Blog November 2016

HIT THE CLASSROOM AND BOAT BETTER

Posted On: November 29, 2016

Winter is A great Time to Get Educated!!

 So you bought that boat. You have been aboard others boats for years, and even helped, but this one is your own. What better way to hone your skills, stay safe, and make everyone’s experience with you better, than preparing for your time on the water now.

While winter white may not put you in the mood for watersports, winter is a great time to prepare for boating season by taking a boating safety course or a specialty skills course such as coastal piloting or how to use a GPS device. The U.S. Coast Guard recommends that all recreational boaters take a National Association of Boating Law Administrators–approved boating safety course. The basic NASBLA course provides rules and regulations, emergency procedures and the navigational skills necessary for a beginner. There are many options available to successfully complete a boating safety course, including the traditional classroom course, web-based instruction and a home study course offered in some states.

There are easily accessible classes available for new and experienced boaters alike — and education designed for boaters of every age. The U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary, U.S. Power Squadrons and many state boating agencies sponsor classes.

For new boaters, basic courses generally have six to 13 lessons and provide a foundation of operational and safety instruction. That includes the boat and required equipment, trip planning, safe boat operations, emergency procedures, state-specific requirements and other water activities such as waterskiing, towed devices and wake sports.

Need help finding a class?

The U.S. Coast Guard website also provides more resources for Boating Safety Courses at uscgboating.org/safety/boating_safety_courses_.aspx.

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CARVING THE TURKEY

Posted On: November 23, 2016

                 

Carving the Perfect Turkey    


Every year, countless families cringe as the annual carve the turkey debate rages on. So in the interest of harmony and Thanksgiving, here's what the pro's say.


Six steps to serving the perfect Thanksgiving bird

by Gerry Brown

Carving, and serving, the perfect turkey

 

Many beautiful Rockwellian Thanksgiving feasts have been spoiled when the golden brown turkey is hacked to pieces by an improperly trained carver. Whether you are looking to improve your technique, confirm that you are doing it right, or getting ready to pass the knife to Junior this year, here's a quick look at the proper way to look good slicing up and giving your family the bird.

 

What you'll need:

 

        a turkey;

        a good, long, sharp knife (an electric carving knife is nice but unnecessary and can often be more trouble than it's worth; if you're just starting out, go with an old fashioned manual model);

        a carving fork;

        an apron;

        a spot to place the meat as it's cut.

 

Step One

A Perfectly Cooked Turkey

Make sure the turkey is done! Sounds simple but several variables can conspire to throw off the pre-cooked time calculations. You want to make sure that you use a real meat thermometer, not one of those pop-up deals. Most times you'll end up with an overdone, dried out turkey and that's a nightmare for carvers. The meat will shred and crumble.

 

Assuming the turkey is stuffed, stick the tip of the thermometer into the stuffed cavity of the turkey. If the turkey is not stuffed, put the thermometer into the thigh pointing toward the body, but make sure it doesn't touch bone. If you are using an instant-read thermometer, don't leave it in while the turkey is roasting. The turkey is done when the thermometer says 160°F in the center of the stuffing or 180°F deep in the thigh; also, the turkey's juices should be clear, not reddish pink when thigh muscle is pierced deeply.

Step Two            

 

The turkey is done. Now take it out of the oven and let it "rest" for 20–30 minutes on the cutting board. Wash and dry your hands and put on your apron if you haven't already. Remove the stuffing from the bird and keep it warm. You are now ready to begin carving. The first thing you'll want to do is remove the leg on one side.

 

Some will tell you to steady the turkey with your big carving fork and use your knife to slice between the leg and the body of the turkey. Others will say to pull the leg gently away from the turkey while you cut with the other hand. Either way, you'll want to use the tip of the knife to probe the area just above thigh to find the joint that connects the leg to the turkey. That's the magic slice point.

