Wednesday, October 15, 2014

"Just Another Day At The Office"
Cheeky Video By Volvo Ocean Race Sailors

We think everyone will enjoy this glimpse into a day in the life of the hardy sailors currently racing around the globe in the 2014 Volvo Ocean Race.

We wish all teams the best of luck - fair winds and friendly seas! And we are certainly following and cheering on the sole American entry, Team Alvimedica!

For smooth sailing and zero stress ... call SYS!©

Monday, October 13, 2014

ALERT: Tropical Storm GONZALO
TS Wind Probabilities & The Mariners' 1-2-3 Rule

Keep A Weather Eye On The Horizon!

Tropical Storm GONZALO | tropical storm force wind probabilities

Hurricane warnings, meaning hurricane conditions are expected within 24 hours, are now in effect for:
  • British Virgin Islands
  • St. Martin
Hurricane watches, meaning hurricane conditions are possible in the next 24 hours, have been issued for:
  • St. Maartin
  • Anguilla 
  • Puerto Rico
  • Vieques and Culebra
  • U.S. Virgin Islands
Meanwhile, tropical storm warnings are in effect for:
  • St. Martin
  • St. Barthelemy
  • St. Maartin
  • Antigua and Barbuda
  • Saba and St. Eustatius
  • Anguilla
  • Nevis and St. Kitts
  • Monsterrate
  • Puerto Rico
  • Vieques and Culebra
  • U.S. Virgin Islands

The Mariners' 1-2-3 Rule

Chart |
The Mariners' 1-2-3 Rule, or "Danger area", is indicated by shading. The 1-2-3 Rule, commonly taught to mariners, refers to the rounded long-term NHC forecast errors of 100-200-300 nautical miles at 24-48-72 hours, respectively. The contour defining the shaded area is constructed by accounting for those errors and then broadened further to reflect the maximum tropical storm force (34 knot) wind radii forecast at each of those times by the NHC. The NHC does not warrant that avoiding these danger areas will eliminate the risk of harm from tropical cyclones. 
Users operating in the vicinity of these systems are advised to continually monitor the latest Forecast/Advisories from the NHC and proceed at their own risk. Areas are also shaded for systems in which NHC forecasters believe there is an adequate chance of tropical cyclone formation within the next 48 hours.
With many of our fellow boaters and charter crews in the zone of concern, we urge everyone to beware and be safe! Stay tuned to local broadcasts and weather alerts for regular updates!

For smooth sailing and zero stress ... call SYS!©

Saturday, October 4, 2014

Baluchi Rescued From Bermuda Bound Bubble

Known for running all over the world in the name of peace and unity, Reza Baluchi's latest venture ended prematurely Saturday morning when the United States Coast Guard rescued the exhausted man from his drifting "hydro pod" about 80 miles east of St. Augustine, Florida. It was the Coast Guard's second interaction with Baluchi.

USCG Cutter Webber arrives on scene
Wednesday off the coast of Miami.
Photo | U.S. Coast Guard

Coast Guard At Work

Three days earlier, watchstanders at the USCG's District 7 Command Center in Miami had received a report of a disoriented individual floating offshore in an inflatable bubble. Dispatched to the scene, Coast Guard Cutter Bernard C. Webber crew members located Baluchi in his specially designed globe, with protein bars, bottled water, a GPS and a satellite phone in his possession. He asked for directions to Bermuda and declined to leave his vessel despite being warned about the dangers of his intended passage.

Thereafter, watchstanders continued to monitor Baluchi's progress along Florida's Atlantic coast until he activated his Personal Locating Beacon (PLB) on Saturday morning. Search-and-rescue crews out of Air Station Clearwater reached the defeated Baluchi and a rescue swimmer safely hoisted him into the MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter. Baluchi received medical evaluation in Clearwater. No injuries were reported.

Baluchi aims to run in 194 countries
Photo |

Run Reza, Run

Having completed running events for charity in 55 different countries so far, Baluchi's latest goal is to traverse the Bermuda Triangle to raise money for children in need. He designed the hydro pod to enable him to "run across the sea" and tested the floating orb in 2013, traveling 33 miles from Newport Beach to Catalina Island. The first leg of his Bermuda Triangle journey would have covered 1,033 miles from Miami to Bermuda but for the forced abandonment on Saturday.

While he acknowledges the difficult physical conditions inside the bubble, Baluchi asserts his mental fitness will ultimately propel him to his goal.  We admire his tenacity and wish him the best of luck going forward.

And thanks, as always, to the men and women of the United States Coast Guard for all they do!

To learn more about Reza's mission, click here.

UPDATE: Audio | SAT call between USCG and Baluchi

UPDATE: ‘I want my bubble back,’ says man rescued by Coast Guard | The Miami Herald

For smooth sailing and zero stress ... call SYS!©

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Cruise Into Fall Aboard Freedom

There's no better time to book your luxury cruise aboard M/Y Freedom
Enjoy 10% off 4 hour cruises, a complimentary bottle of wine & hors d'oeuvres.

