Blog June 2022

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DON'T GET HOSED

Posted On: June 28, 2022

There is no such thing as an all-purpose hose on a boat. No single hose type can withstand engine exhaust, bring freshwater to the galley, safely transport gasoline to the carburetor, drain the cockpit, and flush the head. Using the wrong hose can cause problems that range from an inconvenient mess to a burning boat. This handy run-down will help you identify one type of hose from another and assist in choosing the right hose for the job at hand. We'll start with a visual guide to common marine hoses, then go into more detail about each type.

1. Exhaust hose. Able to withstand temperatures to around 250 F, an exhaust hose is often reinforced with wire, which may be stainless, or other special reinforcement. Other, more expensive silicone hoses are capable of sustaining much higher temperatures.

2. Hot and cold PEX potable water pipe. Many modern boats use PEX tubing for hot and cold plumbing. PEX is available in three distinct grades: A, B, and C. Although all are perfectly acceptable for potable water, Grade A is the most flexible and easiest to run in the tight confines of a boat. Fittings are easy to connect to the pipe, although you may need special tools. PEX is not the only option for potable water, however (see 6).

3. Sanitation hose. Often white, with a smooth bore to prevent trapping waste that could lead to odors, sanitation hose has an expected lifespan of approximately 10 years.

4. Corrugated bilge pump hose. This cheap hose is often supplied with bilge pumps. While easy to run, cut, and bend, its ridged internal structure restricts flow, making it a poor choice.

5. Smooth-bore bilge pump hose. Although four times the price of corrugated types, smooth-bore bilge pump hose offers up to 30 percent greater efficiency.

6. Potable water hose. Potable water hose comes in both reinforced and non-reinforced types. They're easy to tell apart as the reinforced hose will have strong synthetic cord strands visible. This one is clear but opaque is generally a better choice for potable water because there is less chance of algae growing inside.

7. Fuel hose. Fuel hose must be marked as such and will be stamped A1, A2, B1, or B2. Older hoses are incompatible with fuel containing ethanol, so if yours is older than about 10 years, it's most likely due for replacement anyway.

8. Thru-hull hose. For any connections to thru-hulls, reinforced hose is the only way to go. A cheap hose may fail and sink your boat.

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DON'T WAVE

Posted On: June 22, 2022

WAVE BASICS

No matter what boat — power or sail — you frequent, you have to be prepared to take on waves.

The first and best tactic is to stay out of large waves, with "large" being relative to the boat's size, shape, power, ballast, and structure. Tactics to avoid large waves include staying in the lee of a windward shore for as long as possible, traveling with wind and current running together, timing the entrance and exit to inlets and rivers so that the current is running with the wind and waves, waiting until slack tide before navigating strong inlets or rivers, or simply staying in port until conditions improve.

Second, don't take waves on the beam. If possible take them on the bow, or it may sometimes be better to take them directly astern or at an angle to the stern rather than the beam. Usually, when heading into waves, it's better to meet them at an angle off the bow to minimize pounding, hobby horsing, and burying the bow. If taking waves astern, it's extremely important to avoid losing directional control as the wave overtakes you. This may require a high level of seamanship skills. If you must change course, watch the waves carefully; time the move when you see a group of smaller waves or a long trough that you can turn in before the next wave comes.

When heading into waves, try to take them at an angle off the bow to minimize pounding.

Third, don't get caught in breaking waves. Breaking waves can occur when the wind is opposing a strong current, when waves are passing over a shallow bar, when they are ricocheting off a shore or rocks, when they reach a height too tall to sustain themselves and when they are leaving deep water and meeting shallow ground. Do everything you can to avoid areas where breaking waves might form.

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MARINE TERMINOLOGY

Posted On: June 14, 2022


Marine terminology may sound like old, archaic jargon to some, but there are good reasons why it's important to use the right words aboard a boat.

 Say What?

Let's start with the most important four terms.

The front of a boat is called the "bow," and the back is the "stern."

"Starboard" refers to what is the right side of the boat if you're facing the bow; "port" refers to what is the left side if you're facing the bow. (To remember this, note that "port" and "left" each have four letters.)

So why don't we just say front, back, left, and right?

The answer is that the starboard side is ALWAYS the starboard side, no matter which way you, or anyone else, is facing on board. This is important. Imagine that you're on a boat and the captain asks you to quickly put fenders over the right side. If you were facing one another, would that be your right or his? Or imagine it's getting dark, or heavy weather is upon you, and you can't see which way people are facing on the boat. Saying "It's to your left!" or "Look to the right!" would make no sense to anyone and would create confusion that could threaten the crew and boat. If someone yells, "Man overboard! Port side!" clear directions and the use of accurate terms could mean the difference between locating, or losing sight of, a victim.

"Gunwale" (pronounced GUNN-ell) is the edge of the boat where the hull meets the deck; the name is derived from the lip at the edge of the deck that at one time prevented cannons from sliding into the sea as the ship rolled. The toilet on a boat is called the "head," which gets its name from its traditional location in the head, or forepart, of the ship. Cabins and other compartments within the boat are divided from each other by "bulkheads" (walls), which are vertical partitions between the cabin "sole" (floor) and the underside of the deck that provide structural stability to the boat's design.

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WRAP IT UP

Posted On: June 07, 2022

Get a rope or even some fishing line wrapped around the prop and it can be more than just a little aggravating; it can land you in big trouble and calling for a tow.

The majority of ropes and lines are made from synthetic fibers, and while these may be great at tying things up, like your boat to the dock, they can be a real headache if they get wrapped around the prop.

A moment's lack of concentration and fishing line can get wrapped around an outboard's propeller, where it will swiftly work between the gear housing, damaging critical oil seals and melting into a solid lump that will require considerable time and effort with a sharp knife to remove.

It's bad enough on an outboard, but wrapping a rope around the shaft of an inboard-powered boat may require an expensive haulout to get things sorted. Be aware of lines on your boat that may be trailing in the water, just waiting for a spinning prop.

And watch the water ahead for floating line as well as other problems.

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