Blog January 2022

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BOATING SAFELY AS WE AGE

Posted On: January 27, 2022

Happy Birthday!!

Even if your birthday doesn't fall this month, we all get older each year.

Face it, we are getting older, and Father time takes its toll on all of us.

That doesn't mean you have to give up your boating experiences.

We Just need to be a little smarter about what you can do and how.

Here's some tips to keep you safe as we age:

  • Always use notes and checklists — for shutting the boat down, for starting her up, for all important procedures aboard, especially for operating infrequently used equipment.
  • Keep a whiteboard and markers nearby, perhaps mounted near the helm station, to jot down numbers, way points, reminders, Coast Guard reports, weather reports.
  • Always bring a mate along to be your ears in hard-to-hear situations, and someone who can operate your boat if need be.
  • Reduce long trips. Leave earlier. Arrive earlier. Don't push it.
  • Add extra handholds so you can grab one for every step you take on a pitching boat.
  • Add safety lines, rails, or higher rails.
  • Add nonskid surfaces.
  • Add an electric windlass, one that can be operated remotely. Not only does that eliminate the heavy lifting associated with anchoring, it also allows you to get the boat stopped and settled before you go forward to cleat off the rode or put on a snubber.
  • Remove obstacles from passageways and decks. Add steps where you have to change levels, like going from the cockpit seat to the cockpit sole. If they might turn into shin busters, use the foldaway type.
  • Keep a good pair of binoculars handy to check buoys and distant landmarks.
  • Invest in high-quality prescription sunglasses with UV protection and non-glare lenses.
  • Wear your life jacket.
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LENGTHENING YOUR BOATING SEASON

Posted On: January 25, 2022


Want to lengthen your boating season this year?

Now is the time to address these six things before they go awry and force you to. If you do, you'll have much more water time.

Nothing's worse than on-the-water breakdowns -- but some things can be fixed before they go poof in the night.

Let's look at six potential problems long before they strike.

Impeller Implosion
A water pump impeller is the classic example of something that always fails at the worst possible time. Impellers are often difficult -- if not impossible -- to change while you're rocking and rolling around in the bay. So don't wait. Most builders recommend replacing the impellers after three or four years, even if they still work. My advice? Replace each impeller every other year -- before it has the chance to even think about going bad.

Bonus tip: Freshwater flushes aren't only important for your cooling system, they're good for impellers, too. Salt-covered impellers will deteriorate quickly unless they're rinsed well, so flush often.

Get Connected
Battery connections are a terminal headache. They continually corrode, getting greener and more crusty, until one day your motor won't start. And after checking out a dozen other potential bugs, you'll eventually discover it's simply a bad battery connection. Get ahead of the problem. Clean your battery terminals and connections each year, and coat them with a thin layer of petroleum jelly to help ward off corrosion.

Oils Well That Ends Well
Oil (and oil filter) changes are the number one preventive maintenance chore. These changes prevent perhaps the most catastrophic problem a boater will ever face -- engine failure. But don't stop with changing only the engine oil. Make sure the lower unit gets fresh oil each year, too.

LED the Way
Lights are other items that are sure to fail, usually sooner rather than later, on both boats and trailers. And if a bulb goes out while on the road, you could get a ticket. Many new boats have LEDs instead of the old-fashioned bulbs, but not all. Check yours, and replace any bulbs with new, long-lasting LEDs.

Cracked Up
If you've had the same outboard engine for more than five or six years, it's a good bet that you've had a fuel line leak in the motor well. That last 2' of hose between the bilge and the outboard takes a constant beating from the sun, salt spray, and rain. As you run the boat or pump the ball, that hose is constantly flexing. Sooner or later, the fuel line's surface will crack. When you first see a crack, a leak is just a season or two away. Don't wait. Cut out the offending section of hose and replace it as soon as possible.

Bad Vibes
Over time, propellers get small chinks, burrs, and dings. You may not even notice the gradual change in how your boat runs. That's too bad because a dinged prop increases vibrations in a boat, and those vibrations can contribute to any number of problems. Do yourself a huge favor -- and save big repair bills down the line -- by replacing or reconditioning your prop. When is the time right? Cup four or five cotton balls lightly in your hand, and run them around the edge of each blade. If the prop is rough enough to grab a cotton ball out of your hand, it's rough enough to cause vibrations, which means the time to fix it is now.

