Authors Posts by Erin B

Erin B


New Eyes in the Sky

GOES-16 has three times the number of observing “channels,” four times greater resolution and five times the speed of previous models.

NOAA’s GOES-16 is changing the face of traditional forecasting.

The first of the next generation of Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellites (GOES) was successfully launched from Cape Canaveral on November 19, 2016. Although the satellite was referred to as GOES-R during the development stage, it was rechristened GOES-16 upon achieving earth orbit. It had been nearly seven years since the last of the older satellites, GOES-15, was launched.

The new satellites represent a major advancement in weather monitoring. Compared with the older satellites still in use, GOES-16 has three times the number of observing “channels”, four times greater image resolution and is five times faster. The satellite can generate 34 different products, and another 31 products are planned for the future.GOES16 satellite2

To give you a full overview of its capabilities, this satellite can do a full disc scan of the Western Hemisphere every 15 minutes, scan the continental U.S. every 5 minutes and focus in on areas of severe or interesting weather every 30 to 60 seconds; all of this happens simultaneously. GOES-16 is also equipped with the first satellite-borne lightning detection system known as the Geostationary Lightning Mapper (GLM), which means that lightning can now be tracked continuously from space.

Currently, GOES-16 is undergoing testing and is planned to become fully operational in November 2017. The next satellite in the new series, GOES-S, is scheduled to launch in the summer of 2018. The projected operational lifetime of the new satellites is through 2036.

With increased sensor ability, we can analyze the atmosphere from top to bottom and trace atmospheric moisture, which is responsible for clouds and all precipitation and see how it moves. For marine interests, satellites provide weather information over vast ocean areas where there wasn’t any previously. Satellite data improves the accuracy of weather forecasts for everyone.

One of the biggest advances in meteorology due to weather satellites is the ability to detect and track tropical cyclones. Before 1960, scientists had to rely on boat or aircraft encounters with these storms to locate and determine the strength of the system. Even major hurricanes would sometimes avoid detection if they were in a seldom-visited section of the ocean; fast-moving storms could strike with little advance warning. This all changed with the advent of weather satellites constantly monitoring the tropical oceans. For example, GOES-16 can scan a tropical cyclone and use cloud top temperature changes and cloud structure to estimate the strength of the storm. It can monitor changes over time to determine if the storm is getting stronger.

With its high-resolution imagery, GOES-16 can provide great detail about individual thunderstorms for meteorologists to study further. Because images are available every 30 to 60 seconds, the development of the storm can be closely monitored and timely warnings can be issued if necessary. A lightning detector can show if the storm is becoming more or less active. This should mean better forecasts of the severe weather conditions that often accompany these storms.

The capabilities of GOES-16 are amazing. It can estimate rainfall rates at the surface, and future products will forecast the probability of rain occurring and how much can be expected. It can determine land and sea surface temperatures. Snow depth will be estimated from space. River flooding can be monitored closely in real time. Particularly for marine interests, GOES-16 will be able to closely monitor the direction and speed of ocean currents. Besides the weather on earth, GOES-16 will also monitor solar activity and “weather in space” that can greatly affect us. Improved instrumentation will closely track geomagnetic storms and flares on the sun that can disrupt communications and energy transmission on earth. It can also better determine radiation hazards above the atmosphere where our astronauts work.


By Ed Brotak Southern Boating May 2017

Soft Water Solutions

Prevent damage to your boat’s fit and finish with a portable water softening system.

Soft WaterWhile cruising long distances or making extended voyages, it can be difficult to maintain consistent access to soft water. Instead, you may find that dockages only have access to hard water, which often contains a large quantity of certain dissolved minerals. While minerals such as calcium and magnesium aren’t harmful to your health, they can lead to inefficiencies and even damage your boat. Luckily for cruisers, portable water softeners can safely and effectively transform hard water through softening methods, saving you both time and money.

