Ways to Save on the Water this Summer

Fuel nozzleWith the ever spiraling cost of fuel for your boat, here are a few tips on how you can save. I know, the news has been reporting that prices should be going down but as was noted by Jay Leno before he recently retired , “The price of oil is now under $100 a barrel. The oil companies say they should be passing on the savings to us in six or seven years.”

Tips For Reducing Fuel Usage:

  • Slower speeds on the water will reduce use.
  • The proper use of trim tabs reduces drag, especially while accelerating up to planning speeds.
  • Minimize the amount of time that you idle at the dock.
  • Minimize the use of onboard generators.
  • Use dock-side electrical power in lieu of generators.
  • Have a float plan so you know exactly where you’re going.
  • Make sure the hull is clean.
  • Don’t under-power your boat. It’s important you have enough motor to handle the load.
  • Check your propeller. If your boat is slow “out of the hole” (getting up on plane) or lacks top-end speed, you might have the wrong propeller.
  • A well-tuned engine uses less fuel.
  • Use the grade of gasoline specified by the engine manufacturer.

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Recovery Tips for Boats Damaged by Tornados

waterspoutCourtesy BoatUS.com

ALEXANDRIA, Va., April 29, 2014 — After yesterday’s devastating tornados in the South and Midwest, Boat Owners Association of The United States (BoatUS) has these tips for affected boat owners to get the recovery process started and to preserve the value of boats damaged by the storms:

1. If insured, notify your insurance company as soon as possible. All BoatUS insurance customers have assistance available with post-storm recovery and are urged to call the BoatUS Claims at (800) 937-1937 as soon as practical. If your boat is sunk or must be moved by a salvage company, it is not recommended that you sign any salvage or wreck removal contract without first getting approval from your insurance company. If possible, take photographs or videos of the boat before it is moved – these may help to quickly resolve your claim.

2. Play it safe. Damaged marinas could have fuel leaking from boats or other hazards, and understand that some facilities may need to temporarily restrict access until these hazards are taken care of. Only enter with permission and never climb in or on boats that have piled up together, are under damaged shed roofs, or are hung up on other obstructions.

3. Depending on your boat’s location, and if it is safe to do so, you may want to consider removing as much equipment as possible to a safe place to protect it from looters or vandals. It’s a good idea to put your contact information somewhere conspicuously on the boat – along with a “No Trespassing” sign.

4. Protect the boat from further water damage resulting from exposure to the weather. This could include covering broken windows or hatches. As soon as possible, start drying the boat out, either by taking advantage of sunny weather or using electric air handlers. All wet and damaged materials items such as cushions should be removed, dried out and saved for a potential insurance claim. The storm may be gone, but the clock could be ticking on mold growth.

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Annual List of Top Ten Boat Names

Each year our friends at BoatUS feature the list of most popular boat names.  The following article is courtesy of BoatUS.

If a car’s vanity license plate can tell you a lot about the person behind the wheel, what can a boat name tell you about the person behind the helm? Boat Owners Association of The United States (BoatUS) just released the national boating organization’s 24th Annual Top Ten Boat Names List and may have the answer.

The BoatUS list of Top Ten Boat Names:

  1. Serenity
  2. Second Wind
  3. Island Girl
  4. Freedom
  5. Pura-Vida
  6. Andiamo
  7. Island Time
  8. Irish Wake
  9. Happy Hours
  10. Seas the Day

“We’ve had indicators that a boater who names their boat Second Wind may have rebounded from a misfortune such as divorce, health or other major issue, while someone who names their boat Island Girl or Island Time may enjoy a more carefree spirit and need an escape from everyday life,” said Greg Edge of BoatUS Boat Graphics. “And you can guess that boats with names like Happy Hours may be the most popular boats on Friday night at the marina or Saturday afternoon raft-up – their more outgoing owners celebrating with family and friends.”

