Duck Hunting Boat Safety

When a selecting a boat for duck hunting, safety is the primary consideration. Additionally, it’s the primary concern during the entire hunt. Everything is wrapped around safety, without it you won’t live to hunt another day. I understand it’s difficult to select a boat when you might not have ever had one, and because of that, you are not familiar with the water conditions during the various seasons.

This all applies to purchasing a boat too. But there are some basic safety considerations:

1. High transom,

2. High sides

3. Select a motor that has enough power to push you over super choppy (2 to 3 ft or more). A boat that can handle windy water conditions even if all your gear is loaded down, deeks, guns, dogs, guys, etc. As far as motorized duck boats go, I’ll give you the low mark: In my opinion, a 25hp motor would be the smallest you’d go on a 16 to 18ft boat, and even then you need to make sure you are not weighing the thing down with unneeded gear.

My 18ft Excel boat with a 35hp mudbuddy is the absolute minimum power to weight combination with the length and weight of this heavy duty boat, along with the low transom, low sides. I recommend going smaller on the boat, but with higher sides. I’d prefer a slightly smaller boat but with max power. 16 to 14 ft with 35hp is more ideal in my opinion. Even with the weight of guys, dog and gear, you are pushing the boat up so it can plane and ride rough waters better and move faster with more control.

Minimum Safety Standards: READ THE COAST GUARD SAFETY BOOK….over and over. Understand the buoys – Red right returning, Green going (to the ocean)….don’t assume anything. I was on Petaluma River several weeks back in Fog. I’m very careful in conditions like that….but who plans on nearly hitting a huge sailboat parked in the middle of the channel, at night, in the fog, NO LIGHTS ON THE BOAT….who? I do, that’s why I missed it, saving the life of the two boys on the boat and continuing on (to a rather dismal hunt, but I won’t go there).

ALWAYS wear safety vests. I always wear it during transport. There are times when I don’t wear it at the hunt location, but its super shallow (like I’m kicking up mud shallow). Normally, every time I’m moving the boat EVERYONE is required to wear a safety jacket…you’ll see that in my videos. Ain’t nuthin sissy about living to hunt the next day!! Oh, and if you fall into the water with waders on, you are absolutely DONE without a safety vest, and even then, you need to get back to the boat quick.

Push Pole: It’s simple….get out of the vessel, your chances of getting injured or run over by the boat that suddenly started drifting towards you in a stiff wind (while you are knee deep stuck in mud) is SUPER high. Stay in the boat because you have a push pole, then your risk is lower.

NEVER walk in front of the boat or get out of the boat while the prop is engaged (engine in gear). The boat can jump and move quickly, footing is bad, people fall or spin in directions you wouldn’t think are possible, but they can’t control. Do not chop up your hunting partner!

HANG ON, don’t just stand there!!! When you are trying to blast out of mud…if you catch good water and your engine is going gang busters, it will put you down on the deck rather suddenly….or throw you and your hunting partner out of the boat. Nothing like a prop to remind you of how weak your flesh and bones are compared to high RPM metal.

Good Lights of course, one on the front of the boat for navigation, one in your hand for pinpointing objects.

Emergency Horn

GPS….ever wanted a GPS and couldn’t find an excuse? Now you have one. Big water, no visibility fog, and night time (common in Napa at least) means meandering about and running into things when you can’t figure out where the center of the channel is. Trust me, I’ve been lost WITH A GPS and with just a small amount of fog because it throws off all of your normal reference points in areas that you are absolutely certain of. It’s that certainty that actually gets you in trouble. Fog totally hoses depth perception if you can see something. This has happened to me many times. Unlike an airplane, I STOP MOVING and study the GPS more carefully then move in controlled segments to the next spot I think I should be at. Then I patiently stop the boat again and take my time studying to make sure I’m centered and headed to the right channel or hunt spot. Even with a GPS if you cannot see at all and it is pitch black, believe me your mind will try like crazy to come up with something new. That’s why I stop moving and focus on one thing, my bearings.

Finally, guess what, when it’s that dense with fog you aren’t going to kill birds anyway, so you might as well chill out and make sure you get to the right location (since the fog will eventually clear) and just go easy. There’s no rush.

