Scott Marine Surveyor Blog


Posted On: November 05, 2020

Hull Fitting Ice

Custom-made winter covers, typically canvas or synthetic, are a terrific benefit to your boat's gel coat and general well-being.

A good well-supported cover offers many benefits. It keeps leaves and debris from clogging scuppers and causing the boat to flood when a downpour comes or the snow melts. It keeps snow from accumulating in the cockpit and forcing the boat underwater in its slip or damaging thru-hull fittings on boats on the hard when melt-water freezes.

It protects the deck from pooling water that can lead to de-lamination and freeze damage. And it protects gel coat on the deck and coach roof from the elements, extending its life.

The best covers are custom made from canvas. With any custom cover, a frame, either wood or aluminum, should be used to circulate air and prevent pooling on the cover. Vents should also be built into the cover to encourage ventilation and reduce mildew. Never secure the boat's winter cover to the jack stands or support blocks because the stands can be yanked out during a strong blow.

Though shrink-wrapping is very effective at keeping rain and snow out, it will also trap moisture inside and create horrendous mildew problems if vents aren't used along the entire length of the cover. Another problem: Cabins and decks painted with two-part polyurethane paints may peel or bubble where the shrink-wrap touches it.

Inserting a series of foam pads between the hull and cover allows condensation to escape. Finally, don't shrink-wrap the boat yourself.

All it takes is a moment of inattention to ignite the shrink-wrap, and if the fire occurs inside the cover, it might not even be visible right away.

This is one job best left to the pros.



Posted On: November 03, 2020

Figure this may be informative today.

What's the Electoral College?

Americans who go to the polls on Election Day are voting for 538 electors who, according to the system laid out by the Constitution, meet in their respective states and vote for president and vice president.
Back in the 1800s, it wasn't always even voters who picked the electors. Often it was state legislators.

These people, the electors, comprise the Electoral College, and their votes are then counted in a joint session of Congress.
It takes 270 electoral votes to get a majority of the Electoral College. The total number of electors -- 538 -- cannot change unless there are more lawmakers added on Capitol Hill or a constitutional amendment. But the number of electors allocated to each state can change every 10 years, after the constitutionally mandated Census.

Each state gets at least 3 electors. California, the most populous state, has 53 congressmen and two senators, so they get 55 electoral votes.

Texas, the largest reliably Republican-leaning state, has 36 congressmen and two senators, so they get 38 electoral votes.
Six states -- Alaska, Delaware, Montana, North Dakota, Vermont and Wyoming -- are so small, population-wise, that they only have one congressperson apiece, and the lowest possible three electoral votes. The District of Columbia also gets three electoral votes. Voters in Puerto Rico and other non-state territories get no electoral votes, although they can take part in presidential primaries.

The states are in charge of selecting their own electors.

And a number of states do not require their electors to honor the election results, which has led, occasionally, to the phenomenon known as a "faithless elector."

(By some coincidence, the Supreme Court is right now hearing cases about whether states can penalize electors who vote for someone other than the person chosen by the voters. Ten electors did just that in 2016.)



Posted On: October 29, 2020

Pumpkins and Halloween

The origin of Halloween dates back at least 3,000 years to the Celtic celebration of Samhain (pronounced "sow-ain"). The festival was held starting at sundown on October 31st and lasted until sundown on November 1st. It was similar to the modern practice of the New Years celebration.

On this magical night, glowing jack-o-lanterns, carved from turnips or gourds, were set on porches and in windows to welcome deceased loved ones, but also to act as protection against malevolent spirits. Burning lumps of coal were used inside as a source of light, later to be replaced by candles.

Samhain was not the name of a "Lord of the Dead", no historical evidence has ever been found to back this up, it was simply the name of the festival and meant "Summer's End". It was believed that the souls of the dead were closest to this world and was the best time to contact them to say good bye or ask for assistance. It was also a celebration of the harvest. It is still treated as such today by those who practice Wicca or other nature based religions. It has absolutely nothing to do with satan, who was a creation of the Christian church.

When European settlers, particularly the Irish, arrived in America they found the native pumpkin to be larger, easier to carve and seemed the perfect choice for jack-o-lanterns. Halloween didn't really catch on big in this country until the late 1800's and has been celebrated in many ways ever since!



