Subject:  Trip Planning 101

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I don’t recall if in this blog I mentioned to you that a) I have my USCG Captains license; b) was the first, in the lower 48 to jet ski from the port of Anchorage down and around Kodiak Island and across to the Aleutians – google wetdograce or Trawlercat and wet dog race or Trawlercat and PWC for more info; c) have way more boating experience than I possibly let on but, for those that want to be entertained and/or learn the basics here is a short primer on trip planning 101.

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What you see in the first two pictures is an app (Memo Pad) I used to add thoughts on my planned boat projects, very easy to open and use at a moments notice – Samsung Android pad.  I also have on my iPhone an app called BoatingSuite that already shows promises.  the app has easy to use log book, fuel log, expense log $$ (Patti really loves this part) and Reports; also To Do shopping list, vessel log and maintenance log.  Other apps I currently use are marine weather and live weather.  But, for weather I found to be the best.  For a while I kept looking for slack tide info for the Columbia river bar and even though its available in places like the Columbia River Bar web site it was much easier to use in wunderground.

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You can either buy cruising guides for reading pleasure or actually going somewhere but, if there is one book that actually has the down and dirty of what you need to cruise buy BOOK 7 of the United States Coast Pilot PACIFIC COAST that covers California, Washington and Oregon, Hawaii & Pacific Coast islands too.

Planning a trip to Canada and Alaska purchase book(s) 8 and 9.  Since it is a US publication Baja and Mexico is not available.  Back to trip planning.   This planned trip starts out on the Columbia River (Portland, OR) and meets the Pacific Ocean at its rivers end also known as the Graveyard of the Pacific.

If you are interested in learning more about the Columbia river then find and read books about Lewis & Clark, the Columbia river is covered in signs from their historic trip when our country knew very little of what lay beyond the mighty Mississippi river.

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This morning my insurance agent wanted to know the trips itinerary and bios on crew before granting insurance for the trip down to Los Angeles, California.  A look at Appendix B of Book 7 of the Coast Pilot provides a table for distances between ports plus tables for estimating time of transit.  The latter is what you need for making crew happy and guesstimating fuel range.  I don’t know about my insurance agent but my wife Patti was sure impressed with my crews bio; Marc B. owns his own sports fisherman, fishes competitively, and is a diesel mechanic; Ken D. is a long time boater who jet ski’s with me owns his own dry suit and teaches for the USCG Auxiliary; c) Gary H. is a retired merchant marine!


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Want to know what charts to use purchase or lat/lon locations, it’s in there; how about where to purchase food, gas, anchor, make repairs, it’s also in there plus really important Warnings and Dangers such as ….. the most dangerous part of the San Francisco Bar is considered to be Fourfathon, Bonito Channel, ….. the safest part of the bar is the Main Ship Channel through the center of the bar.

What is a bar?  Look it up somewhere else because you won’t find the Coast Pilot dumbed down that much) or better yet, take a boating course or two but, nothing beats the real life experience of getting out on the water be it on a board, kayak, sport boat, dinghy, or what have you.  This is where you really learn the basics.


About trawlercat

Retired and now moving on from the cruising life jeeps, adventure bike, gardening, and travel. Always in search of the next great adventure!
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