Blog February 2019


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Posted On: February 28, 2019

Oil is the lifeblood of your engine, and like a blood test, an oil analysis can identify potential problems before they become major ones

An oil sample analysis (OSA) evaluates the levels and types of metals and the presence of such contaminants as abrasives, soot, water, fuel, and engine coolant in the oil of gas and diesel engines. A lab report will flag any suspected anomalies, state possible causes, and offer some plain-English recommendations. Typical conditions that can be found by analysis include abnormal wear of metals, fuel dilution, dirt or water contamination, coolant contamination, and incorrect lubricant. Discovering any out-of-range condition early can prevent expensive repairs later on. For instance, fuel dilution will accelerate cylinder and bearing wear. High levels of solids will cause wear on bearings, pistons, cylinders, and the valve train. Excessive soot in a diesel engine can be caused by dirty injectors, weak ignition, low compression, or restricted intake or exhaust, among other things. Simply servicing a dirty injector can save an engine rebuild if caught in time.

Most OSAs will include the following:

  • Spectral Exam: A spectrometer is used to find the quantity of various metals and additives in the sample — useful for finding excessive wear in bearings, pistons, rings, cylinders, valve train, and gears. It also determines the composition of any oil additives.
  • Viscosity Test: The thickness of the oil at a specific temperature is tested — useful for finding fuel dilution, the breakdown of viscosity enhancers, or other contamination.
  • Flash Point: Tests the temperature at which vapor from the oil ignites — contamination can cause a specific grade oil to flash higher or lower than the design flash point.
  • Insolubles Test: Insolubles are typically abrasive solids — high readings are usually byproducts of incomplete combustion.

OSA is more useful as a tool to monitor a specific engine and/or transmission over time rather than as a one-time evaluation. Small changes, which may not look significant in a single analysis, will stand out if there are prior samples on record. For example, a higher lead or tin level than in past reports, while still within normal ranges, could alert you to accelerated plain bearing wear. That's not to say that OSA on a one-time basis isn't useful. A single sample (often performed in the course of a pre-purchase survey) will indicate a serious condition that deserves further investigation. However, a one-time analysis has to be carefully reviewed and interpreted prior to waving a red flag. The machinery total hours, type of machinery and use, type of oil and hours on the oil, knowledge of average baselines common to a particular unit—such context is important. This is where you may need the services of a knowledgeable marine-engine technician or surveyor; she can review the report in light of all known information, and then make recommendations.

I've found that many brokers dislike one-time samples because of questions that can arise due to lack of experience and the lack of a detailed service history typical of many vessels. The less knowledge there is about the sample taken, the broader the interpretation of the results must be. I recommend OSAs every year, more often for high-usage engines or for those that have red flags from previous analysis.



Posted On: February 26, 2019

Admittedly, my mind can be a strange place. But for some reason people still want to pick it.

As the Spring season is suddenly on the horizon, people's paint seems to come up often.

Here's a little insight about paint jobs on boats.


Check from multiple angles and in different conditions.  The blisters are often only slight undulations and can be hard to see.  Evening and early morning light where the sun’s rays are at an acute angle to the hull are especially good times to view.  Blisters are often most visible after a couple of days of the boat being out of water and as the hull begins to dry out.  They can appear as small wet spots (usually about the size of a dime or quarter) or areas where paint has chipped off.  If the hull has been out of the water for a few weeks or months, the blisters may have dried out and will be more difficult to see.  If the hull is not clean or has a buildup of many layers of bottom paint, blisters can be extremely difficult to detect.

Cracks (especially at keel hull joint)

Check for a crack between the hull and keel.  In some boats this may appear as a ‘smile.’  Check the bottom paint for cracking as it may not be obvious.  If the boat has recently come out of the water, the crack may appear as a slightly wet area or discolored.  If the hull is not clean it can be difficult to detect cracks.  Also check the bow area and front of the keel for any cracks or signs of stress.

Bottom paint condition

Scraping bottom paint is a time intensive job.  If multiple layers of bottom paint have built up it is an indication that the owner has not been putting much time into maintaining the boat.  A build-up of bottom paint will slow the boat down and make it difficult to see nascent issues such as osmosis blisters.