Although portable water softening systems operate by transforming hard water to soft water, hard water isn’t inherently undesirable. It isn’t harmful to human health, and it can even be beneficial due to its rich mineral content. It also can reduce the solubility of potentially toxic metal ions like those from copper and lead. However, hard water is incompatible with soap, will dry out your skin and hair, and can also damage pipes and plumbing fixtures. Using soft water instead of hard water will prevent scale build-up and residue during a washdown of your boat, preserving both the fit and finish.

Hardness in water is usually caused by the presence of calcium and magnesium or other dissolved minerals that become trapped. Certain geographical areas are notorious for hard water issues: the upper Midwest (Minnesota, Iowa and North Dakota), the south-central U.S. (Texas, New Mexico and California) and Florida. Areas with a large amount of limestone combined with well water systems will also experience water hardness.

What’s the best way to determine whether your water supply is delivering hard or soft water? One of the easiest ways to determine water hardness is to look at the formation of suds. Hard water produces noticeably less lather when it interacts with soap than does soft water. Furthermore, a white precipitate (usually soap scum) is produced. Another way to measure water hardness is to figure out how many grains per gallon are present in the water by using a pre-packaged kit. WET SPOT ( offers one that’s exceptionally sensitive and accurate. Keep in mind, however, that due to variances in mineral presence, pH and water temperature, there isn’t a single-number scale used to determine what differentiates hard and soft water. A good rule of thumb to follow is that 3 or fewer grains per gallon is considered slightly hard water, while more than 14 grains per gallon is considered extremely hard water.

So now that you’ve confirmed the presence of hard water, what can you do? The first step is to choose a portable water softener. Many portable models are perfect for cruisers due to their ease of installation and slimmer profile. They also work equally as well as commercial or residential water softener systems, with the added bonus of manual recharging, meaning that no electrical hook-ups are required. This makes a portable softener a great addition to your travel kit before leaving the dock.

For portable water softeners to work during normal conditioning, the raw, untreated water must enter the system through an inlet at the top of a resin tank. The resin contains sodium, which is used to dilute the concentration of magnesium, calcium and other minerals. The water then seeps down through the resin bed. Scale and hardness are then collected on the ion exchange sites of the resin. The result is quality, conditioned water that leaves your boat spot-free after rinsing by preventing iron staining, scale build-up, soap film, and water spots.

While there are many portable water softening systems on the market, choosing the best one for your vessel and your needs depends on a few factors. The capacity of a portable system is determined by how many grains it can filter. Larger boats will obviously require larger-capacity systems than smaller ones. As an example, WET SPOT builds its models in three varieties: the plus, the heavy duty and the super. Each are built for varying degrees of water hardness and usage rates.

Keep in mind that there are some portable water softeners on the market that use table salt instead of the product-specific water softening salt. There are a few advantages built into being able to use table salt tablets for water softening. Because table salt is readily available, it’s easy to acquire at any time. Furthermore, two salt tablets will be able to process around 1,000 gallons of hard water.

Make your travels easier and preserve the life of your boat’s finish. Your water will taste and smell better while also improving the lifespan of your appliances and utilities. Don’t get caught away from the dock without this essential cruiser resource, and be ready to enjoy soft water and a spot-free shine every single time.

By Susanna Botkin, Southern Boating May 2017

Your Guide to Summer Boating with Dogs

Summer boating with dogs

Summertime, and the boating’s easy…

Well, maybe not easy per se, but we’ll help try to make summer boating safe and fun. That goes double if you head out on the water with your dog this summer.

Warmer weather naturally draws people to their boats, which is a great way to beat higher temperatures. However, keep in mind, summer heat poses a higher risk to pets than humans.

A dog’s body is not very good a cooling down; they only release heat through the limited number of sweat glands between their toes and by panting. This means your pups can easily overheat.

Before you set off on a summer cruise, take a look at these tips to keep your dog safe and sound at sea.

Thanks to K9ofMine for this infographic. Happy summer boating!


