Winterize your boat and trailer

Winterize your boat and trailer

By Dave Osmolski

In 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.

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Storing your canvas and vinyl panels

Storing canvas and vinyl panels

By Dave Osmolski

Boats 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.

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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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