Blog January 2019

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ARE YOU COVERED EVERYWHERE YOU SAIL?

Posted On: January 28, 2019


 

Many boaters may be unaware of the navigational limits on their boat insurance policy.

"Many policies contain what is called, “a navigational warranty, It’s usually covers the inland waters of the U.S. and Canada or the coastal waters of the U.S. and Canada for smaller boats up to 26 feet, or for larger craft, the territories that are defined by geographical points.

For instance, one of them goes from Eastport, Maine, to Cape Hatteras, N.C.; another goes from Eastport, Maine, all the way around Florida to the panhandle."

Make sure your policy provides coverage where you want to roam. It may exclude certain areas for political or security reasons (think Somali pirates). And if you decide you want to explore and do a one-time trip, ask your insurance agent if they can provide you the ability for the one-time trip.

Some policies contain optional endorsements that can help pay to move your boat out of harm's way when a named storm approaches.

How can you save money on boat insurance?

 Get specific. Don't buy a yacht policy if you own a dinghy. There are many varieties of boat insurance, including powerboat, charter boat, sailboat, houseboat, bass boat, wooden boat, fishing boat, pontoon boat, personal watercraft and so on, each with its own price structure and set of features.

    Go all-in on safety features. Many carriers offer policy discounts for gadgets that protect their investment, such as wireless auto tethers that act as an engine kill switch should the skipper or any of the passengers fall overboard.

    Take a boating class. A trained boater is a safer boater.

Give us a call, we are happy to help.

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FLORIDA TOPS THE US IN BOAT TOWING NEEDS

Posted On: January 25, 2019


Folks in Florida are at the top of the list with 18 percent of the calls for towing service coming from there. Part of the reason is likely that the weather is conducive to year-round boating, and it's such a great place to boat that lots of inexperienced people are out on the water — learning and having fun.

New folks may not have a good grasp of navigation, and their boat maintenance skills may not be up to par. There are also plenty of shifting shoals to get boaters into trouble.

Towing claims by state chart

The number two spot goes to New York and at number three is California, another place with year-round boating.

The rougher waters of the Pacific Ocean might be a factor in mixing up crud in the fuel tank that strangles engines.

North Carolina and New Jersey round out the top five.

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THE LOW DOWN ON TOWING

Posted On: January 21, 2019

It's no surprise to learn that mechanical breakdown is the number-one cause for a tow, and those calls comprise more than half the calls for service.

But if you think it's just engine breakdowns that are the reason, think again.

Steering systems, transmissions, fuel systems, and even lost props are all examples of mechanical breakdown. Grounding is the second most common cause for a tow and is often caused by operator inattention. Having good charts and knowing how to use them can keep you out of trouble.

Towing claims by cause chart

Dead batteries from running lights, radios, pumps, and stereos (or from keeping batteries past their usable life) are common problems, too. Consider also switching light bulbs to LED. With more electrical demands on modern boats, it's more likely a boat will run down its batteries and not be able to start the engine. Running out of fuel is also a major cause for a tow, often due to faulty or inaccurate fuel gauges. Trying to push the limits of your range is a sure way to find out that it's not quite as far as you thought.

Engine overheats round out the top five reasons for towing service calls. Failed water pump impellers are a prime cause, along with corroded manifolds, clogged intakes, and collapsed hoses.

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BOAT INSURANCE

Posted On: January 18, 2019

10 Important Things To Know About Boat Insurance

Interesting article from my friend John at MoBox, what do you think?

You just bought a really sweet boat. A fine piece of watercraft that will allow you to zip about on a body of water with the wind in your hair and the water on your face. You can’t wait to get out there and start using it. To glide over the water on waterskis. To sip a cold beverage while being gently rocked by the waves. To embarrass your kids by wearing a Speedo that’s two sizes two small. To take guests out for pleasure cruises on moonlit evenings.

 But before you can get down to business, there’s one crucial piece of information you need to consider: boat insurance.

Before you unleash the full power of your watercraft, you need to give some time and thought to how you will insure your boat. Yes, I know, this isn’t a particularly exciting subject, but it’s an important one.