Soft spots/hollow spots

Tap on the hull with a 4oz. Hammer or some other light, metallic implement.  Listen for the sound it makes.  The sounds can be difficult to interpret as anything bonded to the hull, like bulkheads or water tanks, will make the tap sound sharper.  Listen for especially dull taps in a cored-hull as they may indicate water intrusion into the coring.  This is a big problem and should be reviewed by a professional surveyor if in doubt.

Scratches or chips in the gelcoat, evidence of filler

Look around for signs of impact or stress on the hull.  Often boats glance off docks or other obstructions and create scratches or chips in the gel-coat.  Tap these small areas closely to ensure no structural damage has occurred.  Most of time there is no problem.


Check around thru-hulls for any indication of damage, failed sealant, corrosion or blockage.  Below water thru-hulls cannot be made of plastic.  This will appear as an insurance issue if it is not ameliorated.

 Based on article in Young & Salty



Posted On: February 21, 2019

Get Ripped

Reading the water and understanding how to hunt for fish in rips will help you become a better angler.

Wait a sec — what exactly is a rip?

In its most basic form, a rip is simply an area where the water is disturbed. Usually, though not always, the cause lies beneath the surface: some form of structure interrupts the flow of the water and causes turbulence, which creates small standing waves or ripples.

You know those little waves that form on either side of bridge pilings, when the current is moving against them?

Those are rips.

The visible ripples formed where a pipe discharges water?

Rips again.

The swirling vortex you see behind a boulder in the river?

That, too, is a rip.

What is it, exactly, that makes it easier for the fish to eat in such spots?

There are several reasons. First off, if the rip is created by a solid object in the water, that object may attract baitfish and prey critters, just as any other structure would. Second, temperature differences, oxygen level, and turbidity can all be affected by the turbulence of water, and for a number of different reasons, these factors can make a rip or the area around it attractive to fish. Finally, all that turbulent, churned-up water tends to dislodge and disorient those small baitfish and prey critters, making them easy pickings.

Anatomical Corrections

So you see a bit of disturbed water, label it a rip, cast there, and load your cooler with fish, right? Not so fast. While many fishermen catch plenty of fish from rips, a few basic misconceptions keep them from attaining high-liner status. First off, you have to comprehend the anatomy of the rip itself. To simplify matters, for now we're just going to address the most common form of rips, those created by a solid structure in the current. (We'll get to the less common rips in a moment.) Whatever structure causes the disturbed water is going to be upcurrent from what you see on the surface. In shallow water that's just four or five feet deep, the actual cause of the rip may be only a few feet away. But in 20 feet of water, the cause may be significantly farther away from the visible clues. So if the fish are oriented to the structure, casting directly into the middle of a rip isn't the best way to catch fish. Instead, focus on the beginning of the rip, and probe up-current from there.



Posted On: February 19, 2019

What Not to Store in YOUR Garage

Yes to Skis. Bikes. Sports balls of all sorts. A lawnmower. Old toys.

It’s easy for a garage to turn into a catchall storage unit. For most items that’s fine, but some things simply don’t belong in a garage, and they can even become a HAZARD without proper storage protection.

This list of common red-flag items can help identify what doesn’t belong in the garage.

  • Extra fuel. Stashing portable gas cans and propane tanks in the garage can be dangerous: Highly flammable fuel poses a leaking risk. If you store any fuel in the garage, do so only in dedicated, leak-proof containers out of the reach of children and pets and away from potential sources of ignition such as water heaters or power tools. A shed away from your home is a better storage spot.
  • Paint or home-improvement chemicals. Some liquids, such as latex, freeze at the same temperature as water. Others may need a temperature-controlled environment. Check the manufacturer’s directions for guidance.
  • Furniture. Unless your garage is climate-controlled, its interior is subject to wild swings in heat and humidity. This, in turn, can warp wood, and pests such as rodents may root (and ruin) upholstery, fabric or mattresses. If the garage offers your only option for furniture storage, find a clean, dry spot that’s elevated off the floor. Then thoroughly clean and take apart furniture before wrapping or covering.
  • Clothing. A better spot for out-of-season clothing is a sealed container in an attic, basement or the back of a closet. In a garage, clothing may soak up fumes and dust and be at risk of insect or pest damage.
  • Food. This means any food - food for birds, for pets and for humans. Perishable items are far too tempting for rodents and vermin, and canned food may spoil more quickly in temperature extremes. And think twice about that extra fridge in an unheated and un-air-conditioned garage: The appliance may struggle to operate efficiently as temperatures fluctuate.
  • Anything fragile or valuable. Photographs, artwork and electronics: These are just a few of the items that need the stability of climate control so expensive or delicate elements aren’t damaged. Remember: If you couldn’t bear to see it lost or destroyed, then it probably shouldn’t be in the garage.
  • Wet flotation cushions

