Category Archives: Boat Maintenance

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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Introduction to Navigation Part 7 Estimating Time of Arrival

This will be the end of our  7 part series on “Introduction to Navigation.” We hope that we have given a brief overview of what you would be learning in the Nautical Know How Coastal Navigation Course. Trust me there is much, much more that we did not touch on.

Learning the “Art of Navigation” is not difficult but there are several steps that must be learned along the way. After learning about latitude and longitude, distance, direction and reading a nautical chart, you will start putting these processes together to solve real-time problems. On piece of practical information you might want to use is estimating time of arrival.

These basics are covered in the online Nautical Know How Basic Boating Safety Course at http://boatsafe.com/navigation .

Assume that you will leave your marina or boat ramp on a trip to a nearby restaurant for lunch.

  • You have made reservations at the restaurant for 1200.
  • The restaurant is 29 nautical miles from your marina.
  • You plan on a leisurely cruise at a speed of 12 kts.

What time must you leave your marina to arrive at the restaurant at your reservation time?

This is a simple Distance, Time, Speed question. The formulas to use for the calculations are made simple if you remember, and actually write in a corner of your chart, the following diagram.

The “D” represents distance, “S” represents speed and “T” represents time. In order to solve a distance, speed, time problem you need two of the three values and then must solve for the third.

Using the diagram, cover the unknown value with your finger and what you have left is the formula to solve the problem.

In our problem we know the distance and the speed so we cover up the “T” and the resulting formula is “D” over “S” or “D” divided by “S”.

Using this formula, the first step is to calculate how long it will take you to get to the restaurant by cruising at 12 knots for 29 nautical miles.

29 / 12 = 2.42 hours

Note: This is not two hours and 42 minutes, it is 2 hours and 42 hundredths of an hour. We now have to convert this decimal to minutes by multiplying .42 X 60.

.42 X 60 = 25 minutes – So…our trip will take 2 hours and 25 minutes.

Now that we know how long the trip will take, we simply need to subtract that time from the time of our 1200 reservation.

1200 – 225 = 0935

1160 – 225 = 0935

Note: that in order to subtract we had to borrow an hour from the hours column. 1160 is the same as 1200. We must leave the marina or boat ramp at 0935 (9:35 am) in order to arrive at the restaurant by noon.

If you would like to learn more about Time, Distance, Speed calculations or other aspects of navigation, check out our Nautical Know How Coastal Navigation Course.

Related Posts:

https://boatsafe.wordpress.com/2011/05/12/introduction-to-navigation/

https://boatsafe.wordpress.com/2011/05/13/introduction-to-navigation-part-2-nautical-charts/

https://boatsafe.wordpress.com/2011/05/16/introduction-to-navigation-part-3-definitions/

https://boatsafe.wordpress.com/2011/05/17/introduction-to-navigation-part-4-getting-to-know-your-magnetic-compass/

https://boatsafe.wordpress.com/2011/05/18/introduction-to-navigation-part-5-understanding-latitude-and-longitude/

https://boatsafe.wordpress.com/2011/05/19/introduction-to-navigation-part-6-time-calculations/

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Five Fall Boating Safety Tips

As the days slide farther into fall, recreational boaters face a unique set of safety issues. Warm days collide with deceptively cold waters, greatly increasing the risk of hypothermia even on a “T-shirt” day. Weather can change quickly. And, if you run into trouble, the summer crowds have gone (cue the chirping crickets) leaving few potential rescuers close by. The non-profit BoatUS Foundation has five tips that will help boaters, anglers and sailors understand these unique safety issues and ensure everyone gets home safely.

