Policies

MCR SafeBoat

MCR Policies

MCR LTER SMALL BOAT OPERATIONS POLICY

Committee Members (2018-2020):
      Andrew Brooks (AJBrooks@ucsb.edu) – Chair, Deputy Program Manager
      Sally Holbrook (holbrook@ucsb.edu) – MCR Co-PI
      Tom Adam (thomas.adam@lifesci.ucsb.edu) – MCR Associate Investigator
     
NOTE: MCR Small Boat Policy applies to all MCR personnel operating MCR or Gump Station boats.  It also applies to any non-MCR person who is using any MCR infrastructure including moorings, tag lines, or boats. 

I. GOVERNANCE
 A. Small Boat Committee will:
  1. Review small boat procedures at least once a year, and at any other times as required by complaints or operational problems or changes in the operating conditions.
  2. Grant permission for boat use to individuals under the provisions of Section II.  This group may also pass judgment on requests for waiver of requirements in Section II, and approve such requests if the person has had equivalent experience.
  3. Be notified of all new certifications for boat use and any changes made to the boating regulations.
  4. Appoint a MCR LTER Launch Master and Deputy Launch Master.  One of these individuals will be from CSUN and one from UCSB.  They shall have boating knowledge and experience sufficient to complete the required duties as assigned by the Small Boat Committee.
  5. Be chaired by the MCR LTER Deputy Program Manager, Andrew Brooks and also include two additional members from the MCR investigator group (one rotating member from the four MCR LTER Principal Investigators and one rotating member from the MCR LTER Associated Investigators); the MCR Launch Master will be an Ex Officio member.

 B. The MCR Launch Master will be in control of day-to-day operations originating at the Gump Research Station.  The MCR Launch Master will:
  1. Evaluate prospective boat operators as specified in Section II and maintain records of the training.
  2. Have the authority to cancel trips if he/she deems conditions are unsafe.
  3. Have the authority to suspend, until reviewed by the Small Boat Committee, boat use privileges of individuals who disregard these regulations or if the MCR Launch Master otherwise strongly suspects an individual of unsafe boating practices.
  4. Oversee scheduled maintenance inspections of the vessels and maintain records.  (Section V-A).
  5. Oversee scheduled inspection of safety equipment and maintain records.  (Section V-B).
  6. Have the authority to authorize boat use beyond the designated geographical constraints with the approval of the Small Boat Committee.

 C. The Deputy Launch Master will, in the absence of the Launch Master:
  1. Evaluate prospective boat operators as specified in Section II and maintain records of the training.
  2. Have the authority to cancel trips if he/she deems conditions are unsafe.
  3. Oversee scheduled inspection of safety equipment and maintain records. (Section V-B).
With the email approval of the Launch Master:
  4. Have the authority to suspend, until reviewed by the Small Boat Committee, boat use privileges of individuals who disregard these regulations or if the MCR Launch Master otherwise strongly suspects an individual of unsafe boating practices.  

 D. MCR LTER boat users will fall into 4 categories:
  1. Those limited to operations within the lagoon
   a. Those that may operate in the lagoon on the north shore
   b. Those certified for operations in the lagoon around all of Moorea
  2. Those that also may operate outside of the barrier reef in two categories:
   a. Those certified for operations on the north shore
   b. Those certified for operations around all of Moorea

 E. The MCR LTER boats also will fall into 2 categories:
  1. Smaller boats intended primarily for use within the lagoon
  2. More limited access, larger boat(s) intended primarily for use outside of the barrier reef

 F. All MCR LTER affiliated personnel are bound by the MCR LTER small boat operations policy regardless of whether they use boats provided by the MCR LTER or by other entities (e.g., provided by the Gump Research Station or purchased on other grants but used for MCR LTER activities).

II. OPERATOR QUALIFICATIONS FOR POWER BOATS
 A. The operator/captain will have the following minimal qualifications for lagoon use:
  1. Completion of a small boat handling class from the Coast Guard Auxiliary, Power Squadron, California Boating and Safety or approved equivalent.
  2. Demonstrated knowledge of the information contained within the testing materials required to obtain a French boat captain’s license (Permis de Mer).
  3. Have demonstrated to the MCR Launch Master that he/she is competent in proper and safe boat handling use and can:
   a. Prepare the boat for use.
   b. Safely drive, back, launch and retrieve a boat being trailered, if trailering is required (see Appendix 2).
   c. Navigate the designated boat channels within the lagoons of Moorea.
   d. Successfully anchor the boat.
   e. Perform other minor safety-related maintenance on any type of vessel that is to be used.
   f. Tow another boat if required.
   g. Demonstrate an understanding of basic boat traffic regulations.
  4. Is current with their CPR, First Aid and Oxygen Administration training.
  5. Must have completed a minimum of six (6) trips as a member of a vessel’s crew, or possess equivalent experience, and six (6) trips as acting captain and the primary operator the vessel while under the direct supervision of an approved MCR captain.

