OceanLines Has a New Look and Focus

OceanLines.biz homepage screen capture

OceanLines Home Page as of New Year 2014

If this is the first time you’ve been here in a while, you might notice our new look and our new focus.  Since its first post in 2007, OceanLines has focused on the boats we like to live and cruise on, whether for the day or for long, ocean-crossing passages.  Since the Great Recession fully landed on the boating world in 2009, the appearance and sale of new boats gradually diminished, until it almost disappeared.  There has been a small resurgence over the last year, but frankly, new boats and designs in our cruising category are still rather scarce.

One thing that remains true, and which is a field that has continued much more steadily to innovate and produce new products for boaters, is the marine electronics and boating systems industry.  Ok, those are two industries really, but together they represent what we put IN our boats and what helps us to use our boats safely and efficiently.

So here at OceanLines, we’re going to focus on covering the developments in those two industries, bringing you all the latest news on marine electronics, software, and boat systems ranging from propulsion to electrical, hydraulic and sanitary.  If you can buy it to be installed aboard or fitted to your boat, we’ll cover it.

If there are new cruising boats developed and launched, we’ll cover them too, no worries.

There’s a lot of water to cover.  Consider the following:

  • Touch screens are the wave of the present and future.  But how you implement them and how you handle them when seas are rough are the sticky points.  We’ll look into the latest offerings, such as the chartplotters from Garmin, Raymarine, the Navico brands – Simrad, Lowrance and B&G, and Furuno, and any others we can find that we think might deserve your attention.
  • Radios are not the simple units of the past.  Most you’d want to consider are GPS-equipped and include hailing and sometimes a host of other features, including wireless mics, integrated AIS receivers, even constant recording so you can replay the last received communication (now THAT would be handy).
  • Depthfinders and other sonar units are as capable as the military technology of not so long ago.  Multi-frequency transducers adapt to conditions and requirements and many units now often side-scan capabilities.
  • Radars are decidedly more capable than the units of even five years ago.  High definition units make close-in navigation much safer and use significantly less energy and pose almost no radiation risk to boaters or crewmen on deck.
  • The “glass helm” has finally arrived in recreational boating and there’s a long list of new technology and products to consider.  These systems can integrate information from your propulsion, electrical and safety systems and display as much or as little as you want.  Multiple screens can serve to expand information or provide redundancy, although the reliability of today’s displays is much improved, too.
  • Propulsion options have all gained joystick control options, something I actually predicted back in 2007 (eh, I don’t publicize the predictions I get wrong).  Whether you have pod drives, inboards or outboards, they can all be controlled (sometimes requiring a bow thruster) with a joystick via computerized controls.
  • Other boat systems have kept pace (some more so, some less so) with the revolution in marine electronics — some can now be monitored by your helm displays, for example.  Tankage monitoring continues to get ever-so-slowly better.  We have systems now to better charge and maintain our batteries, not to mention the proliferation of new battery technology.  Everything from lighting (LED) and galley appliances (high-efficiency induction) have changed our power requirements.
  • There are new services available, too.  Consider Vessel Vanguard, a company that offers boat owners a comprehensive cloud-based portal to help manage and log maintenance requirements for all of their boat’s onboard systems..  And if you aren’t already a member of the ActiveCaptain crowdsource, you’re missing out on some pretty profound resources for cruising.

So, there’s a lot to review and a lot to discuss with you.  We’d appreciate any heads-up or tips you can send us on new products — and services — that might interest your fellow boaters.  Use our contact form to send us ideas, or email us at info at OceanLines dot biz.

Copyright © 2013 by OceanLines, a publication of OceanLines, LLC.

Posted by Tom in Boat Systems, Boats, Electrical Systems, Marine Electronics, Propulsion, Technology, Website news

Coming Soon: Marine Science Today, a Dedicated New Publication

New Banner for Marine Science Today

New Banner for Marine Science Today

I am pleased to announce the upcoming debut on January 1, 2009, of a new online publication, Marine Science Today, dedicated to news, analysis, and discussion of modern marine science.  With our heightened understanding of the central role played by the world’s oceans in controlling our climate and overall environment, there is both a need and a desire to educate and inform the general public about the myriad activities, discoveries and ongoing work in this scientific field.

