Scott Marine Surveyor Blog

START THINKING ABOUT WINTERIZING YOUR BOAT PART TWO

Posted On: September 24, 2019

SOME MORE TIPS FOR GETTING READY TO WINTERIZE

                                                           

Part 2

Last week I started to share some winterizing tips. Here's some more....


5: REPLACE GEAR OIL

Drain the lower unit of old gear oil and replace with a fresh supply. Whn changing the gear oil, be sure to check for moisture. If water comes out first, or if you see milky or lumpy oil, this is an indication your boat is experiencing moisture contamination and will need new seals before next season.

 6: GREASE AND LUBRICATE

 Find your engine’s grease fittings (most will be located in the steering

mechanism area), then use a quality marine lubricant to protect against rust,

corrosion and oxidation. Check your owner’s manual to be sure you don’t miss any

important areas that need to be greased before winter storage.

 7: REMOVE VALUABLES

 Boatyards receive little traffic in the winter, which makes break-ins easy.

Remove all valuables, including expensive electronics.

  8: CLEAN AND WAX

  9: COVER

 The best place to store your boat is in dry storage, but this can be expensive—especially in areas with long winters. At a minimum, you’ll need to cover your boat with a durable cover. Another good option is to shrink wrap your vessel.

 

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START THINKING ABOUT WINTERIZING

Posted On: September 19, 2019

Before too long, it will be time to move the boat and prepare for the winter season.

Here's the first in a series of some tips to get ready.

STEP 1: REPLACE ENGINE OIL

Moisture and acids in old oil will pit bearings and other engine parts while in storage, so you need to drain it. First warm up the engine, while in water, so more of the dirty oil will drain out and impurities will flush out more easily.

 Use high quality oil and filters as recommended by your engine’s manufacturer. For 4-stroke outboard motors, change the oil and filter before storing for the winter.

STEP 2: FLUSH AND DRAIN COOLING WATER

To prevent damage from expanding water when it freezes, you must drain water from your engine.

For inboard and stern driven engines: Flush the engine with clean water by using water muffs or a similar device to connect a garden hose to your cooling system. (Never run a water engine without water). Then flush until the engine reaches normal operating temperature.

 

Remember, remove drain plugs. These are usually located in the engine block and manifold. You may also need to remove the water pump hose to drain remaining water.

 

STEP 3: STABILIZE YOUR FUEL

Fuel can deteriorate in as little as 60 days, causing gum and varnish to build up in your engine. This results in hard starting, poor performance and reduced engine life.

The easiest way to prevent these problems is by adding a high quality marine

fuel stabilizer to prevent fuel deterioration. Then fill the tank with fresh fuel to prevent corrosion-causing water condensation. Simply run the engine for a few minutes to get treated gas throughout system—either when your boat’s in the water or while using a fitting designed to run the engine with a garden hose.

Here’s A Myth Buster: Simply draining gasoline does not prevent varnish formation in engines, since some fuel is always left behind. In addition, gaskets can dry out and that can cause leaks in the spring.

STEP 4: PROTECT INTERNAL ENGINE COMPONENTS

Remember, While in storage, engine oil drains away. This exposes internal engine components to harsh elements in winter and can lead to corrosion and metal-to-metal contact, called cylinder scuffing, come spring.  To prevent these issues, use a fogging oil spray. This type of product is specially formulated to penetrate deep into the engine and coat parts with a protective layer of anti-corrosive compound.

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SO YOU ARE THINKING ABOUT A BOAT

Posted On: September 17, 2019

Marine Surveys

So you are contemplating buying a boat. You think you have a budget in mind, and now you are out attending all the Fall Boat shows. That used boat looks so good and its much less than that brand new one.

Well new or not, a survey is a good idea.

Too many complaints to Consumer Protection start with "The seller said that everything worked fine, but when I launched the boat, I found all kinds of problems!" Unless you're looking at a simple, inexpensive boat, hire your own expert to inspect it.

