Add shapes to your boat with PVC pipes

Add shapes to your boat with PVC pipes

By Dave Osmolski

One of the oldest and ubiquitous polymers, PVC, or polyvinyl chloride, is used for water toys, rafts, boat curtains and many other marine applications. I have used it to hold propane cylinders on deck, make flagstaffs and hold trailer light fixtures. The list of things you can make from PVC piping is endless.

Readily available at most hardware stores, PVC pipe comes in two grades, or schedules. Schedule 40 has a thinner wall and is probably the easiest to work with. Schedule 80 has thicker walls but the same outside diameter. I suggest using schedule 40 for your projects, as it’s tough enough to withstand almost any abuse.

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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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