Need a boat name? BoatUS has over two decades of top ten boat name lists and over 9,000 names in its online Boat Name Directory, a checklist to help pick a name, christening ceremony information and an easy-to-use online design tool to make your own boat name, all at BoatUS.com/boatgraphics.

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Pre-Season Checklist – Dewinterizing Your Boat for the Season

Spring is here and it is not too soon to start thinking about dewinterizing your boat for the season. Even if you live in an area where the “boating season” doesn’t begin with the start of spring, your “season” will be here before you know it.

Because there are so many variables depending on the size and type of boat you have, we have categorized this list for your convenience.  In order to assure a safe and uneventful season make sure that you go through the list below and make a note of any discrepancies that need attention.

Applicable To All Large Boat Small Boat Sail Boat
General
Hull
Deck Fittings
Required Equipment
Below Decks
Electrical System
Inboard Engine(s)
Head System
Water System
Galley
Outboard Motor(s)
Trailer
Sails
Mast & Rigging

GENERAL:

  • Do a general cleaning of hull, deck and topsides using a mild detergent
  • Make sure drains and scuppers are clear
  • Put on a good coat of wax
  • Clean and polish metal with a good metal polish
  • Clean teak and oil
  • Clean windows and hatches
  • Clean canvas, bimini and dodger
  • Clean interior including bilges
  • Check spare parts and tools and replace as necessary
  • Make sure registration is current and onboard
  • Check and replace wiper blades if necessary

HULL

  • Check for hull abrasions, scratches, gouges, etc. and repair
  • Check and replace zincs
  • Check for blisters and refinish is necessary
  • Check rub rails
  • Check swim platform and/or ladder
  • Inspect and test trim tabs
  • Check shaft, cutlass bearing, strut and prop
  • Check rudder and fittings
  • Touch up or replace antifouling paint

DECK, FITTINGS, SAFETY EQUIPMENT:

  • Check stanchion, pulpits and lifelines for integrity
  • Check ground tackle, lines, fenders, etc.
  • Check chainplates and cleats
  • Check hull/deck joint
  • Check deck, windows, and port lights for leaks
  • Inspect anchor windlass and lubricate
  • Clean and grease winches
  • Check and lubricate blocks, pad eyes, etc.
  • Check dinghy, and life raft

BELOW DECKS:

  • Check, test and lubricate seacocks
  • Check condition of hoses and clamps
  • Make sure below waterline hoses are double clamped
  • Check bilges pumps for automatic and manual operation
  • Check for oil in bilges
  • Check limber holes and make sure they are clear of debris
  • Lubricate stuffing boxes, shaft and rudder logs

ELECTRICAL SYSTEM AND COMPONENTS:

  • Check battery water level
  • Check/recharge batteries
  • Check terminals for corrosion, clean and lubricate
  • Check bonding system
  • Inspect all wiring for wear and chafe
  • Test all gauges for operability
  • Check shore power and charger
  • Check for spare fuses
  • Check all lighting fixtures (including navigation lights) and make sure you have spare bulbs
  • Check all electronics for proper operation
  • Inspect antennas

REQUIRED AND RECOMMENDED EQUIPMENT:

  • Sound signaling device
  • Check distress signals and expiration date
  • Check Pfds
  • Inspect life rings and cushions
  • Check fire extinguishers and recharge if necessary
  • Check and adjust compass
  • Check navigation lights
  • Check charts and replace as necessary
  • Check radar reflector
  • Check and replace first aid supplies
  • Check bailer and hand pump

INBOARD ENGINE(S):

  • Change oil & filters – have spare onboard
  • Check and change fuel filters – have spares onboard
  • Check and change engine zincs
  • Check cooling system change coolant as necessary – have extra onboard
  • Record engine maintenance log, especially date & hours of last oil changes
  • Check belts for tension
  • Check transmission fluid
  • Check and clean backfire flame arrestor
  • Check impeller
  • Check and clean water strainer
  • Check bilge blower
  • Empty water separator filters