 B. The operator of any trips into the open waters outside the barrier reef of Moorea must possess the following additional qualifications.
  1. Be certified by the MCR Launch Master for use of the limited-access boat(s).
  2. Must have completed a minimum of six (6) round trips outside the barrier reef as acting captain and primary operator of the vessel, accompanied by and under the direct supervision of a MCR boat captain qualified for operating MCR LTER boats outside the barrier reef.
  3. Have demonstrated to the MCR Launch Master that he/she:
   a. Can navigate through passes associated with certification area.
   b. Is familiar with the coastline of Moorea.
   c. Can find a safe anchorage.
   d. Can handle the boat in rough seas.
   e. Can secure the boat for running in rough seas.
   f. Has been prudent and skillful in past boat operations.
   g. Possesses knowledge of the local weather conditions that warrant canceling or aborting a boat trip.
   h. Can use the radio, cell phone, GPS and other emergency gear.
 
 C. The Small Boat Committee will be notified of all new certifications for boat use and any changes made to the boating regulations.

III. OPERATOR RESPONSIBILITIES AND BOATING REGULATIONS FOR POWER BOATS
 A. The operator/captain is responsible for the equipment and the safety of all persons on board and shall comply with all the following rules and regulations.
  1. Before all trips, the operator will fully complete the intended boating itinerary and complete the boat safety equipment checklist maintained in the boat supply locker.  Additionally, the operator will fill in the required information on the MCR LTER Boat Board located on the boat supply locker.  Included in the boating itinerary should be the following information: vessel name or id number, complete passenger manifest, intended destination/s (in sequence) and estimated time of return back to the Gump Station dock.
  2. The operator will ensure the following:
    a. All persons on the vessel know how to start the engine and have a basic understanding of how to maneuver the vessel.
    b. All persons on the vessel know how to recall divers.
    c. All persons on the vessel know how to use communication devices to communicate with the shore contact.
  3. The operator will observe the following geographical constraints on boat use:
    a. No boat shall be operated more than 2 miles offshore of the barrier reef without the approval of the Launch Master.
    b. The MCR Launch Master may grant permission for use of small boats outside the barrier reef depending on weather, sea conditions and skill level of the operator.

 B. The operator shall comply with the following rules regarding weather:
  1. If the wind speed or sea state is at a hazardous state, boating for that day shall be canceled, and/or:
   a. Strong winds, frequent whitecaps and/or a 1m wind chop are apparent at the launching or sample site
   b. If the Launch Master determines that the conditions are potentially dangerous.
  2. If the wind or wave conditions worsen to a dangerous state while away from the station, the boat should be returned to the station or the nearest safe harbor as soon as it is safe to do so.

 C. The captain must observe the posted maximum boat load limits set by the MCR Launch Master and approved by the Small Boat Committee (Load limits are given in Appendix 1).

 D. Vessel use is restricted to daylight hours unless pre-approved by the launch master.  Return time at the end of the day for north shore lagoons between Opunohu Bay and Ava Iti will be 30 minutes before sunset.  Return times for all other locations including the fore reef and all lagoons except the area stated above will be 60 minutes before sunset (approximately 16:30 in June-August, and 17:30 in January-February).  Return times will be posted on the boat check-out board.  Return times will be strictly enforced and there will be no 30 minute grace period at the end of the day.

 E. Marine Use:
  1. 14ft (3.89m) skiffs are limited to inside lagoons.
  2. 16ft (5.09m) skiffs are limited to < 1km from reef crest.
  3. 20ft (6.09m) Center console Stabicraft is limited to < 2 miles from reef crest.
  4. 23ft (7.01m) SafeBoat is limited to no more than 2 miles offshore of the barrier reef, except with permission.