Items safe to keep in the garage:

  • Lawn care tools and equipment
  • Gardening supplies
  • Plastic storage bins (rather than cardboard boxes)
  • Hoses (after draining)
  • Sports equipment
  • Cars, boats, of course


Posted On: February 14, 2019

The Legend of St. Valentine

The history of Valentine’s Day–and the story of its patron saint–is shrouded in mystery. We do know that February has long been celebrated as a month of romance, and that St. Valentine’s Day, as we know it today, contains vestiges of both Christian and ancient Roman tradition. But who was Saint Valentine, and how did he become associated with this ancient rite?

The Catholic Church recognizes at least three different saints named Valentine or Valentinus, all of whom were martyred. One legend contends that Valentine was a priest who served during the third century in Rome. When Emperor Claudius II decided that single men made better soldiers than those with wives and families, he outlawed marriage for young men. Valentine, realizing the injustice of the decree, defied Claudius and continued to perform marriages for young lovers in secret. When Valentine’s actions were discovered, Claudius ordered that he be put to death.

Other stories suggest that Valentine may have been killed for attempting to help Christians escape harsh Roman prisons, where they were often beaten and tortured. According to one legend, an imprisoned Valentine actually sent the first “valentine” greeting himself after he fell in love with a young girl–possibly his jailor’s daughter–who visited him during his confinement. Before his death, it is alleged that he wrote her a letter signed “From your Valentine,” an expression that is still in use today. Although the truth behind the Valentine legends is murky, the stories all emphasize his appeal as a sympathetic, heroic and–most importantly–romantic figure. By the Middle Ages, perhaps thanks to this reputation, Valentine would become one of the most popular saints in England and France.


While some believe that Valentine’s Day is celebrated in the middle of February to commemorate the anniversary of Valentine’s death or burial–which probably occurred around A.D. 270–others claim that the Christian church may have decided to place St. Valentine’s feast day in the middle of February in an effort to “Christianize” the pagan celebration of Lupercalia. Celebrated at the ides of February, or February 15, Lupercalia was a fertility festival dedicated to Faunus, the Roman god of agriculture, as well as to the Roman founders Romulus and Remus.

To begin the festival, members of the Luperci, an order of Roman priests, would gather at a sacred cave where the infants Romulus and Remus, the founders of Rome, were believed to have been cared for by a she-wolf or lupa. The priests would sacrifice a goat, for fertility, and a dog, for purification. They would then strip the goat’s hide into strips, dip them into the sacrificial blood and take to the streets, gently slapping both women and crop fields with the goat hide. Far from being fearful, Roman women welcomed the touch of the hides because it was believed to make them more fertile in the coming year. Later in the day, according to legend, all the young women in the city would place their names in a big urn. The city’s bachelors would each choose a name and become paired for the year with his chosen woman. These matches often ended in marriage.




Posted On: February 12, 2019

Lincoln's Birthday celebrates the birthday of Abraham Lincoln, one of the most popular presidents in United States history. It is a state holiday in some states on or around February 12. It's also known as Abraham Lincoln's Birthday, Abraham Lincoln Day or Lincoln Day.


Abraham Lincoln was born in Hardin County, Kentucky, on February 12 in 1809. He lived for a time in Indiana before moving to Illinois. He worked on a farm, split rails for fences, worked in a store, was a captain in the Black Hawk War, and worked as a lawyer. He married Mary Todd and together they had four boys, only one of whom lived to maturity.

Lincoln began his political career at the age of 23 in 1832 when he ran an unsuccessful campaign for the Illinois General Assembly, as a Whig Party member. He joined the newly formed Republican Party in 1854 and was nationally recognized during the 1858 debates with Stephen Douglas despite Douglas’ win in the race for US Senator. Lincoln won the presidency in 1860 and, despite being a Republican, rallied most of the northern Democrats to the Union case during the Civil War (1861-65).

Lincoln was known as the Great Emancipator, the Rail Splitter and Honest Abe. He was the president throughout the American Civil War and is known for his struggle to preserve the Union and the issuance of the Emancipation Proclamation. John Wilkes Booth assassinated Lincoln at Ford’s Theatre in Washington DC on Good Friday, April 14, 1865. The assassination occurred less than two weeks after the Confederacy surrendered at Appomattox Court House in 1865.