Thankfully, we’re here to help. Let us answer some of the crucial questions you have about protecting your precious boat.

In this post, we’re going to answer 9 crucial questions about boat insurance. The answers will allow you to make an informed decision regarding how you insure your boat.

Let’s get started.


QUESTION #1: What Is Boat Insurance?

Let’s construct a hypothetical situation. You’re out on the lake, enjoying a gloriously beautiful day, just happy to be alive and a boat owner. You’ve applied all the necessary sunscreen / tanning oil to your body and are soaking in the rays.

Unfortunately, your day of happiness is abruptly ruined when you strike a boulder that was hidden just under the surface of the water. Your beautiful, gorgeous, well-maintained boat suddenly has a giant gash in the side, hurting both the boat and your heart.

 This is where boat insurance comes onto the scene. If you have boat insurance, you can be confident that your vessel will be repaired to it’s former state of glory and the costs will be covered by the insurance company.

If you don’t have insurance? Let’s just say you’re up a creek without a paddle. Actually, you’re in a sinking boat because there’s a giant hole in it, but you get the point.

Boat insurance protects you in the event of damage to or even the loss of your boat. See! Boat insurance really can be a fun topic. Well, not fun, per se. But more fun than having to pay thousands of dollars to fix your boat.


QUESTION #2: How Exactly Does Boat Insurance Work?

Sometimes, boat insurance can be bundled with your car insurance and your home insurance, sparing you the hassle of trying to find a separate insurer for your boat. Just like any other kind of insurance, when you purchase insurance you have to make decisions about:

- How much deductible you’ll have
- The type of coverage you want
- The amount of coverage you want

So far, so good.

When you go to insurance companies, they will consider the following factors:

- Age of boat 
- Length
- Value
- Speed/horsepower
- Condition (Are US Coast Guard standards are met?)
- Is it a houseboat used as primary residence? (This would be awesome, by the way).
- Type of boat? (Inboard, outboard, utility, cruiser, bass boat, saltwater fishing boat, performance boat)
- How many owners?
- Where will it operate? (ocean, lakes, bays rivers, Great Lakes)

Depending on the answers to these questions, the cost of your policy will be higher or lower. So, for example, if you own a high speed houseboat that doesn’t meet US Coast Guard Standards and is worth $50,000, you’ll probably be shelling out quite a lot of cash to insure your boat.


QUESTION #3: How Does Home Insurance Differ From Boat Insurance?

Believe it or not, some home insurance policies will actually cover your boat if it’s small, but if it’s worth more than $10,000, you’ll probably need to purchase a separate policy.

A boat policy also includes liability coverage if someone is injured aboard your boat. For example, if your friend has had a few too many drinks and is salsa dancing while you’re traveling at 50 mph and accidentally trips and breaks his leg, you’re covered. Do you really have friends who would do that? You may want to reconsider some of your life choices.

 A boat policy also will allow you to suspend coverage when you’re not using your boat. For example, if you don’t plan on doing much boating during the winter, you can put a hold on your coverage.


QUESTION #4: What Is Covered In Your Boat Insurance Policy?

Here are the items traditionally covered in boat policies:

- Collision damage. This includes repair and replacement of boat, but maybe not clean-up wreckage. Just don’t totally sink your boat and this won’t be an issue. If you’re legitimately concerned about this perhaps you shouldn’t be driving a boat in the first place.


- Property damage liability. If you accidentally crash into someone else’s boat or destroy someone’s dock, you’re covered.


- Engine damage. You’ll want to double check on this one because some policies will have machinery damage exclusions.


- Bodily injury liability. If you accidentally hurt someone while operating your boat, you’ll be covered. If this point makes you happy, you may want to be psychiatrically evaluated.


- Weather damage. Some policies will cover weather-related damage to your boat, although you’ll certainly want to check on this one.


- Comprehensive. Coverage can provide payments for medical payments, fishing equipment, oil spills, personal property, roadside assistance, uninsured or underinsured incidents. 

 

QUESTION #5: Is Your Boat Covered When It’s Out Of Water?

 Why must you ask all these questions? Just kidding. We like helping. If your boat is on a trailer being pulled by your car, it’s covered by your auto policy, although the limits of your policy apply, so familiarize yourself with those.