WATCH: An epic Arctic Journey

Last week, I sent an email asking for entries into our summer photo contest. All submissions were great, but one caught my attention in a big way. The photo featured a man skurfing behind a Jet Ski…in Greenland. Icebergs loomed in the background, and the men in the photo were decked out in heavy-duty wetsuits.

I was curious, to say the least.

The email signature led to some stealthy Googling. I found that man who sent me the photo, Captain Sean Meager, ran the m/y Latitude, a 148ft Vripack. Latitude has traveled through the North West Passage in the Arctic and is the first superyacht to reach 82˚ North.

If you don’t have your latitudes and longitudes committed to memory (I sure don’t), 82˚ North is the blue dot on the map below. Waaayy North.

82˚ North

I dug around a bit more (Google for the win!) and discovered the video below. I immediately knew this was a story that needed to be shared, and Captain Sean agreed.

It’s an incredible look into a rarely seen part of the world as well as a bit of the epic history that preceded m/y Latitude.

I hope you all are as amazed as I am by the scenery, animals, and fortitude of those aboard. Enjoy!

-Erin Brennan, Southern Boating 

PS: There are more incredible videos where this came from, like this excursion that begins in the Norwegian Sea.

PPS: You can still submit photos to our summer photo contest. Maybe I’ll love it so much, I’ll write a whole post like this.

Carver C52 Command Bridge


Humble Heritage
Carver’s commanding lineage shines through in its C52 Command Bridge.

Through the years, many boat builders have come, and a number of them have gone. Still others have withstood the test of time, remaking and reinventing their brands to maintain their lineage. From humble beginnings of crafting mahogany planked runabouts in the mid-1950s to their latest offering, the C52 Command Bridge, Carver Yachts is still building pleasure crafts for one reason—to go boating!

As evidenced at her Miami debut in 2016 by the throngs of people waiting to get on board, the Carver C52 invites you, nay, begs you to come closer. From the generous freeboard that beats down the seas to the unbroken sheer of her profile to the hull side windows that enlighten the sub-dwellings, you know that you will be enveloped by a cruiser that knows how to handle herself.

The broad expanse of the Carver C52’s hull yields large interior spaces even into the lower staterooms. With a main deck that sits a tad lower into the hull, the C52 retains a sleek low profile, accented by the raked-back windshield and low-slung radar arch—a look that’s ready to go.
With the C52, boating is the mission and Carver delivers. Relax on the aft deck U-shaped settee, perfect when cruising the ICW, keeping an eye on the kiddies swimming when at anchor or enjoying a meal alfresco. Or head up the wide side decks to the bow’s oversized chaise seats. These are twin cushioned seats separated by a console that contains drink holders and stereo controls. A great location to kick back and enjoy the cruise.

As mentioned, the walkaround decks are wide, with full railings and grab rails along the house to make the transit safe and secure. Carver styles the C52 with an eye towards simple elegance and ease of use, which really equates to ultimate enjoyment. For example, the galley is located aft in the salon, but when the aft glass doors are folded all the way back to join the aft deck with the salon, the galley now becomes the center point. With guests and family on board, the chef is not relegated to a dungeon galley but remains right in the mix. Socially, it works.

A simple layout along the port side, the galley is fully functional with a complete package of appliances that includes a flat, two-burner Whale electric cooktop, built-in Cuisinart microwave convection oven, under counter Nova Kool fridge/freezer (a second unit is across in the entertainment center), stainless sinks with covers, and about a mile of counter space. Creative space utilization is proven with the garbage receptacle—an angled pull-out rack with pail housed in the caddy-corner entertainment center.

Forward is the raised salon, and with low-profile but ever so comfy seating on both sides, it becomes another favorite spot to chill and take in the views or catch a movie on the 40-inch TV with Polk sound bar speakers that add a new dimension to theater systems. On this model, the contrasting dark wood flooring against lighter furnishings offers a nice combination for adding to the open feel with a touch of panache. A hi-lo pedestal dining table is to port with the C-shaped settee.

