Grand Rapids Sail and Power Squadron
a Unit of the United States Power Squadron®, America's Boating Club within District 9
Waterspout Newsletter                                                             


Vol. 63, Issue 6, February 2017

The official newsletter of the
Grand Rapids Sail and Power Squadron  
1620 Olson ST NE  Grand Rapids, Michigan 49503 USA



GRSPS 2016-2017 Bridge

The waterspout

The waterspout is published ten (10) times a year, September through June, by Grand Rapids Sail
and Power Squadron
, 1620 Olson St, NE, Grand Rapids, MI 49503. It is published for Squadron members by the staff of the Squadron Secretary.

The articles, advertisements, and opinions expressed therein do not necessarily reflect USPS or GRSPS policy unless so designated. Articles may be reprinted without permission if credit is given to the author, GRSPS and the waterspout.

All members in good standing and approved non-member advertisers may submit articles and items for publication. They receive no gratuity.

The editor reserves the right to revise, change, or reject any materials submitted to the waterspout, consistent with standards of accuracy, fairness, good taste, and available space, subject to the approval of the Squadron Commander.

The Commanders News

The Commanders News

Good morning everyone!
It is morning as I'm working on this.  I hope you all enjoyed the holidays with your families and had safe travels too.  Thank You to all the members who showed up at December's meeting held at Ming Ten.  It was a great party! Thank you to those who brought gifts for the kids at St. John's Home.  Please look at our Facebook page and see the letter we received from St John's.  I know our members made a difference for a lot of kids this year.
Greg Heath plans our monthly dinner meetings, and this last one was one to remember.  The guest speaker was Doug Cogswell owner of Great Lakes Dive Locker.  He did a presentation on his dives around the Great Lakes and other areas with amazing pictures.  We had 29 people there to hear him. We packed the room at Pietro's Restaurant, making them very busy and happy too.
Greg talked about this year's Boat Show and how you can get in for free.  If you want more information on getting in free, contact Greg at 616-304-8597 or Dave Brinks at 616-443-1379.  They both asked for volunteers to help. Help is needed setting up and/or tearing down as well as donating your time at the booth. Your time would be very helpful and greatly appreciated. Our booth is an excellent way to spread the word about GRSPS and talk about the benefits of our great non-profit organization.
Dawn and I just got back from the Grosse Point Squadron's Commanders, held at Grosse Point Yacht Club.  It was fun seeing how different Squadrons conduct their meetings and hear about how their local units are doing.  It was a fun time for Dawn and me, and I hope to be able to attend more of these too.
I want to remind everyone we changed our executive meetings to the 4th Tuesday of every month starting at 7:00 PM.  Please come out and join us.  I hope you remember to go to our Facebook page and share the articles posted.  Some of these posts have received well over 100 hits. This response is fantastic, so please remember to share our posts. One last thought… we talk about getting younger members to join the Squadron.  I would like to coach you to consider using a trigger phrase when talking to them. That phrase is Non-Profit.  The younger generations are about giving back by donating their time and efforts to helping society.  That's what we are all about, so when talking to younger potential members remember "Non-Profit."
I want to thank all of you for your membership, and I hope if you haven't come to our dinner meetings please do so and invite some friends too.  
Until next month,


Executive Department News

Executive Department News

We currently have ten certified Vessel Safety Examiners in our squadron.  Our certified Vessel Examiners inspect over 200 boats a year without charge.  But, more VE’s are needed.  This is fun!!  How about you?  We have the opportunity to meet boaters, review and check safety equipment, introduce boaters to our organization and provide a real service to our boating community.  Most of you are aware of our program and many of you have benefitted from it.  You display the VSC decal on your boat.  You can complete an online course, be certified, work with an experienced Vessel Examiner and become an ambassador for GRSPS as a Certified Vessel Examiner.  Call me and I will get you started.

I still need a Safety Officer for the year to help keep the squadron aware of the latest in safety equipment and safe boating with monthly articles in each issue of the Waterspout.  Call me to get started and I can show you the links to sites that give you the information you need to be on top of the latest safety issues and developments. 

The big event for the month of February (besides Valentine’s Day, of course) is the 72nd Grand Rapids Boat Show at DeVos Place, February 15-19.  It’s real easy to be a part of this event…simply sign up to spend some time in the display booth meeting and talking with people attending the show.  It can be a lot of fun and its FREE!!  You will enjoy free admission to the show for your few hours of service.  Not a bad deal!!  You can tour the show, check out the displays, buy some of those much-needed supplies and equipment and maybe pick out that dream boat you have always wanted.  All of this can be yours for spending just a few hours representing GRSPS at the Boat Show.  Greg Heath your guy to talk with to add your name to the roster of those members who will be part of this event.  Don’t you dare miss it!!

