Blog October 2018

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A SURVEYOR SPEAKS OUT

Posted On: October 30, 2018


A marine survey is also a useful tool for buyers when negotiating price based on what repairs or upgrades the boat needs. And finally, insurance and lending companies that need to know the true condition and fair market value of a vessel often require it. Insurance company underwriters carefully read through a marine survey to make a determination as to whether the vessel is a good risk, and may require an owner to address certain deficiencies.

But 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.

Recommendations are just that — issues the surveyor found on the boat that may need to be addressed. It's the "may" part that's important here. Typically, a surveyor will list recommendations in order of importance, often as A, B, or C. A-list recommendations (more properly called must-dos) are the most important ones to pay attention to, and you can be sure your insurance company will — not just for your boat, but for the safety of you and your crew. These are issues that, unaddressed, can cause your boat to sink, burn, become involved in an accident, or cause serious injury

Keep in mind that while surveyors inspect a boat with an eye toward industry safety standards, such as those written by the American Boat and Yacht Council (ABYC), they recognize that newer standards were not in place when older boats were built. But some of those standards, like the need for carbon monoxide alarms or proper wiring, are critical enough that insurance underwriters may still require boats to comply with them

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HISTORY OF HALLOWEEN MASKS

Posted On: October 25, 2018

Halloween Masks - History of Halloween Masks

Halloween has originated from the old Celtic festival and even before that. In those times, a man painted a mask on their face with blackened ashes from the sacred bonfire and dressed up as fearsome beings.

 It was believed that this is the last night for the dead to have their vengeance before moving on so people wore masks and costumes not to be recognized, to scare away evil spirits and to prevent them from entering homes. They believed it was important to honor dead, so Halloween developed from Pagan ritual to Masquerade party night.

It is believed that in this celebration days the souls of the dead roam the earth. So the most common costume is the white ghost sheet, and the common mask is the ghost or spirit mask. People believed that wearing masks and costumes protected them from ghosts. This night represents the border between the living and the death. The souls of the dead were meant to revisit their homes.

Today, Halloween masks and costumes represent supernatural, saints, biblical figures, folkloric and frightening beings. They can also be inspired by celebrities, pop culture figures, characters from mass media like movies, comic books, literature, and science fiction characters like superheroes and aliens. Monster masks and costumes are skeletons, ghosts, devils, zombies, vampires, Dracula, Frankenstein, witches, mummies, and werewolves.

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WHY DRY RACK STORAGE

Posted On: October 23, 2018

There are many benefits in using a dry rack storage facility:

It’s especially popular in warm weather locales. However, its available everywhere.

Here’s an excerpt of an article that appeared in Boat US a while back covering the pluses and some drawbacks.

First, ease of use. You call ahead to have your boat brought down and even fueled. Then you arrive, hop in, and go. When the day is over, you return to the marina, dock the boat in the designated area, and leave. The marina washes it down and puts it back up on the rack.

Second, it may save money. Since you don't have a trailer, you're not spending money on gas, launch fees, or upkeep on the trailer. Also, because your boat isn't sitting in the water, you won't have to clean off the marine growth or bottom paint the hull every year.

Third, it keeps your boat in better shape. If your boat is sitting in a big steel barn and not constantly being bombarded by the sun's UV rays, you are lessening the possibility of gelcoat damage. However, keep in mind that if your boat is in a three-sided shed or a rack with just a roof, some sunlight might get on your boat.

Fourth, it's good protection for your boat. Most buildings have security measures like electronic security systems to stop vandalism and outright boat theft. Many of the newer buildings have fire suppression systems from sprinklers and even synthetic fire retardant foam systems. Also, many buildings in hurricane-prone zones have been built according to local hurricane codes. If you keep your boat in a hurricane-prone area, check to see what kind of protection the rack facility offers.

Fifth, it provides alternatives to keeping a boat and trailer sitting in the driveway. Due to homeowner association by-laws or city ordinances, some small boat owners can't keep their boats in their driveways. In addition, dry stack storage is good for owners who find themselves being kicked out of marinas to make room for larger yachts.

Last, it may be environmentally better in some circumstances. According to Delaware State Parks' Indian River Marina, dry stack storage "Minimizes need for dredging, minimizes water quality and flushing concerns, and reduces the amount of contact time between pesticide-containing bottom paints and the water."

Of course, as with everything, there are some downsides. Most places only allow you one launch and retrieval per day. That launch time can get long if the dry stack is extremely busy that day. Also there usually isn't any place at the facility to park your boat in the water and use it overnight. Also, you can't just show up at the facility and tinker around on your boat. Most dry stacks don't allow boat owners to work on their boats in the facility.