Your homeowners policy may provide limited coverage if your boat is damaged while on your property, but it might not cover vandalism or if your boat is stolen.


QUESTION #6: Does Your Boat Insurance Policy Cover You Everywhere?

Most policies for smaller boats have a “navigational warranty”, which determines where you boat insurance policy is in effect. For example, your policy may cover you for the inland waters of the US and Canada or the coastal waters of the two countries.

Policies for larger boats typically have different areas covered, like the territories between Eastport, Maine to Cape Hatteras, North Carolina.

There are some places that could be excluded for security reasons, like if you’ll be sailing in an area inhabited by Somali Pirates. Listen, if you’re in an area like that, you’ve got bigger problems than your insurance policy. Like what type of assault weapon you should choose.

 

QUESTION #7: Are You Required To Have Boat Insurance?

Some states may require you to have liability coverage. Some marinas may require you to have insurance to dock your boat. Finally, the lender may require you to have insurance before giving you a loan.

But seriously, why would you not have boat insurance? Unless you’re an independently wealthy billionaire who is able to purchase boats without a second thought, you probably should have some form of insurance.


QUESTION #8: What’s The Difference Between Agreed Value and Market Value Policies?

It works like this. The moment you purchase your boat, it starts depreciating in value. Isn’t that a wonderful thing?

An agreed value policy covers the value of the boat when the policy is written. A market value policy covers the actual market value of the boat when any damage occurs. Agreed value policies usually cost more upfront but you don’t need to worry about depreciation.

No matter what policy you start with, your insurer will probably eventually insist you switch to a market value policy, which will save you money anyways.


QUESTION #9: What Does Boat Insurance Typically Cost?

As you would expect, the cost of your policy will depend on a large number of variables, including:

- The state where you reside
- The type of boat
- The age of boat
- The size of the motor
- How you use the boat
- Where you use the boat
- And a variety of other factors

 

QUESTION #10: How Can You Save Money On Your Policy?

First, buy a policy that is very specific to your boat. Don’t purchase a policy that offers coverage you don’t need. To put it bluntly (because we know you can handle it), that’s stupid.

Second, ask your underwriter if they offer any discounts for safety features. For example, a wireless auto tether that kills the engine if you or one of your passengers falls overboard. If they do offer safety discounts, consider investing in those safety measures. Also, consider doing the safety dance, just for fun.

 Third, see if there are any discounts available for taking safety classes. You may be able to reduce your premium simply by attending one of these classes.

Fourth, take advantage of any times when you won’t be using your boat to suspend your coverage. Don’t pay for those months your boat is sitting idle (see above note re: stupid).

Finally, you may be able to get a discount if you’re boating in fresh water rather than salt water.

 

Conclusion

Boat insurance is like a prostate exam: you hope you never need it but it’s pretty important. So while it’s certainly not fun to research which policy you should use, you can make the process as painless as possible by knowing what you need, how you’ll be using your boat, and ways you can cut the costs.

Now then, happy sailing!

This article originally appeared on moboxmarine.com blog "10 important things about boat insurance" and is used with permission". 

 

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BOATING TIPS

Posted On: January 14, 2019


Here’s some tips that can help you keep your sanity and make it through the year.

The Problem: Your new outboard has low hours, yet you notice salt deposits near the spark plugs.

Probable Cause: Seepage from the water-jacket cylinder heads.

The Fix: This isn't uncommon with new engines that are barely broken in. Have the dealer re-torque the cylinder head bolts to factory specs.

The Problem: There's a faint sooty outline on the salon carpet around the engine hatch.

Probable Cause: The engine is hungry for more air and is drawing in exhaust fumes.

The Fix: Increase ventilation either with larger exterior vents, a blower system, or both.

The Problem: There's a vile sour smell all through the boat.

Probable Cause: Gray water is leaking into the bilge.

The Fix: Check the shower sump pump reservoir for hair clogging the filter screen, which causes the soapy water to overflow into the bilge. If your boat has a shower and no sump pump, this is your problem. Another likely cause is a leaking hose in the MSD. A concentrated emulsifying bilge cleaner/deodorizer (such as Simple Green Marine) will help sweeten up things.

