Donald Bates-Brands

Biography

Boats and the sea have been my life. I think I was about eight years old when I got my first boat, a dilapidated canoe. A few years later I graduated to a healthier canoe with a lateen sailing rig. This was my first sailboat. I capsized it a lot, but had thoroughly caught the boating bug. I started racing sailboats by the age of 12.
In 1968 I joined the Coast Guard at the age of 17 and was discharged in 1975 with the grade of First Class Quartermaster. My first tour in the Coast Guard was an oceanographic trip to Africa on the CGC Rockaway. It was a three month tour with most of the time at sea, but it was my first adventure out of the country and I loved it. My second oceanographic tour on this ship took me to the Barbados, Trinidad, the Bahamas, and Puerto Rico. Later in this hitch I was transferred to the CGC Lilac, a triple expansion steam buoy tender, a fugitive from museums built in the early Thirty’s. I believe it is now being refurbished in NY City for display in the near future. I returned to the CGC Rockaway to finish my first hitch and made a Cadet cruise to England.
Discharged from the Coast Guard on Oct 22, 1971, I returned to England for a 3 month tour by bicycle. In January of 1972 I rejoined the CG and reported aboard the buoy tender CGC Firebush at Governors Island NY. In the summer of 1972, I took leave from the CGC Firebush and enjoyed a two week cruise along the south coast of England with a British friend on his 27’ Trident class sloop. This was a bilge keel rig that proved to be fairly important in an area with 30 foot tides. Many times at low tide we were aground, but vertical resting on the two keels.
After returning stateside to the CGC Firebush, the wanderlust hit me again and I requested and received a transfer to the CGC Gallatin which was making a cadet cruise through Europe. On this trip I got to Gibraltar, Portugal, Germany, Denmark and England. In 1974 I bought the Chesapeake Skipjack "Pale Moon" and sailed it from Maryland's Eastern Shore to NY for Opsail '76. Throughout this period I was involved in one design racing.
Since my discharge from the Coast Guard in January of 1975, I have been working on large seagoing tugboats and currently hold a 1600 ton Ocean Master's License as well as Unlimited Third Mate and an Unlimited Radar Observer endorsement. I have written extensively on marine safety for Offshore Magazine and other publications. I have now retired from going to see and am pursuing my writing full time. On my free time, I enjoy cruising with my wife on our Catalina 22 on Long Island NY's Great South Bay.

Smashwords Interview

How has Smashwords contributed to your success?
Smashwords has provided a giant step forward to literary freedom. With traditional publishing; the publisher decided what was good enough to print based on whim and what they felt would sell well. Smashwords makes self publishing easy for anybody; which in turn allows the reader to decide what they want to view.
What is the greatest joy of writing for you?
I have always had a love for words, even as a young child. I write nonfiction and it gives me great satisfaction to impart useful information in a clear manner, easily read with touches of humor. Factual or not, this is also an art form for me. I try to write with humor and a rhythm that makes for a pleasing read.
Read more of this interview.

Where to find Donald Bates-Brands online

Twitter: @DonaldBrands
Facebook: Facebook profile

Books

An Old Salt's Guide to Sex after Sixty
Price: $5.99 USD. Words: 10,830. Language: English. Published: February 4, 2017. Categories: Nonfiction » Sex and Relationships  » Sex guides & how tos
Ah, the Golden Years. The kids are out of the nest. Time for passion and sex, and then comes a reality check. This book is a humorous, practical and very enjoyable guide to the sensuous side of life after age sixty. It will show you how to rediscover yourselves. This isn't magic. It is about learning to talk and play while learning new sensuous and exciting things to do together. Read & enjoy!
The Arrival of SubChapter M - Reality Check
Price: Free! Words: 3,790. Language: English. Published: January 18, 2017. Categories: Essay » Legal
Subchapter M is officially here. It is supposed to make the towing industry much safer. But the issue of crew fatigue has been skipped over. We need a 4 hour on & 8 hour off watch schedule. Six & Six leads to exhaustion. Exhausted crews get injured more often, make bad decisions and fall asleep on watch. The current schedule and manning also leaves little room for proper on the job training.
Scooters on the Great South Bay 2015
Price: Free! Words: 5,130. Language: English. Published: July 31, 2015. Categories: Nonfiction » Sports & outdoor recreation » Sailing
February of 2015 ranked as the third coldest recorded winter in the US. This presented the Great South Bay Scooter sailors of Long Island NY a rare treat. Scooters are antique ice boats that can sail over bad ice relatively easily. Originally a work boat, it has no rudder, steering with the jib. There were 14 Scooters on the ice this weekend. Whole families came down to enjoy the event.
Life on a Coastal Tug
Price: $0.99 USD. Words: 6,740. Language: English. Published: July 28, 2012. Categories: Nonfiction » Transportation » Ocean transport
Pleasure boaters will frequently see tugs and ships, but were they anything other than a moving blip on the seascape to the observer? I have worked on coastal tugs for over thirty years and I can tell you that it's not just a skill and a job, but an entire way of life. This book gives an idea as to what daily life is like on a commercial, sea going tugboat.
An Old Salt's Guide to Free Maritime Websites
Price: $3.99 USD. Words: 3,830. Language: English. Published: November 28, 2011. Categories: Nonfiction » Sports & outdoor recreation » Boating and sailing
An Old Salt's Guide to Free Maritime Websites is a list of the various websites that I have found useful to the mariner. Some is real time information, like weather and sea conditions; other sites are for marine charts and publications. All information, electronic charts and electronic publications accessible from these sites are free. All web locations are hyperlinked for easy reference.
An Old Salt's Practical Guide to Boating
Price: $5.99 USD. Words: 46,890. Language: English. Published: October 26, 2011. Categories: Nonfiction » Sports & outdoor recreation » Boating and sailing
(5.00)
A basic boating guide, told in a salty tale format. Emphasis is on the practical and not on calculations and theory that the average boater doesn't need. The author has over 40 years of experience on the water as a pleasure boater, Coast Guardsman and commercial tug captain. This is an easy reading and entertaining way to become a proficient boater.

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Smashwords book reviews by Donald Bates-Brands

  • Titanic, A Search For Answers on Aug. 15, 2012

    A short concise and well written expose of some of the Titanic's myths. Tales like this tend to take on a life of their own until the real truth gets lost. Joe Combs has done a good job of bringing us back to reality. As a mariner myself, I strongly feel that getting to the true reasons for these tragedies is the only way to prevent these events from reoccurring.