Blog 2019

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Posted On: September 20, 2019
Posted On: September 16, 2019
Posted On: September 13, 2019
Posted On: September 09, 2019
Posted On: September 06, 2019

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A STRATEGY MAY HELP YOU GET THAT BOAT

Posted On: September 20, 2019

To Convince Your Spouse or significant other, you need a little strategy.

All the boat shows are about to begin, and while the weather is great, take them with you and show them you want a boat.

You want a boat real bad. You don’t want to rely on your buddy anymore to go out.  

But, for some unexplained reason, your spouse or partner isn’t in the same boat. (ouch!)

Fear not....

You know you are going to hear “We can’t afford it.” “We don’t have the time.” “I don’t like to fish.”

Heck, You’ve probably answered the questions yourself and ten others they haven’t even asked yet. The pressure is on, and you haven’t started the real conversation.

Try this, You know what would help you relax? A boat.

The reasons why you should get a boat are endless. So, before you start working on your  conversion,  keep these four important facts in mind:

·         Boating is family-friendly. “It’s not about me—it’s about quality family or us time.”

·         Boating is affordable. “If we can afford to go to (insert location here), we can easily afford a payment.”

·         Boating reduces stress.(  Yours, mine, ours)

·         Boating is fun. “Have you ever heard anyone complain about having to go for a cruise?”

And if that doesn’t convince them, take them out on a boat.

Let the water and wind do the talking for you. It’s hard to argue when the sun is shining on your face and the gentle lapping of the waves surrounds you.

If you aren’t a great skipper yet, have someone who is drive.

Good Luck!!

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OPERATE,NAVIGATE,AND COMMUNICATE

Posted On: September 16, 2019

These three simple statements should guide you when you are out on the water.

Operate 

Your number one job is to operate your boat responsibly!!

Nothing should distract you from that. I understand how difficult it can be at times. You are out for a great day of fishing with your spouse or boyfriend/girlfriend, Your spouse is going on and on you for a new car to get the kids to soccer practice or your boyfriend/girlfriend won’t leave you alone about the tickets for the upcoming concert. A big fish has just hit your  line and your thoughts go to catching it.

Are you still thinking about your boat?

 You get the idea. Remember, stay focused.

You still are responsible for the safety of the boat and everyone on board.

Navigate

You must, at all times, know where you are and where you are going.

 And by that I mean something more accurate than just knowing the name of the body of water you are on or proudly telling your guests; "That’s America over there". At least sharpen your skills to the point that you can proclaim with some certainty "That’s Miami, (I think)".

Communicate

Always, .always,  always …..

Whenever you are in doubt, communicate!

Don’t worry that you will sound stupid asking someone what the clearance of that bridge is up ahead?

 Think about how stupid you will look when the mast of your boat is in the cockpit with you. Not sure what the intentions of that tug and tow heading directly at you are?

ASK!

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WHEN LIGHTNING STRIKES

Posted On: September 13, 2019


The past few months, we have had more than our fair share of lightning.

Looking back, our friends at Boating magazine had an excellent article on “Surviving Lightning Strikes While Boating.”

We thought a lot of it was worth sharing, so we’ve excerpted the article here.

Powerful, dangerous, highly unpredictable — all are common descriptions of lightning. A direct strike that results only in ringing ears and a few roasted electronics would be considered lucky. Unlucky would be through-hulls blown out, a sunk boat or worse — possibly serious injury or death. While the odds of a boat being struck by lightning are only about one out of 1,000 boats in any given year, the dire consequences of a strike call for some techniques and strategies to avoid disaster:

Timing

A strategy of boating only on sunny, cloudless days may work well in places like Idaho and California, but that would mean almost never using the boat in places such as Florida, Louisiana and much of New England where storms boil up and move in quickly on hot summer days. Boaters should track VHF, Internet and television weather reports and make responsible decisions about whether to go boating depending on the likelihood of storms. Short-term forecasts can actually be fairly good at predicting bigger storms, but small, localized storms might not be reported. This is when knowing how to read the weather yourself can come in handy.

Lightning strikes typically occur in the afternoon. A towering buildup of puffy, cotton-white clouds that rise to the customary flat “anvil” top is a good indication to clear the water and seek shelter — or move out of the storm’s path if possible. That’s if the storm is at least somewhat off in the distance (most storms are about 15 miles in diameter and can build to dangerous levels in fewer than 30 minutes). If lightning and thunder are present, just count the seconds between the lightning and corresponding thunder and then divide by 5 — this will provide a rough estimate of how many miles away the storm is.

