Dave on his new floating boat lift

Floating boat lift keeps boat clean, accessible

By Dave Osmolski

I retired last September with plans to spend more time at my homemade tropical paradise in Flamingo Bay, Florida. We are right on the water, and I keep my boat in the canal in my backyard. However, because my boat doesn’t have marine bottom paint, within five days, barnacles and small, calcified worm-like creatures will fasten themselves to the hull, trim tabs and all of my boat’s other underwater features.

Last spring, I contacted several different contractors that specialize in installing boatlifts. I don’t have a seawall. At the canal edge of my property, a mangrove forest provides food and shelter for birds, fish and all manner of creatures, including alligators and snakes. Because of a sloping bank and high tide line up into the mangroves, the zoning laws would not allow me to install the lift where I wanted.

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Marine radar goes solid-state

Marine electronics are constantly evolving, but no change in recent years compares with the move to solid-state radar. Gains in features and performance are so great that almost every boater should consider upgrading. All four major marine equipment manufacturers now offer solid-state pulse compression radar. Here’s why.

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Photo of tinned marine grade wiring for boats

Size matters with marine wiring

Troubleshooting problems with marine wiring

By Dave Osmolski

Last spring I installed a new combination sonar (depth/fish finder) and GPS on my boat, which replaced separate units. The new unit has a 7-inch screen, and the older units each had 4-inch screens, so I didn’t reduce the footprint at the helm.

I replaced the old units with the same brand and used the wiring from the old unit to power the new one. Installation went well, and I used my new unit to explore the waters around Pine Island, Florida.

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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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