Blog January 2021


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Posted On: January 28, 2021

5 Common Boating Fails to Avoid

  1. Failing to check the marine weather forecast
  2. Running aground
  3. Forgetting to keep up with regular maintenance
  4. Hitting the dock
  5. Running out of gas

1. Failing to Check the Marine Weather Forecast

Tuning in to marine weather prior to each and every trip is a must, unless you want to be surprised by gusty winds, rough seas, and sudden storms. And remember, this means marine weather, not those regular land-based forecasts which regularly post lower wind speeds and no sea condition

2. Running Aground

Running aground is a lot more common than you might think, and can have varying degrees of severity depending on where you do your boating. On a soft mud or sand bottom it’s usually no big deal, but in a rocky harbor, hitting bottom can do some serious damage.

The BEST solution? Always be aware of where you are and what the local underwater hazards may be. And when in doubt, slowing down is a good idea

3. Forgetting to Keep Up with Regular Maintenance

Making this mistake can have very serious consequences, especially when it comes to your boat’s propulsion systems. Consult your boat's maintenance schedule regularly.

4. Hitting the Dock

There’s an old saying among boaters, and it has a lot of value when it comes to making this mistake: never approach a dock faster than you’re willing to hit it. Even when you’re doing everything right, a sudden power loss or mechanical problem can strike. The net result? Boat, meet dock. Dock, meet boat. Crunch!

5. Running Out of Gas

As you might guess, this is one of the most common mistakes people make. Remember that fuel consumption and your boat’s range can be changed by factors like sea conditions and load. Making matters worse, fuel gauge readings can change as fuel sloshes in the tank, and the fuel gauges on boats are often not as reliable as those found in automobiles in the first place.

As a result, smart boaters will stick with the following formula: use one third fuel capacity going out, use one third coming back, and save one third in reserve.



Posted On: January 26, 2021

got a New Boat?

Before you head out toward the horizon, it’s wise to take an inventory of what boat essentials you'll need on board.

A good place to start when figuring out what you need is to take a look at  the Coast Guard's Safety Checklist which includes many items that are required and many that are recommended i.e. registration numbers and documentation, PFDs, visual distress signals, fire extinguishers, sound producing devices, navigation lights and more).

Additional recommended equipment can include a VHF radio with a digital selective calling system.

Next, think about life jackets. You need to consider not only how many people will be on board your boat at any given time, but also about what size those people are. If kids are part of the cruising plans, then children’s life jackets are a must. Some manufacturers also make “big and tall” life jackets for adults who tend to shop in sizes larger than XL

After the life jackets are addressed, think about adding a basic first aid kit to your onboard gear. Multiple manufacturers make these kits specifically for use on boats, with things like hydration tablets for people who get dehydrated, and survival blankets for people who endure extreme heat or cold (say, by falling overboard into cold water, or by overexerting themselves and staying in the water too long during water sports).

Finally, depending on how you use your boat, you may want to get specialty fenders in addition to the basic ones that many skippers typically use to port and starboard. A specialty fender can be shaped to protect a pontoon boat, a swim platform, a boat’s corner or other specific areas. Not to mention, make sure you have a properly sized anchor and line will also come in handy.



Posted On: January 21, 2021

Here are some things to consider before towing a boat in the water.

7 Steps for Towing a Boat in the Water

If there’s no alternative and you feel you can safety tow the disabled boat with your vessel, follow these tips:

  1. Rig up a bridle to spread the strain of towing to two points on your boat using two dock lines.
  2. Always approach the disabled boat into any wind or current to prevent drifting.
  3. Once the tow line is secured, take the slack very slowly and then accelerate gradually.
  4. While towing: go slow, never put your boat in reverse, and plan to make wide turns.
  5. Tow the disabled boat to the nearest safe harbor or dock.
  6. Make your final approach to the dock or ramp into prevailing wind or current.
  7. Slowly approach the dock, secure your boat, then use the tow line to pull the disabled boat to the dock by hand.

Be sure to communicate that, as the captain of the towing vessel, you will be command of the operation.

As you rig up the bridle with two dock lines:

  • Pass the bitter end of each dock line (the end without a spliced loop) through a transom eye of your boat and then to the stern cleat on that side of the boat.
  • A long anchor line—ideally at least 100 feet in length and already on the other boat—can be used for the tow line.
  • Remove the anchor and secure the line to a bow cleat, then through the bow eye so that the pulling force is on the center of the disabled boat.
  • Next pass the other end of the tow line through both loops on the end of your bridle, and tie the line with a bowline knot.

Once the tow line is secure and you begin towing, remember that you should never put your own boat in reverse. This could allow the tow line or bridle to snag on your prop. Also keep in mind that you are not going to be able to get on plane. Plan to tow the boat to the nearest safe harbor or dock, even if that’s not the ramp or marina where the disabled boat started out.




Posted On: January 19, 2021

Your Obligation as a Fellow Boater

Federal law (Federal Code 46-2304) stipulates that “the master or person in charge of a vessel is obliged to assist others in danger unless rendering such assistance would place his/her own vessel, crew or passengers in serious danger.” The duty does not extend to saving property (such as another boat), but to saving “any individual found at sea in danger of being lost.”

Federal statutes contain a specific “Good Samaritan” provision which provides that those who render assistance shall not be found liable for the damage caused by their efforts unless they have failed to exercise reasonable care.

If you do find yourself in a situation where you may have to tow another boat at sea, remember that safety should always be your number one concern. Once you do complete a successful towing mission, let good boating karma be your reward. Taking any payment or remuneration for your deed will negate the Good Samaritan provision of the law.



