Chief Warrant Officer Roger Fisk came to the Florida Sea Base yesterday to perform a stability test on one of our Newton 46′ Dive Specials, BSA Quail Ridge Explorer. The stability test determines how many people and much gear can be carried. The tests are usually done by the manufacturer. However, the tests are being redone because the USCG has changed their standards. We essentially had two options; re-do the stability tests or reduce the number of people we carry on each boat. We choose option 1. It is a very difficult process. First, we had to weigh a gallon of local sea water. The weight of saltwater varies with the salinity. Ours weighed 8.6 pounds per gallon, Then plastic barrels had to be weighed (about 24 pounds each) and filled with precisely 55 gallons of sea water. In the meantime, CWO Fisk took several static measurements of the BSA Explorer relative to the ocean’s surface. Then the barrels were moved about the boat, more measurements were taken and that data will be used to determine the vessel’s stability and therefore it’s maximum capacity. Other factors also limit capacity such as seating room (18″ of seating space per person minimum I believe) and the square footage of the deck.
If the “magic blue line” touches the water, the vessels limits have been met. When this photo was taken, we had 25 x 55 gallon drums of saltwater, equal to more than 11,900 pounds on the vessel. This was in excess of 45 divers with scuba gear; the absolute maximum number we would be allow to carry is 49, even if the vessel could carry more. For the record, the vessel is designed for 49 passengers or 36 divers with two tanks each plus two crew members. Success is ours (pending final computer review by the USCG). The new law was intended to reduce the carry capacity of the vessel. By choosing option 1, we will be allowed to carry 49 non-diving passengers and 4 crew OR 45 divers and 2 crew. However, due to the number of tank ranks and in concern for our participants’ comfort, it would be a very rare event for us to carry more than 30 divers and 2 crew members.
THANK YOU to Captain Rich who made this possible and everyone who helped (Teri, Maggie, Jack, Kyle, Robbie and Brittany).
I failed to post this about a week ago. This was the last report I received about the status of our Bahamas operation following Hurricane Irene.
All is well with us. It was a bad, long storm and very thankful we still have Natures Way. Captain Bob lost Pellucid, she sank in Marsh Harbour……so sorry for him. Lazy Days, Observation, and Serenity were in Green Turtle in the Mangroves, they are all O.K. Shearwater is in a slip at Treasure Cay and he is fine. There is a lot of damage, boats on the shores, vegetation destroyed, but all in all, we are very lucky. I can’t believe MH has Internet and power 2 days after the storm…….a miracle!!!!!!
Thanks for all you thoughts and prayers,
Tropical Depression 13 is now Tropical Storm Lee. Unfortunately for my folks, the system is moving northeast and won’t bring them any rain. The main threat from TS Lee is rainfall near 10″ along the Gulf coast from New Orleans to the Florida panhandle.
The report on Hurricane Katia is mixed. The good news is they have downgraded the forecast to max out at cat 2 instead of cat 3. The bad news is there is still no agreement on when and how much it will turn to the north. We still have almost a week before any potential landfall so we will continue to monitor the drama. This excerpt from Dr. Masters is long, but very interesting. It’s amazing how the future of Hurricane Katia in the Atlantic is dependent upon the track of Tropical Storm Talas is the Pacific.
Hurricane Katia is continuing its long trek across the Atlantic Ocean today, and will not pose a danger to any land areas over the next five days. Katia is still struggling with dry air and moderate wind shear of 10 – 20 knots. Latest satellite loops show surface-based arc-shaped clouds racing to the southwest away from Katia’s core, a sign that dry air is penetrating into Katia’s thunderstorms and creating strong downdrafts that are robbing the storm of heat and moisture. Katia is over warm ocean waters of 28.5°C, and these waters will increase in temperature to 29°C over the next five days. Katia will pass well north of the region of cooler waters stirred up by the passage of Hurricane Irene last week.
The models are split on when the upper-level trough of low pressure bringing the wind shear to Katia will move away, and the storm may spend two more days battling wind shear and dry air before the upper-level trough pulls away to the north and allows Katia to intensify more readily. It is still unclear how much of a threat Katia may pose to the U.S., but it is becoming increasingly clear that Katia will pass uncomfortably close to the U.S. East Coast. The trough of low pressure currently steering Katia to the northwest will lift out early next week, and a ridge of high pressure is expected to build in, forcing Katia more to the west. This decreases the danger to Bermuda, but increases the danger to the U.S. A second trough of low pressure is expected to begin affecting Katia by the middle of next week, and will potentially recurve the storm out to sea before it hits the U.S. However, the models differ widely on the strength and timing of this trough. Meteorologist Grant Elliot of Australia’s Bureau of Meteorology in Perth pointed out to me yesterday that the long-range forecast for Katia has more than the usual amount of uncertainty, due to the inability of the computer models to agree on what will happen to Tropical Storm Talas in the Western Pacific. Talas is expected to hit Japan early on Saturday as a strong tropical storm, then race northwestwards into the Bering Sea off the coast of Alaska. Talas is then expected to transition into a powerful extratropical storm in the waters south of Alaska. This storm will create a ripple effect downstream in the jet stream, all the way to North America, by early next week. The timing and amplitude of the trough of low pressure off the U.S. East Coast expected to potentially recurve Katia out to sea next week is highly dependent upon the strength of Tropical Storm Talas during its transition to an extratropical storm. The computer models are not very good at handling these sorts of transitions, leading to more than the usual amount of uncertainty in the long-range outlook for Katia. It will probably be another 2 – 3 days before the models will begin to converge on a solution for the long-term fate of Katia. Dr. Bob Hart’s Historical Tropical Cyclone Probability web page suggests shows that tropical storms in Katia’s current position have a 17% chance of hitting North Carolina, a 21% chance of hitting Canada, a 13% chance of hitting New England, and a 55% chance of never hitting land. One almost certain impact of Katia on the U.S. will be large waves. Long period swells from Katia will begin affecting the Bahamas on Sunday night, then reach the Southeast U.S. by Monday morning. By Tuesday morning, the entire U.S. East Coast will see high surf from Katia, and these waves will increase in size and power as the storm grows closer. Given the slow movement of Katia as it approaches the coast, plus its expected Category 1 to 3 strength as it approaches, the storm will probably cause extensive beach erosion and dangerous rip tides for many days.
The seasonal staff has the weekend off so I am going to take some personal time. I’m sure I will devote several hours to Florida Sea Base matters, but I plan to get some cooking and cleaning done for myself.
Capt. Steve Willis
Aboard S/V Escape