Blog 2020

WANT A BETTER VIEW OF THE BOTTOM?

Posted On: July 10, 2020

Need help seeing?

Deflecting the light, with this handy, fun plexi-bottom bucket, lets you look before you anchor.

Here's  an old article by Don Casey thats always useful.

If you're boating in clear water, it can be useful to view the bottom.

For example, discovering that the seabed under the boat is rock, deep weed, or scoured coral before you try to anchor can avoid a lot of pointless frustration. Unfortunately wind chop and light reflection usually obscure your sight. All that's required to see into the water is a glass panel to "flatten" the surface. A dive mask will serve, but unless you wear it and stick your head in the water, your view is soon compromised by water slopping over the short skirt and onto the top of the glass.

The better tool is a look bucket. For little money, you can make one better than most that are commercially available. All you need is a stiff plastic bucket, a disk of clear plastic, and appropriate adhesive. A five-gallon paint bucket is the usual bucket choice because it's stiff, has a sharp angle between bottom and side, and features a protective lip around the base. However, a smaller bucket (2 1/2-3 gallons) can be easier to handle. The clear plastic can be acrylic or polycarbonate and should be not less than 1/8-inch thick; thicker is better because flexing can make the bond between the bucket and the plastic fail. I use marine or structural glazing silicone for gluing the lens to the bucket, but you can also use polyurethane (3M 5200) if the lens is acrylic (but not polycarbonate). Flexible epoxy can also bond and seal the lens.

  1. Cut a disk of clear plastic to the inside diameter at the bottom of the bucket. Using a utility knife or a hot knife (better), cut out the bottom of the bucket, leaving a one-inch rim. So the buoyancy will compress rather than test the seal, some people bond the plastic outside the bucket, but this typically makes it untrustworthy as an actual bucket unless you add mechanical fasteners. I prefer setting the lens into a bed of sealant that extends up the side of the bucket to provide both tensile and sheer strength.
  2. Hold the circular lens in place and trace around the cut circle of the bucket with a sharp blade to cut the protective film. Peel away the perimeter piece, leaving the middle. To provide a better gripping surface for your adhesive, use 100-grit paper to sand the exposed plastic around the circumference of the lens, including the edge. Also, sand the mating surfaces of the bucket. For a neater job, mask the bucket wall above the level of the lens.
  3. Apply adhesive sealant liberally to the lip and side of the bucket, then set the lens in place. Weight it lightly; you want the lens to make full contact but you don't want to squeeze out all of the adhesive. The seal needs to be thick enough to absorb some flex during use.
  4. Allow the adhesive to cure fully, trim away excess sealant, and peel away the remaining film and any masking you did. Your bucket is ready for "look box" duty while still functioning as a bucket for washing or bailing. 
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ADAPTING TO THE MASK

Posted On: July 06, 2020


If you are like so many of us now, we have taken to wearing masks.

Do they work?

Hell if I know, but they probably don't hurt.

Many people are faithfully wearing masks in order to prevent others from being infected with COVID-19.But it’s also a big adjustment for a lot of us who are adapting to a face apparatus and sweaty faces. If you are like me and wear glasses, we have to deal with another problem: fogged-up lenses. When you wear a mask and your warm breath hits the relatively cool surface of your glasses, the result will be fog.

This can be really irritating, especially if you walk from a hot street into an air-conditioned environment, suddenly can’t see, and don’t want to handle your glasses without washing your hands first.

I found this strategy to be helpful.

If your mask fits loosely over your nose, your breath is certain to escape up to your glasses.

Many masks being sold have nose bridges sewn into them — flexible strips that allow you to bend and shape them so they fit your nose. These serve several purposes: they make the masks more effective (because less moisture can escape), make them more comfortable, and they help prevent your breath from hitting your glasses.

If your mask doesn’t have its own bridge, you can make your own using twist ties or pipe cleaners, or you can tape the mask down.

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CELEBRATING THE FOURTH ON THE WATER

Posted On: July 03, 2020


Here are some quick tips on boating responsibly in the great outdoors this Fourth of July

 

Always avoid sensitive areas and operating your watercraft in shallow waters or near shorelines at high speeds.