 

Once you find the joint, cut it firmly but smoothly. Usually it will cut through with relative ease but if not, check to make sure you are not trying to cut through bone. Once you get the leg off the bone you can cut some meat off the leg. But first separate the thigh from the drumstick by cutting through the joint that connects them. The thigh is simple to carve—just slice the meat parallel to the bone.

 

A lot of people just leave the drumsticks intact because that's the way the kids like them. But if you want to carve them, here's how: hold the drumstick by the small end and rest the big end on the cutting board and slice downward. Don't try to get slices that are too thin. Go for medium-sized pieces.

Step Three

 Before you attempt to carve the breast you need to cut off the wings. Do this in the same way you did the legs. Find the joint near the turkey's body and cut through the magic slice point.

Step Four

Carving A Perfectly Cooked Turkey

Now, this is one of the most crucial and controversial steps. There are two general schools of thought on the best way to carve the breast. Most people like the white breast meat, so this is the step that makes or breaks your carving reputation.

 

There is the traditional method, in which one cuts the breast one slice at a time away from the bird. Another method, sometimes called the "kitchen method" because it is usually done out of view of the guests, involved cutting the entire breast away from the bird and then slicing it into pieces.

 

The traditional method is a little easier and by far the most popular. In the kitchen method you may be able to regulate the thickness of each individual slice a little better, but it should be done by only those who have mastered the traditional method first.

If you're sticking with the traditional method, steady the turkey with your fork and slowly and smoothly carve the turkey breast in downward-slanting slices. Start with a small slice, roughly the diameter of a soda can, and as you cut, the slices will get larger. As you are cutting periodically check to make sure that the slices are even and not thicker on one end or the other. As they come off the bird, stack the slices as neatly as possible on a serving platter. Sliced meat cools fast so serve it quickly or have some piping hot gravy on standby if things cool off.

Step Five

 Repeat step four on the other side of the bird.

Step Six

 Serve it up, say grace, and dig in with the satisfaction of knowing that you are the best carver at the table.

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LET'S TALK TURKEY......STUFFING

Posted On: November 22, 2016

Many experts recommend baking the stuffing outside the bird, where it can easily be cooked to 165°F and is less likely to harbor bacteria. However, many people who grew up eating stuffing from inside the bird find it lacking moisture and flavor when it's baked in a casserole dish, without the benefit of the turkey's juices.

Luckily, whichever method you prefer, there are ways to get around the problems. If you choose to bake your stuffing alongside the bird, drizzle 1/4 to 1/2 a cup of extra stock over it before it goes in the oven. This will replace the extra moisture and flavor the turkey would have provided. Using a rich, flavorful homemade stock will also go a long way toward providing that indescribable roast-turkey richness.

If you still want to cook the stuffing inside the bird, you should take several precautions to ensure safety. First, do not stuff your turkey until right before it goes in the oven. Yes, when faced with a long list of Thanksgiving Day tasks, it's tempting to stuff the bird the night before, stow it in the fridge, and then just pop it in the oven the next morning. But this will create an optimal environment for bacteria to flourish: The moist stuffing, likely warm from the cooked veggies and stock, will sit in the fridge for hours before it gets below the "danger zone"—the range of temperatures in which bacteria can grow. This will allow any bacteria present, already thriving in the moist conditions, to multiply like crazy. Once the stuffing finally cools down, they won't be killed—they'll just stop multiplying as quickly. Then, when the turkey goes into the oven, the stuffing, now cold from the fridge, will take quite a while to heat up, again spending hours in the danger zone.

Instead of this risky procedure, cook any veggies for the stuffing the night before, but do not mix them with the bread, stock, and eggs. (Even if you don't stuff the bird, just mixing the wet ingredients and the bread can be too inviting to bacteria.) The next morning, heat the stock and combine it with the other stuffing ingredients, then immediately fill and roast the bird. Using warm stuffing and putting the turkey in the oven immediately will help the stuffing spend as little time in the "danger zone" as possible.