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HALLOWEEN MYTHS

Posted On: October 18, 2018


Halloween myths that simply aren't true

There’s a lot of spooky and even ridiculous things that people believe about Halloween. While the jury is still out on whether Pennywise actually walks around in our storm drains, there are a few things that USA Today says simply aren’t true. 

Myth number 1: People are poisoning your candy. Despite claims of poison, razor blades and LSD being planted in candy over the years, there has only been one proven case of candy poisoning and that was back in 1974. 

Myth number 2: Black cats are in danger of being killed or sacrificed. The ASPCA says, "while it is true that animals too often become the victims of holiday pranks and cruelty, there is no reason to believe that witches are involved.

Myth number 3: Halloween is all about pumpkins. Halloween historian, Nicholas Rogers, says jack-o-lanterns were initially carved from turnips, with a candle put inside to represent a soul trapped in purgatory. 

Myth number 4: The Legend of Sleepy Hollow is a Halloween story. It's not. Washington Irving’s novel never mentioned Halloween at all. The holiday wasn’t even widely celebrated at the time. Although it is fair to say a headless horseman is terrifying no matter what the season. 

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MOVING FROM FRESH WATER TO SALTWATER

Posted On: October 16, 2018

Here's a great article by Rich Armstrong on what needs to be done when transitioning.   


A change of maintenance habits — and anodes — is the key to transitioning from inland to coastal waters.


When moving from freshwater to salt, your boat's engine and anodes require special attention to keep everything running well.

You don't need census statistics to tell you that plenty of lifelong freshwater boaters eventually head south to spend their retirement in warmer climes, such as coastal Florida and the Gulf Coast. Your beloved sterndrive powerboat that carried your family on adventures up and down rivers and across local lakes has been well cared for, and you have the maintenance routine down to a science. Now, that routine is about to change — or it had better, for the sake of the boat and your wallet.

"Salt is tenacious stuff. The guy who's boated on Michigan lakes all his life, retires to Florida, and thinks he can just bring his boat down there had better do his due diligence or he's going to pay the price," cautions Ed Sherman, vice president and education director of the American Boat & Yacht Council.

Saltwater is not your boat's friend, and there are plenty of horror stories to illustrate that point. But moving a boat from fresh- to saltwater shouldn't generate anxiety. The most important thing going in is to change your habits — and change your anodes (more on that later).

Your docking routine will now include spending more time washing everything down with freshwater after coming in. Over time, you'll need to be more vigilant about spotting signs of galvanic corrosion in aluminum components or mechanisms with dissimilar metals, such as stainless screws in aluminum fittings.

It doesn't matter what propels your boat — inboard, outboard, I/O, jet drive — nothing on your boat that comes in contact with saltwater is immune to its corrosive powers. Different propulsion systems may be attacked in different spots, but your power plant needs protection.

One thing that many people overlook is that all saltwater is not equal. The salinity of Maryland's Chesapeake Bay, for example, is nowhere near as great as that of the warmer waters of coastal Florida or the Bahamas. Salinity is different from region to region and sometimes even from rainy season to dry season. The greater the salinity, the faster the corrosion. Here's a checklist of what you should know before you jump into saltwater, though also check and follow the manufacturer's warranty instructions.

Anodes

The magnesium anodes that work better in freshwater need to be changed to aluminum (if you can find them for your boat) or zinc (if you can't) for saltwater use. Corrosion is less of a problem in freshwater, so you'll now need to be more vigilant with routinely checking anodes. They should be replaced yearly or any time they're more than half wasted. Preventive protection is the key to living in saltwater.

Outboard

This is the easiest engine to transition to salt. But you'll now have to religiously flush the unit with freshwater when getting back to the docks. Every ime. Modern outboards come with built-in garden-hose attachments, making the job a cinch. Using freshwater at the dock, with the engine off and trimmed out of the water, simply run water through the engine. The rule of thumb is for five to 10 minutes, but you should consult your manual or a qualified outboard mechanic.

Additive products such as CRC Salt Terminator, which cleans internals and inhibits corrosion, can further add to peace of mind. For trailer boats without garden-hose attachments, use ear muffs (or flush muffs) attached to a running hose once the boat is out of the water. With muffs, the engine must be started to flush properly. Check your manufacturer's instruction before flushing.

I/O Or Sterndrive

By contrast sterndrive engines may require more to transition to salt. Most modern marine engines have an enclosed-loop cooling system that uses a combination of raw (salt) water and coolant. Some have built-in garden-hose attachments. But even closed-loop engines cool the enclosed water, and perhaps the tranny fluid and oil, with a raw-water heat exchanger that may require extra attention, particularly at the end caps. These engines also often have raw water cooling the manifold and injecting into the riser. Keep in mind that while in freshwater, a manifold can last 10 years or more; in warm saltwater its lifespan can be as little as 3 to 4 years.