A storm that builds directly overhead might be less obvious until those pretty white clouds that were providing some nice shade moments ago turn a threatening hue of gray as rain dumps on you and the wind starts to howl or, worse yet, boom with thunder and lightning that are right on top of each other. Now is the time for a mad dash to the dock and shelter if close by. Like the National Weather Service says: “When thunder roars, go indoors!” If out on open water or too far from shore and shelter, it’s time to hunker down and ride it out.

Caught

Even though getting caught in a storm is not always avoidable, there’s still plenty that boaters can do to minimize the chance of a strike and lessen injury and damage if there is a strike.
We all learn in grade school that lightning seeks the highest point, and on the water that’s the top of the boat — typically a mast, antenna, Bimini top, fishing rod in a vertical rod holder or even the tallest person in an open boat. If possible, find a protected area out of the wind and drop anchor. If the boat has an enclosed cabin, people should be directed to go inside and stay well away from metal objects, electrical outlets and appliances (it’s a good idea to don life jackets too). Side flashes can jump from metal objects to other objects — even bodies — as they seek a path to water. Lowering antennas, towers, fishing rods and outriggers is also advised, unless they’re part of a designated lightning-protection system. Some boaters also like to disconnect the connections and power leads to their antennas and other electronics, which are often damaged or destroyed during a strike or near strike.

Under no circumstances should the VHF radio be used during an electrical storm unless it’s an emergency (handhelds are OK). Also, be careful not to grab two metal objects, like a metal steering wheel and metal railing — that can be a deadly spot to be if there’s a strike. Some boaters opt to steer with a wooden spoon and keep their other hand in a pocket if forced to man the helm during a storm, while others like to wear rubber gloves for insulation.

An open boat like a runabout is the most dangerous to human life, since you are the highest point and most likely to get hit if the boat is struck. If shore is out of reach, the advice is to drop anchor, remove all metal jewelry, put on life jackets and get low in the center of the boat. Definitely stay out of the water and stow the fishing rods. If all goes well, the storm will blow past or rain itself out in 20 to 30 minutes. It’s best to wait at least 30 minutes until after the last clap of thunder to resume activities.

Hit

Knowing what to do in a storm and having the best lightning-protection system installed on the boat is by no means a guarantee that lightning won’t strike. The immediate checklist for a direct hit is very short:

1. Check for unconscious or injured persons first. If they’re moving and breathing, they’ll likely be OK. Immediately begin CPR on unconscious victims if a pulse and/or breathing is absent — there’s no danger of being shocked by someone just struck by lightning.

2. In the meantime, have someone check the bilges for water. It’s rare, but lightning can blow out a transducer or through-hull — or even just blow a hole in the boat. Plug the hole, get the bilge pumps running, work the bail bucket or whatever it takes to stay afloat. An emergency call on the VHF is warranted if the situation is dire. If the radio is toast, break out the flare kit.

If there are no injuries and no holes or major leaks below, just continue to wait it out. Once the danger has passed, check the operation of the engine and all electronics. Even a near strike can fry electronics and an engine’s electronic control unit, cutting off navigation, communication and even propulsion. Some boaters stash charged handheld VHF and GPS units and a spare engine ECU in the microwave or a tin box for this very reason. These makeshift Faraday cages have saved equipment.

Obvious damage will need to be assessed and set right. Even those lucky enough to come away completely unscathed with no apparent damage should have a professional survey done just to be sure. Minor damage to through-hulls can result in slow leaks, and all manner of electrical wackiness can emerge — sometimes much later.

Last thing, It’s best to catch these issues right away and get that information to insurance folks for coverage.

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SURVIVING THE STORM

Posted On: September 09, 2019


It is estimated that as many as 50% of boats damaged during hurricanes could be saved by using better docklines: lines that were longer, larger, arranged better, and/or protected against chafing.

If you decide to leave your boat at a dock, you'll need to devise a docking plan that is liable to be far different than your normal docking arrangement. By the time preparations are completed, your boat should resemble a spider suspended in the center of a large web. This web will allow the boat to rise on the surge, be bounced around by the storm, and still remain in position.

