From the Boathouse: Three reasons to celebrate this weekend

Ahoy, and summer officially begins next Friday!

The seasons will officially change to summer Friday, and also, this day is summer solstice, which is the longest day with daylight of the year in the Northern Hemisphere. The only other region in the northern hemisphere with longer daylight is Santa's North Pole or polar regions, where the sun will not set this time of year.

But wait, there is more, because June 21 is also my birthday, so keep those presents coming. So now you have three reasons to celebrate this Sunday and go boating. Get out on the water with your family and friends with the seas only two feet from the west with a one-foot south, but watch for fog in the morning hours.

I did receive a nice birthday present this week from the America's Cup media services team, who sent my letter of acceptance as media for the 2013 America's Cup challenge in San Francisco. This is going to be an exciting event this year, especially with the course planned inside San Francisco harbor, where spectators will be able to watch from the shoreline.

The media center will be located at America's Cup Park on Pier 27 inside the newly built cruise ship terminal, which is in the center of the action. The center will have conference rooms, interview rooms, lounge areas, workstations and a services team to help the media.

On another note, I have received a lot of feedback about my column last week. I mentioned that I am not surprised by drug smuggling or human trafficking by boat. Additionally, I mentioned for boaters to be very cautious approaching other boaters on the ocean, especially suspicious-looking vessels.

The day after I submitted last week's column to my editors at the Pilot, a boat loaded with 24 immigrants beached along the coast in Newport Beach. The people were trying to sneak into the country, something that is not uncommon in Southern California.

Furthermore, a few other yacht captains told me that they are worried about operating a vessel at night on the high seas. Nighttime operations have become more worrisome with the number of fast-running pangas on the ocean. The pangas run at night to avoid detection, and, of course, they do not display navigational lights. Additionally, the boats ride low in the water with little freeboard, which makes them difficult to see on radar or spot in the darkness.

A couple of captains mentioned that they are a little concerned of being boarded by the smugglers at night while underway. They have new nighttime tactics to protect their yachts by lighting up the outer decks, especially the aft sections and swim step.

My advice again is to be aware of the other boats around you and do not approach a disabled boat without first contacting the Coast Guard. If you are cruising in the wee hours of morning, then light up your boat without hampering your night vision. Enjoy cruising on the ocean this summer, but be conscious of your surroundings.

Tip of the week is that the San Diego International Boat Show is being held this weekend at the Sheraton on Harbor Island. The 10th annual San Diego boat show is the premier exhibition to our south, and there will be over 150 boats for you to board. This show has vessels from PWCs to yachts, from sail to power, and from paddle boards to paddle craft.

It's a perfect family event to look around. And grab a bite to eat while you're there, as food will be served in the adjacent park. Also, you can tour the historic steam yacht the Medea at the show. The Maritime Museum of San Diego will have the 1904 steamship on display and open for tours. Those who dream of a newer and larger yacht can tour a few of the super-yachts that will be at the show, including the Maximus II, which is 106 feet.

The show ends Sunday, but go to for hours, admission prices and directions. What a great event to start summer with your family and friends.

Please be boat smart and boat safe. Lastly, please boat responsively and look behind you before the turn the wheel at the helm.

Tune in to the No. 1 boating radio talk show in the nation, "Boathouse Radio Show," broadcasting live coast-to-coast on the CRN Digital Talk Radio syndicated network. See times at, and

Safe voyages!

MIKE WHITEHEAD is a boating columnist for the Daily Pilot. Send marine-related thoughts and story suggestions to or go to

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