Sterndrives often don't tilt out of the water, so unless your boat is trailered, stored on a lift, or in a rack, the outdrive (lower unit) may sit in saltwater. So be extra vigilant about anodes. The drive part of the engine should be thoroughly sprayed and flushed according to manufacturer instructions. With a trailer boat, you can attach muffs to a garden hose and flush the engine while on the trailer. Regardless, be prepared to replace components more often in saltwater, particularly risers, manifolds, and water pumps.

Jet-Drive Boats

As they tend to be trailered, jet drives can be maintained similarly to outboard boats with a thorough freshwater washdown and engine flushing after each saltwater bath. Flushing agents, such as Salt Terminator or Salt Away, leave a protective coating on the inside and outside of the engine and jet-drive components. Regular inspection and replacement, as needed, of the zinc or aluminum anodes are also essential to preserving the aluminum housing and certain other components.

Bottom Paint

You may go bare in freshwater for a couple of weeks, but antifouling paint is a necessity in salt, unless you rack store or have a boatlift. For the best advice for your situation, go to the bottom-paint manufacturers for advice on what you should use depending on the type of boat and where you're boating. Ask your new boat neighbors what they use, too. Location is key, as marine growth in Florida, for example, is very different than the Northeast or Pacific Coasts.

Fiberglass/wood: Salt is an abrasive, so don't expect the shine or polish on your hull to last as long as it did in your freshwater days. Salt, coupled with foot traffic, is also more likely to scratch the deck. Dry crystals also act as miniature magnifying lenses for the sun and will damage brightwork if they're not washed off with freshwater.

Hardware/Electrical

Marine-grade quality counts. Automotive-grade hardware, popularly used in inland areas, won't last long in Florida waters. "It might work on Lake Ontario but it's not going to work on the Gulf of Mexico," Sherman says. The corrosion can also lead to unsightly brown rust weeping from mounting screws.

Salt in the bilge is more corrosive than freshwater to metal and electrical connections, so keep the bilge as dry as possible. Bilge-pump connections in particular may corrode quickly, and you may need to reseal them.

Don't Forget The Trailer

Saltwater trailer boaters dunk their rig every time they launch, and again when they retrieve. Although the exposure to seawater is relatively brief, trailers need the same freshwater wash down as the boats they transport. Frame: Boat-trailer frames are constructed of either galvanized steel or aluminum, with the latter being far more resistant to saltwater corrosion.

Hardware

The hardware that bolts the aluminum frames together, however, should be made from stainless steel rather than galvanized. Corrosion will occur quicker with cheaper materials.

Brakes

Drum brakes are less expensive to install and cheaper to maintain than disc brakes, but their design allows water to pool inside the drum every time it's submerged and will remain there until it evaporates. Specially designed flush kits are recommended and will extend the life of your drum brakes. Disc brakes, on the other hand, can be accessed and flushed easier.

Maintenance

When the day on the water ends, wash down the boat and trailer as soon as possible (within a few hours at least). When the boat is clean, move onto the trailer. Hose down the trailer frame and hardware, lights, under the wheel fenders and axle underneath. Give extra attention to the brakes, springs, wiring connectors, and other vulnerable areas. A dab of silicone grease can keep connectors from corroding. Visual inspection of your trailer should be a routine, checking for worn parts, rust, and corrosion — and don't forget the trailer lights. Besides a rinse after each launch, periodically remove the lenses and check for signs of corrosion

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FALL BOATING BENEFITS

Posted On: October 11, 2018


Picturesque landscapes

We can all appreciate green trees, white sand and a bright blue sky… but there’s something really special about cruising amongst the rich orange, red and yellow trees fall is known for, too! In most places, there will be a noticeable difference in the look of your surroundings in the coming months, so that’s something to look out for. Some boaters will even take their fall excursions a step further and plan a destination trip specifically to see these beautiful autumnal changes! If you choose to do this, just be sure to check your destination’s color change “peak time,” since somewhere like Georgia may see fall leaves come in later than, say, Maine. In colder climates, this is a great time to go out and enjoy the changing landscape before winter rolls around.

 

More comfortable cruising

Whether you live up north or down south, you’re probably ready to say “goodbye” to at least one part of summer: high temperatures! The start of fall means the start of a gradual cool-down trend that we can all enjoy… at least for a little while! Those farther to the north can use the next month or two as a pleasant bridge into cooler, less boat friendly days; meanwhile, those who live in warmer climates can enjoy the cooler (but still bearable) temperatures to come. There’s nothing like crisp autumn air to make us excited to be outside!