Take a look at your boat slip and its relation to the rest of the harbor. For most boats you'll want to arrange the bow toward open water or, lacking that, toward the least protected direction. This reduces windage. Next, look for trees, pilings, and dock cleats-anything sturdy-that could be used for securing docklines. With most docking arrangements, lines will have to be fairly taut if the boat is going to be kept away from pilings. The key to your docking arrangement is to use long lines, the longer the better, to accommodate the surge. (A good rule of thumb: storm docklines should be at least as long as the boat itself.) You will probably want to use other boat owners' pilings (and vice versa), which calls for a great deal of planning and cooperation with slip neighbors and marina management.

Lines should also be a larger diameter to resist chafe and excessive stretching. On most boats you should use 1/2" line for boats up to 25', 5/8" line for boats 25' to 34', and 3/4" to 1" lines for larger boats. Chafe protectors (see "Critical Points") must be on any portion of the line that could be chafed by chocks, pulpits, pilings, etc.

To secure lines to hard-to-reach outer pilings, put the eye on the piling so that lines can be adjusted from the boat. For other lines, put the eye on the boat to allow for final adjustment from the dock.

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PREPARATION IS KEY

Posted On: September 06, 2019


How To Prepare For Wind

By definition,  hurricanes and tropical storms have winds of at least 39 mph (which is when storms get a name) while hurricanes start at 74 mph and have been recorded at more than 150 mph. What's not always understood is that as the speed of the wind doubles, its force quadruples. In other words, the damage wind does increases much faster than its speed. This illustrates the importance of reducing your boat's windage — the area your boat presents to the wind — by removing as much rigging, canvas, and deck gear as possible. Whether your boat is stored ashore or stays in its slip, the less stuff the wind is able to push around, the safer your boat will be. Biminis are sure to get shredded in a strong storm, so take off the fabric and the frames. Strip off outriggers, antennas, running rigging, booms, life rings, and dinghies. Remove cowling ventilators and seal the openings. Furled headsails have a surprising amount of windage and are one of the first things damaged by wind, so they must be taken down. Not only can they shake your rig apart when they unfurl (and no matter how well you secure them, in a big storm they probably will), they can cause damage to your neighbor's boat as well. Mainsails are bulky and should be removed also.

How To Prepare For Rain

Rainfall of six to 12 inches in 24 hours is common during a hurricane, and as much as two feet can fall in a day. Cockpit scuppers can be overwhelmed by such torrents, and even boats stored ashore can suffer damage if rainwater overflows into the cabin. Boats stored in the water can be sunk when rainwater backs up in the cockpit and the weight forces deck drains underwater, causing them to backflow.

Make certain cockpit drains are free-running. If your boat is staying in the water, remove heavy items from the stern area, such as anchors, extra fuel tanks, and kicker motors, so that the cockpit scuppers are higher above the water. Close all but cockpit drain seacocks and plug the engine's exhaust port. Use masking or duct tape to seal around hatches, ports, and lockers to keep water from getting below. Seal exposed electronics. Make sure the bilge pump and switch work, and that the battery is topped up; shore power is not likely to remain on throughout the storm. Keep in mind that the ability of the pump and battery to remove water is usually greatly overestimated. Small boats should be covered if possible.

How To Prepare For Waves

Hurricanes  and Tropical storms build up surprisingly large waves quickly, even in relatively small harbors, bays, and lakes. The longer the distance over which the wind can build up waves, the bigger the waves. Waves make boats bounce in their slips, displacing fenders and increasing strain on docklines.

Photo of a swamped powerboat tied to the dock

Exposure to waves can pound a boat against the dock. Small boats should be trailered inland.

Double up on docklines and make sure all are well-protected from chafe. While fenders and fender boards won't compensate for poor docking arrangements, if the boat is well-secured, they may offer some additional protection, especially if they are heavy duty. Smaller boats can be overwhelmed, especially if they are stern-to to the waves. The bow is strongest and least likely to be overcome by water and



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LABOR DAY ORIGINS

Posted On: September 02, 2019

Observed on the first Monday in September, Labor Day pays tribute to the contributions and achievements of American workers. It was created by the labor movement in the late 19th century and became a federal holiday in 1894. Labor Day also symbolizes the end of summer for many Americans, and is celebrated with parties, parades and athletic events.

