of water and you like exploring, then you may wish to opt out for a better fishfinder with the options listed above to help keep you on track and out of harms way and of course it’s a bonus that it can help you to easily locate the fish.

Now if you do not plan on fishing ever and only plan on taking long leasure trips where you will go exploring new body’s of water on a regular basis then you may want to considder all the above mentioned items plus even a few more items I havnt mentioned in this blog, the more equipment you have like these, onboard your vessel, the better. But remember, none of this equipment takes the place of old fashioned paper charts. Always make sure to carry the proper paper charts for the area you will be boating in, and know how to read them properly. Remember that all electric equipment on board are only as good as the power source on your boat and the operator behind them, so If you are not able to give your location to the authorities in an emergency when the power goes out then it won’t matter how much you’ve spent on fancy electronic gear so always have a back up plan. lol

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Fun fact .

DId you notice that I keep referring to my vessel as she, or her? do you know that most mariners refer to their vessels in the female figurative, and not as an it or a what?. this ideology stems from the early days of shipping or boating when crew members would look at a ship as a place of sanctuary, literally a place of nurture, kind of like a mother figure if you will, the ship was supposed to take care of a crew, just like a mother does for her child. that is why vessels are referred to as female.

“A ship is called a she because there is always a great deal of bustle around her; there is usually a gang of men about; it takes a lot of paint to keep her looking good; it is not the initial expense that breaks you, it is the upkeep; she can be all decked out; it takes an experienced man to handle her correctly; and without a man at the helm, she is absolutely uncontrollable. She shows her topsides, hides her bottom and, when coming into port, always heads for the buoys.”

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