  1. Dress for the water, not the weather: Indian summers can bring T-shirt days and downright balmy temperatures – but don’t be lured into this false sense of summer. The sun may be shining, but water temperatures are cooler. Always bring extra layers and rain gear this time of year. Fast moving storms can bring sudden temperature drops, and water temperatures are now getting closer to the zone where a simple fall overboard could be a big problem. 
  2. Tell a friend: A floatplan could be as simple as letting a family member know where you are going and what time you expect to return, or a more detailed written plan for longer trips, easily left on a windshield, given to a friend, or dropped off at the Harbormaster office. One piece of floatplan etiquette: always check back “in” upon your return.
  3. Always check the weather: “You could be well prepared, however, the one thing that’s out of your hands is the weather,” says BoatUS Foundation President Chris Edmonston. The good news is that with today’s technology, it’s easy to keep an eye on it.
  4. Always check the boat: Capt. Rich Lendarson of TowBoatUS St. Joe Michigan reports, ”The majority of small craft that I see in the fall wouldn’t have sunk if owners had checked to see they had a working bilge pump.” Also do a once-over inspection of the engine, communications and safety gear to ensure all are in good shape and ready to go.
  5. Leave the drinks for home: Beer, wine or distilled spirits all do the same thing — they quickly drain your body of heat bringing on hypothermia’s deadly effects much sooner when compared to warmer months. Help yourself by avoiding alcohol while you’re out on the water.

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Semi-Annual Safety Checklist

Twice a year we recommend going through our checklist to insure you boat is in great shape. It is a good idea to do this when you bring it out and get it ready for the season and prior to winterizing your boat for the winter again .

Personal Flotation Devices (PFDs)

  • Check for wear or abrasion, weak or torn seams, secure straps and buckles. For the PFDs onboard for children, try to assess whether they will still fit in the spring. Perhaps a new PFD would be a great Christmas gift. Some types of PFDs are equipped with inflation devices; check to be sure cartridges are secure and charged.

Fire Extinguishers

  • Do you have all required quantities and types of fire extinguishers?
  • Have they been checked within the past year?
  • Are serviceable units tagged by a licensed facility?
  • Are units accessible?
  • Is at least one accessible from the helm or cockpit?
  • Are you and your crew familiar with their operation?

Fuel System

  • Is the system properly grounded at the filter, tank, deck, pump, etc.?
  • Is the fuel tank free from rust or contamination?
  • No leaks from tank, hose or fittings.
  • Hoses U.S.C.G. approved and free of cracking or stiffness with adequate slack to account for vibration.
  • Is tank secured?
  • Fuel shut-off valve on tank and at engine.
  • Engine compartment and engine clean and free of oily rags or flammable materials.
  • Blower switch at remote location.
  • Is your fuel system protected from siphoning?

Safety Equipment

  • Lifelines or rails in good condition.
  • Stanchions or pulpit securely mounted.
  • Hardware tight and sealed at deck.
  • Grab rails secure and free of corrosion or snags that may catch your hands.
  • Non-skid surfaces free from accumulated dirt or excess wear.

Ground Tackle

  • At least two anchors on board.
  • Anchor and rode adequate for your boat and bottom conditions.
  • Tackle properly secured.
  • Length of chain at anchor.
  • Thimble on rode and safety wired shackles.
  • Chafing gear at chocks for extended stays or storm conditions.
  • Anchor stowed for quick accessibility.

Stoves

  • Labeled and designated for marine use.
  • Properly ventilated to remove carbon-monoxide from cabin.
  • Retainers or rails for pots and pans while underway.
  • If built-in, properly insulated and free from combustible materials, CNG and LPG (propane).
  • Stored in separate compartment from boat’s interior and engine room.
  • Tightly secured shut-off valve at tank.
  • Proper labeling and cautions in place at tank location.
  • Hoses, lines and fittings of approved and inspected type.
  • Compartment is ventilated overboard and below level of tank base.

Electrical System

  • Wiring approved for marine applications.
  • System is neatly bundled and secured.
  • Protected against chafing and strain.
  • Adequate flex between bulkhead and engine connections.
  • Clear of exhaust system and bilge.
  • System is protected by circuit breakers or fuses.
  • Grounds to Zincs if required.
  • Wire terminals and connections sealed to prevent corrosion.

Bilge Pumps

  • Will pump(s) adequately remove water in emergency? Do you have a manual backup? Are bilges clean and free to circulate (clear limber holes)? Do you check bilges frequently and not rely on automatic pumps?

Corrosion Prevention

  • Through-hulls, props, shafts, bearings, rudder fittings, and exposed fastenings free of non-destructive corrosion.
  • Zincs are adequate to provide protection.
  • Through-hulls are properly bonded.
  • Inspect the steering cables, engine control linkage and cables, engine mounts and gear case for corrosion.
  • These items are properly lubricated or painted to prevent undue corrosion.

