Conserve battery power with LEDs

Conserve battery power with LEDs

By Gary Bain

Over time, I have made many changes and improvements to Gone With The Wind, a 1990 MK1 Catalina 36. This year I decided to convert all the interior lights to LED.

Several years ago a good friend gave me an LED light fixture to replace the one adjacent to the chart table. The original light had a warm glow, and I was hesitant to change it out. I decided to put the new fixture over the galley sink, but I didn’t care for the extreme blue/white light.

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Check your oil to prevent costly repairs

Check your oil to prevent costly repairs

By Burrage Warner

Many years ago during a trip to the Bahamas in a 30-foot Pearson sloop powered by a gasoline engine, we got caught up in the winds of Hurricane Agnes. We spent 10 days holed up at Boot Key Marina in Marathon, Florida, while the hurricane ravaged the Keys on both sides of us. Fortunately, we escaped damage and spent the next four weeks cruising the Bahamas.

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Plan ahead for safe passage

Plan ahead for safe passage

By Michael McBride

One summer I joined our Sea Scout Ship 912 for a long cruise from St. Petersburg, Florida, to the Dry Tortugas and back. We spent nine days and eight nights aboard Bonne Femme, a 35-foot Pearson sloop with an inboard drive diesel. We towed a 14-foot dinghy.

We took the Intracoastal Waterway to Sanibel Island. From there, we would head southwest across the Gulf of Mexico to Key West. On the way to Sanibel, we would have to navigate at least 13 bridges, the most challenging of which was Albee Road Bridge.

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Add solar panel to your trawler

How to add solar panels to your boat

By Dave Osmolski and Peter Jenkin

For this article, I’ve invited longtime friend and coconspirator, Peter Jenkin, to share his experience adding solar power to his boat. I have known Pete since high school. He’s the only other person ever to ride in my canoe, which leaked in gallons per minute. Former sailors, Pete and his wife, Nancy Miller, now cruise Long Island Sound and coastal New England aboard a 26-foot trawler.

As a new convert to the “dark side,” I had a lot to learn about my new old boat, a 26-foot Nordic Tug. Unlike my old sailboats, it doesn’t have an icebox. Instead, it has a refrigerator like one you’d find in a college dorm room.

We keep the boat on a mooring, anchor out when cruising and never go to marinas. After five to six hours at anchor, the refrigerator would start to die. This happened even with two new group 31 AGM batteries in the house bank. After a few weekends of this, I solved the problem by going solar.

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Equip your boat with proper navigation lights

Equip your boat with proper navigation lights

A recent U.S. Coast Guard Safety Bulletin warns boaters about the purchase and installation of unapproved vessel navigation lights.

According to the Coast Guard, replacement lighting from some manufacturers fails to meet technical certification requirements, making the lighting improper for its application. The Coast Guard also cautions boaters that the use of LEDs, rope lighting, underwater lighting and other types of decorative lighting may violate navigation light provisions of the Nautical Rules of the Road. Consult bit.ly/navrules for more information.

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Equip your boat with a marine radio

Equip your boat with a marine radio

By Scott Erickson

Any vessel equipped with a marine VHF radio and operated solely in U.S. waters must comply with U.S. Coast Guard usage rules for operating communications equipment. If you are new to boating or thinking of upgrading your equipment, you need to know the basics of a marine radio.

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How to assemble a first-aid kit

How to assemble a first-aid kit

By Dave Osmolski

One of the most neglected pieces of safety equipment on a small boat is the first-aid kit. As a vessel examiner, I have asked many boat owners if they carry a first-aid kit. Many say “yes,” but when I ask to see it, the kit usually consists of a few adhesive bandages, a couple of dried-up alcohol wipes and a roll of adhesive tape in a plastic box.

A daunting environment, a small boat can move erratically from wave action and passengers shifting positions. Combine this with wet gel-coated decks and bare feet, and slips or falls are inevitable. They often result in only a little bruising and embarrassment, but some accidents can be much more serious. Are you prepared for a bad fall, the sting of a sea creature or a severe allergic reaction?

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How to prevent motion sickness

How to prevent motion sickness

By Keith Dahlin

Ninety percent of people suffer from motion sickness at some point, but prescription, over-the-counter and natural remedies can help prevent it.

Different preventives work for different people with varying degrees of effectiveness; however, the trick is finding your personal panacea before you’re in a pickle. To embrace the briny deep confidently, do your research and perform a self-test days or weeks before heading out.

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Preserve your fiberglass hull

Preserve your fiberglass hull

By Bill Isenberg

For below-the-waterline maintenance, epoxy barrier coating is one of the best measures you can take to preserve a fiberglass hull. It prevents water from migrating into the fiberglass, thus adding weight to the boat and causing possible delamination or osmosis of the fiberglass.

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Ready your boat trailer for winter

Ready your boat trailer for winter

By David Osmolski

In fall we begin to think about putting our boats away for the winter. We fog the engines and put anti-freeze in the water lines, but how many of us prepare our trailers to spend several months sitting in the cold? Let’s look at the many things you can do to extend the life of your trailer before putting it up for the winter.

If you do a lot of saltwater cruising, I’m sure you hose down the boat and trailer afterward. Some boaters even go to the carwash to use the high-pressure freshwater spray. I prefer to find a boat ramp on a lake and dunk the whole rig. That will thoroughly rinse even the trailer’s most remote corners. While you’re at it, run the engine for three minutes or more.

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Avoid common sailing injuries

By Anthony Pozun

A sailboat’s many working parts combined with its movement can result in sailing injuries and accidents, but you can avoid them with a little planning and forethought.

Don’t go overboard

Everyone on deck should wear a personal flotation device. Those alone on deck, at the helm or sailing single-handedly must also wear a safety harness tethered to the boat.

When moving about, remember the adage “one hand for me, one hand for the boat.” Move slowly, low to the deck and with purpose. To retrieve someone from the water, boats should have safety equipment such as a man overboard pole, life ring, throw ring, floating cushion, hoist and lifejackets with GPS locators.

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