We began covering marine science news here on OceanLines but have discovered there is an audience for a dedicated publication, serving not just the interests of one organization or another, but the public interest in understanding as much as possible about this vital field.  This is a public that must, eventually, understand to provide the financial and political support for spending and programs in marine science and our goal at Marine Science Today is to help provide that crucial understanding.

Marine Science Today (www.marinesciencetoday.com) will provide in one place news from around the entire marine science community, with features and photos covering the science, the people and technology currently at work around the globe.  In addition to hard news and features written by staff, MST will provide an opportunity for students, teachers and researchers in the field to publish basic summaries of their latest work.  We will also encourage analysis and opinion pieces by policy makers and interested parties as part of our attenpt to continue to stimulate public discussion of topics related to marine science.

Marine Science Today will debut in just a few short weeks, so plan to join us at the website then.  And please do plan to jump right on in, the water is everywhere!

Tom Tripp
Owner, OceanLines LLC
Publisher of OceanLines, and Marine Science Today

Posted by Tom in Website news

Arriving: The New OceanLines

Welcome to the new and improved OceanLines (I always wondered about that slogan:  Would anybody ever announce that something was new and ‘unimproved’?).

You will notice a couple of major changes to the site.  The two new, more sharply focused content areas are highlighted in the design. Readers interested in all things related to making passages aboard boats have their own highlighted content area — Passagemaking News.  Readers interested in our coverage of ocean science have their own area — Marine Science News.

Readers may subscribe to either content stream by entering an e-mail address in the appropriate box at the upper right of the home page.  In addition, they can click on the main topic headline, either Passagemaking News, or Marine Science News, and be taken to the part of the website that deals only with that subject.

We also have a new “widget” in website parlance, in the gray box to the right of the home page, which lets you do the same thing, simply by clicking on the appropriate tab.  It also has a third tab to take you to our new image gallery section where you will find it much easier to see the photos related to our story content. This new gallery section is fairly thin right now but will be populated quickly over the next few days.

My special thanks to Tom Taylor of Taylor Design, Inc., who created the look and feel of our new site, and to Chris Jean and Adam White at Main Street, who performed the programming magic to transform that concept into a custom WordPress installation, and who host the site on their speedy servers.

We are most interested in your feedback on the new design; how it looks and, more importantly, how well it works for you. Please drop me an e-mail with your comments and suggestions for improvement at, tom at oceanlines dot biz (replace words with symbols in address).

And as always, please contact us with story suggestions and material.  There’s a lot of great stuff happening out there and we want to share it, so send us news and updates on your boat, technology and marine science work.

Tom Tripp, Publisher

Copyright ©  2008 by OceanLines

Posted by oceanlines in Website news


OceanLines is about to undergo a major transformation.  Over the past year, I have been carefully studying reader response to the various stories we’ve done and I’ve decided to re-design the website to focus more sharply on two specific content streams.  OceanLines will, starting August 1, 2008, feature daily coverage of “passagemaking” and “marine science” news; each in a separate “feed” that readers can subscribe to.

In the Passagemaking category, you will find news and analysis of the boats that people cruise on, whether for a weekend in New England, a trip down the IntraCoastal Waterway, or across the oceans deep. You will be able to read about all the new boats from well-known brands such as Nordhavn, Grand Banks, Nordic Tugs, Kady Krogen, Selene and many others, as well as some not-so-well-known brands that might be interesting alternatives for some.  We will also cover news about interesting passages people are making and we will encourage them to post here and answer our readers’ questions about seeing the world by boat. 

The Marine Science category will provide popular coverage of the exploding number of fascinating stories coming out every day about new discoveries related to our oceans.  While decidedly distinct as a topic from passagemaking, there may be some readers who, like us, want to know more about the oceans we travel on. If so, this will be the place to see the highlights.  New understandings about global weather, environmental issues such as global warming, ecology and preservation of marine species, the evolving science behind government policies that regulate fishing and access — all of these will appear in the Marine Science category.