Posted On: October 27, 2020

The Scoop On Scope

Scope is often defined as the ratio of the length of deployed anchor rode to the depth of the water. Wrong! Scope calculations must be based on the vertical distance not from the sea bottom to the surface of the water, but from the sea bottom to the bow chock or roller where the anchor rode comes aboard. For example, if you let out 30 feet of anchor rode in six feet of water, you may think you have a 5:1 scope, but if your bow roller is four feet above the waterline, your scope is actually 3:1.

Scope is required to keep the pull on the anchor horizontal. The more upward pull on the anchor, the more likely it is to break free. Minimum scope for secure anchoring is 5:1. Seven-to-one is better where you have the room. A length of chain between the line and the anchor (at least 20 feet) also helps to keep the pull horizontal.



Posted On: October 22, 2020

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.



Posted On: October 20, 2020


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!



Posted On: October 15, 2020


Photo of a bottle of marine antifreeze

Antifreeze is antifreeze, right?


Not only are there different kinds, the temperature at which they freeze is different, too. And that's important because if they do freeze, your boat is likely to be damaged.

Antifreeze for winterizing engines and freshwater systems is not the same as the coolant you put in your engine's heat exchanger (the boat equivalent of a radiator).

Ethylene glycol, the chemical used in coolant, is highly toxic, and winterizing antifreeze must be nontoxic because it goes in drinking water systems and may eventually go overboard.

The antifreeze you use in your engine and plumbing systems aboard must also have the proper freeze protection to keep your systems safe at the lowest possible temperatures your boat may face.

Choose antifreeze that contains propylene glycol, which is safe and tasteless, and one that has rust inhibitors for engine protection. Most importantly, check the freeze rating, but be aware that the numbers used don't correspond to what you may think. A typical antifreeze labeled for minus 50 degrees Fahrenheit will only protect PVC water pipes from bursting down to about minus 10 degrees and will actually begin freezing at about 15 degrees above. At 50 below, it's a solid chunk of ice, capable of cracking an engine block. Play it safe and use an antifreeze that is rated well below any temperature you're likely to experience.

Most winterizing antifreeze must be used full strength — don't dilute. When pumping antifreeze into your engine or freshwater systems, don't shut down as soon as you see the antifreeze come out of the faucet or engine exhaust. The antifreeze first mixes with the water already in the system and has to displace all of it before the antifreeze can protect fully. It's better to invest in a couple of extra gallons than end up with a cracked block at the beginning of next season.



Posted On: October 13, 2020

8 Essential Questions To Ask Your Yard

What's the cost of hauling and relaunching? Some yards quote just the haulout price and some include the relaunch in their price. Usually haulouts are charged based on length of boat, but not always, so ask.

Can I work on my boat myself? Not all yards allow you to work on your own boat, often citing insurance concerns. Check on what's allowed if you plan on doing any work yourself.

Are there any "lay days" included? If your boat will only be out for a few days, there may not be any storage charges, but some marinas charge by the day, week, or month as soon as the boat is blocked in the yard.

Is there a fee to bring my boat to the haulout well, and how much is it? If you need the yard to move your boat because you're not able to, there'll most likely be an additional charge. If you're a long-time customer, though, you may be able to get it waived. Bimini or backstay removal may come with an extra fee.

Does the cost include a high-pressure washdown? Most marinas provide this service as part of a haulout, but ask, don't assume.

Where will you put my boat? After hauling, your boat will be blocked ashore. In a large marina, that could mean a long hike from the office or chandlery, and worse, possibly too far from electrical power or water, which you might need.

Can I bring in outside contractors? Marinas want you to use their services and may charge you a fee or even a percentage of your outside contractor bill. Most will require the contractor prove he's properly insured. Some prohibit outside contractors altogether, citing liability, though there is little risk to the marina if you and your contractor have the proper insurance.

When will my boat be relaunched? If you hope to use your boat the next weekend, you could be disappointed if the yard tells you it could be several extra days. Let your yard know in good time when you'd like to go back in the water, but be aware that sometimes tides and weather may preclude you from getting your ideal time and date.