A condition-and-valuation survey is a snapshot of the condition and value of a boat; think of it as an independent document that speaks for the boat. Marine surveyors will check the condition of AC and DC electrical systems, plumbing and thru-hull fittings, deck hardware, propane and fuel systems, steering and controls, and safety equipment. A proper marine survey will be an in-depth written report that evaluates the boat according to U.S. Coast Guard regulations and to American Boat & Yacht Council and National Fire Protection Association standards. A knowledgeable surveyor will also know if a specific make has a history of major problems. A survey is a useful tool for buyers to negotiate a price based on what repairs or upgrades the boat needs.

Surveys are sometimes required for insurance and financing, but most buyers should get one even if it's not required — it can easily pay for itself by uncovering potentially expensive repairs, and it gives you a firm value from which to negotiate.

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MARINE SURVEY BASICS

Posted On: September 12, 2019

The Basics of a Survey

Not all surveys are the same, but they generally begin by describing the boat overall.

This part of the survey lists the year, make, model, hull identification number (HIN), and the basic specs of the boat, such as length, beam, and weight. It should also explain the scope of the survey, which describes the limitations. For example, it may say that hard-to-access areas were not inspected, that electronics were only powered up and not tested, or that engines were not part of the survey

From there, the survey goes into meatier stuff. It will document the condition of structural components, such as hull and deck, running gear, bulkheads, and engine beds. Things like the fuel, plumbing, and electrical systems are inspected and discussed with respect to relevant standards; living spaces are inspected; and safety items are noted, such as the existence — or the lack — of carbon-monoxide alarms and fire extinguishers.

A good survey is more than just an inventory of the boat's equipment. The surveyor will comment on each section of the inspected boat. Finally, near the end of the survey are the recommendations, arguably the most important part.

Don't select a surveyor on price alone; find one that has experience on your type of boat and one with whom you feel comfortable.

1. Boats don't pass or fail a survey. The buyer determines if the boat is acceptable or not, and the insurance company will list what must be done in order to provide coverage.

2. Even a brand-new boat will almost certainly have some recommendations from the surveyor, though most of them should be addressable through the builder's warranty.

3. Surveys include an approximate current fair-market value for use by lenders and insurance companies. This can serve as a price negotiation tool.

4. A survey is a useful guide for planning upgrades and repairs and allows you to prioritize your budget.

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GETTING THAT URGE TO BUY A BOAT?

Posted On: September 10, 2019


It's the time of year where many of you are hit with the boat buying bug.

It can be a daunting experience and costly if you don't prepare.

Here is an old article based on one by Charles Fort which kind of sums it up.

Lessons Learned In Buying A Boat

­Education and research helped make the purchase a smooth process.

After years of cruising and sailing, you decide it was time to trade it in.  Suddenly you find yourself on the other side, you think you have extensive knowledge of the buying process, after all you read all the magazines and see and talk to everyone on the dock.

That may be true, but maybe you could still learn a few things that just may help you when it's time to go boat shopping.

Make sure you know what you want. Your boat-buying criteria:  your must haves: type, age, amenities, and budget.

Lesson 1: Make a realistic offer.

After locating a suitable boat, don’t cheap out. If it seems super-clean and perfect. Make a good offer. Don’t assume a low-ball offer will be countered. All too often, another offer may already on the boat. Even if you raise your offer you may still lose your perfect boat for seemingly chump change.

So bid realistically, or you may lose the boat you want.

Lesson 2: Search deeper.

Exhausted the listings of two or three area yacht brokers, check out several local marina websites. You may find what your looking for.

Lesson 3: Educate yourself.

Research the vessel you are considering. Read every blog, forum, owner's manual, and service manual you can get your hands on. Watch videos.  Check the Consumer Protection complaint database to see if the boat, engine, or dealership had any complaints.

Lesson 4: Negotiate.

Ask about current offers on the boat, and make what you consider a reasonable offer based on the facts. If the owners counter, make sure the offer is contingent on a satisfactory survey and sea trial.