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TEMPS GOT YOU CONFUSED?

Posted On: January 20, 2022

Why Americans still use Fahrenheit

With all these freezing days I wondered, why do we, the US, still use Fahrenheit thermometers and seemingly everyone else uses Celsius.

I came across this based article on yahoo.

Virtually every country on earth aside from the United States measures temperature in Celsius. ; Celsius is a reasonable scale that assigns freezing and boiling points of water with round numbers, zero and 100. In Fahrenheit, those are 32 and 212.

 America's unwillingness to get rid of Fahrenheit temperatures is part of its refusal to change over to the metric system, which has real-world consequences. One conversion error between US and metric measurements sent a $125 million NASA probe to its fiery death in Mars' atmosphere.

Why does the United States use Fahrenheit? British colonialism and Congress.

Fahrenheit was a great temperature system 300 years ago

Back in the early 18th century, the Fahrenheit measurement system was actually pretty useful. It comes from Daniel Gabriel Fahrenheit, a German scientist born in Poland in 1686.

As a young man, Fahrenheit became obsessed with thermometers. No one had really invented a consistent, reliable way to measure temperature objectively. "Fahrenheit was still only twenty-eight years old when he stunned the world by making a pair of thermometers that both gave the same reading

As an early inventor of the thermometer as we know it, Fahrenheit naturally had to put something on them to mark out different temperatures. The scale he used became what we now call Fahrenheit.

Fahrenheit set zero at the lowest temperature he could get a water and salt mixture to reach. He then used a (very slightly incorrect) measurement of the average human body temperature, 96 degrees, as the second fixed point in the system. The resulting schema set the boiling point of water at 212 degrees, and the freezing point at 32 degrees.

In 1724, Fahrenheit was inducted into the British Royal Society, at the time a preeminent Western scientific organization, and his system caught on in the British Empire.

As Britain conquered huge chunks of the globe in the 18th and 19th centuries, it brought the Fahrenheit system (and some other peculiar Imperial measurements, such as feet and ounces) along with it. Fahrenheit became a standard temperature in much of the globe.

Why America still uses it

By the mid-20th century, most of the world adopted Celsius, the popular means of measuring temperature in the modern metric system. Celsius was invented in 1742 by Swedish astronomer

Around 1790 Celsius was integrated into the metric system — itself an outgrowth of the French revolution's desire to unify the country at the national level. The metric system's simplicity and scientific utility helped spread it, and Celsius, throughout the world.

The Anglophone countries finally caved in the second half of the 20th century. The UK itself began metrication, the process of switching all measurements to the metric system, in 1965. It still hasn't fully completed metrication, but the modern UK is an overwhelmingly metric country.

Virtually every other former British colony switched over as well. These events prompted the US to consider going metric itself.

It made sense to switch over, and Congress passed a law, the 1975 Metric Conversion Act, that was supposed to begin the process of metrication. It set up a Metric Board to supervise the transition.

But the law crashed and burned. Because it made metric system voluntary rather than mandatory, the public had a major say in the matter. And lots of people didn't want to have to learn new systems for temperatures or weights.

President Reagan dismantled the Metric Board in 1982, its work in tatters. Congress's dumb implementation of the law ensured that America would keep measuring temperature in Fahrenheit.

Today, the US is virtually alone in the world in staying off the metric system, joined only by Burma and Liberia

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THAT SINKING FEELING

Posted On: January 18, 2022

When faced with a sinking claim, the first question to address is, "What exactly does the insurance carrier mean?

Is a trawler sinking when sitting at the dock with water leaking in through the stuffing box at a rate the bilge pump can keep up with?

Is it sinking if the bilge pump can no longer keep up?

Is it sinking if the bilge pump fails? How about a ski boat that gets swamped by waves?

Or a boat with positive flotation awash to the gunwales?

From an insurance perspective, a boat is sinking if it must be actively pumped out to remain afloat and undamaged.