Through-hulls

  • Strainers, intakes and exhaust or discharge fittings are free from restrictions such as barnacles, marine growth or debris.
  • Inspect sea valves for smooth operation.
  • Handles are attached to valves for quick closure.
  • Hoses are in good condition and free from cracking.
  • Double hose-clamps below the waterline.
  • Anti-siphon valve fitted to marine toilet.
  • Through-hull plugs are near fittings or attached to hose in case of emergency.

Batteries

  • Stored in non-corrosive, liquid tight, ventilated containers.
  • Non-conductive covers are fitted over posts.
  • Batteries are well secured.

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What To Do With A Trailerboat In A Hurricane

Our friends at BoatUS and their insurance division want to remind us not to forget about your boat and trailer for those of you who may live inland and drive back and forth to your favorite waterway.

For protecting small boats in a hurricane, BoatUS recommends storing them inside, or placing them on the ground and filling them with water. 
 
As hurricanes approach the US mainland, it used to be that boaters on the coast only had to worry about making storm preparations. However, trailer boaters located far inland need to make preparations as well. For those who keep a trailer boat in their backyard, driveway or marina parking lot, Boat Owners Association of The United States (BoatUS) has these helpful hurricane storage tips as we enter the “peak” 2012 hurricane season, which runs through November 30.
 
Do a trailer check-up now: Inspect your trailer today to ensure it will be operable when it’s needed. Bearings should be greased, tires inflated and lights working.
 
Plan your escape: Map out an evacuation route and make the decision early if you are planning to take the boat with you or leave it behind. Bridges may have restrictions on towing boats.
 
When the Storm Strikes
 
Take it home: Remove all loose gear such as fenders, cushions or any extra other equipment and gear like rods, tackle boxes and electronics and store at home. This includes the boat’s papers.
 
The boat “wins” the garage: If you have a choice of putting the boat or car in the garage, pick the boat. That’s because a boat is lighter and more vulnerable to winds. If you have to store a trailer boat outside, placing the rig next to a building (on the lee side of approaching storm) for protection is good. Keep it away from trees.
 
Tilt me: Remove any cockpit drain plugs and tilt the trailer tongue up so any water entering the boat exits aft through scuppers or a drain hole. Let some air out of the trailer tires and chock the wheels.
 
Twist me: Secure gas tank caps tightly to prevent water from entering. Secure any hatches.
 
Bye bye bimini: Remove the bimini. Trailerable sailboats should have their masts lowered, safely lashed and any sails removed. Towing or mooring covers should be installed and secured with extra line.
 
Strap me: Secure the boat to the trailer with line or straps. If you have the ability, anchoring the boat and trailer rig with screw-type ground anchors adds extra protection.
 
Fill up the little guy: Small, lightweight and simply-built outboard powered boats and paddle craft can be placed on the ground and partially filled with a garden hose to add weight. (Rain will add a lot more water later.) This has the added advantage of giving you emergency water (non-drinking). If you choose to keep the boat on top of a trailer, ensure you add blocks between the trailer frame and springs to support the added weight.
 
Lift me down:  Whenever possible, boats on lifts should be stored ashore or moved to a safer location in the water. If the boat must be left on its lift, remove the drain plug so the weight of accumulated rainwater will not collapse the lift. Tie the boat securely to its lifting machinery to prevent the boat from swinging or drifting away. Plug the engine’s exhaust outlet and again, strip the boat. Make sure cockpit drains are free of debris.

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Know What To Do If You’re Dead In The Water

Provided by Mike Baron, United States Coast Guard Division of Boating Safety

Preventive maintenance is essential, but it’s not a guarantee against engine problems. Preparation, planning and knowing when to get help are keys to coping if you face engine failure while afloat.

Preparation
Preparing for the possibility of engine failure is much like preparing for any boating emergency: Ensure you have the right equipment, the right information and contingency plans.

– Carry basic tools and spares: water impeller replacement, in-line fuel filter, spark plugs, belts and a belt wrench, props, oil and coolant, screwdrivers, duct tape, and the manual for your boat and engine.

– If possible, carry basic safety equipment, including an anchor with sufficient chain and line for your boat and the water conditions, an oar and floating tow line.