Lesson 5: Focus on the big picture.

All used boats (and many new ones) will have some problems.  You can't expect everything to be perfect. "If a sea trial and survey don't reveal anything serious or alarming, ( just the normal small items found on all surveys) it usually a good idea not to nitpick the sellers. The engine and other major systems on the boat should be the primary focus.  

Lesson 6: Get it in writing.

If your offer includes repairs, get everything in writing. Make a list of what needs to be performed.

 "Before settlement, get an invoice of items the sellers paid for. Read the boatyard's repair-warranty policy and make sure it transfers to a new owner. One more nugget: "There's no standard-length warranty for service work, and don't assume a yard is going to extend it if something breaks later. Check the work right away."

Lesson 7: A good dealer or broker will go the extra mile.

During our research, we learned that our dealer had a good reputation. The salesman spent an hour removing the old registration stickers for us, gave us some spare oil, flares, and a horn, and got the techs to power wash the cockpit carpet. I'd expect this more from a dealer who owned the boat, but consignment sales, where the sale is just based on a straight commission, often have less room for such extras."

Lesson 8: Go with a known entity.

An established repair facility can mean the difference between a day on the water and a day stuck at the dock. "The best thing you can do is to mitigate any surprises up front. Even a survey and sea trial are not guarantees that everything possible can be found, but without them, you may be faced with far more expensive repairs."

Lesson 9: Now educate yourself — some more.

If your invited us to join a class on boat maintenance for your new possession, or further education on things like docking and line handling, take them. Even if you're just moving up in size on the same kind of boat, maintenance and boat handling may be quite different from what you're used to.

 

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PREPARATION FOR THE STORM

Posted On: September 05, 2019

Photo of a hurricane damage boat


PREPARE FOR THE STORM BEFORE IT HITS

That means having a well-thought-out plan long before a hurricane warning is posted. To be successful, your hurricane plan needs to address the where, when, who, and what of hurricane preparation.

Where Will You Store The Boat?

As with real estate, three things matter most: location, location, location. Your boat's chances of surviving a hurricane undamaged are highest if it's where the worst of the storm isn't. When it's practical and safe, moving your boat out of the way is the best strategy. If your boat is trailerable, take it inland and to high ground; if not, you or a captain can relocate it by water. When hurricanes threaten the Northeast, hundreds of coastal and offshore boats migrate north to Maine or up the Connecticut and Hudson rivers.

But if your boat is farther south, the lack of precision in forecasting makes relocating the boat by water a risky proposition. You may end up moving it into the storm's path or, worse, finding yourself offshore in the middle of a hurricane. If getting the boat out of the way of the storm isn't safe or practical, more than 30 years of BoatUS Marine Insurance claim files show that boats on the hard suffer relatively less damage than those in the water. When the boat is left at a mooring, at anchor, or tied to a dock and something goes wrong, it's more likely to end up sinking or aground than if it had been ashore. That can be extremely costly. In addition to losing your boat, there could be expenses for cleaning up any spilled fuel and removing the wreckage that results. Unless your marina docks have been engineered and built to withstand hurricane-force winds and the accompanying surge, WE recommend hauling the boat and securing it on the hard.

Whether you haul the boat or leave it in the water, your most obvious option is to leave it wherever it is. But the place where you normally keep your boat may be a disastrous one in a hurricane. Here are the key factors to consider when assessing how well a particular location might protect your boat in a tropical storm.

Surge

Most people think wind poses the greatest threat to life and property from a hurricane. In fact, storm surge poses at least as much danger. Superstorm Sandy's wind speeds were below hurricane force when it made landfall in New Jersey, but its surge damaged or destroyed an estimated 65,000 recreational boats. In Hurricane Katrina in 2005, some 1,500 people lost their lives, and many of those deaths occurred directly or indirectly as a result of storm surge. The National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) has created an experimental website where you can zoom in on your locale to see what the maximum surge height above ground level would be in a direct hit by a Category 1 through Category 5 hurricane. You can use that data to assess whether the piling heights on floating docks are high enough to keep the finger piers from being lifted off the pilings and to gauge how high storm surge could be in the hard-stand area. While you're at it, if you live in a coastal area, you might want to see how your house would fare. Google "ArcGIS Storm Surge" to find the website.

