Santa’s coastie elves

Wow, what a busy time for us ducksters these last few months. I am back at work again and so far, knock on wood, no computer virus like last contract. Hopefully I will be getting back on top of the websites that have been neglected for some time.

I have been so busy lately, that I almost forgot that Christmas was coming up. Yup there is… ah hell, whatever shopping days left, if your are into that kinda of stuff. I actually got reminded about Christmas by a US Coast Guard press release, of all things.

The coasties have drawn up a wish list, a “12 nautical days of Christmas list” for the boaters, and perhaps seafarers out there who might have love ones feeling an urge to show them appreciation. This list is not only great for the “great consumer fest” that is today’s Christmas, but also very practical list of purchases any time of year, for your seafaring friends.

Here’s the full text of the press release…

WASHINGTON — The U.S. Coast Guard, as a public service to holiday gift shoppers, announced Friday its recommended gift ideas for 12 nautical days of Christmas.

The singularly most important gift for mariners this year is a marine GPS navigation system. With the intended termination of Loran-C signals set for as early as Jan. 4, 2010, marine GPS units will be a necessity to any boater who currently relies on the Loran-C system for navigation.

“Nothing says ‘I love you’ to a mariner like the gift of a marine GPS navigation, a Coast Guard approved life jacket, boating safety course or 406 MHz electronic position indicating radio beacon,” said Lt. Cmdr. Chris O’Neil, the Coast Guard’s chief of media relations. “Regardless of the occasion or holiday, the gifts we recommend this year can save a loved one’s life, making them the perfect gift this season, or throughout the year. Diamonds are pretty, and big-screen, high-definition televisions are great for watching the big game, but they won’t help you prevent a boating accident, or survive after you’ve been in one.”

Among the Coast Guard’s recommended nautical gifts are:

– Marine GPS navigation system
– 406 MHz EPIRB (make sure you register it after purchase, or rescuers may be delayed in reaching you!)
– Coast Guard-approved life jacket (because they float, you don’t…)
– handheld VHF-FM radio
– Boating Safety Course (boater education saves lives — it’s a fact)
– Vessel Safety Check (VSC) from the Coast Guard Auxiliary (it’s free!)
– Coast Guard approved fire extinguisher
– first aid kit in a watertight container
– seamanship book
– Nautical charts for the areas your favorite mariner frequents
– signaling kit
– life raft with a survival kit

Some of the most valuable gifts don’t cost anything but time, such as scheduling a free vessel safety check with your local Coast Guard Auxiliary. For more information on scheduling a free vessel safety check visit To find a boating safety course in your area visit

From the Coast Guard family to yours, Happy Holidays!

In a separate news release, the USCG announces a new service for professional mariners seeking their credentials, a sort of Christmas gift in itself. At various steps of the application process, a seafarer who has provided the coast guard with an email address, will receive numerous, automatically generated status updates of their paperwork. Excellent idea! Geez, I wish Transport Canada would follow suit, especially with their incredibly long delays in regards to the Seafarer Medicals issuance, but I think the boss over there at TC has the initials E.S. if you know what I mean.

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