This offer is valid for charters through December 15, 2014. Certain restrictions apply.

Limited bookings available so make your reservations early!
Use promo code: FALLFLING

For smooth sailing and zero stress ... call SYS!©

Friday, August 8, 2014

Promo Code: DOGDAYS

For smooth sailing and zero stress ... call SYS!©

Thursday, August 7, 2014

A Guest Post from our Charter Crew!

From the M/Y Freedom Galley: Corn & Black Bean Salsa

It's officially the Dog Days of Summer (August). So who's ready for a refreshing corn & black bean salsa? Trust the captain & crew when we say, this is a crowd pleaser; your guests will rave & come back for more, so make plenty! Enjoy:

  • 1 (15 1/4 oz.) can whole kernel corn, drained
  • 1 (15 oz.) can black beans, rinsed and drained 
  • 1 medium sweet red pepper, seeded and chopped 
  • 1 medium tomato, seeded and chopped 6 green onions, chopped 
  • 1/2 cup chopped red onion 
  • 1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and finely chopped (optional) 
  • 1 garlic clove, minced 
  • 3/4 c. Italian salad dressing 
  • 1 Tbsp. minced fresh cilantro 
  • 1 Tbsp. lime or lemon juice 
  • 3/4 tsp. hot pepper sauce 
  • 1/2 tsp. chili powder 

Scan for quick ingredient list!
In a large bowl, combine corn, black beans, red pepper, tomato, green onions, red onion, jalapeno pepper, garlic. In a smaller bowl, combine the salad dressing, cilantro, lime juice, hot pepper sauce & chili powder. Pour over corn mixture; toss to coat. Cover & refrigerate (overnight is great!). Optional: Peel & dice some avocado; gently mix in right before serving! Serve with a slotted spoon. Serves: 6-8 (Don't hesitate to serve w/ tortillas & frozen margaritas!)

Forget the fuss ... cruise with us

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Lobster Mini Season 2014 Is Here!

Yes, we're as excited as you are about this year's upcoming Shark Week on Discovery Channel, but we're even more excited about Lobster Mini Season! Always set for the final consecutive Wednesday and Thursday in July, this year's 2-day lobster lovefest (also known as Spiny Lobster Sport Season) falls on July 30 and 31, beginning at 12:01 a.m. on Wednesday, ending at midnight on Thursday.

Image |
The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) provides a comprehensive summary of applicable regulations. We strongly recommend you obey these rules; they are in place so we may all continue to enjoy the season. 

Remember, each lobster's carapace must be more than 3 inches and if you have any to spare, drop us a line! We LOVE lobster!

For smooth sailing and zero stress ... call SYS!©

Monday, July 21, 2014

Unmanned Container Ships?
Rolls-Royce Recommends Robo-Ships

Crewless Ship Concept Design
You may have noticed the latest technology trend: unmanned machines. There is a noticeable decline in the need for the physical presence of humans to operate everything from supermarket cash registers (self check-outs) to bank ATMs. More recently, Amazon has proposed delivery drones and Google unveiled its driverless cars. And now, Rolls-Royce has revealed its vision of crewless cargo ships.

According to Oskar Levandar, vice-president of innovation, engineering and technology at Rolls-Royce, the shipping industry could benefit in a number of ways if unmanned vessels were operated from a remote control center. Among other incentives, Levandar suggests the absence of an on-board crew would lead to lower fuel consumption, increased cargo storage space, and piracy deterrence (as there would be no available hostages).

Empty Helm Chairs?
[Photo | Getty Images]
Needless to say, this crewless cargo ship concept has been met with skepticism by others in the maritime industry. And these concerns, including technology failure, are not without merit. We all know computers crash and screens freeze. Then there's always the threat of operator error or GIGO (garbage in, garbage out).

Furthermore, leaving all operations under the control of computers and remote cameras may simply invite a different type of piracy: hacking. Today's "pirates" may be more interested in re-routing the shipment than taking human hostages. It seems that theft may be easier to accomplish in the absence of a captain at the helm with the ability to manually override navigational commands from a computer.

While Levandar predicts the advent of unmanned cargo ships within the next decade, it remains to be seen whether maritime regulatory agencies would even approve the proposal. In the interim ...

What are your thoughts?

For smooth sailing and zero stress ... call SYS!©

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

From The Triton: Legal Marijuana Illegal Onboard

We encourage all captains and boat owners/operators to read the following article by Dorie Cox of The Triton, one of the publications on nautical news and maritime topics we highly respect:

Marijuana is illegal onboard boats. Period.

Nevermind the fact that more than 20 U.S. states have legalized marijuana in some manner, U.S. federal law deems it illegal and dangerous, and a captain can have his license revoked if it is found onboard.

Whether medicinal or recreational, natural or synthetic, cannabis, also known as pot, is not allowed under the highest law of the land.