Fetch

When wind blows across open water, it generates waves. Breaking waves have a tremendous amount of power; they regularly destroy massive concrete structures at the water's edge. The height of the waves depends upon wind strength, duration, water depth, and the exposed distance (called the fetch). Hurricane-force winds blowing across half a mile (the fetch) of open water 25 feet deep can generate waves of 2.5 feet and more in height. Increase that distance to 10 miles, and waves will grow to a minimum of 6 feet high. Wind direction is determined by which part of the hurricane passes over your location, so when putting together your hurricane plan, assume that you could get wind from any direction. If your marina is exposed to open water, or protected from open water only by a breakwall, it's vulnerable to wave damage, especially if there's also a surge risk. In Sandy, the combination of surge and waves lifted boats stored on the hard off their jackstands and carried them inland, sometimes for miles.

Flooding

Hurricanes can bring rains of 6 to 12 inches in 24 hours, which can overwhelm the cockpit drainage of boats in the water, causing them to sink; the rainfall can also find its way through any fitting or hatch that isn't completely watertight, flooding the boat. If your marina is located in a low-lying area or near a river, floodwaters can combine with surge to further increase the maximum water height above ground level. Take that into account when considering piling heights or the height of the hard stand above sea level.

Wind

Hills or manmade structures that are able to withstand hurricane-force winds will break the power of the wind and reduce the risk of wind damage. Conversely, if the place where you keep your boat is surrounded by buildings not built to hurricane standards — boatyard sheds, for example — there likely will be a lot of shrapnel in the air as those buildings are shredded by the wind.

If you determine that your boat's normal location is unlikely to provide adequate protection in a hurricane, pursue other options. You may be able to contract with a nearby marina to haul your boat when a hurricane warning is issued, or you could take it to a nearby canal or hurricane hole and secure it. If your boat is normally on a lift and is trailerable, you should plan on getting the boat to a ramp, putting it on the trailer, and securing it inland. If the boat's not trailerable, your best option may be to take it off the lift and secure it several feet from the dock with a combination of lines to the dock, lines to shore, and anchors.

Don't wait for a hurricane warning, which is issued when tropical storm-force winds (39 mph) or higher are expected within 36 hours (with hurricane-force winds expected to follow some time after). By the time you get word, finish work, and get to your boat, you'll be lucky to have 24 hours before the winds start blowing. If the warning comes on a week night, you may have less than 12 hours. If your plan calls for moving the boat, that won't be nearly enough time. Even if that's not your plan, marina personnel will be preoccupied with hauling and preparing boats, hardware stores and chandleries will be overrun, and roads will be clogged with people leaving the area.

At the latest, you should start your preparations when a hurricane watch is issued, which happens 48 hours in advance of the predicted start of tropical storm-force winds, even though tropical storm-force winds in your area are only probable. Depending on what your plan is, take steps that will reduce preparation time if and when a warning is issued. That might mean making sure the trailer is ready to roll and getting the boat on it if it's stored on a lift or at a marina, doubling all the lines if you're leaving the boat in the water, or stripping all the canvas off the boat.

If you need to move the boat, or if your preparations could take several days, you may have to start even earlier. Keeping track of any storm that's active in the Atlantic Basin can give you several more days of warning and will mean that a watch issued in your area will never come as a surprise.

Who Will Prepare Your Boat?

Are you going to do all the work yourself? Or is the marina responsible for hauling the boat, after which you'll strip the canvas and make sure everything's watertight? Or do you have a professional who does all of the preparation for you? Whatever you decide, make sure that your written hurricane plan spells out who's responsible for what and that nothing is left undone.