The Problem: When you hit the starter button, the engine's solenoid clicks but the engine doesn't crank over. The other electrical gear on board works fine, so you're sure the battery is okay.

Probable Cause: One of the batteries probably has a corroded terminal.

The Fix: Disconnect both connectors and clean the terminals with a battery post cleaning tool or a wire brush. (Do this monthly during the season.) Leave the battery terminals disconnected for now. Also check the engine end of these cables. Remove the ground connector from the engine block and the hot lead at the starter solenoid. Clean the terminals. After remaking these connections, spray a generous coat of Marine Electronics Grease.

The Problem: The hydraulic steering seems mushy and the response uneven.

Probable Cause: The system probably has air in its hydraulic fluid.

The Fix: Most of these systems allow air to be bled out from a fitting at the ram (near the rudders). Following manufacturer's recommendations, crack the bleed screw and have someone cycle the steering system back and forth to purge the air. Afterward, it will be necessary to top off the oil in the reservoir.

The Problem: On the shakedown cruise with your new boat, the bilge pump runs continuously, but there's no water below decks.

Probable Cause: The float switch could be facing forward. It's an improper installation.

The Fix: The float switch should face aft. Otherwise, the running angle of the boat will cause the float switch to rise and activate the pump, even if there's no water in the bilge.

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FAHRENHEIT OR CELCIUS?

Posted On: January 11, 2019


Why Americans still use Fahrenheit

With all these freezing days I wondered, why do we, the US, still use Fahrenheit thermometers and seemingly everyone else uses Celsius.

I came across this based on article on yahoo.

Virtually every country on earth aside from the United States measures temperature in Celsius. ; Celsius is a reasonable scale that assigns freezing and boiling points of water with round numbers, zero and 100. In Fahrenheit, those are 32 and 212.

 America's unwillingness to get rid of Fahrenheit temperatures is part of its refusal to change over to the metric system, which has real-world consequences. One conversion error between US and metric measurements sent a $125 million NASA probe to its fiery death in Mars' atmosphere.

Why does the United States use Fahrenheit? British colonialism and Congress.

Fahrenheit was a great temperature system 300 years ago

Back in the early 18th century, the Fahrenheit measurement system was actually pretty useful. It comes from Daniel Gabriel Fahrenheit, a German scientist born in Poland in 1686.

As a young man, Fahrenheit became obsessed with thermometers. No one had really invented a consistent, reliable way to measure temperature objectively. "Fahrenheit was still only twenty-eight years old when he stunned the world by making a pair of thermometers that both gave the same reading

As an early inventor of the thermometer as we know it, Fahrenheit naturally had to put something on them to mark out different temperatures. The scale he used became what we now call Fahrenheit.

Fahrenheit set zero at the lowest temperature he could get a water and salt mixture to reach. He then used a (very slightly incorrect) measurement of the average human body temperature, 96 degrees, as the second fixed point in the system. The resulting schema set the boiling point of water at 212 degrees, and the freezing point at 32 degrees.

In 1724, Fahrenheit was inducted into the British Royal Society, at the time a preeminent Western scientific organization, and his system caught on in the British Empire.

As Britain conquered huge chunks of the globe in the 18th and 19th centuries, it brought the Fahrenheit system (and some other peculiar Imperial measurements, such as feet and ounces) along with it. Fahrenheit became a standard temperature in much of the globe.

Why America still uses it

By the mid-20th century, most of the world adopted Celsius, the popular means of measuring temperature in the modern metric system. Celsius was invented in 1742 by Swedish astronomer

Around 1790 Celsius was integrated into the metric system — itself an outgrowth of the French revolution's desire to unify the country at the national level. The metric system's simplicity and scientific utility helped spread it, and Celsius, throughout the world.

The Anglophone countries finally caved in the second half of the 20th century. The UK itself began metrication, the process of switching all measurements to the metric system, in 1965. It still hasn't fully completed metrication, but the modern UK is an overwhelmingly metric country.

Virtually every other former British colony switched over as well. These events prompted the US to consider going metric itself.