It has been recorded that Lincoln’s Birthday was first celebrated as a holiday in 1866, one year after his death. Many states have a joint holiday to honor both Lincoln and George Washington, sometimes calling it Presidents’ Day.

Schools, and banks are open on Lincoln's Day. Lincoln's Birthday, Feb. 12, was once a major holiday, but now, along with Washington's Birthday, it is celebrated as part of Presidents' Day on the third Monday in February.



Posted On: February 07, 2019

How Radar Works

Before we delve into using radar, let's make sure you have a solid understanding of the basics. In a nutshell, radar sends out a transmission in the form of a high-frequency radio wave and "listens" for it to be bounced back by a solid object. Most traditional radar units send out this transmission in a burst of power, then calculate the time delay of any returned signals to calculate distance to the target. As a general rule, this type of radar provides the best long-range abilities. Unfortunately, that big burst of power creates something called a "main bang" 360 degrees around your boat. This is a visionless dead-zone that can cover 100 feet or more. So while long-range performance is excellent, very short ranges are hampered.

Instead of using strong bursts of power, some newer solid-state radar units instead calculate the difference between transmitted and received frequencies. The advantage is better target discrimination at short range; there's no big burst, so there's no main bang. Their range, however, is often more limited than that of traditional radar.

The latest and greatest units may combine these two technologies, and some also apply Doppler enhancements. Remember learning about the Doppler effect in high school? As an ambulance gets closer and closer, the frequency of its siren sounds higher and higher, and as it gets farther away, the frequency sounds lower and lower. Many of the latest marine radar use this same principle to help determine the speed and hazard-level of moving targets.



Posted On: February 05, 2019

Boating makes you healthier.

Informative article from US Boat on the "Blue Mind"

We interview a renowned marine biologist who has proof of what most of us only suspected.

You've likely heard of green space — areas in cities or residences that are full of plants that bring us a little closer to nature. Author and marine biologist Dr. Wallace Nichols uses a new phrase — blue space — that those of us familiar with water will all understand.

Lakes, rivers, oceans, bays, even creeks and swimming pools are all blue space. Dr. Nichols, author of Blue Mind, a New York Times national best-seller, has been researching how blue spaces affect us. He calls it "the blue mind."

The blue mind, he says, separates us from the pressures and distractions of life, which he refers to as "red mind." Having a blue mind lessens the stresses of the day and gives us a break from our overstimulated lives. Nichols says that the relationship of a boat to our emotional health has been largely overlooked, until recently.

BoatUS: We know boating is fun and we take away a lot of good things after a day on the water. What does science say?

Nichols: We know from studies that water positively affects us auditorily, visually, and somatically. Neuroscientists can now pinpoint in your brain where your emotions manifest — it's called the amygdala. They've found that even just looking at water can trigger feelings of wellness, compassion, empathy, and happiness. We experience slower breathing, reduced heart rate, and lowered skin temperature.

Blue mind takes us from our prefrontal cortex, responsible for things like planning and decision-making, to our default mode network, when we're thinking about others or ourselves and not specific tasks. Studies from University of Exeter Medical School in the United Kingdom show that being on or near the water, or even just hearing it, adds wellness and emotional benefits. People say they feel better and their measurable vital signs agree — breathing, blood pressure, heart rate, and so

BoatUS: What happens within our body and mind when we're on a boat?

Nichols: Our heart rates and breathing slow, and people say they feel better and their stress decreases. The sound of water increases blood flow to the brain, inducing relaxation, something we've probably all felt. Even the mere sight of water can induce a flood of neurochemicals that promote wellness. On or around water, our stress hormones dip. We really do feel better when we're on the water.

BoatUS: A 2017 study conducted by Wakefield Research found 4 in 5 Americans say being around water relaxes them, and 72 percent say they feel healthier after spending time on the water. Why do we feel good when we're on the water?

Nichols: When stress overload and attention fatigue are sustained over long periods of time, the "always-on" lifestyle can eventually result in memory problems, poor judgment, anxiety attacks, nervous habits, and even depression. Chronic stress damages the cardiovascular, immune, digestive, nervous, and musculoskeletal systems. It lowers levels of dopamine and serotonin, causing us to feel exhausted and depressed.