Blog July 2014


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Posted On: July 31, 2014



You would be surprised how many times this comes up. Yes, really!!

 Do you detect a smell when you are on your boat? Face it….

 DOES YOUR BOAT HAVE.......BO ? (Boat Odor)

More often than not, if you do, It’s most likely coming from the bilge.

 The bilge collects everything dropped, dripped, and spilled on the boat.  If your boat’s bilge has been neglected, pouring bilge cleaner in and closing the hatch may not fully resolve the issue.



 You’ll need to roll up your sleeves, remove all the debris, and then scrub the bilge.  Rinse THOROUGHLY with hot water, and if necessary, repeat the process until the inside of the bilge is thoroughly clean.

 There are no shortage of environmentally safe products that are good at degreasing and eliminating odors. Cleaning the bilge is important, but if done routinely, it should become an easily accomplished and quick fix.

 If elbow grease and the proper products don’t eliminate the odor, I recommend checking the vent hose from the holding tank. If it is compromised or if the fitting needs to be tightened, it’s a quick fix.  Should the odor become markedly stronger and fouler, after the holding tank is pumped out, you may need to replace the hose from the holding tank to the outside pumpout fitting (this is a common issue for older boats).



Posted On: July 29, 2014



Seasickness can quickly turn a day on the water into a miserable experience. Seasickness occurs when your eyes, your inner ear, and your body  send conflicting messages to your brain. Imagine you are below deck, your eyes are telling you the room isn’t moving while your inner ear senses motion. This conflicting message may result in dizziness, light-headedness, and nausea.


Prevention is better than treatment,try these tips:


   Stay on deck in a shady spot and face forward, focusing on the horizon.

   Keep your head still, while resting against a seat back.

   Eat light; avoid spicy and greasy foods and alcohol.


 Antihistamines are commonly used to prevent sea sickness. Frequently recommended over-the-counter antihistamines include Antivert, Bonine, Dramamine, and Benadryl.

The adhesive patch, Scopolamine (Transderm Scop), is available by prescription. The patch is applied behind the ear a few hours before traveling and provides 72-hour protection.

 Or try this:

 Mix a half teaspoon of ginger powder in a glass of water and drink it 20

minutes before heading out to sea.


If you still find yourself becoming nauseated, try the following:


    Get some fresh air. If you’re below deck, go on the upper deck and sit toward the middle of the boat where you’ll feel less movement.      Eat a few dry crackers.   Sip a clear, carbonated beverage.



Posted On: July 24, 2014

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.



Posted On: July 15, 2014


The best way to get good at docking is practice, practice, practice. With repetition, you start to get a feel for wind and current. Try to get someone with experience to teach you (on your boat, if possible). (And, by the way, I don’t recommend that person to be a spouse. You need a professional marineeducator or experienced boater.)         

Here’s some useful tips.

Patience !! You were not born knowing how to drive a boat just as you were not born knowing how to drive a car. You had to learn. A boat steers from the stern and pivots on its axis. So, when you steer to the right, for example, the stern of your boat moves to the left (which may explain  why you are bumping into the slips on the next dock over).

I also like to use visualization. As you are approaching your slip, make an imaginary line from the center of the bow of your boat, on a slow arcing curve into the middle of the slip. Practice keeping your boat on this imaginary line. If your boat is drifting to the left of the line you need to steer more right. If it is drifting to the right of the line you need to steer more left.

When approaching your slip you need to have some momentum to overcome any wind or current. However, momentum does not equal speed. You want just enough to get into the slip and be able to shift smoothly into reverse to stop the boat. You should also be aware that when you shift to reverse, even with the wheel centered, your stern will tend to "walk" to port because of the counter clockwise rotation of the prop.

If there is not enough room between rows of slips to do this in one continuos arc, you'll need to use reverse and make a few "course adjustments." Remember when you do this that, as you stop the momentum of the boat, the boat is more susceptible to wind and current. You need to anticipate the effects of both so that you end up where you want to be.

Wind and current will determine where you should actually begin your maneuvers in relation to your slip.

If at all possible, you want to dock into wind or current. Even if it means going past your slip and turning around and approaching from the opposite direction. It is easier to handle a boat into wind and current and it also helps slow you down as you enter your slip.



Posted On: July 01, 2014

Distress flares – which flare, how & when to use?

I often get asked questions as to what flares are the best. Here’s a quick snapshot of what I tell folks.                  


First ,Flares should be kept in a waterproof container in an easily accessible location such as a cockpit locker.

 There are several types of flares for different purposes:

Distress flares

Red handheld flares:

Use as a line of sight distress signal by day and night.
Hold with arms outstretched.
Point downwind.
Don’t look at flare.
Lasts approx 1 minute.

Orange smoke flares:

Use as a line of sight distress signal for daytime use only.
Handheld and Floating canister versions, which last approx 3 minutes.

Red parachute or rocket flares:

Use for long range distress signaling.
Up to 10 miles in daylight, 40 miles at night.
Height 300m if fired vertically.
Fire at 45º downwind in low cloud or strong winds.
Lasts less than 1 minute.

Illuminating flare
White Handheld:

Only available in some countries.
Use to signal your position at night if there is a risk of collision.
Hold with arms outstretched.
Point downwind.
Don’t look at flare.
Lasts approx 1 minute.

Some Common Sense Tips

• Handheld flares get very hot. Keep a pair of gloves with the container to prevent burns.

• Check your flares’ expiration dates and replace when necessary.

• All people and crew should know the location of the flares on board and know how to operate them.