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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Give your boat a mid-season checkup

By Frank Barron

It’s mid-summer. Everything’s going well. You’ve had some good cruises and weathered a storm or two. What could go wrong now? To keep Murphy at bay, it’s prudent to spend a half-day giving your boat a mid-season checkup without the pressure of a journey. Begin by noting any obvious problems and their importance.

Stand back and observe: Do you see anything amiss? Start with this simple mid-season checklist and modify it to fit your needs.

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DIY inexpensive propane storage

Store propane cylinders safely on deck

By Dave Osmolski

Summer’s here! Now’s the time to get in the boat, visit your favorite cove and drop the hook. Before long, you’ll get out the propane grill and throw a couple of steaks on while you enjoy a glass of wine with the sunset.

Propane grills that attach to a boat rail or a fixture inserted into a fishing rod holder are popular and provide additional enjoyment on day trips and cruises; however, their use raises the question of how to store the steel propane cylinders that fuel the grill.

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Use proper anchoring etiquette

Use proper anchoring etiquette

By Jim Dunn

Most good anchorages tend to be crowded, so you need to use proper technique and etiquette to keep the neighbors happy.

Generally, the first boat to anchor has seniority. This means that if you anchor near another boat and that boater thinks you are too close for the conditions, you should be polite and move farther away. In general, if you can stand on deck and have a conversation with your neighbor without shouting, you are probably too close. Move on! In addition, if your neighbor has two anchors set, you should do likewise.

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Waterproofing canvas with wood conditioner

Waterproof canvas with wood conditioner

By Dave Osmolski

Nearly every boat has some canvas to provide shade, act as a windbreak, and protect us from spray and rain. New canvas has a waterproof coating. Although the coating doesn’t actually seal the pores in the fabric, it does make the fabric hydrophobic, so water beads up and runs off.

Like nearly everything having to do with boats, the waterproof coating deteriorates with exposure to salt, sun and wind. Pretty soon, the canvas top is leaking onto your latest smartphone or all over your charts.

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Keep your boat fungus-free in winter

Keep your boat fungus-free in winter

By Dave Osmolski

You’ve winterized your boat, perhaps wrapped and sealed it against the elements so it will be clean and ready to sail come spring. Or will it?

Most boaters pull and winterize their boats before the onset of cold weather. If your boat has been shrink-wrapped or has closed-off areas with little or no ventilation, the trapped air contains much more moisture than the cold winter air will hold.

If you’ve taken the USPS Weather course, you understand relative humidity. For example, air at a temperature of 70 degrees Fahrenheit will hold more water vapor than the same volume of air at 36 degrees Fahrenheit. This means that when you seal up your boat at 70 degrees in the fall and the temperature drops to 36 degrees in January, the excess water vapor condenses as it does on the outside of a glass of iced tea.

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How to retrofit a laptop to a nav station

How to retrofit a laptop to a nav station

By Scott Mackenzie

Convergence can mean the capability of a piece of electronic equipment to perform more than one function or activity. For instance, today’s multifunction chart-plotters can function as GPS-driven chart-plotters as well as displays for radar, engine or sailing instrument data. However, all this capability comes with a hefty price tag.

I chose a different route. When loran-C was decommissioned, the nav station on our 36-foot Morris, Salty Spouse, had a gaping hole that cried out for attention before my wife, Inza, and I took our next cruise.

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5 tips for safe docking

5 tips for safe docking

By Bill Gesele

  1. Always make sure the slip isn’t too small or too large for your boat. A too-small slip spreads the poles and may affect the boat next to you. In a too-large slip, your boat could swing past the bow poles and damage neighboring boats.
  2. Always have your stern lines attached to the cleats before docking. This sounds basic, but haven’t we all been tossed an unattached line while the boat flounders?
  3. Never (and this happens all too often) allow anyone to stand on the swim platform or outside the boat while docking. One wrong move could put that person in the water and in the path of the running gear.
  4. Have fenders, not hands, ready to avoid the boat next to you. Fenders and boats can be replaced—limbs, not too easily.
  5. Keep the engines running until your boat is securely tied to the dock. You may have to give a short forward burst if your boat gets too close.

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