HEAD SYSTEM:

  • Checked for smooth operation – lubricate and clean as necessary
  • If equipped with treatment system, have chemicals on hand
  • Y-valve operation checked, valve labeled & secured

WATER SYSTEM:

  • Flush water tank
  • Check water system and pump for leaks and proper operation
  • Check hot water tank working on both AC and engines
  • Check for tank cap keys on board
  • Check and clean shower sump pump screens

GALLEY:

  • Fill propane tank, check electric & manual valves, check storage box vent to make sure it is clear
  • Check refrigerator, clean and freshen, operate on AC and DC
  • Clean stove, check that all burners and oven are working
  • Check microwave, if fitted
OUTBOARD MOTOR:

 

  • Replace spark plugs
  • Check plug wires for wear
  • Check prop for nicks and bends
  • Change/fill gear lube
  • Inspect fuel lines, primer bulb and tank for leaks
  • Lubricate and spray moveable parts

TRAILER:

  • Check for current registration
  • Check rollers and pads
  • Check and lubricate wheel bearings
  • Clean and lubricate winch
  • Lubricate tongue jack and wheel
  • Test lights and electrical connections
  • Check tire pressure and condition
  • Check brakes (if equipped)
  • Check safety chains
  • Check tongue lock

SAILS:

  • Check general condition
  • Look for wear and chafing
  • Check battens and batten pockets
  • Check all sail attachments
  • Inspect bolt rope

MAST AND RIGGING:

  • Check mast and spreaders for corrosion or damage
  • Inspect spreader boots and shrouds
  • Inspect rivets and screw connections for corrosion
  • Check reefing points and reefing gear
  • Clean sail track
  • Check rigging, turnbuckles and clevis pins for wear and corrosion
  • Inspect stays for fraying and “fish hooks”
  • Check forestay and backstay connections
  • Check masthead fitting and pulleys
  • Check and lubricate roller furling
  • Check halyards and consider replacing or swapping end for end
  • Tape turnbuckles, cotter pins, and spreaders

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Spring Officially Here, USCG Urges Boaters To Use Caution

1st Coast Guard District News
BOSTON — As air temperatures  get warmer, more and more recreational boaters are taking to the water and the Coast Guard cautions boaters not to be fooled by the warmer air temperatures; the water is still cold, very cold.

Every year the Coast Guard responds to cold water accidents resulting in the untimely deaths of unsuspecting boaters.

The sudden immersion in cold water can result in hypothermia and death.

Hypothermia is dangerous because it affects the body’s core – the brain, heart, lungs, and other vital organs. Even a mild case of hypothermia affects your physical and mental abilities, and increases the risk of accidents. Severe hypothermia causes loss of consciousness and may result in death. Cold water is especially dangerous because loss of body heat occurs 25 times faster in cold water than in cold air. Hypothermia occurs when the body’s core temperature falls below its normal level of 98.6°F to 95°F or cooler.

The Coast Guard strongly urges all boaters to wear life jackets anytime while out on the water and to always check the weather conditions before heading out. Having proper survival gear while underway and filing a float plan with a friend or family member is strongly recommended.

“One of the key things to keep in mind is that even if it’s warm out, the water is still cold,” said Walt Taylor, the 1st Coast Guard District’s Recreational Boating Safety specialist. “When a person falls in cold water, their body responds to the initial shock with an instantaneous gasp for air, which if their head is underwater may cause the person to swallow water and drown.”

Wearing a lifejacket is proven to save lives because it helps keep your head out of the water if you fall overboard.

“By the time you fall in the water, it’s probably too late to try and put on a lifejacket,” said Taylor. “It only works if you wear it.”

All Coast Guard personnel that operate aboard a vessel are required to wear the appropriate hypothermia protection and survival equipment according to air and water temperatures.

Click here for an important boating safety message.

For more information about safe boating, please visit: http://www.uscgboating.org/.