This definition highlights two key issues.

First, a sinking boat is not watertight. There is always a source of water that must be located and stopped to keep the boat floating.

The second is that well-designed boats do not sink due to failed bilge pumps. A boat should stay afloat in the conditions for which it was designed without water having to be pumped out of it — even in heavy rain and big seas (relative to the size of the boat).

That's not to say that adequately sized, functioning bilge pumps are not important. In addition to removing water, they can keep your boat afloat long enough for you to find a leak and fix it. But that time should be measured in minutes and hours, not days and weeks.

When it comes to gradual leaks due to slowly failing parts, too many of the boats in claim files existed in a state somewhere between floating and sinking, completely dependent upon the bilge pump to keep them on the water instead of below it. The bilge pump merely postponed the sinking until it failed, lost power, or was overwhelmed by the volume of water. Had someone fixed the leak in those days, weeks, or months, that boat would not have sunk.

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REMEMBERING DR. KING

Posted On: January 13, 2022

Martin Luther King Jr. Day (JAN. 17,2022)

What Do People Do?

 

Martin Luther King Day is a relatively new federal holiday and there are few long standing traditions. It is seen as a day to promote equal rights for all Americans, regardless of their background. Some educational establishments mark the day by teaching their pupils or students about the work of Martin Luther King and the struggle against racial segregation and racism. In recent years, federal legislation has encouraged Americans to give some of their time on this day as volunteers in citizen action groups.

 

Martin Luther King Day, also known as Martin Luther King’s birthday and Martin Luther King Jr Day, is combined with other days in different states. For example, it is combined with Civil Rights Day in Arizona and New Hampshire, while it is observed together with Human Rights Day in Idaho. It is also a day that is combined with Robert E. Lee’s birthday in some states. The day is known as Wyoming Equality Day in the state of Wyoming

Martin Luther King was an important civil rights activist. He was a leader in the movement to end racial segregation in the United States. His most famous address was the "I Have A Dream" speech. He was an advocate of non-violent protest and became the youngest man to be awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. He was assassinated in 1968.

 

In 1968, shortly after Martin Luther King died, a campaign was started for his birthday to become a holiday to honor him. After the first bill was introduced, trade unions lead the campaign for the federal holiday. It was endorsed in 1976. Following support from the musician Stevie Wonder with his single "Happy Birthday" and a petition with six million signatures, the bill became law in 1983. Martin Luther King Day was first observed in 1986, although it was not observed in all states until the year 2000. In 1990, the Wyoming legislature designated Martin Luther King Jr/Wyoming Equality Day as a legal holiday.

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THE COLD WEATHER DOESN'T DISCRIMINATE

Posted On: January 11, 2022

Your pet needs protection from the cold

 This week the cold weather seems to have really set in. While we bundle up, our pets are sometimes not given the appropriate attention.

 Here are some tips for keeping our pets safe and healthy.

           Keep them inside when the temperature drops below freezing.

  • Bang on the hood of your car before starting it to scare away stray cats that may have sought warmth from the engine.
  • Never let your dog off the leash on snow or ice, especially during a snowstorm, when dogs can lose their scent and become lost. More dogs are lost during the winter than any other season, so keep ID tags on a well-fitting collar.
  • Wipe off your dog's paws, legs and belly after a walk to remove ice, salt and antifreeze. Make sure a freshly bathed dog is completely dry before taking it outside.
  • Put a coat or sweater with a high collar on short-haired dogs.
  • Check your dog's paws frequently for signs of cold-weather injury or damage, such as cracked paw pads or bleeding. During a walk, sudden lameness may be due to ice accumulation between the toes.
  • Postpone housebreaking puppies during the coldest months.
  • Don't leave a pet alone in a room with a space heater. It could get knocked over and start a fire.
  • Dogs that can tolerate long, cold walks -- the larger breeds with thick fur -- will need to eat more high-protein food.
  • Pets need a place to sleep off the floor and away from drafts.
  • Dogs that spend any time in the yard must have a dry, draft-free shelter large enough to lie down in, but small enough to retain body heat. The floor should be a few inches off the ground and covered with cedar shavings or straw. The doorway should be covered with waterproof burlap or heavy plastic. Do not use metal bowls for food and water.
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CHECK ON THOSE EXTENSION CORDS NOW

Posted On: January 06, 2022

Extension-Cord Danger

As you work on your supplies for the next boating season, pay some attention to the oft ignored, but always needed Extension Cord.

