U.S. Coast Guard issues Safety Alert on LED lights

ALEXANDRIA, Va., Aug. 30, 2018 – With their low battery draw, cooler operation and sturdy construction, LED lights have been popular with recreational boaters. The lights may also be causing poor VHF radio and Automatic Identification System (AIS) reception, according to a Marine Safety Alert issued by the U.S. Coast Guard on August 15. The BoatUS Foundation for Boating Safety and Clean Water is urging boat owners to follow the Coast Guard’s simple test procedures for LED interference and report any instances to the Coast Guard Navigation Center.

Will your VHF radio work when you need it? The Coast Guard has received reports of LED lighting causing interference.

The alert, issued for informational purposes, outlines reports received from mariners concerning radio frequency interference caused by LED lamps that “were found to create potential safety hazards.” In some cases, the Coast Guard says, the interference may cause problems if mariners need to call for help. The interference can affect VHF voice communications as well as Digital Selective Calling (DSC) messages, and it may also affect AIS because they also use VHF radio. In particular, masthead LED navigation lights on sailboats may cause problems due to their close proximity to antennas.

The Coast Guard advises that it is possible to test for the presence of LED interference by using the following procedures:

  1. Turn off LED light(s).
  2. Tune the VHF radio to a quiet channel (for example, channel 13).
  3. Adjust the VHF radio’s squelch control until the radio outputs audio noise.
  4. Re-adjust the VHF radio’s squelch control until the audio noise is quiet, only slightly above the noise threshold.
  5. Turn on the LED light(s).

If the radio now outputs audio noise, then the LED lights are causing interference and it is likely that both shipboard VHF marine radio and AIS reception are being degraded by LED lighting. Potential solutions include contacting an electronics repair facility to address the problem, changing the LED bulb to incandescent bulb or fixture, or increasing the separation between the LED light and antenna.

The Coast Guard also requests those experiencing this problem to report their experiences to the Coast Guard Navigation Center by selecting “Maritime Telecommunications” on the subject drop-down list, then briefly describing the make and model of LED lighting and radios affected, the distance from lighting to any antennas and radios affected, and any other information that may help them understand the scope of the problem.

If you’d like to learn more about VHF DSC radio or AIS operation, BoatUS Foundation has online courses and a free DSC VHF tutorial at BoatUS.org.

Red Tide Not Affecting Regatta Pointe Marina

Regatta Pointe Marina is fortunate to have escaped nearly all of the affects of the recent red tide bloom that has tragically affected the sea life along our Gulf coast.

Our 350 slip marina is located 1 mile up the Manatee River, which is primarily being stocked with water from Lake Manatee.  The river has provided us and our boating community with safe harbor during this red tide bloom happening out on the Gulf coast.  Dock, dine and visit with confidence that red tide will not hinder your experience at Regatta Pointe Marina.

If you’d like more information about Red Tide Bloom and current conditions, please visit the research page presented by Mote Marine Laboratory

No Concerns About Red Tide At Riverhouse Reef & Grill

The Riverhouse Reef & Grill is fortunate to escape nearly all of the effects of the recent red tide bloom that has tragically affected the sea life along our Gulf coast.

If you are looking for waterfront dining in our region without concern of red tide, we’ve got you covered. The majority of the water filling the Manatee River is supplied directly from Lake Manatee, meaning we enjoy clean water on our banks.

Take in the scenes on our deck or enjoy stunning waterfront views from inside our restaurant, which has 270-degree window views of our marine environment.

If you’d like more information about Red Tide Bloom and current conditions, please visit the research page presented by Mote Marine Laboratory.

Speak Up – Protect Your Boat From E15 Fuel

Speak Up Now to Reduce the Chance of Putting Harmful E15 Fuel in Your Boat

Boaters need a safe supply of approved E10 and ethanol-free gasoline

WHAT: The battle to protect your boat’s engine is not over. Right now, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is seeking public comments on the amount of ethanol that must be blended into the nation’s fuel supply for 2019 under the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS). Boat Owners Association of The United States (BoatUS) is asking all boat owners to Take Action Now to have their voices heard. 

WHY: E15 (15% ethanol) and higher-level ethanol fuel blends can now be found in at least 29 states and sold at over 1,400 stations, often at the very same pumps as E10 (10% ethanol) gasoline. Under the current EPA proposal, boaters can expect to see a greater volume of higher-level ethanol fuel blends dispensed at more gas stations, significantly increasing the chances for misfueling. Gasoline fuel blends greater than 10% ethanol are prohibited by federal law for use in recreational boat engines, will void many boat engine warranties, and can cause significant motor or fuel system damage.

Today, there is just a single, small warning sticker required on a fuel pump (among all the other pump labels) to prevent misfueling with E15. Combined with the EPA’s 2019 RFS proposal for more ethanol in the nation’s fuel supply, BoatUS believes these actions put boaters at greater risk of using fuel that could damage their boat’s engine and void the warrantee, and burden boat owners with expensive repair bills.

HOW: BoatUS asks recreational boaters to urge the EPA to lower the ethanol mandates. Take action now by clicking on: https://bit.ly/2vNZYB9

BACKGROUND: The RFS requires the blending of biofuels such as corn-ethanol into our gasoline. When it was passed in 2005, it assumed that America’s use of gasoline would continue to grow. Since then, however, gasoline usage has not increased as forecast, which today forces more ethanol into each gallon of gas. To meet this government mandate, in 2010 the EPA permitted E15 (fuel containing up to 15% ethanol) into the marketplace, but only for some vehicle engines. For more information, go to https://Advocacy.BoatUS.com.