 F. The operator will follow the following communications procedures for all operations:
  1. For all operations within the lagoon:
   a.The operator will have an operational cellular phone when working in lagoon areas on the east or west sides of Moorea.
   b. If the boat is going to be more than 30 minutes past the original, estimated time of return as indicated on the submitted MCR LTER boating itinerary form, the operator must contact the Launch Master or the Deputy Launch Master and advise them of the revised estimated time of return.  This does not apply to end of the day return times, which will have no grace period.
  2. For all operations outside of the barrier reef:
   a. Before departing, the operator will check to see that all communication equipment is fully operational.  The trip shall be aborted if the radio or cellular phone is not operational.  The operator will establish who will be the shore contact and verify that the shore contact is aware of procedures to be followed and person(s) to contact if the boat fails to return at the designated time.
   b. When attaching the boat to a mooring line, the lead diver shall inspect the attachment of the tag (bow) line to the mooring, to ensure it is secure.  The lead diver will also inspect the mooring cable to look for signs of excessive wear.  If anchoring, the lead diver shall inspect the anchor to make sure it is secure unless it is beyond the diver’s certified depth. 
   c. If the boat is going to be more than 30 minutes past the original, estimated time of return as indicated on the submitted MCR LTER boating itinerary form, the operator must contact the shore contact person and advise them of a new estimated time of return.  If the vessel has not returned within 30 minutes of the original, estimated time of return as indicated on the submitted MCR LTER boating itinerary form, the designated shore contact person must attempt to contact the vessel.  If the shore contact does not hear from the operator or a crew member within 60 minutes of the original estimated time of return as indicated on the submitted MCR LTER boating itinerary form, the designated shore contact will notify the Launch Master or the Deputy Launch Master immediately.  This does not apply to end of the day return times, which will have no grace period.
   d. If the trip is delayed during transit, or plans are changed, notification should be given to the shore contact person immediately. 

 G. The operator will comply with the following boating restrictions.
   1. Recreational activities (e.g., surfing, water skiing, etc.) from MCR boats are prohibited at all times.  Violators will be suspended from all boating activities until a review by the Small Boat Committee.
   2. Crew on MCR LTER vessels is limited to MCR Personnel and others approved by the Launch Master and the Small Boat Committee.

 H. In order to be a certified captain an individual must complete the following forms and return them to the MCR LTER Launch Master.
  1. Form 1A – Boating Policy Terms and Conditions
  2. Form 1B – Memorandum of Understanding and Agreement

IV. SAFETY GEAR, SPARE PARTS AND TOOLS
 A.   The following safety gear will be carried aboard all power boats:
  1. One life jacket for each person aboard
  2. One MCR LTER boat box containing:  A First Aid Kit and a Save-a-dive Kit
  3. US and international dive flags if SCUBA diving or snorkeling operations are to be conducted from the boat

 B. The following additional safety gear must be carried aboard all boats when operating in the lagoons on the east or west coasts of Moorea.
  1. A cellular phone
  2. GPS unit
  3. Oxygen kit if SCUBA diving operations are to be conducted from the boat                

 C. The following additional safety gear must be carried aboard all boats when operating outside of the barrier reef.
  1. A cellular phone
  2. Oxygen kit if diving SCUBA diving or snorkeling operations are to be conducted.
  3. GPS unit

V. MAINTENANCE
 A. In addition to regular boat and engine maintenance, the MCR Launch Master, or their designate, will perform and log checks of the following on all boats on a regularly scheduled basis:
  1. Engine:
    a. Start
    b. Gear shift and throttle operation
    c. Steering
    d. Lower unit oil
    e. Propeller and keel
    f. Gas tank integrity 
  2. Inspect hulls for damage
  3. Radio and phone operation
  4. GPS operation 
  5. Trailer tires, springs, bearings, rollers, bow strap and safety chains

 B. The MCR Launch Master will inspect the following items on each boat on a regularly scheduled basis:
  1. Anchors, anchor chains, lines, and connections
  2. Life jackets
  3. Check that the boat box and safety kits contain what they should and that their contents are operational
  4. Check that the oxygen kit is operational: oxygen cylinders are full and all components are operational and dry.

APPENDIX 1 – Boat Load Limits
 389’s: The official load limit is 4 Adults
   For our purposes:
   2 divers with 2 tanks each (4 tanks total)
   3 divers with 1 tank each (3 tanks total)
   4 snorkelers with some gear

 509’s: The official load limit is 6 adults
   For our purposes:
   4 divers with 2 tanks each (8 tanks total) is the maximum for diving

 609: The load limit is 400kg or 880lbs
   This is people and all gear (includes tanks, weight belts, equipment, etc.)*.

 659 (Gump Station boat): The load limit is 850kg or 1800lbs
   This is people and gear (includes tanks, weight belts, equipment, etc.)*.

 Safeboat: The load limit is 2700lbs
   This is people and gear (includes tanks, weight belts, equipment, etc.)*.

* Approximate weight of an 80 cubic -foot Aluminum tank is 30-35 lbs
  Approximate weight of a 100 cubic -foot Aluminum tank is 40-42 lbs

APPENDIX 2 - Boat Launching and Retrieving
Note: If you have not been trained and certified by the MCR Launchmaster to launch or pull a boat from the water, you will need to make arrangements with Tony or Jacques to do this for you.