– Take an emergency supply of warm clothing/blankets, extra water and food, a first-aid kit and extra signaling devices (extra pyrotechnic visual distress signals, as well as options such as a bright water-resistant flashlight, a signaling mirror and a whistle).

– Invest in a VHF-FM marine radio, preferably one with Digital Selective Calling; in an emergency, a cellphone is not an adequate substitute. You may not have cell access, and rescuers can’t pinpoint your location effectively. If you go boating often or far out, consider buying an EPIRB.

– Know who to contact in case of an emergency. On the ocean, the Great Lakes, and some rivers and designated bodies of water, it’s the U.S. Coast Guard; in other areas, it may be other local responders.

– Ensure that you and your passengers know how to use all the safety equipment.

– Plan excursions in line with your experience and skill level; don’t go far out on the ocean (or a large lake) in a small boat unless you are highly experienced and skilled.

– File a detailed float plan.

Troubleshooting
If your engine fails, drop anchor (after maneuvering out of the channel, if possible). You want to stabilize your position and avoid drifting toward any other dangers. If you don’t have an anchor aboard, improvise. Tie a line to a large bucket; in a pinch, you might use something like a duffle bag.

Ensure that all passengers put on a life jacket, if not already wearing one, and prepare to sound a horn or other audible device to warn other boats. Turn your radio to VHF Channel 16, so you are ready to warn others or call for help, if needed.

– Check for any simple problems you might be able to repair on the water:

– Check the engine cutoff switch.

– Check for common electrical problems.

– Smell for burning odors. If there is an odor or smoke, turn off the battery switch and cut and isolate any wires that are damaged, to prevent further shorts or damage.

– Make sure the battery connections are solid and the battery is not dead.

– Check that the fuel line is not disconnected or damaged.

– Look for loose or broken belts.

– If the engine seems to be overheating, check and clear clogged intakes (for outboard motors) or filters (for inboard engines).

– Check your boat and engine manual for additional troubleshooting guidance.

Get Help
Get ready to communicate clearly by radio. Know and prepare to convey the following: your position, how many people are on board, the nature of the distress and a description of your vessel (make, length, color, type, registration numbers and boat name). Nearby boaters may be able to assist, or help with a simple repair.

If you feel confident that the situation is not life threatening and the boat is not in immediate danger, transmit a Pan-Pan urgency message (pronounced pahn-pahn) to communicate that the safety of your vessel or a person is in jeopardy. If you are in a situation where grave and imminent danger threatens life or property, use the mayday call.

If you don’t have a radio, use your cellphone to communicate the same information to emergency response.

If you are unable to communicate directly, strategically use your onboard visual distress signals. Use flares when you see other boats or when other boaters are likely to be out; sound your horn intermittently. Raise your orange distress flag.

While You Wait
Remain calm. Have everyone stay aboard the boat. If it looks like you’ll be waiting for a while, minimize sun exposure to prevent dehydration. Use tarps, canvas or a blanket to improvise shade. Conserve energy; moving around needlessly also causes you to dehydrate more quickly through perspiration. Ration supplies (and don’t eat if you don’t have water). Conserve your water. Prepare to catch any rain or capture condensation.


Prevention
You can take steps to minimize the chances of engine failure:

– Have your boat’s engine and other systems serviced in accordance with manufacturer recommendations. A general rule is every 12 months or every 100 hours of use.

– Take advantage of a free Vessel Safety Check at the beginning of every boating season.

– Complete a boating safety course to get more comfortable and familiar with safety and emergency procedures.

– Be familiar with your boat; practice routine repairs so you are comfortable with the tools, parts and process.

– Take proper care between trips — particularly when winterizing at the end of the season. Use a fuel stabilizer for periods when the boat is not in use.

– Flush out outboard engines after every trip (even when boating on fresh water).

– Complete a systems check before every start — or at least once a day when your boat is in use. Check fuel, oil and water levels. If the oil level is high, it could signal water in the oil sump (and the oil itself may look milky); too low could indicate a leak.

– Inspect, clean and, if needed, replace damaged wiring.

– Never run your boat with your fuel close to empty. Know your tank’s capacity, and ensure your fuel gauge is accurate.

– Regularly scan your gauges for early indicators of problems while aboard.

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