Stow Flares, keep them away from sources of flame. I’ve got to refresh mine.

Stepping out of the boat: If you get stuck in mud and the boat is moving towards you (over you) absolutely DO NOT turn around to face the water. Hang on to edge of the boat for dear life and let it pull you out of the mud. If you flip around and face the water, (which can be a temptation as if you are going to swim away) the boat will roll right over you. Avoid all of this by using a good push pole. I get the chills when I think about it because I’ve had it happen to me while I was by myself.

Night Boating: constantly check ahead of you, scan the area with your light…boats are out there at night with no lights and moving, or parked DUH. Look for dark objects in the water ahead of you. Make others in the boat pay attention. Never assume people have their lights on. Even if they do, the boat ahead of you could be positioned in such a way that the light cannot be seen.

Background Lights: When background lights on the shore (like a row of houses, or distant city lights or farm lights) are glaring and shining, it’s extremely difficult to make out boats on the water because their lights just blend in with the rest of the lights. At night while driving a boat, it is nothing like driving on the road. Depth perception, lights, visibility, everything is hosed up so you need to pay attention. There’s no lines in the river or open water….no one is following a path half the time.

Carry extra spark plugs and the socket and wrench to replace.

Small tool kit.

Fire Extinguisher – I’ve used mine once. Nothing is scarier than a fire on the boat when you are in open water. There’s nowhere to go except off the boat if you can’t get it under control….and that darn gas tank….FOLKS…keep the gas tank in the front of the boat and run the gas line to the engine. Or put the battery in the front and the gas in the back!! Had my gas tank been by my battery, which caught on fire, it would have immediately exploded. Even the vapors are dangerous. These scenarios are real.

Excellent battery

I use the bass pro shops XPS battery charger that is bolted to the inside gun box. The charger conditions the battery and has kept the battery trustworthy and fresh. I have a deep cycle battery from bass pro shops, it’s too big but it never fails. I also have a trolling motor for off-season fishing, that’s why I went with a big battery. Extra Water and a couple of snack bars (it’s going to be a very long night because I didn’t read that tidal chart properly) and that last duck was really worth it. Well, those are the most practical and important safety tips that come to mind right away.

The Importance of Safety Signs and Pavement Markings

Reducing the risk of a personal or property injury at your commercial facility is probably pretty high on your priority list. Everyday pedestrians, cyclists, motorists, and possibly public transportation vehicles may be in and out of your parking lot. Having pavement markings and safety signage to direct traffic, impose speed and parking regulations, and mark areas for pedestrian crossing is a must.

Your paving contractor should understand that ensuring safe driving is important to you. They can help you direct traffic; avoid confusion and accidents with caution signs, slow down signs, and other traffic signs. The traffic signs paving contractors usually install are constructed of durable material to last for many years to come.

Installing new signs either after your parking lot has been paved, or newly seal coated can improve not only the safety of your parking lot, but also the appearance.

Using U-channel sign posts, the safety signs we install will stand for years due to the strength and durability of this type of sign post. Plus, they come at a cost savings compared to square-tube posts. Other benefits of U-channel sign posts include:

· U-channel signposts have been standing up to the hazards of roads and weather for decades.

· The configuration of U-channel posts makes it less susceptible to bending when driven into the ground

· U-channel can be installed by one person with conventional tools.

· Signs can be mounted on U-channel posts before they are installed in the ground

· All installation work is done at ground level

· Using U-channel posts cut post costs by as much as 58% compared to square-tube.

· U-channel posts yield and tensile strengths are approximately 25% greater than square-tube posts.

Road markings include stripes, shapes and symbols to denote the rules of the road by giving lane boundaries, guides for turning, cross-walk locations, and warnings of potential hazards. Pavement markings work in conjunction with road signs and traffic signals to give motorists a clear picture of the roadways characteristics. Because pavement markings are directly in the driver’s view of the road, they offer an effective means of communication.

In July 1990, the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) was signed into law. ADA compliance is in-affect for every business big or small. Your paving should have the knowledge to keep your company compliant with ADA guidelines on re-striping and new parking lot layouts. They should also have expertise in line striping design and pavement marking layouts of parking lots to ensure effective traffic flow and compliance with ADA regulations.