 

Quality time

Between kids’ school days and your own work commitments, you probably have more time to boat during summer than in fall—but during the fall season, you may find that your love of boating and family time grows even more. The activities that were so easy to do in summer—weekend cleanings, spur the moment getaways, simple time spent with family—suddenly become all the more special.

Speaking of quality time… less time on the boat doesn’t have to be a negative! Use your added downtime to catch up on your favorite travel or boating magazines, brush up on key skills or get some cleaning in.

 

Better deals

The boating off season comes with one big bonus—better deals! During the fall months, be sure to visit boat shows and expos and take a look at what seasonal sales may be going on. You may be surprised to find that your dream boat is a bit more in reach than you previously thought!

While we traditionally think of warm fires and pumpkin picking when it comes to fall, we as boaters know there’s so much more to the season! What are your favorite parts of fall? Be sure to let us know in the comments as we prepare to make the seasonal switch!

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FALL BOATING REVISITED

Posted On: October 09, 2018




As we head into the fall boating season, closer attention to cold weather boating safety guidelines is a must. With the cooler weather comes colder waters!

Here’s some tips from our friends at the US Coast Guard.

When the weather changes so should the type of lifejackets boaters use such as a flotation coat or deck suit-style designed to keep the boater afloat and insulated without using energy.  If a person were to fall overboard in cold water, hypothermia sets in and their chances of survival decrease drastically…and quickly! Bringing extra layers of clothing and weather appropriate outerwear is crucial. Depending where you live temperatures can average in the 50’s throughout October and November. Make sure when you head out on your Fall boating adventure you are prepared for sudden drops in temperature or approaching storms.

A safety check of your vessel ensures that it is outfitted with the proper safety gear and is in good operating condition before getting underway.

The following is a list of safety tips all boaters should adhere to before leaving the dock:

  • Carry a VHF-FM marine radio. Cell phones often lose signal and run out of batteries after a day on the water. They are helpful, but not reliable for emergencies.
  • Register your EPIRB. Response time is the key to survival. The sooner help arrives, the better the chances for survival. Emergency Position Indicating Radio Beacons (EPIRBS) provide the fastest and most accurate way the Coast Guard has of locating and rescuing persons in distress.
  • Have a Vessel Safety Check. It’s a great way of learning about problems that might put boaters in violation of state or federal laws, or create danger for boaters and passengers on the water. Best of all, it’s free!  Both the U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary and the United States Power Squadrons have certified vessel examiners who will perform a free Vessel Safety Check (“VSC”) at your boat, at a time of mutual convenience. There is no charge, and no consequences if you don’t pass. Our goal is simply to help make boating as safe as possible for you, your family and your friends, through education.

Before getting underway let friends and family know where and their expected return time.  These planned actions ahead of starting the motor, hoisting the sail, or paddling the vessel are critical to ensuring a safe boating excursion or rescue if the need arises


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WHAT TO WEAR WHEN FALL BOATING

Posted On: October 04, 2018

Fall has arrived. Boating weather may range from freezing conditions for New England frostbite to very hot and humid tropical weather for offshore fishing in Miami or cruising in California. Staying comfortable means staying safe.

Wearing layered clothing helps keep you dry and comfortable, because each layer is only required to do one thing well. A hydrophobic wicking layer of long underwear worn next to the skin disperses perspiration outward. A middle insulating layer traps warm air, providing a barrier from cold outside air or fabric, and helps funnel moisture to the weather protection layer. The breathable outside layer uses hydrophilic, water vapor absorbing coatings or microporous membranes like a heat-driven water pump, allowing water vapor molecules to escape. Solid water molecules are blocked, along with wind, from entering. With each layer performing its designed function you stay dry, warm and alert, however hostile the outside environment.

Many boaters have no incentive to spend more for high-tech synthetic socks, and will instead wear cotton. The problem with this approach is that cotton retains moisture, and it is this moisture that causes friction and blisters. For years, many in the healthcare field recommended all-cotton socks to prevent foot problems. This is the biggest myth out there! Cotton absorbs moisture and in socks, that moisture stays next to the foot creating an ideal environment for bacteria and fungi to grow, and for blisters to form. Stay away from all-cotton socks!

The extremities, especially the head and neck, are where most of the body's heat loss takes place, so protection is critical for the head, neck, hands and feet as well.

Based on an article by By Tom Burden,updated: 08/25/2016 for West Marine

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