From the Boathouse: Can your boating program use a boost?

Ahoy!

Does your boating group or organization want a $10,000 grant? A BoatUS Foundation Grassroots Grant can be yours if you have the best idea for a safe and clean boating outreach program.

The goal of the grant is to find new and innovative methods to help educate recreational boaters about safe and clean boating. The foundation is offering to fund projects with grants up to $10,000 so the ideas can be put into action. All projects must be completed in a one-year time frame.

Applications must be submitted by Jan. 15 and will be voted on by the public in an online poll in early spring 2014. Those wanting to apply for one or more Grassroots Grants can go to http://www.BoatUS.com/Grants. There, you can view the guidelines and complete your application. It can include videos, photos, graphics or anything else that will help make your project stand out and boost its chance of winning.

In the past 25 years, the foundation's Grassroots Grants Program has funded local boating projects by more than $1.3 million. Last year, the foundation more than doubled its individual maximum grant size to $10,000.

Additionally, the foundation conducts product testing to help boaters know that what they are buying is reliable. Recent tests include doggie lifejackets, human lifejackets, navigational lights, green cleaners, fire extinguishers and flares.

The foundation has a Facebook page that you can "like" at http://www.Facebook.com/BoatUSFoundation, and you can make a tax-deductible donation to this 501(c)(3) nonprofit at http://www.BoatUS.com/foundation.

Tip of the week is to use your boating knowledge and common sense when you untie your dock lines to go for a casual cruise. Sure, boating is supposed to be fun, but remember that there are rules to make it safe for all who venture out on the water. In today's column, I will briefly cover cruising and passing in a harbor, like Dana Point Harbor, Newport Harbor or Huntington Harbour.

When you are under way, especially when under power, you are to keep your starboard (right) side next to the shore and pass oncoming (end to end) boats with your port side to their port side — essentially the same as when you are driving, with cars passing left side to left side.

If two powerboats are crossing in front of each other, the boat on the right has the right of way, similar to two cars stopping at a stop sign at the same time. At night, the skipper of the vesselthat has the right-of-way as the stand-on vessel will see the other vessel's navigational green light, indicating go. The give-way vessel's skipper will be looking at the navigational red light of the other vessel indicating to let that vessel proceed ahead and not to interfere with its course.

When one boat is passing another, the boat in front (the one being overtaken) has the right of way.

And sailboats do not always have the right of way, such as when a vessel under sail is overtaking another, regardless of type, or a sailing vessel is tacking too close to shore and not leaving enough sea room for a power vessel to maintain safety.

Since harbors can become very congested, the simple rule is to use your common sense and remember that if more than two boats are on a collision course, then each skipper has the responsibility to avoid a collision.

Lastly, what is your hurry during your harbor cruise, anyway? Let's have an enjoyable and safe time.

Please be boat smart and boat safe. Lastly, please boat responsibly and look behind you before you 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 http://www.BoathouseTV.com http://www.facebook.com/boathouseradio and http://www.twitter.com/BoathouseRadio.

Safe voyages!

MIKE WHITEHEAD is a boating columnist for the Daily Pilot. Send marine-related thoughts and story suggestions to mike@boathousetv.com or go to http://www.boathousetv.com.

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