Labor Day, an annual celebration of workers and their achievements, originated during one of American labor history’s most dismal chapters. In the late 1800s, at the height of the Industrial Revolution in the United States, the average American worked 12-hour days and seven-day weeks in order to eke out a basic living. Despite restrictions in some states, children as young as 5 or 6 toiled in mills, factories and mines across the country, earning a fraction of their adult counterparts’ wages. People of all ages, particularly the very poor and recent immigrants, often faced extremely unsafe working conditions, with insufficient access to fresh air, sanitary facilities and breaks.

As manufacturing increasingly supplanted agriculture as the wellspring of American employment, labor unions, which had first appeared in the late 18th century, grew more prominent and vocal. They began organizing strikes and rallies to protest poor conditions and compel employers to renegotiate hours and pay. Many of these events turned violent during this period, including the infamous Haymarket Riot of 1886, in which several Chicago policemen and workers were killed. Others gave rise to longstanding traditions: On September 5, 1882, 10,000 workers took unpaid time off to march from City Hall to Union Square in New York City, holding the first Labor Day parade in U.S. history.

The idea of a “workingmen’s holiday,” celebrated on the first Monday in September, caught on in other industrial centers across the country, and many states passed legislation recognizing it. Congress would not legalize the holiday until 12 years later, when a watershed moment in American labor history brought workers’ rights squarely into the public’s view. On May 11, 1894, employees of the Pullman Palace Car Company in Chicago went on strike to protest wage cuts and the firing of union representatives.

On June 26, the American Railroad Union, led by Eugene V. Debs, called for a boycott of all Pullman railway cars, crippling railroad traffic nationwide. To break the strike, the federal government dispatched troops to Chicago, unleashing a wave of riots that resulted in the deaths of more than a dozen workers. In the wake of this massive unrest and in an attempt to repair ties with American workers, Congress passed an act making Labor Day a legal holiday in the District of Columbia and the territories. More than a century later, the true founder of Labor Day has yet to be identified.

Many credit Peter J. McGuire, cofounder of the American Federation of Labor, while others have suggested that Matthew Maguire, a secretary of the Central Labor Union, first proposed the holiday. .Labor Day is still celebrated in cities and towns across the United States with parades, picnics, barbecues, fireworks displays and other public gatherings. For many Americans, particularly children and young adults, it represents the end of the summer and the start of the back-to-school season.

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ARE YOU WIRED?

Posted On: August 30, 2019


Wiring Fail

Wiring failure

This picture is an example of what can happen when someone who may be familiar with house wiring works on a boat.

In a house, the neutral and ground wires are connected together at the fuse box. But on a boat, this is a serious safety concern, and especially in freshwater, it's potentially lethal.

Tying the neutral to ground could allow 120 volts of deadly AC current into the boat's ground and bonding system.

If there's also a problem with the safety ground going ashore (not unheard of in marinas), all the underwater metals of the boat can be energized with 120V shore power. This can result in electricity in the water and, especially in freshwater, could injure or even kill nearby swimmers. Called electric shock drowning (ESD), the energized boat hardware creates a large electrified circle around the energized boat. When a person in the water enters that circle, he or she becomes paralyzed, loses the ability to tread water, and may drown.

The other clue that this installation was not done by a boat pro is that the wire is typical "Romex" solid-core type that's fine for a house, but because it's not made from stranded, flexible wire, can be subject to cracking from vibration and become a fire and shock hazard on a boat. 

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WAKE UP!!

Posted On: August 26, 2019


Boat making large wake

Wake claims are on the rise.

Many of these claims are caused by boats being slammed into their docks from the wake of a passing boat. Extra fenders and proper docklines can often prevent hull damage in areas with large wakes. Mooring whips are another solution.

Other wake claims come from boats that are rafted together and a large wake causes them to crash into each other. While extra fenders may help, it's best to simply avoid rafting in places with lots of boat traffic.

While not technically a wake claim, the most serious incidents from wake come from injuries to passengers who get thrown around.

Bow-rider boats tend to have the most injuries because anyone sitting in the bow seats is more likely to get tossed up (and land hard).

In conditions with lots of wake, keep passengers farther aft to minimize the chance for injuries, and let your crew know if you're about to cross a large wake so they can hold on.

If you happen to be the boat creating wakes, you should know that under the law, damage caused by your wake is treated exactly the same way as damage caused by a physical fiberglass-crunching collision.

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