Finally, when the bird is done, take the temperature of the stuffing as well as the meat. Bacteria cannot survive above 165°F, so most recipes call for using a probe thermometer to verify that the thigh has reached this temperature before removing the turkey from the oven. (Some cooks prefer to remove their birds at 150°F on the assumption that the temperature will rise to 165°F as the meat rests; this is safer if you buy an organic or heritage turkey, which is less likely to contain bacteria

However, just because the thigh meat has reached 165°F doesn't mean the stuffing has, too. So, be sure to insert your thermometer into the very center of the cavity as well. If the bird is done but the stuffing isn't, use this tip:  spoon the stuffing out into a bowl and microwave it until it registers 165°F. This will allow you to have moist, not overcooked meat and safe stuffing at the same time.

 

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DONT FALL FOR A PRETTY FACE

Posted On: November 15, 2016

Get A Survey

It's easy to fall in love with an appealing sheer line, shimmering gelcoat, and gleaming teak, but DON’T let your heart guide you; you need an objective marine survey to avoid buying with rose-colored sunglasses on.

A marine survey is an independent evaluation of a boat's condition and value, performed by a qualified inspector who has no stake in the outcome. In fact, even experienced surveyors will usually hire a fellow professional to do the survey on a boat they're considering, to keep emotion out of the equation. Many boats sit unused and get minimal maintenance. When these boats begin to be sold, a professional evaluation, devoid of the excitement of boat-buying, is even more critical. Here's what a good survey provides:

  • The condition of the boat and its equipment: A marine survey gives a snapshot of the condition of the boat's visible components and accessible structures at the time of the inspection. A survey provides a list of deficiencies as well as needed repairs and focuses on safety. Deficiencies in a survey can be used to renegotiate the sales price or scrap the deal altogether if needed repairs are too expensive or complicated.
  • The value of the boat: Surveyors use pricing guides along with their vast experience in valuing boats. A seller or broker may think a boat has a specific worth, but until a survey is performed, those figures are only guesses. Banks and insurance companies use the survey value to determine loan and insurance hull value amounts. This is also a great tool for price negotiations and can easily pay for the cost of the survey.
  • A budget for repairs and maintenance: Nearly any boat will have some defects and deficiencies; knowing what they are beforehand makes it easier to know how much to budget for the future. Surveys typically provide a list of recommended, prioritized repairs. The most important ones are critical to safety and usually your insurance company will require them to be completed. The rest are things that can be done as you find time and money.

 

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VETERANS DAY

Posted On: November 10, 2016

Veterans Day is intended to honor and thank all military personnel who served the United States in all wars, particularly living veterans. It is marked by parades and church services and in many places the American flag is hung at half-mast. A period of silence lasting two minutes may be held at 11am. Some schools are closed on Veterans Day, while others do not close, but choose to mark the occasion with special assemblies or other activities.

Veterans Day annually falls on November 11. On the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month of 1918 an armistice between Germany and the Allied nations came into effect. On November 11, 1919, Armistice Day was commemorated for the first time. In 1919, President Wilson proclaimed the day should be "filled with solemn pride in the heroism of those who died in the country’s service and with gratitude for the victory".

Veterans are thanked for their services to the United States on Veterans Day.

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EXHAUST STAINS

Posted On: November 08, 2016


Sometimes, i get asked about the craziest things.

Exhaust stains can turn a white transom gray and make an otherwise clean boat look dirty. As you probably already know, exhaust stains don't always come off in the wash. Some spray cleaners are strong enough to remove exhaust stains; however, if they're strong enough for that job, then they're probably also strong enough to eventually strip that area of wax, only making it harder to clean the exhaust stains off over time. The best way to remove exhaust stains from gelcoat is to wax them off. This is something that can easily be done by hand with cleaner wax. Use a terrycloth rag to apply the wax, and wipe or rub it in until the exhaust stains are gone. Then use a microfiber rag to wipe the hazy wax residue off. If the exhaust stains cover a large area, you'll want to use several terrycloth rags as you go, so you're not rubbing the exhaust soot from the rag back onto another section of your boat. When you're finished, you'll be left with a clean, white surface, and it should be a little easier to wipe exhaust stains off next time because they'll be sitting on top of freshly waxed gelcoat.