Your squadron is great fun and provides real service to our community.  Be a part of it! 

Warm wishes, Dave

Administrative Department News

Happy 2017!  How is your new year going?  Did you make any resolutions this year?  This is the time of year when we hear about people quitting their resolutions. So many resolutions are unattainable (e.g., I’m going to lose 50 pounds, I’m going to get in shape, I’m going to organize my life).  Need some better suggestions for achievable resolutions?  I have a few for you:
  1. Get More Social This Year:  attend more monthly GRSPS meetings.  These meetings are fun and offer a great opportunity to spend time with other members, learn something interesting related to boating and have a wonderful meal.
  2. Obtain More Boating Knowledge:  spend some time reading the Power Squadron’s web page.  The main web page ( and the Facebook page ( are both a wealth of knowledge and interesting tidbits.  
  3. Become a Safer Boater for Your Family and Friends:  sign up for that boating education class you’ve been meaning to attend.  It doesn’t matter what type of craft you own (or borrow), the more you learn, the safer you (and your family and guest) will be.
  4. Invite Your Friends:  Bring a friend to a GRSPS meeting, invite them to sign up for a class or send them a link to our Facebook page.  Share our information and camaraderie and encourage them to join us.
  5. Get Published!  Submit a short paragraph or two on one of your memorable boat experiences to be published.  You all have had great boating adventures.  Share them with us.  We can put them in the Waterspout, on our Facebook page and on our web page.  You could be a published author!



February 2017

Richard Wilson - Feb 10
Greg Heath - Feb 17
David Brinks - Feb 19
Joan Rightmire - Feb 24
Pamela Anast - Feb 25




January 2017 Meeting

Date:   February 9
Social time: 6:30 PM
Dinner: 7:00 PM
Where: Amore Restaurant
             5080D Alpine Ave NW, Comstock Park, MI
Speaker: West Marine store manager - Mike
Topic:  boating products with an emphasis on safety related products and new products.

                                                                             RSVP to Greg Heath by Jan 10


The 2017 Grand Rapids Boat show is scheduled to run February 15th - 19th, with setup taking place on February 14th between 3:00-5:00 PM.
All volunteers will gain free admission to the boat show for all 4 days. We need 2 people per shift at a minimum. If we get 3-4 people per shift, that will allow 2 people to take a break at a time.
It is a fun time to start thinking about the new boating season by seeing what is new with boats
and boating related activities.


Contact Greg Heath at to sign up for your volunteer time slot. If anybody has video making skills and would like to help create a new video to run during the show, contact Greg at the above Email address.



D9 Spring Conference

24-26 March, 2017
Concorde Inn, Clinton Twp
44315 N. Gratiot Ave
Clinton Township, MI 48036

D9 Fall Conference

13-15 October, 2017
Treetops Resort
3962 Wilkinson Rd
Gaylord, MI 49735
Hotel Room $79, Lodge Room $129

These are private events open to members and guests.

Spring Conference Registration

           Published by United States Power Squadrons®

              Public Relations Committee
              Contact R/C Greg Scotten, SN



Lately it seems that our news and attention has been focused on natural events. With cold snaps and high winds, we boaters have to rely on the weather forecasts more than ever. When we are on the water and vulnerable to changing weather conditions, an understanding of a few weather basics may be helpful in making decisions that affect our safety and that of our crew.

A front is simply the line of demarcation between differing air masses. We know that warm air rises and cold air sinks.  So, as cold air moves in, it pushes under the warm air, creating a cold front and is an indicator of rapidly approa
ching stormy weather. As the warm air rises, the cold air rushes in more rapidly and we have thickening dark clouds, high winds and heavy rain with lightning.  As any front passes, there is a wind shift.  When a warm front moves in, it brings stable weather. The rising warm air brings higher, lighter, clouds, sometimes with light rain.

Blue skies with high wispy clouds (Cirrus) formed of ice crystals are indicators of fair weather. Middle clouds (Alto Cumulus) are small puffs of water vapor that look like popcorn or herds of sheep in the sky. They occur in stable weather conditions but are usually forecasters of unstable weather to come.

