From the Boathouse: Navigating water news on the web


I receive numerous emails every day from people seeking nautical information, and not everyone is a boater. They want to know what a boat is worth, get navigational tips for a voyage and learn the long-range weather forecast because they will be attending a wedding in six months.

I try to answer my emails, but some are left on the cutting room floor because either I simply do not know why your 1970 OMC outboard engine will not start or I am traveling to distance ports. However, the Internet is a great tool for finding answers.

Today's search engines provide useful links. Just do not believe everything you read. While on the topic of search engines, when did Google become a verb?

Marine-related websites are maturing to the point of actual usefulness, beyond just displaying advertising. The sites include user forums, online manuals, instructional videos, instant chat support, product updates and recalls. In addition, a plethora of websites offer cruising information, harbor and marina photos, harbor approach information, weather data and video cameras displaying real-time views of harbor entrances and sea conditions.

Along with the cameras, you can view websites that show real-time marine traffic of any vessel that is equipped with AIS onboard. In the distant future, recreational boats will have satellite high-speed Internet access, and I can envision boats' chart plotters showing nearby boaters' position, course and speed.

Let's not forget the new security systems that alert you via text message, email or phone call if your vessel's position changes or high water alarm is activated, for instance. You might decide to cool your vessel's cabin as you are driving to the marina by turning on the boat's air conditioner via website or phone app.

I believe the technology is great for boating. Say your engine hiccups — the data is automatically sent to your technician for the diagnoses. Most important, you can order a pizza too.

News of the week is that the Canadian government has taken the humpback whales off the threatened species list. The whales have been reclassified to species of special concern, a classification I did not know existed.

The move is not without controversy. Environmental groups are suggesting that the reclassification is linked to major pipeline projects. The proposed projects and increased ship traffic will not have to be protective of the whales' habitat with the new classification.

Existing regulations provide protection for marine life and the environment, but not to the extent as when a species is listed as threatened.

There is a waiting period of 30 days during which the decision can be overturned, so I will let you know if the ruling changes.

On to the weather and sea conditions for the weekend. The little weather system should be gone after moving through Southern California on Thursday and Friday. The air temperatures along the coastline will be chilly and, hopefully, the thermometers will reach into the high 60s. The skies will be mostly sunny in the afternoons, with clouds increasing in the evenings, when the temperatures will dip into the low 50s.

However, for boating on the ocean this weekend, the sea conditions will be lumpy with mixed set from the west and south. The swells will build to a 3-foot west and a 3-foot south with 2-foot wind waves that will create a washing-machine effect.

Saturday's afternoon winds will be gusting to 15 knots, and the winds might shift from the east on Sunday, so keep an eye out.

I do not advise rounding Point Conception this weekend because the swells will be combined at 10 feet with 10-second intervals. Additionally, winds gusting to 25 knots will create steep faces on the swells. Your boat will fall off steep faces and pound into the trough below.

As always, just keep an eye to the weather for any changes. 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, 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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