BoatUS Releases New Must-Watch Boat Onboard Fire Video

Capturing three different intentionally set powerboat fires of three different origins—electrical, engine compartment and cabin—a new five-minute video from the nonprofit BoatUS Foundation for Boating Safety and Clean Water is essential viewing for anyone who owns a powerboat. The resulting safety report called “Findings 55” from the video of the same name is part of a long-running educational series devoted to boating-safety topics, according to a press release from BoatUS, the nation’s largest organization of recreational boat owners.

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Enough is Enough: Torrente Calls for Focus on Safety

Fortunately last week I found myself heading home from the final race of the 2016 F1 H2O World Championship with a victory in the Grand Prix of Sharjah—my first win racing for the Dubai-based Victory Team’s newly formed F1 H2O outfit. It was a great way to close out the season even though I finished runner-up in the overall standings to three-time defending champ Philippe Chiappe.


American Shaun Torrente of Victory Team won the Grand Prix of Sharjah, the final race of the 2016 F1 H2O world championship, and finished second overall to France's Philippe Chiappe (read the story). Photo courtesy Vittorio Ubertone/Idea Marketing (click to enlarge).

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VooDoo Luck: Surviving an Offshore Race Crash

When Tony Canale of Buford, Ga., upgraded the canopy on his 35-foot Fountain Powerboats raceboat following the 2015 offshore racing season, he didn’t envision putting it to the test less than a year later. But that’s exactly what happened last Sunday during the Super Boat International Brighthouse Clearwater National Championships in Clearwater, Fla.

voodoo clearwater nichols sotw

The VooDoo Offshore Racing team’s 35-foot Fountain gets towed in after an accident at the SBI National Championships in Clearwater, Fla., on Sunday. Photo by Jay Nichols/Naples Image (click image to enlarge).

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VHF Radio—Don’t Leave Shore Without It


Even in an exotic high-performance boat such as a Mystic C4400 catamaran, a VHF radio—even a handheld unit—is a necessity. Photo courtesy/copyright Pete Boden/Shoot 2 Thrill Pix.

When I was 13 years old and dinosaurs roamed the earth, I watched a dive boat sink three miles off Anacapa Island, a speck of uninhabited land that’s part of Southern California’s Channel Islands chain. Unfortunately, I watched it while bobbing in the Pacific Ocean with my friends and fellow divers—our diesel-powered boat’s bilge pumps failed in the bumpy seas during our final shallow-water dive, which made it a long one, and by the time re-boarded the boat the compartment was nearly full and the engines were mostly submerged.

Fortunately, most of us were still in our wetsuits when boat went down like a stone. A few wetsuit pieces floated to the surface, so those without found a bit of additional protection from the cold water of the Santa Barbara Channel.

We bobbed in the water for close to four hours that day before we got lucky. Our skipper hadn’t gotten off a distress call so no one knew of our predicament, but somehow a passenger on a fishing boat—the last boating leaving the island—spotted us in the water. They rescued us and brought us back to Ventura Harbor. Without being too dramatic, I’m pretty sure that if we hadn’t been spotted I wouldn’t be here to write this story. As I said, the water was cold—less than 60 degrees—and the Santa Barbara Channel is notoriously full of sharks.

Even if we’d had mobile phones back then, they wouldn’t have done us any good. Cell service is spotty at best near Anacapa Island—I’ve been there since

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