  • Always launch at a designated boat ramp. Backing a vehicle on a riverbank or lakeshore can damage the area and leads to erosion.
  • Always travel slowly in shallow waters and avoid boating in water less than 2½ feet deep. High speeds near shorelines lead to large wakes which cause shoreline erosion.
  • Sensitive areas to avoid include seasonal nesting or breeding areas.
  • Do not disturb historical, archeological or pale-ontological sites.
  • Avoid “spooking” wildlife you encounter and keep your distance.
  • Motorized and mechanized vehicles are not allowed in designated Wilderness Areas  Obtain charts of your destination and determine which areas are open to your type of boat.
  •  Make a realistic plan and stick to it.
  •  Always tell someone of your travel plans and file a float plan.
  •  Contact the land manager for area restrictions, closures and permit requirements.
  •  Check the weather forecast for your destination. Plan clothing, equipment and supplies accordingly.
  •  Make sure you have enough fuel and oil for the entire trip.
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BEFORE YOU CELEBRATE THIS WEEKEND, BE PREPARED

Posted On: June 29, 2020

So the 4th of July weekend is coming up, you have a few days off to enjoy. Time to finally get the boat out and hit the water.

Well, not so fast. Time a little time now and save some grief later.


Here's an old excerpt of an article from US Boat that stands the test of time.



While this may look like a lot to do — it might just save you a whole lot of trouble.

 

    Run the engine at home on flush muffs before you venture to the ramp so you're very confident that your motor will start. Troubleshooting a motor that won't start can cause long delays at a ramp. This is especially common during the first warm days of the year.

   

    Safety chains or cables need to be crisscrossed between the trailer and the tow vehicle, not simply attached. When this is done, if the trailer disconnects while you're driving, the tongue falls into the crossed chains instead of dropping to the pavement and causing an accident.

    While you're down there, make sure the coupler is secured with a pin and locked onto the hitch ball. Take a second to determine that the receiver is locked into the tow vehicle.

    Check the brake-fluid level in the actuator, if present. At the same time, take a look below the actuator for any signs that brake fluid has spilled or leaked. In fact, when you do a walk around of the trailer, look for any indication that brake fluid has leaked from the brake lines. Attach the emergency actuator cable to the vehicle.

    Make sure that the trailer is level with the tow vehicle.

    Check the inflation on trailer tires when they're cold. Don't forget the spare tire. The recommended psi is on the sidewall of each tire as well as on the trailer's Vehicle Identification Number plate.

    Raise the outboard or the I/O and lock it up. If you have a transom saver, attach it.

    Inspect the trailer lights by having a helper turn on the tow vehicle's lights and trigger the turn signals and brake lights while you stand behind the trailer and eyeball that everything works.

    Check that tie-downs and transom straps are secure. Hook the winch strap to the bow eye; also hook a safety chain from the trailer frame to the bow eye.

    If a seal is starting to fail, bearings may throw grease under the fender or along the trailer frame. If you have oil hubs, inspect the level and fill if necessary. Inspect wheel-bearing protectors for dryness at the zerk fitting, which feeds grease. Add grease if it's needed.

    Search the boat for items that might blow away during the drive to the ramp. Life jackets, clothing, flotation cushions, and sail bags are the usual suspects that often end up along the roadside. Put them in the tow vehicle or secure them before leaving the driveway.

    Make sure to distribute weight evenly inside the boat, both fore and aft as well as side to side.

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HANDLING THE CHOP

Posted On: June 26, 2020

Choppy Water

How you handle choppy water is a skill that you need to develop if you want to enjoy boating. This article, which I found,  covers the basics of boating safely through chop.

Many boats handle choppy water different, so know your boat type.

Power boats are designed with rough water in mind. Hull designs such as the deep V and even double hulls have made choppy waters less of a problem, but the burden is on the captain, that's you, to get it right. Well designed boats are half the equation; the other half is you.

Choppy Water Basics:

1. Batten down. No matter how skillfully you maneuver your boat, if loose equipment and just plain stuff litters the boat you may be in for an expensive experience, not to mention danger. Debris flying around a boat can damage the vessel and injure the people aboard. Simply stowing things into compartments is a good first step. Some experienced boaters keep a few old towels aboard as stuffing material to keep things in place. Of course there are some Items that you need to keep handy such as binoculars. Velcro fasteners are a great way to keep these things in place. It almost seems that the Velcro people make this stuff for boating.

Good seamanship dictates that you prepare your vessel for rough water even when things are calm. Boats should be ready for the water to turn to chop.

