What to do after you run aground

By John Schwab

Despite all efforts to stay off shoals, sandbars or rocks, groundings happen. It’s said there are three types of skippers: Those who have run aground, those who will run aground, and those who have but will never admit it. Every boater should prepare for the inevitable grounding.

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Refurbishing trailer bunks

Refurbishing trailer bunks

Discover how to replace the worn carpeting on your trailer bunks

By Dave Osmolski

As simple as boat trailers seem, they are fraught with problems. If it isn’t the lights, it’s the wiring; if the lights work, the wheel bearings need replacing, or tire belts have given up the ghost and are ready to separate in the first 40 miles of your vacation trip. If it isn’t one of these things, it’s probably the carpeting on the trailer bunks.

Trailer bunks are the pieces of wood fastened to your trailer that your boat hull rests on. The wood is usually covered with special carpeting that won’t mar the hull’s gel coat but allows the boat to slide on and off with the proper degree of friction.

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Reduce risks on the ice

Reduce risks on the ice

By Joseph Jonhenry

Unless you plan on joining the Polar Bear Club, you’ll want to take precautions to ensure a relatively safe passage while walking on an iced-over lake.

It’s impossible to judge the strength of ice by its appearance, thickness, daily or extended temperatures, or snow cover. Ice strength is dependent on all of these factors as well as the water depth under the ice, the surface water area, water chemistry, currents, and the distribution of the load on the ice.

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Keep your balance on the water

By Dan Fannon

How many times have we heard someone say, “Remember to eat a balanced diet,” or “Don’t forget to balance work and play”? Maintaining balance is a primary life skill, but one easily overlooked in these harried times of pressured work schedules and few moments set aside for reflection and refreshment. I encourage you to give serious thought to the effects of balance as it applies to our life on the water.

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DIY Flagstaff

Build a DIY flagstaff for your powerboat

By Dave Osmolski

I’ve been vacationing in Southwest Florida for longer than I have been a member of United States Power Squadrons. I haven’t visited every yacht basin and marina, but out on the water and along the Intracoastal Waterway, I have never seen a vessel flying the USPS ensign save for the one on my boat.

USPS encourages members to introduce our organization to the public with seminars, classes and by our presence at boat shows. While these are important, I think one of the best ways to advertise our presence is to fly the ensign.

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Take care before and after fueling

Take care before and after fueling

By Gene Clark

An older U.S. Coast Guard safety pamphlet indicated that “a cup of gasoline spilled in the bilge has the potential explosive power of 15 sticks of dynamite.” With that in mind, let’s review safe fueling recommendations.

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Preplan for anchoring success

Preplan for anchoring success

by John Schwab

Ground tackle refers to all the parts of an anchor system between the boat and the anchor.

If you use only line, the ground tackle may be referred to as simply the anchor rode or line. Most experts recommend either a combination of chain and nylon or all chain. The terminal connections between the rode and the anchor are critical. Look for weak links in your own anchoring system. A proper connection will consist of a properly sized galvanized shackle rated for the intended use. Always mouse or seize the shackle pin with Monel seizing wire to prevent the pin from backing out. Plastic tie wraps are unacceptable.

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