Posted On: January 14, 2021

Martin Luther King Jr. (January 15, 1929 – April 4, 1968) was an American Baptist minister and activist who became the most visible spokesperson and leader in the civil rights movement from 1954 until his death in 1968. Born in Atlanta, King is best known for advancing civil rights through nonviolence and civil disobedience, tactics his Christian beliefs and the nonviolent activism of Mahatma Gandhi helped inspire.

King led the 1955 Montgomery bus boycott and in 1957 became the first president of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC). With the SCLC, he led an unsuccessful 1962 struggle against segregation in Albany, Georgia, and helped organize the nonviolent 1963 protests in Birmingham, Alabama. He also helped organize the 1963 March on Washington, where he delivered his famous "I Have a Dream" speech.



Posted On: January 12, 2021

What Type of Survey Do I Need?
Marine Surveys are performed for a number of reasons,
and the procedures for each vary to best suit your needs:


Pre-Purchase Survey 
This is the most comprehensive type of inspection, and is strongly advised when purchasing a new or used vessel. Condition and overall operation of the vessel should be examined. This covers structural integrity, electrical systems, the propulsion system, the fuel system, other machinery, navigation equipment, miscellaneous on-board systems, cosmetic appearance, electronics, and overall maintenance as well as an out-of-water inspection and a sea trial.


Insurance Survey
This inspection is performed so that the insurance company can determine whether or not the vessel is an acceptable risk. They are interested in structural integrity and safety for its intended use. Most insurance companies require a survey on older boats. They will also want to know the vessel's fair market value.

Appraisal Inspection
This inspection is performed to gather enough information to justify or determine the fair market value of the vessel. This is normally needed for financing, estate settlements, donations and legal cases.

Damage Inspection
The surveyor can be retained by an insurance company to determine the cause of a loss and determine the extent of loss related damage and may be asked to recommend repairs, review estimates, and determine the pre-loss value of a vessel.  A vessel owner can retain a surveyor for the same purposes, but for the owner's behalf.



Posted On: January 07, 2021

So you left your boat in the water this year in hopes of taking advantage of a mild winter.

Here"s 10 tips from our friends at BoatUS to keep your vessel safe and avoid claims,  

1. If your boat's in the water, take a walk around it at the dock. Are there any changes in the waterline? If so, check the bilge for water, a good practice at any time. If you find any, locate the source. It might be a leaking thru-hull or stuffing box, or be coming from the deck through a hatch or portlight.

2. Verify that all seacocks are closed, except for the cockpit. Also check that leaves don't clog the cockpit scuppers, which could fill the cockpit and force drains underwater, back-flooding the boat.

3. Check your docklines for security and chafe. Winter storms can put a lot of strain on docklines so make sure you use a good chafe guard, and make sure the boat is tied so it can't get caught under the dock during tide changes.

4. Check the operation of the bilge pump. It should work even if the battery switch is off. Manually turn on the switch to verify the pump comes on.

5. Inspect the shore power cord for damage and make sure the battery charger is operating. Verify the battery electrolyte hasn't evaporated and add some if needed. If you spot corrosion on battery terminals, clean it off now.

6. Look for fuel, oil, or coolant leaks. You don't want your bilge pump to spew oil into the water. In addition to polluting the environment, you could be in for a big fine.

7. If you haven't already removed expensive electronics, now's the time. Boatyards are like ghost towns in the winter, and can be easy pickings for thieves.

8. Make sure the boat is well-ventilated. Air circulation prevents mold and mildew from forming down below and keeps the boat smelling fresh. Treat any mold that you find now, before it gets worse.

9. If your boat is stored ashore, check that jackstands haven't shifted or sunk into the ground, and are chained together under the boat. Tell the boatyard if something doesn't look right.

10. Make sure that water isn't pooling on deck or in the cockpit. Nothing good ever comes from standing water inside or outside a boat; water can damage the gelcoat and cause stain



Posted On: January 05, 2021

Start the year right.

Here are the rules that will help you avoid a collision.

Head on passing boats illustration
Head On: Keep right or steer to starboard. Pass port to port, like cars.
Boat crossing danger zone illustration
Crossing: Give way to a boat ahead and to starboard. If a boat is in your danger zone, defined as an arc measuring from zero to 112.5 degrees, alter course, slow, or stop.
Passing boats illustration
Passing: When overtaking another boat, give way and steer clear.

As you encounter another vessel in motion, ask yourself two questions: Do I have priority in the pecking order? And consequentially, am I the stand-on or give-way vessel? If two vessels have equal priority, follow the examples in the illustration.

The Pecking Order

A vessel lower on the list below must give way to those higher on the list. Generally, recreational powerboats must yield to other types of traffic.

1. Unable to steer
2. Limited turning ability
3. Restricted by draft (commercial ship)
4. Commercial boats engaged in fishing
5. Sail and human-powered boats
6. Recreational powerboats

Give-Way Boat (red): Must alter course and speed to avoid a collision.

Stand-On Boat (Green): Must maintain course and speed unless a risk of collision is imminent.

Aids to navigation mark the edges of a channel and define a course through deep(er) water. They typically don't appear side by side, as in this illustration, but rather are staggered on either side as necessary.

Aids to navigation illustration

Lighted marks are often found at headlands and at entrances to rivers or channels. Cans are always green and odd numbered, while nuns are cone-shaped on top, always red, and even numbered.

Similarly, green daybeacons are square and odd, while red daybeacons are triangular and even.

Orange and white markings indicate information or danger, including speed restrictions, shoals, or other hazards