Thursday, December 27, 2007

Why Maryland School?

Several years ago I began searching for a sailing school to enroll in and, hopefully teach for. What follows are the criteria that ultimately led to my selection of The Maryland School of Sailing and Seamanship.

Several schools that I found on the east coast offered only introductory courses, whereas the Maryland School offered the full ASA (American Sailing Association) curriculum from 101 through 108, including offshore passages, celestial navigation, and instructor certification. For me, a school offering introductory courses and advanced blue water sailing meant credibility. Maryland School also exceeds ASA minimum requirements by including docking classes and additional training not provided by other sailing schools. Maryland School is the only school I found to train exclusively on blue water boats (Island Packets) with an overnight live-a-board experience included as part of the tuition – even for a beginning 101 class. Other classes that I compared required that you either commute to class each day or establish a temporary residence in a nearby hotel. And now Maryland School offers charters to former students of MSSS. Finally, I made note of the Maryland School instructor resumes. The fact that ASA themselves approached the Maryland School owner – Tom Tursi - to incorporate Maryland School’s lesson plans into the ASA curriculum made the choice easy for me. And as if that weren’t enough, add the fact that Lankford Bay Marina – host site for the North America based locaton for Maryland School - is a full service marina voted among Chesapeake Bay Magazine’s 10 Best Marinas – I think other students will be equally pleased with Maryland School as their choice for either introductory or advanced sailing instruction in North America or the B.V.I..

Monday, December 3, 2007

Inflatable Vest Cartidges and Airline Regulations

Students often ask about federal regulations governing inflatable vest cartidges in carry-on and checked luggage. The regulations have changed several times over the last few years. As of today, this is the current regulation:

Federal Regulation 49 CFR 175.10 (11)
(11) A self-inflating life jacket fitted with no more than two small gas cartridges (containing no hazardous material other than a Div. 2.2 gas) for inflation purposes plus no more than two spare cartridges. The lifejacket and spare cartridges may be carried in carry-on or checked baggage, with the approval of the aircraft operator.

The key phrase is “with the approval of the aircraft operator”. It is each airlines choice whether to allow these on their airplanes, and each sets their own policies (currently about 1/2 allow them and 1/2 don't). We recommend checking with your airline (and returning and connecting flights) in advance. You can see the regulation here: [Federal Regulation 49 CFR 175.10 (11)]. Also, look here under "Disabling Chemicals & Other Dangerous Items" for specifics:

Even if your airline permits them, you may be prepared with copies of the Federal Regulation and the regulations for your specific airline, since it's not a common item and airline personnel may not know that they are allowed.