You might scoff at the notion of an instruction manual for an extension cord. There aren't a lot of moving parts, and most people usually don't get injured from using one. But around the water, there are some important safeguards that, if not followed, can cause a fire or even electrocution. Here's what you need to know:

  • Don't use a cord outside if it's marked "For indoor use only."
  • Inspect your extension cords regularly, and don't use one if it's damaged.
  • Don't overload a cord. Determine the total number of watts the cord will be subject to (watts can be found listed on the equipment being used). A cord will specify its maximum watt load on a label. If you exceed that, the cord can melt or catch fire.
  • Turn off the load before plugging in or unplugging the cord; otherwise, the prongs can be damaged over time and overheat.
  • Don't remove the grounding prong. If the outlet can't accept three prongs, it's not grounded and could be dangerous to use, especially outside or near water.
  • Avoid multiple extension cords. Never plug a two-prong cord into a three-prong cord; it will defeat the ground.
  • Don't get the cord wet or allow it to dangle in water. If you're working around water, use a cord with a built-in ground fault circuit interrupter, or GFCI.
  • If the extension cord gets hot, stop using it immediately. It's either overloaded or damaged.
  • Don't coil or cover a cord while in use. It can overheat under heavy loads.
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THE COLD IS COMING IN 2022

Posted On: January 04, 2022

Wondering how to keep warm in frigid, soul-shattering temperatures?

You're not alone.

Thanks to Chris Gayomali the science and technology editor for TheWeek.com

Here are a few practical, science-based tips for keeping warm:

  1. Stay dry

THE GOLDEN RULE to stay warm is "Don't get cold in the first place."

That's obvious, you say.

But is it?

The cold can sneak up on you, especially if you're tromping through icy puddles or sweating in that big parka. So stay dry, especially by dressing in layers. Try layering with a "synthetic, wicking base layer to pull the moisture off your skin." Then on top of that, you'll need a layer that insulates. "Heat tech" base layers — tights, leggings, form-fitting undershirts, etc. — are lightweight, easy to throw on underneath your normal work clothes, and most importantly, keep you toasty with minimal discomfort. Try not to let cotton (which can absorb sweat) touch your skin, if you can help it.

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2. Protect your core
The average human core temperature is 98.6 degrees Fahrenheit; hypothermia occurs when body temp dips below 95 degrees. Obviously, keeping your torso insulated is the best thing you can do to keep the rest of you warm and humming along, especially if you pack on a few extra winter pounds.

For example, when people lose fingers, toes, and other extremities to frostbite, at work is one of the body's natural self-preservation systems:

It simply stops sending blood out in order to protect the vital organs. So, as counterintuitive as it sounds, keeping your torso warm is the number one way to keep your hands and feet feeling warm, too. (More on that in a bit.)

3. The "winter hat" might be a myth
Good news for people with great hair: The assumption that 70 percent of a person's body heat escapes through their head is patently false. University of Michigan professor Andrew Maynard debunks the popular "dancing naked with a winter hat" myth, and explains that body-heat loss relates to "how much skin is exposed, not which part of the body you're exposing." That said, wearing a warm hat can and definitely will help you keep warm. (The more skin you cover up the better.) But a hat shouldn't be depended on in lieu of down coat or jacket with good insulation.

4. Mittens keep your hands warmer than gloves
Protecting your core should be your number one priority. But you need to cover your skin to keep it from getting frostbitten. Remember: The less skin you have exposed the better. If you don't mind having less mobility in the cold, mittens may be preferable to gloves, since clustering the fingers together helps to produce more insulating body heat.

5. Drink water
Summit-trekking adventurers agree: Water is actually amazing for retaining body heat. Simply put, the more you have in your system, the easier it is to keep warm. Stay hydrated — especially before you dash out into the frozen slush every morning.

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