 A. Launching a boat
  1. Boats are stored without anchors in them to prevent theft.  They are in the LTER container on the floor in the front left.  Make sure to attach the end of the line to the boat.
  2.Boats that need batteries (all 509s and the Daniels) are not stored with batteries in them.  They are in the LTER lab in the front lab, front right corner.  There is a red volt meter that lives somewhere in that general area, check the voltage of the battery.  If it is not 12V put it on a charger.  There are chargers in the lower cabinet facing the front wall of the lab there next to the batteries.  Once you have a charged battery you will also need to get a battery box out of the LTER container (top shelf about half way back).  The tops must be secured with either straps or zipties or they will fly off.  Make sure the battery terminals coming from the boat are clean.  If there is corrosion on them you will not get a good electrical connection.  Make sure to tighten the battery bolts tight.  They can wiggle loose with the bouncing of the boat.
  3. Check boat engine for mud bees.  Yes, they cause big water blockage problems.
  4. Test that the boat starts before you put it in the water.  Attach a hose to the screw port on the back of the engine, turn on the water and then start the engine normally.  If the hose by the dock will not connect to the engine, you can find a functional hose by the containers.  Make sure there is water flowing out of the holes near the propeller.  At this time also open the top of the engine to check to make sure the oil tank is full.  If the oil level is above the edge of the lower engine cover you should have about 1 week of normal use before needing to fill the oil.
  5. Once the boat is in the water check to make sure that water is coming out of the water exhaust port at the back of the engine.  It is then a good idea to run the boat for about 5 min in the bay.  Most issues will crop up within the first 5 min of getting the engine up to operating temperature.  
  6. Make sure you have a proper place to moor the boat for the night with a proper stern line.  No boat should ever be side-tied against the dock except when actively being loaded or unloaded, especially overnight.

 B. Retrieving a boat
  1. While the boat is still in the water, clean the bottom completely to remove algae and any encrusting organisms.  
  2. Get the boat on the trailer properly, tilt the engine and then put the boat somewhere a hose can reach it.
  3. Clean and rinse the inside and outside of the boat thoroughly.  (The bottom of the boat should have been scrubbed clean while it is still in the water.)  Completely rinse the trailer.  Make sure to get the leaf springs and inside and outside of the wheel hubs.  The 509 trailers have some hollow beams, make sure to get water inside those to displace the seawater.  Soak the bunk carpet as best you can.  Salt water sitting against the aluminum boat can cause corrosion.
  4. Attach the hose to the port in the back of the engine and run water through it for about 5 min.  Start the engine and run for at least 30 sec during this time.
  5. Remove the anchor and anchor line.  Rinse the anchor and chain and soak the line in a bucket of water for at least an hour.  Make sure they are dry before returning them to the LTER container. Do not leave anchors, lines, etc. in boats as they will risk being stolen.
  6. Remove the battery (if present) and return it to the LTER lab.  Clean, dry and store the battery box in the LTER container.  Wrap the battery cable around the tiler so that it does not sit in water at the stern of the boat.
  7. Store the boat with the engine down, but not touching the ground.  Make sure the scuppers are down to drain rain water, use a PVC pipe through the lowest scupper to make sure the boat will drain.

 C. Special instructions for the 609: 
  1. It has 2 drain plugs under the stern of the boat.  Make sure those are securely installed before launching.  Likewise – remove for storage.
  2. Make sure to put a hose on the engine and start it before launching.
  3. Make sure the tilt works both up and down.
  4. Check the oil.
  5. This boat requires a “throwable” live preserver.  There is a square seat cushion looking thing that is US Coast Guard approved for this purpose.  Make sure that is onboard.
  6. The fuel gauge does not work.  Fill with fuel when you launch and keep track of your use.  The engine burns about 32liters an hour at cruising speed.

APPENDIX 3. Trailering
 Note: Please consult with the MCR Launch master about training required to trailer a boat to the East side (Vaiare harbor) or the West side (Haapiti) launch ramps.

 A. Make sure to use a trailering approved trailer for trips farther than across the street.  As time and repair supplies are in high demand, some trailers are in better shape than others.  The ones OK to trailer have a “T” on the tongue in paint pen.  These are very light boats, so they need to be strapped down to the trailer, so that they do not bounce during transit.  You can use one cinch strap to tie down a 389, but you will need to attach two together to get across a 509.

B. There are trailering brackets for the engines of the 389’s.  Tilt the engine, remove the support pin and attach the bracket.  Flip the tilt lever and lower the engine approximately one inch until it attaches to the upper pin of the bracket (see above photo).  This bracket can bounce off, so then attach a cinch strap from the lower unit of the engine to the back of the trailer (see below photo).  This strap just needs to be tight, not ratcheted to amazon strength.

 
 C. Only leave the fuel tank and dive weights in the boat during transit.  Light items fly out and heavy items such as tanks roll and bounce too much and can damage the boat.