Lt. Cmdr. Gabe Somma, U.S. Coast Guard District 7 public affairs officer, explained several maritime ramifications of the drug for The Triton this month.
Q. If marijuana is found onboard, can a vessel be seized or a captain's license be taken?
Somma: “Yes. Under 46 U.S. Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) 5.59, revocation of a mariner's credential or endorsement is mandatory when a charge of possession, use, sale or association with dangerous drugs is found. Revocation is also mandatory if the mariner has been a user of or is addicted to a dangerous drug, or has been convicted for a violation of dangerous drug laws, whether or not further court action is pending and a charge is proved.”
William Dolphin, a writer for Americans for Safe Access, an advocacy group for legal access to cannabis for therapeutic uses and research, said U.S. laws are complicated with overlapping jurisdictions and policies.
But in all cases, the federal government allows no exceptions to prohibitions. That means if it is illegal with the feds, it is illegal with the USCG.
Dolphin said it is routine to confiscate cars for connections to drugs and those same laws will apply to yachts.

Q. What if the owner or a guest with marijuana has a prescription for it?
Somma: “During the course of a boarding where U.S. Coast Guard law enforcement officers encounter personal use quantities of marijuana, allegedly possessed in accordance with state laws which allow for personal possession for medical or other purposes, the Coast Guard Boarding Officer shall advise the individual that possession of marijuana, for whatever purpose, remains illegal under federal law.”
Captains should anticipate that people may try to come onboard with cannabis, Dolphin said. A patient who claims to have been given a prescription actually has what is legally called a "written recommendation," he said.
"A doctor can't use a prescription pad because writing prescriptions is linked to federal use," Dolphin said. "They may feel strongly about their right to use it and say that they are legal or in need. Many people think if the state has legalized it then it is legal, but federal law hasn't changed."

Q. Yachts carry small amounts of controlled medications, as required by International Maritime Code, for the ship's medicine chest. Can marijuana be considered medication?
Somma: “No. Regardless of any state medicinal marijuana laws, possession, use, sale or association with marijuana on navigable federal waters of the United States is illegal under federal law.”
Drugs are regulated through the Controlled Substances Act (CSA) and the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) is in charge of enforcement. Under these laws marijuana is a Schedule 1 drug defined as having no accepted medical use and with a high potential for abuse.
The category includes heroin, LSD, ecstasy, methaqualone, morphine, codeine and peyote. The CSA does not recognize the difference between medical and recreational use of marijuana.

Q. What if the yacht owner is resident of a state where marijuana is legal and his vessel is registered in that state. Is he legal to have marijuana aboard in the waters of his state?
Somma: “No. Where a state-registered vessel is in state waters where marijuana is legal, the vessel may still be subject to federal jurisdiction. The U.S. Coast Guard routinely enforces federal law where jurisdiction is shared with respective states.”
Legislation on the legality of marijuana is pending in many states, but at press time, coastal states with some level of legalization included Alaska, California, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont, Washington and Washington, DC.

Q. If the owner's boat is documented with a hailing port/home port within a marijuana-legal state, can he legally have marijuana aboard while cruising offshore and or within the waters of a non-permitting state? Is his vessel protected property of the owner's state and vessel's home port state?
Somma: “No. The Coast Guard enforces federal law, to include illegal possession or use of dangerous drugs, within all navigable waters of the U.S. The vessel registration does not create a ‘protected area’ around the vessel allowing it immunity from federal law.”

Although captains are aware of drug laws as they pertain to yachting, many crew and guests may not understand state and federal discrepancies. As state laws on the legality of marijuana continue to be tested in U.S. courts, it is expected that federal law will prevail for the current time.

Capt. Gregory Clark of M/Y D'Natalin IV summed up the situation for captains:
"It’s my belief that despite the new laws in some states that permit possession and use, it has to remain a zero-tolerance issue for any professional operation on board a yacht."

Dorie Cox is associate editor of The Triton. Comments on this story are welcome at

For smooth sailing and zero stress ... call SYS!©

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Know Your Maritime Lingo: Flotsam and Jetsam

Some people mistakenly use the terms "flotsam" and "jetsam" interchangeably. However, each has its own very specific definition, as explained by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration:
Flotsam and jetsam are terms that describe two types of marine debris associated with vessels. Flotsam is defined as debris in the water that was not deliberately thrown overboard, often as a result from a shipwreck or accident. Jetsam describes debris that was deliberately thrown overboard by a crew of a ship in distress, most often to lighten the ship's load. The word flotsam derives from the French word floter, to float. Jetsam is a shortened word for jettison.
The distinction is important (and not just so you can impress friends during trivia games) because, under maritime law, the original owner can reclaim flotsam, whereas it's generally a case of "finders, keepers" in the case of discovered jetsam.

NOAA's  Marine Debris Program aims to mitigate problems caused by the presence of flotsam and jetsam in our national waterways. Boaters should always practice responsible disposal of all waste materials, including fishing gear, for example, which can "entangle, injure, maim, and drown marine wildlife and damage property."

So, now you know, friends - mind your flotsam and jetsam!

For smooth sailing and zero stress ... call SYS!©

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