Personal Water Craft Safety

We were wondering how safe these things really are:

!http://www.dnr.state.md.us/boating/safety/images/waverunner.jpg! VDGIF > Boating > PWC

PWC stands for personal watercraft with an emphasis on the personal. Trade name craft, such as Ski-Doo® (Bombardier Recreational Products), Waverunner® (Yamaha Motor Corporation, U.S.A.), and JET SKI® (Kawasaki Motors Corp., U.S.A.) are types of PWC.

although PWCs comprise just over 10% of all registered boats, they were involved in 22.6% of all boating accidents. Although PWC are involved in a disproportionate number of boating accidents (property damage and personal injury), they have a great safety record when it comes to boating fatalities. The main reason for low fatality rates on PWC is because all PWC operators, passengers, and persons being towed by a PWC, are required to wear a U.S. Coast Guard approved life jacket. Other boat operators and passengers are only required to have wearable life jackets on board, but are not required to wear them.

Most accidents are caused by the operator’s inexperience, inattention or failure to look out for hazards, The operator’s tense eye muscles and eye fatigue will contribute to the development of temporary tunnel vision, known as “boater’s hypnosis”. This is when the operator stares straight ahead in a trance, without looking to the periphery for approaching boats or obstacles. Excessive speed caused or contributed to several accidents last year. Never jump wakes, and never cut in front of another boat.

Walker Bay WB 10F

!Walker Bay® 10 Original. We’ve had this boat for about a year now. It’s been super to row and sail as well. Very practical.

The best thing though is that customer service is great. We broke a few parts from normal wear and tear, the gooseneck collar was plastic and now has broken (the new one is steel), the mast collar has a little “T” cleat for the cunningham which broke and we lost the rubber piece to the drain plug. You can call them and they will mail you replacements which is great. The head of customer service is named Chris and they actually answered their info email in 24 hours and he answered his own phone.

My buddy Holden has a Walker Bay 8 which is really the perfect dinghy for your big yacht.

Sometimes it is just nice to deal with a company like this!

Sportrak Pro Update

Magellan Sportrak Pro. It’s been nearly a year since I’ve used this. A blown knee took a lot out of the season.

Anyway, for those of you who have it, here are the update instructions. It is pretty arcane and not very clear on the Magellan site what you need to do, but presuming you have an old one, here are the steps to get up to date:

“Firmware Update”:http://www.magellangps.com/en/support/software.asp. Go to the Magellan Firmware updater and get the latest MAGUP file. The current version is 5.4 and you have to download. Because the Sportrak Pro has limited memory, you have a somewhat painful choice. Load the “Standard” version and you get turn-by-turn directions like a car navigation system or you can use the “Marine” version and then you get tides and currents. You can’t have both, so you basically decide and then reburn the unit.

Firmware Installation is also a little confusing, but the readme documents it. You must follow instructions exactly to avoid corrupting your unit’s flash memory.
# Connect your receiver to your PC using the PC or Power/Data Cable.
# Turn on the receiver and press the NAV key to get the Satellite Status Screen.
# Make sure the batteries are at least 50% full.
# Clear memory (waypoints and routes will be lost) by pressing MENU from any screen, select ?Setup?, ?Clear Memory?, then select ?All? and ?Yes?. The unit will turn off automatically.
# Turn on the receiver and press the ENTER key.
# Select the MAGUP executable file from your PC. When you see the message “Updating to version x.xx. Proceed with software upload?” select ?Yes?.
# When the software upload is started, the message “Uploading code file ? xxxxxxxx.hex” will appear.
Code upload should take only a few minutes.
# After the executable code upload is complete, the statement “upload of code complete” will appear. Your unit should automatically restart. If not, disconnect the batteries to turn off the unit.
# Turn on the unit again and clear memory (waypoints and routes will be lost) by pressing MENU from any screen, select ?Setup?, ?Clear Memory?, then select ?All? and ?Yes?. The unit will turn off automatically.

There are bunch of different software packages. Here are the ones that I have and what you need to do to get them running. The names are incredibly confusing, but hopefully this guide will help:

“Mapsend DirectRoute NA”:http://www.magellangps.com/en/products/product.asp?PRODID=950. Version 1.0 was called DirectRoute, but version 2.0 is called DirectRoute NA since they also have one for Europe and other countries now. This is the equivalent of a car-based navigation system. It has turn-by-turn instructions. I have version 1.0a and had to upgrade to 1.02 because of an XP SP2 bug (see below). The most recent version is v2.0 that is just coming up. It is $99 if you want to upgrade. Install the software that you have. With Windows XP SP2, there is a bug, so you need “1.02”:http://www.magellangps.com/en/support/products/msupdate.asp of the application to get around a problem.

“Mapsend Topo 3D”:http://www.magellangps.com/en/products/product.asp?PRODID=1044. I I have the older Mapsend Topo that is now obsolete. They have a new program that has streets and also a 3-D view as well called Mapsend Topo 3-D. This is good for those of us who are hiking. Cost if $150 list for the newer one. I hate this upgrade business. It might be cheaper just to get a new GPS rather than pay for the software. “Tigergps.com”:http://www.tigergps.com/magsporproha.html has this for $80

“Mapsend Bluenav”:http://www.magellangps.com/en/products/product.asp?PRODID=181. These are the navigation charts for marine use. This is a little strange in that you can only “checkout one” chart at a time but they are all locked there. If you are using this a bit, then you do need a new GPS that uses SD card to store the things.

“PC Data Cable and Cigarette Lighter Adapter”:http://www.magellangps.com/en/products/product.asp?PRODID=127. These GPS systems suck down AA batteries like there is no tomorrow. So in a car or a boat, you pretty much have to have a cigarette lighter adapter. There are two versions. The $44 one includes a PC Data cable so you can sync a laptop on the road. There is a $23 “Power only”:http://www.magellangps.com/en/products/product.asp?PRODID=124 as well that is great for those times you don’t need a laptop connection. It is “$14”:http://www.tigergps.com/magpcexpowca.html from TigerGPS.com