The big white puffy clouds (Cumulus) contain water vapor and usually indicate fair weather. However, in hot summer air, they can change rapidly and grow vertically and form an anvil shaped top. This is a severe thunderhead and a forerunner of violent storms. Note that as an anvil forms on a thunderhead, the direction the anvil points is the direction of movement of the storm. Low level dark clouds (Nimbostratus) that cover most of the sky can usually be associated with potential thunderstorms and lots of rain.

With a little basic knowledge, a vigilant boater can watch the sky and anticipate weather conditions that may lead him to enjoy the day on the water or to beat a hasty retreat to a safe haven. The United States Power Squadrons’® basic boating class America’s Boating Course, 3rd Ed. includes an excellent section on weather as do two of its three hour programs: Onboard Weather Forecasting Seminar and Hurricanes and Boats Seminar. There is a more extensive Weather Course.

To enroll, contact or phone (888) 367-8777.  As Power Squadron members remind us:  “Come for the Boating Education…Stay for the Friends!”
Lt. Bill Hempel  
Senior Feature Writer
Marketing/Public relations Committee
United States Power Squadrons


           Published by United States Power Squadrons®

              Public Relations Committee
              Contact R/C Greg Scotten, SN



It may surprise you to know that small craft warnings have nothing to do with the size of your boat. It is simply a description of weather conditions in coastal and near-shore waters that may result in high winds and severe sea/wave conditions for a sustained period of time. It may further surprise you to know that the conditions calling for a small craft warning are not universal, but are different for six separate geographical areas.
In northern areas these warnings may be issued on a totally calm day as an advisory of sea or lake ice.  I live in the Southern Region where a small craft advisory is defined as “sustained winds of 20 to 30 knots, and or forecast seas seven feet or greater that are expected to sustain for more than two hours”.  
When a boater hears a TV or NOAA broadcast with this warning, he should immediately tune to NOAA or an internet site, to obtain additional data on the impending conditions.  Since there is no legal definition of a “small craft”, it is up to the Captain to decide on the degree of hazard that exists and take into consideration his experience and the type and size of his boat. 
When these warnings occur, it is a good idea to stay off the water.  Not only do wind and wave conditions present a potential danger, they are also a factor that could turn a simple situation on a calm day into something dangerous. Engine problems, loss of power steering, out of gas, medical emergencies and many other every day issues become much more serious when one is battling 25 knot winds and three foot waves on local waters, or seven foot waves off shore. 
Further, in the presence of fronts, more severe weather conditions may ratchet up rather quickly. So you need to be alert and listen to all advisories and be ready to take precautionary action.  Check the weather forecast before leaving shore, always monitor NOAA, and keep your eyes on the skies when out on the water.
Remember that it is always best to err on the safe side. So when small craft warnings are issued, do not over-estimate your skills as a captain or your boat’s ability to ride out a storm. It is amazing how small your boat seems when there is bad weather on the horizon.
Learn more about weather and warnings, as well as how to deal with adverse conditions by taking the United States Power Squadrons’® America’s Boating Course, 3rd Edition, its Weather Course or one of the two excellent three hour seminars on the subject.
Check the local Power Squadrons for upcoming seminars and class schedules at or (888) 367-8777. 
As Power Squadron members remind us: “Come for the Boating Education…Stay for the Friends”.
Lt. Bill Hempel
Senior Feature Writer
Marketing/Public relations Committee
United States Power Squadrons®


Commander's Club   

The Commander’s Club

An Honor Roll of Special Members
Representing a minimum gift of $50 per year

David and Sallie Brinks
George and Carol Mandigo
Doug Evans
If you would like to join the Commander’s Club,
                                     contact John Colley at

Burgees for sale ~ $20

Contact: Jim Molenaar
Cell: (616) 813-4464

                         To learn more about what the GRSPS Burgee means, flag etiquette, and how to
                         fly it, please visit the History page on our website 

Newsletter Deadline

Submit photos from events, stories of travels, questions or anything you would like to see in the next newsletter by the 15th of the month.
Deadline for next
issue is the 15th

Submit photos in jpg format at the highest resolutions.
Send all information or questions to:
Brigit Molenaar
H: (616) 340-4829

Copyright © 2017 *Grand Rapids Sail and Power Squadron*, All rights reserved.

Our mailing address is:
1620 Olson ST NE, Grand Rapids, MI 49503

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Grand Rapids Sail & Power Squadron · 1620 Olson ST NE · Grand Rapids, Mi 49503 · USA

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