DIY bird deterrent

DIY bird deterrent for your boat

By Dave Osmolski and Doug Carlson

This time I’m sharing a project developed by friend and fellow Charlotte Power Squadron member Doug Carlson. Doug and I often get together for breakfast at a local diner, where the conversation usually turns to the subject of how we should use our boats more often but can never seem to find the time.

One of the problems with leaving a boat at the dock is that many different birds, mostly big birds, use it as a rest stop and leave their “calling cards.” In addition to being an unhealthy problem, bird guano can harm the gelcoat, upholstery and other fabrics. Some birds have hard shells from small mollusks and crustaceans in their droppings, which can do serious abrasive damage to the gelcoat.

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Taming the winds and seas

Use a bridle

Have you been in an anchorage where the wind keeps the boat at odds with the waves, rolling your boat from side to side, making you uncomfortable and nauseated? Some people deploy flopper stoppers on each side to slow down this motion, but you have to store them somewhere, and they take quite a bit of effort to deploy.

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Are you ready to hit the waves?

Traveling by boat is not always smooth sailing. If we’re not properly prepared, the waterways around us can wreak havoc with the boat and people aboard. Before you leave the dock, take a close look at the inside and outside of your vessel.

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Woman to Woman

Lessons learned while docking

By Capt. Kathrine Redmond

In my next few articles, I’ll share information as though you have just completed your boating safety class and are gathering on-land, theoretical knowledge of the docking process.

In my previous column, I mentioned that the helmsperson must stop the movement of the boat in the slip so that the line handler can step off the boat, not jump off. Over the years, I have seen line handlers suffer broken and sprained ankles and have seen them fall into the water when skippers come into the slip too quickly and line handlers attempt to stop the boat by jumping onto the dock to tie a line. This practice is dangerous. The helmsperson’s job is to stop the movement of the boat in the slip!Read More

Dock on deck logo

Emergency room afloat, part 2

The day sailor’s first-aid kit


By Gino Bottino, M.D.

In the last issue, we discussed “time to professional medical help” as the single most important variable in determining the extent of medical supplies and training needed aboard.

Accordingly, we divided the theoretical “complete medical chest” into smaller kits based on boating needs. The simplest of these is the day or deck kit, where medical help is available in less than 30 minutes.

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Woman to Woman

Develop your docking muscles

By Katherine Redmond

In my next few articles, I’ll share information as though you have just completed your boating safety class and are gathering on-land, theoretical knowledge of the docking process.

Most boaters would agree that docking a boat is the most difficult maneuver in the sport. It’s amazing to watch adventurers who have crossed oceans become uncomfortable when docking their vessels. If we are to become proficient at docking, we should learn all that we can about the task through on-land lessons and on-the-water skill drills.

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Kill Switch

Must-have devices that could save your life

By Dave Osmolski

I have just returned home after spending a few weeks at my “homemade tropical paradise” in Flamingo Bay, Florida, where I can boat, fish, swim and enjoy some of the best shelling in the U.S. I keep my boat in my backyard, so I can be off and running in a jiffy.

During this trip, I learned of a boater who died in an avoidable boating accident, the second boating accident fatality in the area in a few years. Both fatalities could have been avoided had the proper safety procedures been followed.

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Dock on deck logo

Emergency room afloat

The medical kit and  the conscientious boater, Part I

By Gino C. Bottino, M.D.

The realization

When I started this column, I wanted to write about putting together a complete medical kit. The more I thought about the idea, the more I realized how complicated the task would be.

First, you have to keep the size manageable while making it reasonably complete. This becomes difficult when you consider that everyone boats in different venues, at different times of the year and in different climates with different groups of people, all of whom have individual needs.

After much consideration, I broke the topic into two segments: on-board medical kits for groups with an organizer and staff, and kits for those traveling alone.

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Woman to Woman

Harrowing docking experience

By Capt. Katherine Redmond

My favorite story revolves around an experience my husband and I had while travelling on the Intracoastal Waterway in our first powerboat during our first live-aboard experience. (We had previously been sailors.) Having no experience with powerboats and after spending three weeks in a V-berth on our friend’s sailboat, we bought what should have been a houseboat. It had a full-size refrigerator and stove and a large bathtub! It also had a single inboard engine (which, in my opinion, is the most difficult to control, especially in reverse), a shallow keel, and was so top-heavy that a sneeze could cause its 46-foot frame to heel precariously.

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DIY trailering device

DIY trailering device makes hitching easy

By Dave Osmolski

Boating is back in full swing! That means hitching up the trailer and taking the boat to the launch ramp. Sometimes hitching up the trailer isn’t all that happens. I have completely redecorated my vehicle’s license plate while hitching up my trailer. When I had a tow vehicle with a steel bumper, this didn’t bother me so much. The unique license plate helped me positively identify my vehicle in large parking lots. I have a plastic bumper now, and those near misses don’t enhance the resale value of my vehicle so much.

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Photo of hole in fuel tank caused by galvanic corrosion

Diesel fuel tank repair

By Reid Gantt

Would you believe that a stainless steel washer could cause an estimated $20,000 in damage to your boat? That was an estimate given to remove and repair my diesel fuel tank.

Earlier this year, my wife, Karen, and I were on our 1983 twin diesel Atlantic 30 in Sneads Ferry, North Carolina, when I saw a sheen of diesel on the water. Further investigation revealed a leak in the port fuel tank.

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Perfect tool kit image

Curate the perfect toolkit

By Dave Osmolski

I took the USPS elective course Engine Maintenance ages ago, well before the advent of computer-controlled fuel injection and the other amazing advances in outboard engine manufacture in the past 20 years.

While these advances have taken away some of our ability to tinker with our outboards in the shade of a backyard tree, they have given us cleaner, quieter, more economical and longer-lasting engines than we had in “the good old days.”

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