If you plan to leave your boat in a marina, ask for a copy of the marina's hurricane plan. Will the marina call you when a hurricane is approaching and when there's a watch, or will it wait until a warning is issued? What are the marina's responsibilities, and what does the staff consider to be your responsibilities? If your plan calls for the boat to be stored on the hard, is there any guarantee that your boat will be hauled? What happens if it isn't? When will you be notified? Understanding the marina's hurricane plan is critical to putting together your own.

What Will Smart Preparations Include?

No matter where you're going to store your boat during a hurricane, you'll need to strip all the canvas from it and make sure that it's watertight. Beyond that, your exact preparations will depend upon whether the boat is being stored on its trailer, on the hard, in a slip, at anchor, or on a mooring, or somewhere else.



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MAYBE ITS YOUR ROUTINE

Posted On: September 03, 2019

Your morning routine is the key to your day. You line everything up for success, but one false move can cause it all to come tumbling down.

Here are some habits experts say can keep you functioning.

1. Hitting the Snooze Button

It’s tempting to steal a few more minutes of sleep, but hitting snooze has a negative impact on your physical and emotional well-being. Hitting the snooze button actually sets you up to be groggy and less productive because you are repeatedly waking yourself out of a deep sleep. The solution: getting out of bed right away (even if it seems impossible).

2. Checking Your Phone

Doing this first thing in the morning stimulates self-criticism and judgments in your mind. Your emails and texts are all about things to do, things to buy, things to add to your to-do list,. This amounts to either the stuff that other people want you to be paying attention to, or what your mind says you should be paying attention to.

Even if you leave your inbox alone and stick to Instagram, you can do harm to your psyche because social media causes you to compare yourself to other people.

Bottom line: Checking your phone first thing can awaken your inner critic. To stop yourself from opening Twitter immediately after turning off your alarm, charge your phone in another room.

Begin your day instead with a self-affirming habit like journaling or meditation.

3. Planning Your Day

If you wake up and have no idea what's on your schedule, where you have to be, or what you’re going to wear, then your day is already off to a frantic start. Organizing your day the night before will help you’ll feel refreshed and ready to go in the morning.

4. Drinking Water...

You may be craving a cup of coffee as soon as your feet hit the floor, but what your body really needs is a glass of water, Since you haven’t had any liquids in your system for at least six (or hopefully eight) hours, your body is dehydrated. You can have the coffee (see below), but your body will function better—you'll have fewer headaches, less fatigue, and smaller bags under your eyes—if you down a glass of water first. 

5. ...and Coffee

Don't feel guilty about reaching for the coffee pot after you've had your water—it is actually good for your body. Coffee is a great source of antioxidants, and it can increase energy as well as help to stabilize our moods. It can also help keep our brains healthier and our minds sharper.

Too much coffee isn’t going to do you any favors, though. Stick with one or two cups a day, and be consistent with how much you drink, or else you’ll start getting headaches and withdrawal symptoms.

based on an article by Danielle Braff

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ENJOY LABOR DAY SAFELY

Posted On: August 29, 2019

Make safety part of your Labor Day weekend plans

The Labor Day holiday weekend is a busy boating weekend.

Patrols will be out in force looking for people who are boating while intoxicated and operating in an unsafe manner. In an effort to increase safety, Coast Guard and local officers will be working over the holiday weekend. Boaters are asked to do their part by remaining alert for other boats and swimmers, and being courteous on the water. With more boats on the water, it is even more important to pay attention when operating a vessel.

Remember: If you choose to drink alcohol, don’t operate a vessel. Alcohol consumption slows reaction time. Pay attention to the boats around you and ask your passengers to assist with this. Evasive maneuvers should be made early and deliberately. Check your vessel’s navigation lights before heading out at night, and be sure to have spare bulbs on board. Avoid overloading your boat with too many passengers, and observe day and nighttime speed limits.

Have a safe and enjoyable weekend.

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