2. Watch your speed. Power boats can go very fast, but sea conditions may dictate the you go slowly. Handling power boats in chop requires careful use of the throttle—and a lot of common sense. There is no clear cut definition of when water turns from chop to just plain rough. In a choppy sea you may not encounter waves that come in regular intervals, just a mess of little waves that don't seem to go anywhere. In a chop you want to add speed; in a rough sea with large waves you want to go slow. If you have a planing hull, that is one that enables your boat to skip or plane across the surface of the water, you should "get up on plane." Planing enables the boat to avoid the worst effects of the chop and can deliver a smoother ride than going slow. Boats without planing hulls, such as trawlers, have it a little tougher. If your boat doesn't plane you handle chop by just gutting through it. This isn't as bad as it sounds because a displacement hull is designed for stability.

If the chop turns to heavy waves, slow down. You can't plane along the surface of eight foot waves at 20 foot intervals. You can kill yourself.

Boating through chop, like most things in boating, requires a strong dose of common sense.

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SOME SUMMER BOATING TIPS

Posted On: June 22, 2020

SUMMER BOATING BASICS

Okay, so now that Summer is here, and before we know it, the holiday weekend will be rapidly approaching. The waters tend to get busy, so let’s remember some basics of having a safe summer boating season.

Below are some quick tips on boating responsibly in the great outdoors. 

TRAVEL RESPONSIBLY

Travel responsibly on designated waterways and launch your watercraft in designated areas.

  • Travel only in areas open to your type of boat.
  • Carry a Coast Guard approved life vest (PFD) for each person on board.
  • Always operate your boat at a safe speed.
  • Always have a designated lookout to keep an eye out for other boaters, objects and swimmers.
  • Never jump a wake. If crossing a wake, cross at low speeds and keep a close lookout for skiers and towables.
  • Comply with all signs and respect barriers. This includes speed limits, no-wake zones and underwater obstructions, etc.
  • Make every effort to always go boating with a partner.
  • Make certain your trailer is in proper working order and that your lights work and your boat is secure on the trailer before you travel to your destination.
  • When trailering your boat, balance your load including items stowed inside your boat.
  • Don’t mix boating with alcohol or drugs.
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WAKE UP TO THE FACTS

Posted On: June 19, 2020

What About Your Boat's Wake?

You can save a lot of aggravation, some money and avoid being the recipient of some not so nice gestures from other boaters by using a little common sense and courtesy. This means coming completely off plane when you enter a no-wake zone or any area where your wake could compromise the safety of other boats. All too often the skippers react to a no-wake sign by slowing the boat slightly and then plowing through with the boat's bow up in the air and the stern dug down into the water. Instead of reducing the size of the boat's wake, this token reduction in speed — not quite on plane — increases the size of the wake.

No wake means NO WAKE. The first rule is to slow down so that the boat is level (without using trim tabs) and the size of the wake is negligible. Look back at the wake you're creating. You can help to reduce the size of your boat's wake by positioning passengers toward the center of the boat to keep it level. Too much weight aft lowers the stern and increases the size of the wake. Finally, keep an eye on your depth sounder; shallow water increases the impact of your boat's wake.

Damaging wakes can also be caused when a skipper waits too long to pull back on the throttle. A good example is the young skipper in New Jersey who was tying up at a marina gas dock when he encountered someone who was "cursing and accusing me of not having any respect." Words were exchanged, gestures were made. The young skipper's cruiser, it seems, had created a large wake that bashed several boats at the marina against pilings and finger piers. He had "slowed" just before reaching the gas dock, so he reasoned that the damage must have been caused by "some other boat's wake."

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THE BEST BOAT COVERAGE

Posted On: June 15, 2020


What is the best coverage for my boat?

It is best to have what is known as an "All Risk" policy, which will provide coverage for all types of losses except those specifically excluded in the policy. Typical exclusions may include wear and tear, gradual deterioration, marring, denting, scratching, animal damage, manufacturer's defects, defects in design, and ice and freezing.

How much should I insure my boat for?

You should insure your boat for the amount it would cost you to replace it with like kind and quality. This is called "Agreed Value" or "Stated Value" coverage, and in the event of a total loss, will pay the full insured amount. Beware of policies providing "Actual Cash Value" (ACV) coverage, which means the value of your boat will be replacement cost less depreciation.

What other coverages can I expect with my policy?

The following are standard coverages with standard deductibles and average limits:

  • Medical payments, $5,000
  • $1,000 limit Personal effects, $250 deductible
  • Uninsured boaters liability, between $300,000 and $500,000
  • $500 to $1000 limit Towing and assistance, no deductible
  • $1,000 limit Fishing equipment, $250 deductible
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