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Nine TrawlerFest Seminars That Could Save Your Life (If Not Your Pride)


Weather sense, boat handling in seas, navigation, medical preparedness, awareness about crime—all these are subjects that are vital to cruisers. Being able to parse risk and deal with it,
those are skills that can save lives.

TrawlerFest-Baltimore at Harborview Marine Center in Baltimore has two facets. TrawlerFest University is held on Tuesday and Wednesday, Sept. 23-24. TrawlerFest Seminars are Thursday through Saturday, Sept. 25-27. (It's also an in-water boat show.)

First of all, tucked into our all-day TrawlerFest University course The Bahamas & Beyond, is a briefing by Catherine Hebson. Hebson, a cruiser and analyst by training, will discuss down-island security and resources to keep cruisers informed about crime trends. She is the director of Free Cruising Guides, which publishes the annual Caribbean Security Index, an online resource for cruisers. To get its ratings, Hebson’s system combines crime reports with analysis of underlying cultural, political and economic factors. Her methods resemble the analytical practices of government intelligence agencies. Each locale is rated for security at marinas and security at anchor on a scale of one to 10, with 10 being the safest.

Author and longtime Power Squadron officer Bob Sweet shares some genuine “old salt” wisdom to ensure skippers don’t cede situational awareness to their devices in Neat Tricks for Checking your Navigation. Sweet also presents The Theory of Powerboat Handling, Illustrated. Here Sweettakes you step-by-step through the tricks and techniques of docking and piloting your trawler in different conditions.

How To Cruise Together Without Killing Each Other—the title says it all. Authors and long-time liveaboards Chuck Baier and Susan Landry discuss what couples can expect when they go cruising and secrets to maintaining their relationship.

Denny Emory of is a circumnavigator, a licensed yacht captain, a wilderness EMT, having voyaged 100,000 nautical miles under sail and power. In Emergency Situations at Sea: What You Can Anticipate & Thoughts on How To Proceeed, Emory talks about crises at sea, and how they rarely come as a single calamity but rather as a platoon. In Medical Preparedness for the Cruiser and Ocean Voyager, Emory provides the formula to prepare yourselves for almost any medical emergency. He will cover sources of Information, first aid kits, medical manuals, medical equipment and supplies, prescription medications, over-the-counter medical supplies, first aid and medical training, communication; 24/7 tele-med support, personal crew responsibilities and pets on board.

Lee Chesneau, veteran mariner and former forecaster for the U.S. Navy and National Weather Service, has two separate courses that comprise a whole. His introductory course explains basic weather terminology and 101 concepts such as temperature, wind and pressure and cloud identification. The name of this course is Survive: Marine Weather in Theory. It is followed by Thrive! Marine Weather in Practice, which teaches attendees how to read a surface weather map.

And finally: Don't be Afraid of the Dark. Many new cruisers are nervous about night passages. Jeff Merrill, a yacht broker with long experience delivering trawlers, discusses the advantages of running at night and tricks for making night passages not only safer but enjoyable. He will review engine room checks, standing watch, watch schedules and basic navigation / electronics monitoring – and how these chores are carried out during the night. This seminar will include time to swap some sea stories and some helpful handouts will be provided.