The American Canoe Association provides more information on cold water survival.

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Informed Boater on Board

Make passenger safety briefings part of your predeparture routine.

Contributed by John Malatak, chief, Program Operations, U.S. Coast Guard Boating Safety Division.

During an onboard emergency, precious seconds can be lost telling passengers where to locate and how to use vital safety equipment. If the boat operator (you) has been injured or otherwise put out of commission, the situation can suddenly turn life-threatening — too often with tragic results.

Two summers ago off the Massachusetts coast, the captain of a sailboat was knocked overboard by the boom while trying to get the sails down during a severe thunderstorm. His only passenger — a friend visiting from out of town — didn’t know how to radio for help. When he finally got through to the Coast Guard station, which was less than a half-mile away, he was unable to tell the dispatcher where he was. By the time the Coast Guard determined the vessel’s position and reached it with a patrol boat, it was too late. The captain had drowned because the only other person on board did not know what action to take in an emergency.

If you’re taking passengers along on your boat, make a full safety briefing part of your predeparture routine. It only takes a few minutes to show passengers where safety equipment is stored and how to use it, as well as the proper procedures for calling for emergency assistance. Consider what your passengers need to know in an emergency, especially if you are injured or fall overboard; then, customize the briefing to the unique characteristics of your boat.

Time spent briefing your passengers about onboard procedures and safety can make a huge difference in the event of a true emergency, when every second counts. Consider printing your safety orientation on a laminated card that can be posted in a prominent spot on your vessel. Also, label where the equipment is located on your boat. Read on to find out what your passengers need to know.

Safety Briefing Points:

1. Where life jackets are located and how to wear them properly. (The Coast Guard strongly suggests that all passengers wear their life jacket at all times while on board an open boat.) If your passengers are not wearing their life jacket, at a minimum have them put a life jacket on and size it properly. Then have them put a piece of masking tape on it and write their name on the tape. That way, in an emergency situation, they will have a prefitted life jacket that is easy to locate.  And remember, if you have children on board, they will need a proper-fitting, child-sized life jacket.

2. How to use the VHF marine radio and make a mayday distress call.

3. Where to find the EPIRB (emergency position-indicating radio beacon), survival equipment, visual distress signals, first-aid kit and fire extinguisher — and how to use them.

4. What to do if someone falls overboard and where to find the throw bags, life rings and life slings.

5. How to stop the boat safely and any unique features and/or idiosyncrasies of your boat, particularly if they might have an impact on passenger safety.

6. Where the anchor is located and how to stop and anchor the boat.

7. That they need to follow instructions exactly and get out of the way if something goes wrong and the boat operator has not asked for assistance. Some frightened people will stand rooted in place while chaos is going on around them. Knowing they should stay out of the way is important information.

8. How to use any installed global positioning system (GPS) equipment you may have on board.

Wrap up your briefing by answering any additional questions they may have. If any passengers are confused about boating safety procedures, the time for clarification is before you leave the dock.

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What is AIS?

Rule 9AIS is intended to help ships avoid collisions, as well as assisting port authorities to better control sea traffic. AIS transponders on board vessels include a GPS (Global Positioning System) receiver, which collects position and movement details. It includes also a VHF transmitter, which transmits periodically this information on two VHF channels (frequencies 161.975 MHz and 162.025 MHz – old VHF channels 87 & 88) and make this data available to the public domain. Other vessels or base stations are able to receive this information, process it using special software and display vessels locations on a chart plotter or on a computer.

If you like tracking ships or just like being nosey, you can use the Marine Traffic website to do just that. You can move around the map and zoom in on your area and see what commercial traffic is there, what direction it is moving and at what speed is it moving. If you live in an area where you often see commercial ships that you wonder about just look them up real time as they pass by. Use the following link to visit the Marine Traffice site.  http://www.marinetraffic.com/ais/default.aspx?level0=100

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