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DE ICER FOR YOUR BOAT?

Posted On: November 03, 2016


De-icer can help Protect Your Boat and Dock this Winter

Okay boys and girls, the northeast generally isn’t to kind to boaters who decide to keep their boats in the water all winter. Yet, many of you say that with de-icer, you can survive. It can help, but only in some instances.  I don’t recommend keeping it in the water, but if you do:

Here are three winter disasters a de-icer can help prevent:

  1. Hull Damage

Normal current and wind speeds naturally make water rigs tip, rock and pitch in the water. When freezing temperatures and a layer of ice are added to the equation, the result is a nasty grinding action that can scratch and tear away the gel-coat along the waterline of fiberglass boats. This allows water to sneak into the laminate and further damage the hull. Ice can also get into the plank seams or the bilge of a wooden boat and cause anything from minor cosmetic damage to major leaks.

  1. Dock Lifting

Ice, wind and current are no friend to docks, either, especially if all three elements are thrown together. Because ice expands during the freezing process, the water levels will fluctuate, making it difficult for dock piles to stay firmly in place. Heavy ice flows and ice pressure can shift the dock pilings – or worse, pull them out of their footings entirely. Any watercraft near the dock could be damaged as the dock shifts.

  1. Ice Expansion

Like most substances, water at ordinary temperatures contracts, increasing in density as it cools. At about 4 degrees Celsius, however, water reaches its maximum density and then decreases in density as it reaches its freezing point. Because of this, ice forms on the top of the water first, allowing it to freeze and float, and then the rest of the ice forms below. This simple sequence can be disastrous for both docks and boat hulls. The pressure from ice expansion can crush a hull or dock, causing major damage and compromising the structural integrity of the craft.

Old Man Winter can try as he may to freeze lakes and rivers, penetrate boat hulls and crush docks – but he’ll have a much harder time succeeding if a de-icer is on hand to protect your goods during the winter.

 

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KEEP YOUR BOAT SAFE FROM THIEVES

Posted On: November 01, 2016

The Boat Thieves Want to Steal

5 Tips to Stop Yours From Being Taken This Winter

BOATERS BEWARE

According to an article published in BoatUS, there seems to be a sweet spot for boat thieves

ALEXANDRIA, VA, October 26, 2016 – Is your boat less than 26 feet? Does it have outboard motor power and rest on a trailer? If you said yes, beware – you’re a big target for theft. A newly released study that looked at five years of BoatUS Marine Insurance claims files shows that 75 percent of all boats stolen matched this description. With the long winter lay-up period nearing, here are five tips to make your boat harder to steal.

  1. Just one lock? Try another, and another. You simply can’t have enough. The whole goal is to make someone else’s boat more attractive than yours, so the more locks a thief sees on the trailer tongue, outboard engine, or used with chain around the trailer wheels the better the chance he’ll move on.
  2. Don’t leave the key on a stored boat. Never assume your key’s hiding place is so good that thieves won’t find it. Remember, that’s what these people do for a living.
  3. Make the trailer impossible to move. A removable tongue hitch, or, better yet, removing the trailer tires if the boat’s going into long-term storage turns your rig into 1-ton dead weight. The little things can help, too, such as not parking your boat in the driveway with the hitch facing the street. Consider using removable trailer lights – with most thieves working the nightshift, they want to avoid attracting the attention an unlit trailer would cause.
  4. Don’t stick out. You may want to think twice about hanging a “for sale” sign on the side of your boat. Use a full winter cover to hide attention-getting, splashy graphics. Store all valuables, removable electronics and paperwork at home during the off-season.
  5. Check out new anti-theft technologies. Devices that send alerts to your cell phone, take photos/video, provide tracking, or kill the motor if your boat moves from its virtual boundary can stop a theft in its tracks. Once a boat is gone, the BoatUS study finds that only one in 10 vessels are ever fully recovered.

 

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