Additionally, they should utilize the industry’s highest standards of equipment and materials on every job.

The Truth About 4.9 GHz for Citywide CCTV Systems

So you are going to use 4.9GHz huh!

I often ask myself this question when designing a citywide surveillance solution. My experience working with 4.9 in various deployments has not been the most pleasant. The obvious answer for me is NO, and Sometimes. Let me explain what I mean by this statement.

In comparison 4.9 GHz as well as 5 GHz frequencies have the least amount of utilization than 2.4GHz. Most private homes and small businesses use 2.4Ghz predominantly because hardware for 4.9 and 5.0Ghz was reserved for enterprise specialized hardware and applications. Over the last 5 years I have seen an increase in the use of 5 GHz and 4.9, mostly because the hardware has become more accessible. 4.9 GHz is reserved for public safety, fire (dot gov) applications so the hardware for this frequency is still out of reach of the general public.

So if the hardware is not readily accessible to everyone then shouldn’t 4.9 be pretty much open? The short answer to this question is yes, it should be but it’s not. Here is the problem with 4.9 GHz. Before I get into my explanation I need to explain the structure of the frequency. I will start with the 5 GHz first.

Lest Start with the easy stuff 5 GHz

I am going to attempt to keep this topic very modest. A frequency like 5 GHz is actually referring to a group of numbers that are in the five thousand megahertz (5000Mhz) range of the radio frequency spectrum. These numbers are known as channels. Channels on a wireless signal work pretty much the same as the general concept of channels on a TV. For example on your TV each channel takes you to a different program. You don’t know what’s on the other channels until you turn to it. It is total isolated from other channels. In Wireless the concept is the same. Channels represent a unique frequency, but just like a TV everyone has access to the same available channels.

The 5 GHz frequency band is comprised of four bands. These bands are 5.1 GHz, 5.3 GHz, 5.4 GHz and 5.8 GHz. Combined the bands have a total of 24 channels with each channel at 20 MHz bandwidth. This means that 24 channels on the 5 GHz frequency band has a bandwidth (Big Pipe) of 20MHz each. This makes the 5 GHz band very suitable for video over wireless.

But 4.9 GHz Also has 20 MHz, right?

On the other hand 4.9 GHz has very little similarities to 5 GHz. First difference is 4.9 GHz is the public safety band. Meaning it is a license band and only to be utilize by public safety agencies. You must apply on the FCC website if you are not public safety but wish to use the frequency. Here is what really confines the usability of 4.9 GHz for building an entire video wireless network. You may not understand the hertz and bertz and so forth just pay close attention to the number. Numbers don’t lie. The 4.9 GHz band is limited to 50 MHz with only 2 standard, independent channels of 20 MHz. Let’s compare this to the 5 GHz that has 24 channels at 20 MHz each. See the similarities, I think not.

So how do you deploy a citywide CCTV system using 4.9 GHz when it is limited to only 2 channels at 20 MHz? The only option is alternating your frequency, which translates to a very short game of Tic, Tac, Toe, to avoid causing yourself a complicated troubleshooting session. Eventually you will step on yourself, which is a very technical term meaning create your own interference.

OK, so should I use 4.9 in my design?

The reason 4.9 GHz, in my opinion, is not suitable for a citywide CCTV system is the lack of independent 20 MHz channels. What the FCC has done to the 4.9 GHz band is to stretch it out to allow more than two systems to utilize it. The band is fragmented in to smaller pieces. You can select to use 20 MHz (Default), 10 MHz or 5 MHz channels. The 10 MHz band allows for four (4) independent channels and the 5 MHz band allows for 10 independent channels. So what’s the problem, it appears we have plenty of channels to work with! Wrong. All it takes is for someone else, not you, to be utilizing the 20 MHz channel. Which if you recall is the full spectrum of the 10 MHz and 5 MHz channels. 4.9 GHz uses a smoking mirror technique to appear to have more available channels to operate on than it really has. The technique is referred to as channel fragmentation.

In a citywide CCTV deployment 4.9 GHz has its place. An experienced consultant, designer or integrator should have a strong background in wireless deployments and building networks. Only with experience will they know to best utilize the 4.9 GHz band.