On the technical side, there will be a number of significant improvements.  Our website “refit,” if you will, includes new photo and media galleries that will allow us to give you a lot more to look at, and allow us to keep it organized to let you find what you’re interested in.  You will be able to subscribe, via RSS feeds to any of your favorite blog readers, for either or both content streams, and as always, you can sign up for e-mail notification of new content.  If you know right now that you want one or the other (or both) content streams, send us an e-mail and we’ll ensure you’re on the list for the re-launch, beginning August 1.

Please note that I’ve already posted here (in the navigation links at the top of the page) our new Privacy Policy and Editorial Policy.  Every website you visit should tell you how they use data collected during your visit; our policy does that and will hopefully reassure you that what we know about you and your visits is NOT personally identifiable.  Our Editorial Policy lets you know what our philosophy is, and in our case, let’s you know that we are not beholden to anybody; not advertisers or contributors.  We believe you deserve content that is as unbiased as we can make it and that when we express an opinion, it’s clearly identified as such. Have a look at them if you want to see the details.

I truly hope you will also consider giving us feedback on both the design and content.  I’m smart enough to know that there are many smarter people in the world than me and I hope some of them are reading OceanLines and will give us suggestions on how to improve.  So, as they say in the business, stay tuned as we prepare to re-launch this ship and send her on some great new voyages.


Copyright © 2008 Thomas M. Tripp

Posted by Tom in Website news

My Articles for Mad Mariner

Mad Mariner Logo

Lately, I’ve been doing a lot of writing for Glen Justice at Mad Mariner (www.madmariner.com) and I’ve had a chance to work with his great crew there on a number of separate pieces. 

The first piece was an overview of the engine choices available to boaters today; covering everything from outboards to the drive pods of Volvo Penta and Cummins MerCruiser Diesel.  Have a look at it here: Story link…

The article talks about how 4-stroke outboards dominate that market segment, with the notable exception of the Evinrude E-TEC line of high-pressure injected 2-strokes.  We also covered basic gas-powered inboards, dominated by computer-controlled, fuel-injected models from companies like Crusader, MerCruiser and Volvo Penta.  Diesels, too, are going electronic and the benefits are significant — better fuel economy, smoother and quieter operation, and drastically reduced smoke and emissions.  The article ends with a discussion of the next wave in marine propulsion, the steerable pod drives now in service with Volvo Penta IPS and coming from Cummins MerCruiser Diesel with the Zeus units.

If you haven’t seen Mad Mariner yet, go check it out.  Glen’s many years of experience as a New York Times reporter gives the site a major leg up over other online boating sites.  He’s got a great collection of basic reference articles and good, hard news, too.  I’m proud to be associated with him and his team.

Copyright ©  Tom Tripp 2007

Posted by Tom in Website news

The First Ocean Lines

If you are passionate about something you no doubt have some opinions, perhaps even strong ones, about that subject. Does that mean you have to share them with the whole world? No. Clearly, most people on the planet really don’t care what you, or I, think. But, we’re rarely alone in our passions and that’s probably how and why blogging has exploded on the Web. In any event, here’s another one.

The topic will always be related to the marine world — those things involved with that stuff that covers 80 percent of the surface of our planet. Anything is fair game — the ocean itself, man’s relation to the ocean, our activities on it, in it and below it; and all the wild and wonderful things that live in it.

Stop back periodically and see what’s new. If I do this right, there might be something to stir your own thoughts and opinions about the marine world. There’s lots to talk about and I can guarantee that I’ll wander all over the subject. I love talking about the ocean, and boats, and ships and science and biology and conservation and ecology.

Ah yes, I hear the ship’s bell ringing, and the 1MC blaring, “Ocean Lines, arriving.”

Copyright © 2007 Thomas M. Tripp

Posted by Tom in Website news