By Bill AllenMany trailering accidents could be eliminated by selecting the proper tow vehicle, trailer and hitch for your boat; performing routine maintenance; and practicing before taking out a trailered boat for the first time.
By Dave OsmolskiWhen you’re out cruising this summer, you may find yourself at a marina slip wanting to use shore power to charge your batteries and run those devices you wouldn’t normally run through your inverter.
“If I fall into cold water, someone will throw me a life jacket, and I can put it on. I’m a good swimmer.”
These words aren’t valid in cold water. U.S. Coast Guard research reveals that when a boater falls into frigid water, the following is likely to happen:
Discover how to replace the worn carpeting on your trailer bunks
By Dave OsmolskiAs 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.
By Joseph JonhenryUnless 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.
By Dan FannonHow 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.
By Dave OsmolskiI’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.
By Gene ClarkAn 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.
by John SchwabGround 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.
By Dave OsmolskiIn much of the United States, autumn marks the end of the boating season. Many boaters simply open the drain plugs, throw a tarp over Leakin’ Lucretia and hope for a mild winter. I know because I have watched their antics at the boat ramp on those first days of spring boating. They show up with dead batteries, unburnable gasoline, frozen engines and flat tires, causing a steady stream of blue language from those stuck on the launch ramp as well as those waiting to use it.
You can avoid all this by taking one day to provide Leakin’ Lucretia the tender loving care it deserves to survive a long, cold winter.
By Cliff SchmidtStaying afloat requires preventing the failure of water hoses and their fittings, including through-hulls, valves, strainers and hose clamps supplying raw water cooling to boat systems—the leading cause of vessels sinking at the dock. I look at the following areas when surveying a boat; you should check these items at least once or twice a year.
By Dave OsmolskiBoats of all sizes have canvas and clear vinyl panels to keep the weather out. During the boating season, these panels have a place and use, but storing these relatively fragile panels in the off-season can become a problem. Although it’s summer now, winter is coming.
Sun exposure deteriorates both canvas and vinyl. Cold, windy weather makes vinyl brittle, and the wind can cause it to crack and break. Unless you wrap your boat, exposing these panels to the elements in winter drastically decreases their useful life.