It made sense to switch over, and Congress passed a law, the 1975 Metric Conversion Act, that was supposed to begin the process of metrication. It set up a Metric Board to supervise the transition.

But the law crashed and burned. Because it made metric system voluntary rather than mandatory, the public had a major say in the matter. And lots of people didn't want to have to learn new systems for temperatures or weights.

President Reagan dismantled the Metric Board in 1982, its work in tatters. Congress's dumb implementation of the law ensured that America would keep measuring temperature in Fahrenheit.

Today, the US is virtually alone in the world in staying off the metric system, joined only by Burma and Liberia (Burma announced its intent to metricate in 2013).

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TOOLS TO KEEP IN YOUR BOAT BAG

Posted On: January 07, 2019

IT'S A GOOD TIME TO CHECK THE OLD TOOL BAG AND MAKE SURE WE ARE READY FOR THE NEW YEAR

Here's an article on the best tools to keep with you.

Ten Top Boat Tools

By Tom Neale for BoatUS

You may have lots of tools in your bag, but are they all necessary? Here's my selection of those I just can't leave the dock without.

  It seems that you can never have too many tools. I have hundreds that I've collected over the years, but there are some seemingly simple tools that have gotten me out of a jam more times than I care to remember. If I had to whittle the list down to just 10 that I couldn't do without, these would be on it.

The majority of these tools can be bought from online retailers for just a few dollars. Buy good quality tools because they last longer and will be cheaper in the long run.

  1. Magnetizer/Demagnetizer: This enables you to quickly magnetize your screwdriver so that it'll hold ferrous screws. It also enables you to demagnetize it.
  2. Locking Forceps: The perfect tool for reaching into tight places to retrieve or insert small nuts, bolts, circlips, and O-rings. Also good for clamping small hoses.
  3. Block Of Wood: Use as backup for hammering, screwing, drilling, cutting and gluing, and as a cushion for tapping jobs.
  4. Old Inner Tube: Cut one to make temporary gaskets and insulation. Also useful to give hands extra grip for torque. You can probably get one of these for free from a tire shop.
  5. Good Mechanics Gloves: Protect your hands, but also increase grip when you need to undo things like spin-on filters. Try them for size before you buy, as they should fit, well, like a glove.
  6. Plastic-coated Wire Coat Hanger: Bends to innumerable shapes and are perfect for clearing drains and hooking dropped objects. You can most likely find one for free, on the floor of your closet, behind all the clothes.
  7. Oscillating Tool: Mine is a Rockwell, but there are other makes. Will cut directly into surfaces, including fiberglass. With the right adaptor can also be used as a detail sander, reefing tool for teak decks, or power scraper.
  8. Quality LED Headlamp: I like the swiveling type so that you can adjust it to suit your work. Far safer, and way more comfortable, than holding a flashlight in your teeth.
  9. Mechanic's Stethoscope: Invaluable for diagnosis, use one to familiarize yourself with component sounds now, so that you'll recognize abnormalities later.
  10. Stainless Wire Brushes: For cleaning threads and terminals, removing rust, surface prep, and much more. 
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NEW YEAR, TRY A SAFETY ALTERNATIVE

Posted On: January 04, 2019

A Sailing Safety Alternative

Smart sailors know that in rough weather or at night it's wise to wear a tether or safety lanyard, especially when the crew has to leave the safety of the cockpit to reef the mainsail, change sails, or work on the exposed foredeck.

It's common to rig jacklines — lines strung along the deck from bow to stern that allow a harnessed crewmember to clip a tether on while still in the security of the cockpit and then move forward. But that very thing that protects you could be a hazard.

Many sailors like to use stainless-steel wire for jacklines, which, although undeniably strong, can roll underfoot, potentially throwing the sailor off balance.

Instead, try using 1-inch-wide nylon webbing. It's plenty strong enough, won't roll underfoot, and best of all won't make a noise or scratch your deck like stainless-steel wire can.

One drawback is durability from UV exposure. Plastimo, one manufacturer of nylon webbing jacklines, recommends replacing them after a cumulated period of two years of outdoor exposure.

Still, it's a simple idea worth considering

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