The big draw on the Carver C52 is the Command Bridge with the choice of an open bridge or integrated hardtop. I was impressed with the hardtop model and its solid construction and mounting as well as the ability to enclose the bridge for HVAC environmental control. A full molded-in staircase makes transiting to the bridge an easy feat.

Enclosing the bridge solves another issue: You won’t need a lower helm station (although it is an option). The upper station is located to starboard and has ample room for two 12-inch Raymarine chart/radar displays as well as the 7-inch VesselView7 engine monitoring display. With breaker switches to the left, engine controls and Cummins joystick controller to the right, everything you need is within reach.

In addition to the bolstered helm seat, there’s an L-shaped settee to port that not only faces forward but also has a side chaise lounge that faces aft. You can choose to sit sideways—a nice combination for the cruising couple or for the kids to enjoy the ride.

Just aft on the Command Bridge is a grill station set up with a sink/faucet, Kenyon electric BBQ, Norcold fridge, and storage space. Picture yourself on the hook, grilling some burgers, having the kids in the water, and enjoying time with friends. It doesn’t get much better. Finishing out the bridge is a large U-shaped settee aft with soft backrests and a high-gloss teak table.

Carver designed three staterooms into the  Carver C52 with a little surprise. Forward via a center staircase are the VIP and guest staterooms. The VIP is in the forepeak with a centerline island queen berth accented by five overhead lights, rope lighting in the soffit, reading lamps, and ambient light via the deck hatch (egress here). Hull side windows enhance the view. Shelves, drawers, lockers, and storage compartments abound. An entertainment system with a 19-inch LCD TV, high-gloss black cherry finish with vinyl accents, textured panels, and 6’6” of headroom make the VIP feel like the master. A guest stateroom is to starboard with twin berths, overhead and courtesy lighting, opening port, and nightstand. An optional washer/dryer can be fitted into the closet. There’s an optional crew quarters aft, but the Carver C52 may not need crew, so save this as an extra bunk or storage space.

The aforementioned surprise is that the master has a private access via a staircase in the salon. It’s a destination of its own thanks to the mid-ship full-beam configuration. “The privacy, the amount of space, the accommodations, and comfort of the master stateroom and head set this boat apart and continue the legacy Carver has established since its beginning—livability, space utilization and your home on the water,” says Kelly Kraning, Carver National Sales Manager. Hull windows allow light to flood in, highlighting the center queen berth and side chaise lounge seat. A high-gloss cherry wood finish complements the textured headboard and various materials used on the walls and ceiling. Eleven overhead lights, soffit ropes, accent and reading lights, and table lamps allow for any mood. The ensuite includes an enclosed shower stall with glass door. A Tecma freshwater head, vessel sink and ample storage have you covered.

With the bridge curtains open, we put the C52 through the paces. It’s surprising how well the windscreen venture helps the wind to run up and over your head when seated at the helm, allowing for near regular conversation. It also helped that the Carver C52 with a pair of Cummins QSC 8.3 600-hp engines were quiet, too.

Sometimes it’s important to get back to basics, like boating with friends and family and enjoying life. The Carver 52 Command Bridge allows you to do that and have the time of your life.

Carver’s 52 Coupe retains the same features and layout through the main deck, including a three-stateroom layout below. Added in are a lower helm station, electric sunroof over the salon, aft skylights, extra aft deck seating, and electric awning. A low-profile radar arch accents the sleekness of the Coupe’s style.

LOA: 49’ 10”
Beam: 15’ 8”
Draft: 4’
Displacement: 42,000 lbs.
Fuel/Water: 550/150 U.S. gals.
Power (std): 2x QSB 6.7 480-hp Cummins diesels
Power (tested): 2x QSC8.3 600-hp Cummins diesels
MSRP (tested w/upgrades): $1,278,370

Sovereign Marine Group
250 SW Monterey Road
Stuart, FL 34994
(772) 232-4822

By Tom Serio, Southern Boating May 2017